Archive for the ‘Focal’ Category

They said it: Georgia Southern’s cut-blocking already on minds of Dogs’ defenders

ATHENS — Georgia’s John Jenkins swears he doesn’t know if he has an insurance policy on himself against career-ending injury. But the projected NFL draft first-rounder told reporters Tuesday he planned to check on it this week.

Playing Georgia Southern will do that a defensive lineman. The Eagles, who play the Bulldogs Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Sanford Stadium, run the exact same triple-option offense that Georgia Tech runs to such great effect. Their head coach, Jeff Monken, has been with Tech coach Paul Johnson since they were running the “spread option” together at Georgia Southern back in 1997. And an integral part of that system is the cut block.

So with their SEC Championship goals on hold for now, the Bulldogs will get two weeks worth of being blocked at the knees. Preparations started with a rare full-pads practice Monday night and coach Mark Richt said Tuesday they might practice in full pads all week. All of it is to prepare for array of cuts and chops they will …

Continue reading They said it: Georgia Southern’s cut-blocking already on minds of Dogs’ defenders »

Dogs: Winning SEC East is nice, but not enough

UGA linebacker Christian Robinson (45) and cornerback Devin Bowman celebrate with fans after 38-0 win at Auburn clinched SEC East championship Saturday night. (AJC photo/Brant Sanderlin)

UGA linebacker Christian Robinson (45) and cornerback Devin Bowman celebrate with fans after 38-0 win at Auburn clinched SEC East championship Saturday night. (AJC photo/Brant Sanderlin)

AUBURN, Ala. – Georgia’s football team heartily celebrated its SEC East-clinching victory over Auburn late Saturday night, first by rushing to a corner of the end zone to share the moment with a large contingent of joyous UGA fans and then by “going crazy” — quarterback Aaron Murray’s description — in the locker room.

“It’s huge to win the East in back-to-back years,” Murray said. “It’s not an easy thing to do.”

Even so, Georgia players and coaches said their celebration was accompanied, if not subdued, by thoughts of larger goals still within reach: winning the SEC Championship game in Atlanta and, if a lot of things fall their way, playing in the BCS title game in Miami.

“We had fun celebrating the victory, winning the East,” UGA coach Mark Richt said. “But I think there is a little …

Continue reading Dogs: Winning SEC East is nice, but not enough »

Storylines: New starting lineup for UGA offensive line versus Auburn

Auburn, Ala. — Greetings from the pressbox at Jordan-Hare Stadium. It’s an absolutely gorgeous night for football. It’s actually moving pretty rapidly from what was a warm and sunny afternoon (73 degrees) to a clear and brisk night. It will probably be pretty cool by the time this one is over.

Which, again, makes it a perfect night for football. Georgia is in its traditional silver britches and white jerseys for tonight’s game. The only real question mark heading into this one was would start for Chris Burnette (left shoulder) at right guard and who might start in place of split end Marlon Brown, lost last week to a season-ending knee injury.

Burnette, who started every game at right guard this season, did not travel with the team. Sophomore Mark Beard will get his first career start at left tackle, left tackle Kenarious Gates will slide inside to left guard and left guard Dallas Lee will flip over to the right side to start at Burnette’s guard position.

As for Brown, Tavarres …

Continue reading Storylines: New starting lineup for UGA offensive line versus Auburn »

Bulldogs can punch their ticket to Georgia Dome with win over rival Auburn

Gene Chizik will coach Auburn against Georgia on Saturday amid reports that the school has already decided to dismiss him at the end of the season. (AP photo)

Gene Chizik will coach Auburn against Georgia on Saturday amid reports that the school has already decided to dismiss him at the end of the season. (AP photo)

AUBURN, Ala. — The line of Georgia’s detractors could probably wrap around Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium this Saturday and Steve Spurrier would probably be at the front of it.

“They lost to us by four touchdowns,” the South Carolina coach would shout. “They didn’t have to play Alabama or LSU from the West; they got Florida the week after the Gamecocks had softened them up.” And so on.

But all the squawking won’t change this fact: No. 5 Georgia will be the Eastern Division representative in the SEC Championship game if it can get by a troubled Auburn team Saturday on The Plains. And for the Bulldogs, who would be playing in the Georgia Dome for the second year in a row, that accomplishment is not one to be diminished.

