Archive for December, 2012

Ideal student-athlete Christian Robinson not quite ready for graduation

Linebacker Christian Robinson is one of seven Georgia football players who will walk in graduation ceremonies Friday at Stegeman Coliseum. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Linebacker Christian Robinson is one of seven Georgia football players who will walk in graduation ceremonies Friday at Stegeman Coliseum. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Christian Robinson doesn’t want his time at Georgia to end.

“If I could stay in this situation forever I would,” the senior linebacker from Norcross said this week. “I love it here.”

Alas, he doesn’t have a choice. Robinson will be among seven football players – and 39 UGA student-athletes in all – who will walk in graduation ceremonies on Friday morning at Stegeman Coliseum. Like it or not, it’s time to move on.

And for Robinson, like many of his compatriots, he’s not entirely sure what he’ll be moving on to.

Robinson

Robinson

“I won’t be Jarvis Jones when the (NFL) draft comes,” cracked Robinson, referring to his teammate, who is projected as a possible No. 1 pick. “Maybe I’ll go after him. But I’ve enjoyed my time here. Hopefully what I’ve done to this point will give me an …

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Disappointed Dogs insist there will be no letdown against Nebraska

ATHENS -- There are few things more unpredictable than the emotional state of a football team heading into a bowl game. But there are reasons for Georgia to be on guard against a letdown in the Capital One Bowl.

The No. 7-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) are coming off a game in which they literally finished five yards shy from playing for a national championship. The SEC Championship ended with Chris Conley sitting with the ball on the 5-yard line in the Georgia Dome and Georgia unable to stop the clock. Time ticked away in a 32-28 loss to No. 2 Alabama.

Not only did the Bulldogs come up short in their bid for the national championship. They lost consideration for a BCS bowl. So now they head to a non-BCS bowl to face a 10-3 Nebraska team coming off a 70-31 loss as a double-digit favorite.

Add to that a looming threat of distraction. Twelve UGA defensive starters are expected to be moving on, nine due to exhausted eligibility and three others due to soaring NFL stock. Even junior …

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Notebook: Bulldogs still hoping former starting DE Abry Jones can return

ATHENS – Starting defensive end Abry Jones remained sidelined for Georgia’s first bowl practice on Wednesday. But coach Mark Richt spoke optimistically about the senior making a return in time for the Capital One Bowl.

“I know his intention is to rehab and get ready to play,” Richt said Wednesday. “He was making progress towards that goal. Do I know whether he’ll be ready to or not? I don’t know that. We’ve not counted him out by any means.”

Jones (6-foot-3, 309 pounds) started the first six games of the season — and 26 in his career — before suffering an ankle injury that required surgery. If he returns, it could provide valuable depth for Georgia’s defensive line. Noseguard/ends John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers and defensive end Garrison Smith rotated positions and played nearly every snap against Alabama.

Jones, who averaged nearly 3 tackles per game before the injury, is considered an NFL prospect. He was invited to the Casino Del Sol College All-Star …

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Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray ‘definitely going to think about’ NFL draft

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said Tuesday he is still "haunted" by thoughts of what could have been at the end of the SEC Championship game against Alabama. But he insists he's not spending much time thining about the NFL draft. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said Tuesday he is still "haunted" by thoughts of what could have been at the end of the SEC Championship game against Alabama. But he insists he's not spending much time thining about the NFL draft. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

ATHENS — Georgia’s Aaron Murray refuses to get into a detailed discussion about his plans after this season. “All I’m thinking about right now is Nebraska and the Capital One Bowl,” he says in various different ways. But the Bulldogs’ record-setting quarterback did allow that the prospect of entering the NFL draft after this, his redshirt junior, season is a very real and serious consideration for him.

“I’m definitely going to think about it and pray about it and sit down with my family (to discuss it),” Murray said during Georgia’s Capital One Bowl Media Day Wednesday afternoon at the Bulldogs’ football complex.  “But that’s not going to be probably until after the bowl game. I’ll …

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Bulldogs looking at total rebuilding job on defense in 2013

Who replaces this guy for the Bulldogs next season is a huge question mark. (AP photo)

Who replaces this guy for the Bulldogs next season is a huge question mark. (AP photo)

It’s pretty clear that Georgia’s offense will be reloading next season. Depending on the decision of quarterback Aaron Murray — it’s not as cut-and-dry as you might think — the Bulldogs should be returning 10 starters (only WRs Marlon Brown and Tavarres King graduating).

