Archive for January, 2013

Headline: UGA Blog has moved to a new page; come visit and remember to bookmark!

No, we didn’t quit covering Georgia. We’ve just had a little digital format change and our UGA Blog and daily coverage has shifted to another place.

Beginning now, this blog is moving to a new home within AJC Sports. In fact, we’ve already got news posted over there, such as THIS POST on what Virginia Tech’s recent overtures will mean for Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.

We are making some other changes that we hope the members of this blog community will enjoy. Game stories, features and articles and player profiles will move from the blogs into our sports news pages. The blog will focus on the issues you and others are talking about, with opinion and analysis front and center.

Readers will now be asked to register before posting comments in the blogs and stories. We value the spirited discussion and debate, and believe this change will improve the interactivity for everyone.

Bookmarks and RSS feeds: If you visit the blog from a bookmark or use an RSS reader, …

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In retrospect, maybe Hugh Durham hasn’t been honored enough

Georgia made 12 postseason appearances -- including its only Final Four in 1983 -- in 17 seasons under coach Hugh Durham. He and the '83 team wil be recognized before Saturday's game against Mississippi State. (AJC photo)

Georgia made 12 postseason appearances — including its only Final Four in 1983 — in 17 seasons under coach Hugh Durham. He and the '83 team wil be recognized before Saturday's game against Mississippi State. (AJC photo)

On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of its historic run, Georgia’s 1983 Final Four basketball team will be back in Stegeman Coliseum on Saturday. So will its coach.

Hugh Durham is 75 years old now and long since retired. In fact, he has been away from Georgia for as long now as he was its basketball coach. Seventeen years it has been, and the longer Durham has been gone the more the Bulldogs have come to appreciate him.

What has become increasingly evident since Durham was forced out in 1995 – the Dogs were 18-10 that year, if you can believe it – is winning basketball at Georgia is hard. Just ask the six coaches that have had the job since Durham was ousted because he wasn’t winning enough.

The latest among those to try is Mark Fox, who is …

Continue reading In retrospect, maybe Hugh Durham hasn’t been honored enough »

Wrap-up with Richt: Bulldogs plan to be among elite teams again in 2013

A quick wrap-up on Georgia coach Mark Richt’s end-of-the-football-season wrap-up with reporters on Thursday.

1. On whether the Bulldogs can be among elite teams again next year . . .

“We plan on being that. We hope to be that. We’ve got to earn that. Know one really knew what ws going to happen this past season. There were some big question marks a year ago, mostly offensively and offensive line probably more so than any other position, and running back as well. That’s all I answered questions on. . . . By the end of the year they came through. So more questions will asked of the defensive side of the ball this year. So those guys have to do their thing and be able to come through.”

2. On early signs of progress for the Bulldogs’ 13 early enrollees . . .

“They’re almost a class unto themselves. There are 13 of them and last year, what did we have, 15? So it’s a really large number of midyear guys. . . . I told them to look out for wach other and help each other. They’re doing …

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The whole story on Georgia’s new D-line coach, Chris Wilson

ATHENS — Chris Wilson can say this about his new gig at Georgia – it’s not complicated.

That couldn’t be said for the situation he just left. At Mississippi State, Wilson was co-defensive coordinator the past three seasons. Only, it’s not quite that simple.

Former Mississippi State defensive coordinator Chris Wilson begins his tenure as Georgia's defensive line coach on Thursday.

Former Mississippi State defensive coordinator Chris Wilson begins his tenure as Georgia's defensive line coach on Thursday.

“Actually I was the defensive coordinator,” Wilson explained Wednesday evening, a short time after the Bulldogs officially named him their new defensive line coach. “It was like when Manny (Diaz) and I were coordinators together for a year (in 2010). Manny had the 51 percent and I had the 49 percent. The last two years I had the 51 percent and Geoff (Collins) had the 49 percent. For the majority of the time I called (the defense during games). But there was a group of guys who helped organized it, from Melvin Smith to Tony Hughes. It was a collective effort. But on game day, I guess I …

Continue reading The whole story on Georgia’s new D-line coach, Chris Wilson »

NG Kwame Geathers becomes UGA’s third junior to declare for NFL draft

Kwame Geathers had 40 tackles, five tackles for loss and a sack while starting four games for the Bulldogs this past season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Kwame Geathers had 40 tackles, five tackles for loss and a sack while starting four games for the Bulldogs this past season. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

On the day Georgia landed its new defensive line coach, the Bulldogs lost their most important defensive lineman.