“I don’t think the average fan realizes how tough it is every game,” said Georgia quarterback Aaron …

Continue reading Bulldogs can punch their ticket to Georgia Dome with win over rival Auburn »

Georgia’s offensive line seeks to keep Aaron Murray upright against Auburn

With the exception of the first half against Ole Miss this past Saturday, protection provided by Kenariouos Gates and Georgia's offensive line has been mostly good for quarterback Aaron Murray. (UGA photo by John Kelley)

With the exception of the first half against Ole Miss this past Saturday, protection provided by Kenariouos Gates and Georgia's offensive line has been mostly good for quarterback Aaron Murray. (UGA photo by John Kelley)

ATHENS — Georgia’s Aaron Murray has had a well-documented arrangement with his offensive line this fall. If the line manages to keep Murray upright, the Bulldogs’ quarterback will buy them all the ice cream they want on Sunday. They call it “Sundaes on Sundays.”

And at an average of 308 pounds apiece, the Bulldogs’ linemen can eat a lot of sundaes.

But there were no frozen desserts for Georgia’s grunts this past Sunday — not after Murray ended up getting sacked five times against Ole Miss.

“Nope,” Murray said, laughing. “A deal’s a deal.”

The Bulldogs’ linemen lodged no complaints.

“Shoot, the way he got hit, we do not deserve ice cream or a pat on the back or anything,” sophomore center David Andrews said. “A deal’s a deal and he’s hung in there with that …

Continue reading Georgia’s offensive line seeks to keep Aaron Murray upright against Auburn »

Georgia football players constantly aware of risks for major injury

Georgia senior wide receiver Marlon Brown was lost for the season to a knee injury on this tackle by Ole Miss defensive back Trae Elston. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/US Presswire)

Georgia senior wide receiver Marlon Brown was lost for the season to a knee injury on this tackle by Ole Miss defensive back Trae Elston. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/US Presswire)

ATHENS – For John Jenkins, the harsh realities of the physical battle he had just waged didn’t hit him until the Florida game was over. Only then, when the adrenaline had subsided and he had to make the long walk to the locker room, did he realize how much he actually hurt.

“I didn’t really realize how tough it was until the end of the game when I felt how banged up my body was,” said Jenkins, a 6-foot-3, 358-pound senior noseguard who is playing with ankle and wrist injuries. “Sunday I was so sore. But during the game, my adrenaline was going so much I didn’t realize how tough and physical everything was.

“When the game was over it, like, drained out of me, mentally, emotionally and physically.”

This is the side of college football that people outside the game often forget about. Everybody knows …

Continue reading Georgia football players constantly aware of risks for major injury »

No. 5 Bulldogs talk about overcoming injuries, not overlooking Auburn

ATHENS – Georgia coach Mark Richt and selected players met with the media on Tuesday to preview Saturday’s game against Auburn. The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (8-1, 6-1 SEC) are coming off a37-10 win over Ole Miss and can clinch the SEC Eastern Division title with a win over Auburn (2-7, 0-6) on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Of course, the main topic of the day was how the Bulldogs are going to go about replacing senior wide receiver Marlon Brown. The split end from Memphis was tied for the team lead in receptions with 27 and second in touchdowns (4) and yards (469) when he was lost to a season-ending knee injury in the third quarter this past Saturday. Brown is the second wideout lost for the year to a torn ACL. Sophomore Michael Bennett, who was Georgia’s leading receiver at the time, went down in practice the week of the Oct. 6 South Carolina game.

“We’re going to miss them (Marlon Brown and Michael Bennett),” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “I’m not saying that the other …

Continue reading No. 5 Bulldogs talk about overcoming injuries, not overlooking Auburn »

Justin Scott-Wesley, Georgia’s other wideouts aim to step up in honor of Marlon Brown

Justin Scott-Wesley went 43 yards on this reception against Florida Atlantic, the only catch of his career to date. (UGA photo by Evan Stichler)

Justin Scott-Wesley went 43 yards on this reception against Florida Atlantic, the only catch of his career to date. (UGA photo by Evan Stichler)

By Ryan Black
For The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

ATHENS — Justin Scott-Wesley knew he wasn’t ready when he arrived at Georgia.