The same can’t be said of the defense. In total, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is expected to lose 12 players who started games for him this season. Three of those are underclassmen who I expect will turn pro shortly after the Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl: outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, inside linebacker Alec Ogletree and defensive lineman Kwame Geathers.

The other nine are seniors who have exhausted their eligibility: Safeties Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams, cornerback Sanders Commings, noseguard John Jenkins, defensive ends Abry Jones and Cornelius Washington, linebackers Christian Robinson and Michael Gilliard, and …

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Junior Jarvis Jones named permanent captain for Georgia’s 2012 team

Georgia held its annual Senior Awards Gala this past Saturday night at the Classic Center. Not surprisingly, Aaron Murray, Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree were among the recipients for the team’s top awards.

Jones, an junior outside linebacker and two-time All-American, was named the overall permanent captain for the 2012 team. Jones and Murray both were presented the Vince Dooley Award as the team’s most valuable players. Murray was named the team’s most valuable offensive player, and Jones and Ogletree shared most valuable defensive player honor. Connor Norman and Blake Sailors shared most valuable special teams players honor.

Murray and senior wide receiver Tavarres King were elected as the team’s offensive captains, senior safety Shawn Williams was chosen as the defensive captain and senior snapper Ty Frix was named the special teams captain.

Other trophies handed out Saturday included:

David Jacobs Award (”for players who, by example, portray courage, spirit, …

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Mark Richt, Bo Pelini discuss Georgia-Nebraska matchup in Capital One Bowl

Georgia coach Mark Richt and Nebraska coach Bo Pelini were each flown to Orlando on Thursday by the Capital One Bowl for a news conference to preview their teams’ matchup in the Jan. 1 Bowl. Following are some of their comments from that session:

NEBRASKA COACH BO PELINI

On being selected for the Capital One Bowl:

“We’re excited. I know I can speak for everyone and say that we’re excited to be coming back to Orlando. We’re coming to a first-class bowl game, great hospitality, great city of Orlando, and the opportunity to play a tremendous football team, one of the top five, top couple football teams in the United States. So we’re looking forward to the challenge, a great football game and a great trip for our team and our fans.”

On a return trip to the Capital One Bowl:

“Having some familiarity with the surroundings, the hotel, everything. One thing I can say from my appearance last year is that the folks at the Capital One Bowl do such a great job. They’re so …

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UGA’s Mike Bobo ‘getting long overdue consideration’ for coaching jobs, agent says

In addition to his duties as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Georgia's Mike Bobo is known as one of the Bulldogs' best recruiters. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

In addition to his duties as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, Georgia's Mike Bobo is known as one of the Bulldogs' best recruiters. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – It’s likely to be a very good Christmas for Mike Bobo and his family.

Not only did Georgia’s offensive coordinator lead the Bulldogs to a record-breaking season that netted 11 wins and another SEC Championship Game bonus, but he’s also in line to have his compensation increased in 2013, either by Georgia or somebody else.

Bobo’s name has surfaced as a head coaching candidate at Southern Miss and, according to his agent, he is drawing interest for other jobs as well. Even if Bobo declines the overtures, it would likely result in an enhanced financial agreement from UGA.

Russ Campbell, the Birmingham-based attorney who acts as Bobo’s agent, confirmed that his client is being considered for jobs but declined to discuss specifics.

“I can tell you that he’s getting some long …

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UGA-Bama was most-watched TV game of college season

Alabama’s victory over Georgia in the SEC Championship game drew the largest national television audience of any college football game so far this season.

The CBS telecast of Saturday’s game from the Georgia Dome posted a national Nielsen rating of 9.8, meaning 9.8 percent of U.S. households with televisions tuned in on average. Previously, the highest rated game of the college season was the Nov. 24 Notre Dame-USC game, which posted a 9.4 national rating.

CBS said the SEC title game averaged 16.2 million viewers across the country, peaking at 21.8 million for the final half hour of the telecast..

Locally, almost one-third of metro Atlanta households watched the game on average. The local rating of 32.2 was the highest for any football game — college or pro — on Atlanta TV since this year’s Super Bowl, which posted a 51.3 rating here.

The highest local ratings for Falcons games so far this season are 31.8 for last Thursday’s game against the Saints and 31.1 for the …

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Jarvis Jones only Bulldog to make Coaches’ first-team All-SEC

Following is UGA’s news release on six Georgia players being named to the Coaches’ All-SEC team on Tuesday. Junior outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, who was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year by The AP on Monday, was the only Bulldog named to the first team. . . .