Kwame Geathers, a 6-foot-6, 355-pound rising senior and four-game starter at noseguard, informed UGA coaches on Wednesday he intends to enter the NFL draft this year.

“That was the speculation since the bowl game, obviously, but nothing was in writing,” said Chris Wilson, who was officially announced as the Bulldogs’ defensive line coach Wednesday afternoon. “I didn’t get a chance to meet the  young man but I know he was one heck of a player watching him from afar. I had yet to get a chance to sit down with him. But it’s one of those deals where you want what’s best for the young man. If him and his family feels that’s the best thing, you wish them the best of luck.”

Wilson had to deal with similar decisions …

Continue reading NG Kwame Geathers becomes UGA’s third junior to declare for NFL draft »

UGA makes it official: Chris Wilson hired as D-line coach

ATHENS – As I reported a few of days ago, Georgia targeted Chris Wilson, co-defensive coordinator at Mississippi State the past three seasons, as its new defensive line coach. The Bulldogs finally made it official late Wednesday afternoon with their formal announcement of his hiring (see below).

Wilson replaces Rodney Garner, who left UGA after 15 years of service on Dec. 21 to return to Auburn, his alma mater. I had a chance to talk to Garner just yesterday and he gives Wilson his hardy endorsement.

Wilson

Wilson

“Great guy,” Garner said. “Good family man, good coach, good recruiter. He’ll do a good job.”

I’m not sure what else Garner would say but there you have it.

In any case, following is UGA’s official release. I’ll try to catch up with Wilson again as soon as possible and tell yoou more about him. He wasn’t able to say much last time I talked to him, between Georgia having not announced it yet and him being between meetings at the AFCA Convention in Nashville. In the meantime, …

Continue reading UGA makes it official: Chris Wilson hired as D-line coach »

QB Aaron Murray explains his decision to remain at Georgia

ATHENS – Aaron Murray said he knew he wanted to return to Georgia for his senior season “as soon as the clock hit zero” in the SEC Championship game. The rest of the time he spent validating in his head what was already in his heart.

Murray announced via Twitter this past Sunday night that he was indeed going to complete his eligibility with the Bulldogs. On Tuesday he met with reporters at UGA’s Butts-Mehre football complex to explain his decision.

Aaron Murray hoist the MVP trophy after his four-touchdown passing performance in the Capital One Bowl on New Year's Day. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Aaron Murray hoist the MVP trophy after his four-touchdown passing performance in the Capital One Bowl on New Year's Day. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

“I pretty much knew all along deep down inside that I wanted to come back,” Murray said. Obviously I didn’t want to base my decision on emotion. I wanted that SEC game to go by a little bit before I made my decision. After that game, I was like, ‘I’m coming back, I’m coming back.’ So I really needed to let that game go, play another game, clear my head and …

Continue reading QB Aaron Murray explains his decision to remain at Georgia »

Bulldogs finish with Top 5 rankings in both polls

The Georgia Bulldogs finished with a Top 5 ranking in both The Associated Press and coaches’ final polls released early Tuesday. But the Bulldogs remained behind Notre Dame, which lost to Alabama 42-14 in the BCS national championship game Monday night.

Georgia (12-2) finished in a tie for fifth with Texas A&M in the AP poll, which is a compilation of media votes. Notre Dame (12-1) was fourth. The Bulldogs were fourth in the USA Today coaches’ poll, one spot behind the Fighting Irish.

This represents the third time under coach Mark Richt the Bulldogs’ have closed out a season with a Top 5 ranking. They were No. 2 in 2007 and No. 3 in 2002. It’s Georgia’s sixth Top 10 final ranking under Richt, including 2003 (7), 2004 (7), 2005 (10) and 2008 (10). It’s the 18th time overall UGA has finished ranked among the AP top 10.

Alabama secured its third BCS title in the last four years Monday night in Miami to finish No. 1. Oregon (12-1)  was second in both polls and Ohio State was …

Continue reading Bulldogs finish with Top 5 rankings in both polls »

Murray bypasses NFL draft to stay at UGA (updated w/ Richt reaction)

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray ended the speculation Sunday night about whether he’s staying in school or going to the NFL. He’s staying, Murray announced via Twitter.

“Blessed to be the QB for the Dawgs, not ready to leave just yet,” Murray tweeted to his 64,000-plus followers. “Time to get back to work & help lead this team to a championship.”

Murray could not be immediately reached for further comment, and UGA made no official announcement of his decision. (UPDATE: Georgia coach Mark Richt reacted to Murray’s decision in a statement Monday morning: “I’m certainly pleased that after weighing his options Aaron has decided to remain at Georgia for his senior year. His leadership and productivity have been tremendous during what has been an outstanding career. This is great for Aaron and great for Georgia.”)