Stepping foot on campus last year with plenty of speed but minimal football acumen, the wide receiver was happy to take a redshirt in 2011 and use the time to refine his skills. The Camilla native had a standout showing at the annual G-Day game last spring, hauling in three receptions for 46 yards.

That spring success has yet to translate this fall, however. Scott-Wesley has only one catch for 43 yards. He also hasn’t appeared in a game since Georgia’s 48-3 win over Vanderbilt on Sept 22.

But after Marlon Brown suffered a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament injury last weekend, Scott-Wesley believes his time to shine is finally at hand.

“I would hope so,” he said following Monday’s practice. “I’m just …

Continue reading Justin Scott-Wesley, Georgia’s other wideouts aim to step up in honor of Marlon Brown »

Bulldogs look for new wideouts to step up as life after Marlon Brown begins

Expect the Bulldogs to go to this guy a little more with Marlon Brown joining Michael Bennett on the injured list. Malcom Mitchell has averaged 4.8 catches per game since returning to receiver full time. (AJC photo by Bob Andres)

Expect the Bulldogs to go to this guy a little more with Marlon Brown joining Michael Bennett on the injured list. Malcom Mitchell has averaged 4.8 catches per game since returning to receiver full time. (AJC photo by Bob Andres)

ATHENS – Life without Marlon Brown began Monday for the Georgia Bulldogs. That was their first practice for the Auburn game and their first without Brown this season.

Make no mistake about it: Brown’s loss was a big blow. His season-ending knee injury is as hurtful as Michael Bennett in Week 6 and probably makes it twice as bad since Bennett was already gone.

The best thing about Georgia’s receiving corps this season is it doesn’t have a “feature guy” who Aaron Murray feels like he has to throw to every series. There are great things about having an A.J. Green or Sammy Watkins or Marqise Lee, but it’s even better if you have a 1A, 1B, 1C and 1D as Georgia did in Bennett and Brown and Tavarres King and Malcolm Mitchell. When coupled with a quarterback …

Continue reading Bulldogs look for new wideouts to step up as life after Marlon Brown begins »

Georgia’s Aaron Murray earns SEC offensive player of week honors

Aaron Murray's SEC player of the week performance against Ole Miss came despite being sacked 5 times during the game. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Aaron Murray's SEC player of the week performance against Ole Miss came despite being sacked 5 times during the game. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – Another week, another honor for Georgia’s Aaron Murray.

The Bulldogs’ junior quarterback was named the SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week on Monday for his performance against Ole Miss this past weekend. In the 37-10 win over the Rebels, Murray  completed 21-for-28 passes — including 13-of-15 in the second half — for 384 yards and four touchdowns. He hit 11 different receivers and hit four different targets for touchdowns, including Marlon Brown for 66 yards, Tavarres King for 66, Malcolm Mitchell for 42 and Rantavious Wooten for 23 yards.

Murray shared this week’s honor with Tennessee’s Tyler Bray, who threw for 530 yards and 5 TDs in a 55-48 win over Troy.

Murray now has 21 touchdown passes this season and 80 in his career, which is sixth in SEC history. He also leads the league for active players in total …

Continue reading Georgia’s Aaron Murray earns SEC offensive player of week honors »

UPDATED: UGA now one win away from SEC title game with 37-10 victory over Ole Miss

ATHENS — One win away.

That’s how far the Georgia Bulldogs are from returning to the SEC Championship game. They got one step closer to it Saturday with a harder-than-it-looked 37-10 win over Ole Miss on homecoming at Sanford Stadium.

To get all the way to the Georgia Dome — where they lost to LSU in the championship game a year ago — the Bulldogs will have to do what it has often had to do when it was in position to win a conference title. It will have to go through Auburn.

The No. 6 Bulldogs (8-1, 6-1 SEC) will repeat as SEC Eastern Division champions if they can beat their oldest rival next weekend in Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tigers (2-7, 0-6), who won the national championship just two years ago, are still looking for their first conference win of season.

Because of what’s on the line next week Saturday on “The Plains,” Georgia’s postgame celebration was short-lived.