ATHENS — Six members of the Georgia football team were voted to the All-SEC Coaches’ Team, according to announcement by the league office on Tuesday.

Junior linebacker Jarvis Jones was named to the first team, while junior guard Chris Burnette, freshman tailback Todd Gurley, senior nose guard John Jenkins, junior linebacker Alec Ogletree and senior free safety Bacarri Rambo were named to the second team.

Jones has recorded 77 tackles this season, including 22.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks, one interception, seven forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in 11 games. Jones currently leads the NCAA in forced fumbles per game and tackles for loss per game, and he is one tackle for loss shy of David …

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Struggling Bulldogs head to Georgia Tech looking for offensive diversity

ATHENS — It’s not to difficult to figure out how to defend Georgia at this juncture in the basketball season. The Bulldogs’ scoring leader is sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with 17.6 points per game. No other player is averaging double figures.

Suffice it to say, Georgia is in desperate need of offensive diversification.

“Kentavious is doing all he can,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said Monday. “We need somebody else to finish some plays. … We can’t put it all on one guy’s shoulders. That’s probably the biggest issue right now.”

Tuesday night would be a good time for that somebody to step up. The Bulldogs (2-5) are heading into Atlanta to face rival Georgia Tech (4-2) at new McCamish Pavilion. In order to score its first victory over a major-college opponent, Georgia needs someone other than Caldwell-Pope to put the ball in the basket.

That starts in the paint. Sophomore Nemanja Djurisic, a 6-foot-9 sophomore forward, is currently the Bulldogs’ No. 2 …

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Jarvis Jones named SEC’s defensive player of year; Todd Gurley 1st-team All-SEC

Georgia junior outside linebacker Jarvis Jones is consoled after the Bulldogs' 32-28 loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship game. Jones was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year by The AP on Monday. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Georgia junior outside linebacker Jarvis Jones is consoled by football program coordinator Bryant Gantt after the Bulldogs' 32-28 loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship game. Jones was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year by The AP on Monday. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – Jarvis Jones was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year by The Associated Press and he and freshman Todd Gurley were the only Bulldogs named first-team All-SEC as the news organization’s annual all-conference team was released on Monday.

Six Bulldogs in all were represented in the All-SEC voting by a panel of sportswriters.

Jones has accumulated 77 tackles, including 22.5 tackles for loss and 12.5 sacks, one interception, seven forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in 11 games this season. Jones sat out two games with injuries. He enters the Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl as the NCAA active leader in forced fumbles per game and tackles for loss per game. Jones’ 22.5 tackles …

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Suspension possible for Bama player for hit on Georgia QB Aaron Murray

ATHENS — Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity confirmed Monday the Bulldogs have asked the SEC to review the legality of a hit on Aaron Murray that required him to be helped off the field shortly before halftime in the SEC Championship game. But they need not have bothered; the league office is already looking into it.

Alabama defensive lineman Quinton Dial hit Murray with a above-the-shoulder, helmet-to-helmet strike after Murray threw an interception at the 1:15 mark of the second quarter. Crimson Tide defensive back Ha-Sean Clinton-Dix was in the midst of a 35-yard return when the 304-pound Dial left his feet and made contact with the side of Murray’s helmet toward the end of the play. Murray was out of the play and not in position to make the tackle.

McGarity said he was “stunned” when he saw the replay of the Dial’s hit — he missed it during live-game-action — and immediately moved to make sure the play was going to be reviewed.

“I actually didn’t see the hit until I …

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Richt: ‘We spent ourselves in a worthy cause…. You’ve got to kind of get over the heartbreak’

Georgia coach Mark Richt said his program is moving on from the “heartbreak” of Saturday’s SEC Championship game loss and “getting back to work.”

Mark Richt: "It was heartbreaking, no doubt." (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Mark Richt: "It was heartbreaking, no doubt." (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

“You know what? We spent ourselves in a worthy cause,” Richt said Sunday night. “We of course wanted to play for the national championship. We knew we were just a couple of yards away, maybe a couple of seconds away or a tipped ball away or however you want to say it. We were at least in position to win it.

“It was heartbreaking, no doubt. We were all highly, highly hurt by it. … We just came up short. It was one of those games where either team could have won. So you’ve got to kind of get over the heartbreak of that. And I’ve always had the ability to understand what the reality is and move on.

“We’re already out recruiting. We’re getting back to work.”

Despite the dashed dream of playing for the national championship, Richt …

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Georgia vs. Nebraska in Capital One Bowl (UPDATED w/ comments)

(Updated 10 p.m.)