A three-year starter for the Bulldogs, Murray had been weighing whether to return for his final season of college eligibility or to enter the 2013 NFL …

Continue reading Murray bypasses NFL draft to stay at UGA (updated w/ Richt reaction) »

Mississippi State’s Chris Wilson accepts UGA’s offer to become defensive line coach

ATHENS –It’s not really a secret, nor is it official, but all indications are that Chris Wilson will  become Georgia’s new defensive line coach in the coming days.

Wilson, who is currently defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at Mississippi State, met with head coach Mark Richt and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham this past week and agreed in general terms to replacing Rodney Garner as the Bulldogs’ defensive line coach. But Wilson’s hiring cannot become official until the job opening has been posted for the minimum amount of time and Wilson has cleared UGA’s background check.

Chris Wilson, Mississippi State's co-defensive coordinator the past three years, accepted Georgia's offer to succeed Rodney Garner as defensive line coach. (Photo by Mansel Guerry/Mississippi State)

Chris Wilson, Mississippi State's co-defensive coordinator the past three years, accepted Georgia's offer to succeed Rodney Garner as defensive line coach. (Photo by Mansel Guerry/Mississippi State)

“Nothing is official and it won’t be until Georgia completes the background checks and their official deal,” said Wilson, reached by phone Sunday in Nashville, where he is attending the …

Continue reading Mississippi State’s Chris Wilson accepts UGA’s offer to become defensive line coach »

Bulldogs overcome 25 turnovers to beat George Washington 52-41

ATHENS — Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Nemanja Djurisic each scored 17 points and Georgia overcame 25 turnovers as the Bulldogs defeated George Washington 52-41 Friday night at Stegeman Coliseum.

The win was the fourth in a row for the Bulldogs (6-7), who open SEC play on Wednesday at No. 13 Florida (9-2).

“That’s a good win,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “We hold them to 20 percent (shooting). I don’t think they made a 3. We win the rebounding battle (39 to 31). We shoot 48 percent from the field. There’s some good-looking things on that stat sheet. Then you look down and you see the turnover column, in which we have 25.

“I was telling my wife, I think our team needs school to start … as poorly as we were thinking out there tonight.”

The Colonials (6-7) did fail to make a 3-point basket. In fact, they were 0-for-12 from behind the arc. The last time Georgia held on opponent without a 3-pointer was 261 games ago when it hosted Nevada in 2004. The coach …

Continue reading Bulldogs overcome 25 turnovers to beat George Washington 52-41 »

It’s official: UGA all-star linebacker Jarvis Jones to enter NFL draft as junior

ATHENS – Jarvis Jones is turning pro.

Not that anybody didn’t already know that. The junior outside linebacker has been projected as high as No. 1 in the April NFL if he chose to forgo his senior season. But it wasn’t until late Friday evening that Claude Felton, UGA’s director of sports communications, confirmed the news via Jones. Felton said Georgia is not planning a formal news conference at this point.

Jones issued a statement through UGA:

“This has been a difficult decision, and one that I have talked over with my family and coaches. I want to thank my family, teammates, coaches and support staff and the Bulldog Nation for everything over the last three years. I will always appreciate the chance Georgia gave me after my injury at Southern Cal. There is nothing like the Bulldog fans and I will forever be proud to wear the ‘G’. I think this decision comes at the right time for me and my family and I look forward to seeing what the next level holds for me. Go …

Continue reading It’s official: UGA all-star linebacker Jarvis Jones to enter NFL draft as junior »

Mark Richt: Rebuilding Dogs’ defense doesn’t mean setback in 2013

Cornerback Damian Swann, here celebrating after his second interception in the Capital One Bowl, is one of the reasons for optimism for Georgia's defense in 2013. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Cornerback Damian Swann, here celebrating after his second interception in the Capital One Bowl, is one of the reasons for optimism for Georgia's defense in 2013. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – Georgia won 12 football games this season for the just the third time in the 120-year history of the program. So that is definitely a milestone to celebrate, and the Bulldogs did just that after beating Nebraska 45-31 in the Capital One Bowl on Tuesday.

But there was also a sense of what might have been as Georgia players scattered and made their way back to their homes for a short respite before classes resume on Monday. In the hours immediately after the game, the 2012 Bulldogs boasted “we believe we can beat anybody in the country” and “we still think we’re one of the best teams in the nation.”