“I tried to start the minute the game was over,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “I told them right away …

Continue reading UPDATED: UGA now one win away from SEC title game with 37-10 victory over Ole Miss »

Motivation will have to come from within as Bulldogs host Ole Miss for homecoming

Georgia is going to need linebacker Alec Ogletree (9) to have a great day providing containment on Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace today. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Georgia is going to need linebacker Alec Ogletree (9) to have a great day providing containment on Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace today. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

ATHENS — For the Missouri game, it was an opposing player’s accusation that Georgia plays “old man football.” For Vanderbilt, it was replaying the postgame antics of the Commodores’ coach from the year before. For Florida last week, it was Shawn Williams’ accusations that Georgia’s defense was soft and playing without passion.

In the Bulldogs’ three most impressive outings of the season, some sort of external motivation inspired the Bulldogs to a higher level of play. But what about this week, when Georgia plays host to an average Ole Miss team on homecoming? What about next week when the Bulldogs travel to Auburn to play a team that hasn’t won an SEC game?

No. 6-ranked Georgia will have only one place to go for motivation for those games — winning the SEC Eastern Division title and returning to the SEC …

Continue reading Motivation will have to come from within as Bulldogs host Ole Miss for homecoming »

Bulldogs welcome Young Harris, Pete Herrmann for basketball exhibition

ATHENS — Season No. 4 for Georgia men’s basketball coach Mark Fox gets under way tonight at 7 p.m. at Stegeman Coliseum. The Bulldogs play host to Young Harris — coached by former UGA interim head coach Pete Herrmann — in an exhibition game. Georgia’s regular-season opener is Nov. 9 against Jacksonville.

The Georgia Bulldogs will welcome back Pete Herrmann on Friday. Herrmann finished a six-year tenue with the Bulldogs as interim head coach. He's now head coach at Young Harris. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

The Georgia Bulldogs will welcome back Pete Herrmann on Friday. Herrmann finished a six-year tenue with the Bulldogs as interim head coach. He's now head coach at Young Harris. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Asked what he hoped to see out of this first public outing, Fox said: “Certainly we want to be able to just play in front of a crowd, relax and learn how to play in front of people. That’s really not something we’ve done to this point yet.”

Georgia’s a little ahead of the game in that respect. The Bulldogs played four exhibition games in Europe late this summer. “We had a good crowd in one game,” Fox said, “but none of them spoke English.”

The Bulldogs will be trying …

Continue reading Bulldogs welcome Young Harris, Pete Herrmann for basketball exhibition »

Georgia’s players lay it on line for coaches as much as championships

Georgia nose guard John Jenkins and many other players don't take kindly to the incessant bashing their coaches receive from some fans. (UGA photo by John Kelley)

Georgia nose guard John Jenkins and many other players don't take kindly to the incessant bashing their coaches receive from some fans. (UGA photo by John Kelley)

ATHENS — Moments after Georgia put the finishing touches on its 17-9 win over No. 2 Florida this past Saturday, coach Mark Richt and senior noseguard John Jenkins hugged near midfield. They spoke animatedly, laughed hard and hugged again. It was clearly a moment of unbridled joy.

Richt was asked Tuesday to recount their conversation, but he opted to keep their exchange to himself.

“I remember what it’s about but I won’t say,” Richt said with a grin. “But it was a good thing. Sometimes I’ll say some things to the team and I won’t even remember what I said to them. Then they’ll bring it up after the game. They’ll say, ‘we took care of you’ or ‘we had your back’ or whatever. It was one of those kinds of conversations.”

According to Jenkins, it was definitely one of those “we had your back” conversations.

In …

Continue reading Georgia’s players lay it on line for coaches as much as championships »

Bulldogs need ‘more of same’ to beat Ole Miss and make Florida win stand up

ATHENS — Georgia’s 17-9 win over Florida on Saturday was impressive on multiple levels. The Bulldogs overwhelmed the Gators defensively, got timely plays in the running and passing games against one of the nation’s best defenses and scored an elusive victory over a Top 3 opponent.

But it will all be for naught if Georgia can’t close the deal the next two weeks. Yes, the Bulldogs (7-1, 5-1 SEC) are in the driver’s seat in the SEC East. But a loss to Ole Miss this Saturday or to Auburn the next week would make for a gnarly wipeout.

“(The Florida) victory doesn’t mean anything unless we keep winning,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said Sunday. “We know we’ve got to win. We know we’ve got to continue to play like we did this last game to give us the best chance.”

