Archive for the ‘Focal’ Category

Richt: Malcolm Mitchell to stay on defense but offensive reps to rise

Following are some of the highlights from today’s news conference with Georgia head coach Mark Richt and some of the Bulldogs’ players:

GEORGIA COACH MARK RICHT

On whether Malcolm Mitchell will remain on defense …

“Malcolm will definitely stay with the defense as far as being ready to play. I imagine he will still play. His offensive reps will increase, and he’ll probably start to spend some meeting time with the offense as well. I’m thinking about trying to find a way to split time with him if he can manage it. We think it can work for us. He’s a guy who I think is in good enough condition. I know he’s smart enough to understand what’s going on on both sides of the ball with the experience he’s had. We need him on special teams too. He’s going to play offense, defense and special teams off and on for the rest of the year I would think.”

On Vandy’s two-quarterback situation with Austyn Carta-Samuels and Jordan Rodgers . . .

“I don’t know if Coach …

Continue reading Richt: Malcolm Mitchell to stay on defense but offensive reps to rise »

UPDATED: Georgia Bulldogs steamroll FAU 56-20 on record-setting offensive night

Georgia tailback Todd Gurley breaks free on a 38-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter against Florida Atlantic on Saturday at Sanford Stadium. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Georgia tailback Todd Gurley breaks free on a 38-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter against Florida Atlantic on Saturday at Sanford Stadium. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS — Georgia and its fans got what they paid for and Florida Atlantic got its $1 million check as the Bulldogs rolled over the Owls 56-20 on Saturday night at Sanford Stadium.

The win gets No. 7 Georgia off to a 3-0 start for the first time since 2008, when it began the season ranked No. 1. The Bulldogs (1-0 SEC) play host to Vanderbilt (1-2, 0-1) on Saturday.

Georgia simply overwhelmed their Sun Belt Conference visitors with offense. The Bulldogs rolled up a school-record 713 yards — breaking the 1993 record of 667 yards versus Southern Miss — and did it with strong running and passing.

Tailbacks Todd Gurley (111) and Keith Marshall (104) each went over 100 yards rushing — the first freshman pair to do that in a game since Thomas Brown and Danny Ware in …

Continue reading UPDATED: Georgia Bulldogs steamroll FAU 56-20 on record-setting offensive night »

‘In Russ they trust:’ Uga IX is inaugurated at Sanford Stadium

UGA President Michael Adams "collars" Russ the bulldog, officially inaugurating the dog as Uga IX shortly before Saturday night's kickoff against Florida Atlantic. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

UGA President Michael Adams "collars" Russ the bulldog, officially inaugurating the dog as Uga IX shortly before Saturday night's kickoff against Florida Atlantic. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – Everybody loves Russ it seems, even Mark Richt. On the eve of Russ’ inauguration as an official Uga mascot – “collaring” it’s called in these parts – the Bulldogs’ head coach talked about how Russ exemplifies a football player who has been overlooked but just did his job to the best of his ability and finally got a break.

“You know what, the guy, he could have gotten bitter,” Richt said with a laugh this week. “Everybody was saying that he couldn’t get it done. It was a little bit like Kwame Geathers hearing about John Jenkins so much. He didn’t like it, so he bowed his neck and won the job. I’m proud of him.”

Russ, an 8-year-old half-brother of Uga VII, has served as interim mascot for 25 games over four seasons when Ugas VII and VIII …

Continue reading ‘In Russ they trust:’ Uga IX is inaugurated at Sanford Stadium »

UGA Athletic Board moves $30M in search of better return

ATHENS – The University of Georgia Athletic Association’s board of directors voted Friday to invest $30 million from cash reserves through the UGA Foundation, which manages non-athletic donor funds for the school, in an attempt to get a higher rate of return.

The UGA Athletic Association currently has about $68 million in reserves, money that it says is in the bank drawing little interest.

The plan is to put slightly less than half of the reserves “to work for us in maybe a more aggressive stance to help us meet both current and future long-term needs of the association,” Tim Burgess, UGA senior vice president for finance and administration and Athletic Association treasurer, told the board before the vote.

Board member Jeffrey Dorfman, a UGA professor, spoke and voted against the action.

“I think before we move $30 million of Athletic Association money into a different form of investment, the people that are going to manage that investment ought to come here and make …

Continue reading UGA Athletic Board moves $30M in search of better return »

UPDATED: On historic night in Missouri, Jarvis Jones makes history for Georgia

COLUMBIA, MO. – On a historic night for the Missouri Tigers, Jarvis Jones made history for the Georgia Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs’ decorated outside linebacker stepped up and intercepted the first pass of his collegiate career midway through the fourth quarter of what had been a see-saw game. Jones returned it 21 yards to the Missouri 1, only an official’s review of his dive and stretch keeping him out of the end zone.