A day after coming up five yards short of a trip to Miami for the national championship game, Georgia’s football team learned Sunday that it will play a bowl game in a different Florida city.

The Bulldogs (11-2) will play Nebraska (10-3) in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando on Jan. 1 in a matchup of the losers of the SEC and Big Ten championship games.

While Georgia lost the SEC title to Alabama 32-28 on the final play of a stirring game, Nebraska endured an embarrassing 70-31 loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game.

The Capital One, which holds first choice of SEC teams after the BCS games, had been rumored to be considering Texas A&M and its Heisman Trophy candidate, quarterback Johnny Manziel. But after Georgia’s strong performance against Alabama, the bowl opted to take the Bulldogs, who dropped from No. 3 to No. 7 in the final BCS standings released Sunday night.

Notre Dame and Alabama remained Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, and will meet in the …

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Notebook: Nick Saban believes Georgia deserves to be in BCS Bowl

From all indications, Georgia will end up in the AT&T Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas, after losing to Alabama 32-28 in the SEC Championship game on Saturday. But Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said the Bulldogs should be heading to a BCS bowl.

Georgia's Mark Richt and Alabama coach Nick Saban embrace after Saturday's dramatic finish in the SEC Championship game. (AP photo)

Georgia's Mark Richt and Alabama coach Nick Saban embrace after Saturday's dramatic finish in the SEC Championship game. (AP photo)From all indications, Georgia will end up in the AT&T Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas, after losing to Alabama 32-28 in the SEC Championship game on Saturday. But Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said the Bulldogs should be heading to a BCS bowl.

“I’m going to tell you what, I think it’s a crying shame if Georgia doesn’t go to a BCS bowl,” said Saban, who will take Alabama to its third national championship game in four years. “They should get to go to a BCS bowl game. They played a tremendous game out there today … and could have won at the end just as soon as us. It came down to the last play. …

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What they said after SEC Championship game

“Thought it was a great football game. Unfortunately, we ended up on the wrong end of the scoreboard. I think Alabama is a great football team, obviously. I think we’re pretty good, too.”

– Georgia coach Mark Richt

“To be (so close) to making probably one of the greatest comebacks in Georgia history, it stinks (to fall short).”

– Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray

“That’s something you dream of as a little kid, to win the game like that. And it’s just (awful) the way it ended, that’s for sure.”

– Murray

“Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make a smart play. Instinctively, I grabbed the ball when I probably should have let it go.”

– Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley on his catch that ended the game, five yards short of the end zone

“We kind of had that I-would-not-be-denied attitude out there today. I’m not saying we played our best football game of the year in terms of execution, but the way we were able to run the ball, especially in the second half, …

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Georgia’s final drive ends agonizingly short

The drive of his dreams turned into a nightmare.

Aaron Murray, Georgia’s quarterback, got the ball back one last time with 1:08 to play in the SEC Championship game, 85 yards to go for a game-winning, stuff-of-legend touchdown. Improbably, he got the Bulldogs 80 yards of the way. But there it ended, Georgia 5 yards short of a berth in the national championship game when the clock turned to all zeroes and Alabama began celebrating a 32-28 victory.

“To be (so close) to making probably one of the greatest comebacks in Georgia history, it stinks (to fall short),” Murray said.

“That’s something you dream of as a little kid, to win the game like that. And it’s just (awful) the way it ended, that’s for sure,” he added.

On the game’s last play, according to Murray and Georgia coach Mark Richt, Murray was attempting to throw to wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell in the back of the right end zone. The ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage and landed in the hands of …

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Bama delivers BCS knockout of Georgia, 32-28, in SEC Championship

With a BCS championship bid on the line, a heavyweight boxing match broke out at the Georgia Dome on Saturday, and it was defending national champion Alabama that delivered the knock-out blow in a 32-28 slugfest.

But give the Georgia Bulldogs credit. They got up off the mat and nearly won it.

With no timeouts and 85 yards to go with 1:08 to play, Georgia’s Aaron Murray got his team down to the Alabama 8. But rather than spike the ball with about nine seconds left, the Bulldogs elected to run another play. Murray’s pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage and caught by flanker Chris Conley at the 5. He fell to the ground inbounds, and the last four seconds ticked off the clock.

“I told the players I was disappointed, but not disappointed in them,” a forlorn Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “It was a knock-down, drag-out fight, and everybody was swinging. We just ran out of time.”

For the No. 2-ranked Crimson Tide (12-1), the victory means a third trip to the BCS …

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