All Georgia did Saturday was give itself the tiebreaker over Florida should both teams finish the season with one SEC loss. South Carolina, which beat the Bulldogs 35-7 on Oct. 6, has since lost two games. Simply put, Georgia …

Continue reading Bulldogs need ‘more of same’ to beat Ole Miss and make Florida win stand up »

Who wins Georgia-Florida? The answer, my friend, may be blowing in the wind

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. –Greetings from the closed-in press box at EverBank Field. And I’m glad it’s closed it here.

It’s not raining and it’s certainly very pleasant outside. About 71 degrees last time I checked. But the wind we’ve all been writing about since I’ve been here is certainly present and accounted for. They’re blowing pretty constantly at about 19 miles an hour and gusting up to about 24 or 25. That said, here inside the stadium, which these days is completely bowled in, it doesn’t appear too bad. The skinny flags atop the uprights of the goal posts aren’t being blown crazy. Of course the ones across the to[ of the stadium are being blown straight. They’re blowing southeasterly, toward the end zone that has “Florida” painted in it.

Not trying to be Glenn Burns. I’m just sharing all this to let you know the winds are probably play a big part in this game. What I see now doesn’t make me think it’ll be a big factor in the passing game. But it’s definitely going to be a …

Continue reading Who wins Georgia-Florida? The answer, my friend, may be blowing in the wind »

UGA safety Shawn Williams rants that Dogs’ defense is ‘too soft, playing wrong players

Georgia strong safety Shawn Williams, here tackling South Carolina tailback Marcus Lattimore, called out Georgia's defense and some teammates for not playing hard enough. (AP photo)

Georgia strong safety Shawn Williams, here tackling South Carolina tailback Marcus Lattimore, called out Georgia's defense and some teammates for not playing hard enough. (AP photo)

ATHENS – You figured somebody would say something eventually. Monday night, Georgia strong safety Shawn Williams obliged.

The Bulldogs’ senior and de facto defensive captain ripped into his unit for what he called “soft play” all season. And Williams wasn’t above calling out a few teammates, identifying a couple of linebackers he didn’t think were playing up to snuff.

Do you like that Williams spoke out?

  • Yes. Somebody needed to give a wake up call. (86%, 1,144 Votes)
  • No. He should have kept his complaints in-house. (14%, 189 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,333

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“We’re playing too soft as a defense,” said Williams, talking to reporters after Monday night’s practice. “That goes for the D-line, linebackers, corners, safeties, everybody. We’re just not playing with the same attitude we …

Continue reading UGA safety Shawn Williams rants that Dogs’ defense is ‘too soft, playing wrong players »

UPDATED: Georgia struggles vs. Kentucky, but win sets up monumental matchup with Florida

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Florida did its part by taking down South Carolina on Saturday. Georgia followed suit by beating Kentucky, though it didn’t go down like anyone predicted.

Nearly a four-touchdown favorite, the No. 11-ranked Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1 SEC) found themselves in a street fight with the 1-7 Wildcats. Georgia finally eked out a 29-24 victory, but there was hardly a wild celebration in postgame locker room. Even the tone of the ever-optimistic Mark Richt seemed indifferent and weary.

“You know what, I’m happy with the victory,” Richt said somewhat unconvincingly. “We’re what, 6-1? That’s not bad.”

It’s good enough to set up at SEC Eastern Division showdown next Saturday in Jacksonville. After Saturday’s disparate results — the No. 2-ranked Gators (7-0, 6-0 SEC) thumped No. 7 South Carolina 44-11 in Gainesville — not many will give Georgia a chance in their annual rivalry game next to the St. Johns River. Still, a win over what will be a favored Florida team will put the …

Continue reading UPDATED: Georgia struggles vs. Kentucky, but win sets up monumental matchup with Florida »

UPDATED: UGA’s Jordan Jenkins to start at outside linebacker vs. Kentucky as Jarvis Jones rests injuries

True freshman Jordan Jenkins will get the second start of his young Georgia career today against Kentucky as he fills in for injured All-American Jarvis Jones. (UGA photo by Jim Hipple)

True freshman Jordan Jenkins will get the second start of his young Georgia career today against Kentucky as he fills in for injured All-American Jarvis Jones. (UGA photo by Jim Hipple)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Jordan Jenkins will start at “Will” outside linebacker for the Georgia Bulldogs tonight against the Kentucky Wildcats.