Alas, they’ll watch the BCS Championship game between Alabama and Notre Dame on television just like everybody else come Monday.

Georgia coach Mark Richt was …

Continue reading Mark Richt: Rebuilding Dogs’ defense doesn’t mean setback in 2013 »

Gurley: ‘We’re going to push that much harder in postseason knowing how close we came’

THEY SAID IT

“It looked to me like we were a little more tired than they were. But I think our guys did a good job of sucking it up when they were tired. It was a good bit warmer than the weather we were practicing in and certainly Athens was a lot cooler. But we fought through. And when you make a big play or two, all of a sudden that gives you a boost of energy.”

— Georgia coach Mark Richt, on the Bulldogs’ slow start

“I’m so proud of Jarvis. Jarvis has been such a breath of fresh air for us at Georgia. Coming from Southern Cal, sitting out a year and doing a super job rallying the scout team … We already knew he was a special player, then we realized what a special person he was and he just played tremendously on the field for us and has been a great leader for us.”

— Richt on junior outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, who set the single-season sack record.

“When I went into the locker room at halftime, I thought Coach Bobo was going to hit me up …

Continue reading Gurley: ‘We’re going to push that much harder in postseason knowing how close we came’ »

Notebook: UGA LB Alec Ogletree makes call to turn pro after 13-tackle performance

ORLANDO, Fla. – Give Alec Ogletree credit. He doesn’t dilly-dally on the football field, nor with important decisions. The Bulldogs’ dynamic junior linebacker admitted immediately after Georgia’s 45-31 win over Nebraksa in the Capital One Bowl that he intends to turn enter the NFL draft.

“Yeah, it was my last game,” Ogletree said after his 13-tackle performance Tuesday. “I’m just glad we were able to win because I know what kind of talent is on this team. This was the last game for a lot of guys on this team, a lot of seniors, and we all wanted to go out with a W. It’s tough to have to go out now, but I feel like it was the right decision for me.”

Ogletree goes out with a bang. In addition to his game-high tackle total, Ogletree forced and recovered a critical fumble when the game was tied in the third quarter, registered three tackles for losses and had a sack and two other quarterback hurries.

Despite missing four games of the season for violating UGA’s …

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UPDATED: MVP Aaron Murray leads Georgia to 45-31 win over Nebraska in Capital One Bowl

ORLANDO, Fla. – Aaron Murray would not say whether he had played his last game as a Georgia Bulldog – Alec Ogletree did, by the way – but whatever he decides he knows he’ll go into his next season off a win for a change.

Murray, a junior who is contemplating early entry into the NFL set a Georgia bowl record with five touchdown passes and threw for 427 yards overall to earn Capital One Bowl MVP honors and lead the No. 7 Bulldogs to a 45-31 come-from-behind victory over Nebraska Tuesday at Citrus Bowl Stadium. Murray was at the offensive controls as Georgia lost its previous two bowl games.

“It was an awesome game and I’m definitely very excited to get a win,” said Murray, who also set Georgia’s single-season passing record with 3,544 yards. “I don’t know what it feels like to go into an offseason with a win, so that in itself feels great. But it was great to get a win for these seniors and great to get 12 wins. As for the future, I don’t know what’s going …

Continue reading UPDATED: MVP Aaron Murray leads Georgia to 45-31 win over Nebraska in Capital One Bowl »

Notebook: UGA tailback Todd Gurley remains modest about freshman season

Georgia freshman Todd Gurley ran for 122 yards and two touchdowns against Alabama in the SEC Championship game. (AJC photo)

Georgia freshman Todd Gurley ran for 122 yards and two touchdowns against Alabama in the SEC Championship game. (AJC photo)

ORLANDO, Fla. –Considering the monster season he just had, it has been a relatively quiet period for Georgia’s Todd Gurley as the Bulldogs prepared for Tuesday’s Capital One Bowl game against Nebraska. And that’s just the way Gurley likes it.

The quiet-spoken freshman rushed for 1,260 yards and 16 touchdowns this season and he has proven to be the Bulldogs’ most consistent offensive weapon. After his 122-yard, two touchdown performance against Alabama in the SEC Championship game, Gurley enters Tuesday’s game averaging 96.9 yards per game.

But it was only grudgingly that submitted to a recent interview request, and then he was decidedly modest when it came to talking about the season he has had.

“It was a great season but I wanted much more out of it,” said Gurley, whose 17 total touchdowns is the fourth most in school history. “But there ain’t …

Continue reading Notebook: UGA tailback Todd Gurley remains modest about freshman season »