All-American junior outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, who normally starts at that position, traveled with the team here but was not dressed out as the Bulldogs prepared for kickoff. He has not practiced since the South Carolina game on Oct. 6 due to an ankle injury. He also has been playing with a groin injury and a sore left knee.

Earlier Saturday, Ronald Jenkins, Jenkins’ father had posted on Facebook that her son was going to start.

“Great news Jordan will start his second game of the season tonight. 7pm EST on Fox Sports South. If you don’t get that channel you can watch it on ESPN3.com live on your Computer. I put all this info on FB because one …

Continue reading UPDATED: UGA’s Jordan Jenkins to start at outside linebacker vs. Kentucky as Jarvis Jones rests injuries »

Disparity on display in SEC East standings

ATHENS – In the top-heavy SEC East, the bottom has fallen out.

The division’s top three teams — Florida, South Carolina and Georgia — are a combined 12-2 in league games. The bottom four teams — Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri — are a combined 1-14 in the league.

The division’s disparities are displayed in Saturday’s Georgia-Kentucky matchup. The rested Bulldogs (5-1, 3-1 SEC) are a four-touchdown favorite on the road against the injury-ravaged Wildcats (1-6, 0-4).

The Wildcats are on a five-game losing streak. They trailed Arkansas 42-0 at halftime last week. Their top two quarterbacks are injured. Their coach’s job is in jeopardy. They’re facing a fourth game in five weeks against a ranked opponent.

And they’re playing a sport that has no room for compassion.

“We’ve got our own problems, you know,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “We’ve got enough problems of our own.”

Georgia’s problems stem from its 35-7 loss to South Carolina, a loss that reinforced the gap …

Continue reading Disparity on display in SEC East standings »

For now, Georgia’s Josh Harvey-Clemons making his mark on special teams

While awaiting a spot on defense, Josh Harvey-Clemons is making his presence known on Georgia's special teams. (UGA photo by Evan Stichler)

While awaiting a spot on defense, Josh Harvey-Clemons is making his presence known on Georgia's special teams. (UGA photo by Evan Stichler)

ATHENS – Initially, Josh Harvey-Clemons was not at all enamored with the thought of playing special teams for Georgia.

“At first I wasn’t really going all out in it because I really didn’t want to be on it,” said Harvey-Clemons, a 5-star recruit out of Valdosta. “ I wanted to be on defense. But Coach talked it up to me. We were watching film of like the LSU game when Tyrann Matthieu ran that punt back and he was just stressing how important it is.”

Harvey-Clemons has changed his tune since then. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound freshman is a starter on three of the Bulldogs special teams units, getting repped on another, and this week was named Georgia’s special teams captain for the Kentucky game.

Being named a captain as a true freshman is a rare honor in Bulldog annals. The last to do it was linebacker Rennie Curran in 2007.

“I …

Continue reading For now, Georgia’s Josh Harvey-Clemons making his mark on special teams »

All-American Jarvis Jones still not practicing, availability for Kentucky uncertain

ATHENS – Georgia coach Mark Richt and selected players met with media as usual on Tuesday to preview the No. 13-ranked Bulldogs (5-1, 3-1 SEC) game against Kentucky (1-6, 0-4 SEC) on Saturday in Lexington.

The most pertinent news of the day was that All-America outside linebacker Jarvis Jones still has not practiced. Jones has been out since the South Carolina game with an ankle injury.

“We’re not counting him out yet,” Richt said. “He had been running on a treadmill underwater and did extremely well. We figured when we put him on land, he’d hit the ground running literally, but he wasn’t ready to practice [Monday]. . . .  If he’s healthy enough to play, we want him to play. There’s no thought of holding him out this game so that he’s 100 percent next game.”

Following is more of the commentary from Tuesday’s proceedings:

HEAD COACH MARK RICHT

On preparing for Kentucky

“We have been getting ready the past couple of weeks for Kentucky. We’re looking forward to going to that …

Continue reading All-American Jarvis Jones still not practicing, availability for Kentucky uncertain »

TE Jay Rome to play hoops again, and other basketball news

ATHENS – We interrupt this Georgia football panic attack to bring you this important news bulletin: It’s basketball time, or at least about to be.

The Georgia women’s team started practices this past Sunday and the men’s team gets under way on Friday night at Stegeman Coliseum. Both squads are going big with the old “Midnight Madness” theme, only rules this year will allow such events to start as early as 5 p.m. this year. The “2012 Georgia Basketbash” will run from 7-10 p.m. Admission is free and there will be lots of giveaways and such in addition to a sneak-a-peak at the team.

To that end, men’s coach Mark Fox and Lady Bulldogs’ coach Andy Landers held a joint news conference Tuesday to talk about the upcoming season. Some players are supposed to be available later.

In the meantime, I figured I’d give you a quick what-you-need-to-know update and share of some of the insights on the men’s team. So here you go . . .

GEORGIA MEN’S BASKETBALL.

  • Last season: 15-17, 5-11 …

Continue reading TE Jay Rome to play hoops again, and other basketball news »

No. 5 Bulldogs ‘Spurriered’ by No. 6 South Carolina, 35-7 (UPDATED)

Georgia coach Mark Richt (R) congratulates South Carolina's Steve Spurrier on the Gamecocks' third win in a row over the Bulldogs. They're now 4-4 against each other. (AJC photo by Bob Andres)

Georgia coach Mark Richt (R) congratulates South Carolina's Steve Spurrier on the Gamecocks' third win in a row over the Bulldogs. They're now 4-4 against each other. (AJC photo by Bob Andres)

COLUMBIA, S.C. — It’s starting to look like Steve Spurrier is going to be just as frustrating for Georgia at South Carolina as he was at Florida.

The Ol’ Ball Coach had his No. 6 Gamecocks clicking on all cylinders Saturday night against the No. 5 Bulldogs at Williams-Brice Stadium. In the most-hyped game in the history of this series, South Carolina jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back en route to a 35-7 victory.

The win was the Gamecocks’ third in a row over Georgia — the first time in the 118-year history of the rivalry they’ve done that — and makes Spurrier 15-5 as a coach against the Bulldogs. He was 11-1 as the Gators’ coach and 4-4 since he’s been at South Carolina. Including his stints in the NFL and USFL, it was Spurrier’s 250th career …

Continue reading No. 5 Bulldogs ‘Spurriered’ by No. 6 South Carolina, 35-7 (UPDATED) »

Containing Marcus Lattimore a major key for Bulldogs

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Greetings from Williams-Brice Stadium. If you’re reading this on your iPhone and are sitting in traffic somewhere in this city, forget it. You’ll never make it.

Mark Bradley, Tim Tucker and I agree, this is the worst venue in the SEC as far as game day traffic. And if you’ve traveled anywhere in this league, that’s saying something.

Georgia hopes it can create some traffic jams today for South Carolina and Marcus Lattimore. The junior running back has killed them the past two seasons, rushing for 358 yards and three touchdowns in two Gamecocks’ victories. Most of his good work has been in the fourth quarter of tight games. The Bulldogs can’t let that happen again tonight.

Here’s some more about tonight’s matchup between No. 5 Georgia and No. 6 South Carolina.

THREE STORYLINES

1. Can Bulldogs overcome loss of leading receiver? Losing wide receiver Michael Bennett to a knee injury this week was untimely and potentially costly. While he leads the Bulldogs in …

Continue reading Containing Marcus Lattimore a major key for Bulldogs »

Notebook: Through five games, ‘Gurshall’s stats top Herschel’s

Todd Gurley's first five games: 536 yards rushing on 68 carries. (AJC photo/Brant Sanderlin)

Todd Gurley's first five games: 536 yards rushing on 68 carries. (AJC photo/Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – The “Gurshall” phenomenon continues to grow.

That is the nickname Georgia receiver Tavarres King coined for the freshman tailback tandem of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, combining syllables from their last names to rhyme with the first name of Georgia’s greatest tailback — Herschel Walker.

“At first it was just a little thing, but now it’s getting big,” Gurley said. “I guess everybody knows about it. We just try to come out there and play our game and try to be like nobody else. But it’s a cool thing.”

Marshall acknowledged “Gurshall” has gotten a lot of attention, especially on social media, “but we try not to focus on that. We try to focus on every day at practice, getting better and not letting that stuff go to your head.”

Through five games, the “Gurshall” tandem has accounted for 964 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns — 536 yards …

Continue reading Notebook: Through five games, ‘Gurshall’s stats top Herschel’s »

Georgia defenders: ‘Only stat that matters is our 5-0 record’

ATHENS – Despite reports to the contrary, Georgia is sporting a Top 10 defense this season. It’s just not the top-10 ranking everybody expected.

Heading into Saturday’s monumental matchup with No. 6-ranked South Carolina in Columbia, the Bulldogs are ranked 10th in the Southeastern Conference in total defense. That’s 10th as in 10 among 14 teams. Not 10th in the nation, as everybody expected this year.

The good news is Georgia (5-0, 3-0 SEC) arrives at the midway point of the season with an unblemished record and a No. 5 overall ranking in the national polls. They’ve just done it with its vaunted defense looking nearly as dominant as was expected.

And now the biggest question mark for the Bulldogs heading into the most anticipated game of the season is, what in the world is going on with your defense?

“It definitely hasn’t gone the way we wanted,” senior defensive end Abry Jones said. “But I think we’ve been strong in the second halves of games and strong in the fourth quarter …

Continue reading Georgia defenders: ‘Only stat that matters is our 5-0 record’ »

Hot seat on the other sideline as Georgia and Tennessee renew rivalry

ATHENS — What a difference a year makes.

When Georgia was getting ready to play Tennessee about this time last season, coach Mark Richt was still feeling uncomfortable heat related to his his job performance. The Bulldogs were 3-2 at the time, had lost the only meaningful games they had played (to Boise State and South Carolina) and were headed to Knoxville, Tenn., a place where they lost the previous two times by the combined score of 80-33.

A year later, Richt’s team has won 14 of its past 16 games, and the pressure is off. The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (4-0, 2-0 SEC) are two-touchdown favorites, and it’s the Volunteers and — coach Derek Dooley in particular — who are feeling the heat.

Dooley, an Athens native with the familiar last name, is in his third season as Tennessee’s head coach. He comes to Sanford Stadium in search of his first victory in 12 tries against ranked opponents. The scuttlebutt on Rocky Top is that he needs to score one pretty soon.

Such is life in the …

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Ogletree, Rambo sit one more game as Dogs-Vandy prepare to kickoff

ATHENS — Rumors, perpetuated by chatter on a fan site, ran rampant Saturday that Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo would be available to play in tonight’s game. Their logic was that the UGA Student-Athlete conduct code calls for a suspension of 30 percent of competition dates for a second violation of the school’s drug policy. Simple mathematics reveals that to be 3.6 games for a 12-game football season, such as the Bulldogs have. So, it was reasoned, they should be able to come in the second half of Saturday’s game, or 36 minutes in.

However, a closer look at the new  student-athlete handbook uncovers a clause that stipulates that the number of games be rounded up or down “to the nearest whole number.” For your edification, here’s how the whole clause reads, which may clear up some other misconceptions:

If suspension is determined for the student-athlete by the Director of Athletics and Head Sport Coach, the suspension must be served immediately and in successive competitions. …

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No. 5 Georgia ready for one of its most anticipated Vandy games ever

Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham gets in the face of Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin in the moments immediately after the Bulldogs' 33-28 win last October in Nashville.

Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham gets in the face of Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin in the moments immediately after the Bulldogs' 33-28 win last October in Nashville.

ATHENS — On Saturday night at Sanford Stadium, the Georgia Bulldogs will play their most anticipated game against Vanderbilt in recent memory. Maybe ever.

Then again, it’s rare that “anticipated game” and “Vanderbilt” are together in the same sentence. But that is the end result of the events that transpired at immediately after the Bulldogs’ 33-28 win last year in Nashville.

Much has been said and written this week about that brief skirmish between Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, which saw them go nose-to-nose in a shouting match during what was supposed to be the postgame handshake. Players, coaches and officials had to restrain the two coaches, each of whom was accusing the other’s side of dirty play.

In the end, two Georgia players and one …

Continue reading No. 5 Georgia ready for one of its most anticipated Vandy games ever »