No matter. Freshman Todd Gurley was more than happy to take a hand-off at right guard and slam the ball in the end zone, “Old Man Football” style. That gave the Bulldogs a 34-20 lead and provided an exclamation point on what would end up being a 41-20 Georgia victory.

“I actually thought it was a touchdown; they didn’t give it to me,” said Jones, mocking anger. “But you have to take what you can get and we came out of here with a big win. A lot of people thought we were going to come in here and get upset.”

If there was any doubt, Jones would erase it a …

Continue reading UPDATED: On historic night in Missouri, Jarvis Jones makes history for Georgia »

Live from Columbia, Mo.: Here come the Bulldogs (pics)

COLUMBIA, MO. – Greetings from the press box at Missouri’s Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium.

Apparently it’s notable that I’m here five hours before the game. When I showed up, the security guard at the gate said media wouldn’t be allowed in until three hours before kickoff. I laughed and told him, “that’s not going to hack it in the SEC.” He ended up calling Mizzou’s director of media relations, Chad Moller, who graciously let me in and several others a short time later.

Us grizzled SEC veterans are used to getting to stadiums early. I normally don’t get in this far in advance (had to check out of hotel at noon) but traditionally most scribes come early to beat the notoriously rotten traffic at SEC venues. We set up in the press box, watch some of the early games and usually venture back out around the stadium and eventually on the field.

To get you up to date, Georgia is indeed going to be without four defensive starters due to disciplinary suspensions: CB Sanders Commings …

Continue reading Live from Columbia, Mo.: Here come the Bulldogs (pics) »

Richt, Grantham intentionally vague on status of suspended players

ATHENS – At this point, Georgia’s Mark Richt is starting to sound a bit like a broken record. The Bulldogs’ coach keeps getting asked about the availability of  defensive stars Alec Ogletree and Bacarri Rambo, and he keeps refusing to say.

Asked Tuesday if their presence atop the depth chart at their respective positions meant they might play against Missouri on Saturday, Richt said with a wide grin, “I would say I’ll let y’all know when the time comes.”

Both players missed this past Saturday’s opener against Buffalo. Afterward, Richt admitted for the first time they were out due to disciplinary suspensions. He wouldn’t say for how long, however.

Rambo’s high school coach, Alan Ingram of Seminole County High School, said back in March that Rambo and Ogletree had each flunked UGA-issued drug tests and were suspended for the first four games per the athletic association’s marijuana-use policy. Neither Richt nor anyone from Georgia has ever confirmed that report.

Richt was asked …

Continue reading Richt, Grantham intentionally vague on status of suspended players »

It may be ‘old-man football’ to some, but Jon Gruden loves what Georgia does

ATHENS – On one hand, you have Sheldon Richardson, the Missouri defensive lineman who infamously said he had to turn off the Georgia game this past Saturday because “it’s like watching Big Ten football. It’s old-man football.”

Then you have Jon Gruden, the former NFL head coach and current lead analyst for ESPN’s Monday Night Football. He says he loves watching the Bulldogs’ offense in action. As for that spread stuff Missouri does? Not so much.

Before he became an analyst with ESPN's Monday Nigh Football, Jon Gruden earned a reputation as an offensive-minded head coach at Oakland and Tampa Bay.

Before he became an analyst with ESPN's Monday Night Football, Jon Gruden earned a reputation as an offensive-minded head coach at Oakland and Tampa Bay.

“I like what Georgia does offensively,” said Gruden, who was on the broadcast crew that called Georgia’s game against Michigan State in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 2. “I look forward to getting their tapes. . . . When you get Georgia, you get a lot of good stuff. You’re gonna see audibles, two-back play-action. You’re going to see an array of personnel groupings and …

Continue reading It may be ‘old-man football’ to some, but Jon Gruden loves what Georgia does »

Dynamic debut by Todd Gurley overshadows lackluster day for Dogs

ATHENS — The Todd Gurley era at Georgia got off to a bad start Saturday. His first carry as a Bulldog, a toss sweep to the left side, went for all of one yard.

Of course, it went a little better thereafter.

After his 55-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter, the freshman tailback from Tarboro, N.C., had 227 yards and three touchdowns on 10 touches as Georgia slept-walked to a 45-23 victory over Buffalo in its season opener at Sanford Stadium.

“I felt like I did pretty good,” said Gurley, not realizing the understatement. “Not having ever come in here and played, I think did all right. But I’ve still got to take it one game at a time. I still have to come back next week and improve.”

Fans didn’t have to wait long to see what all the preseason fuss was regarding Gurley. On his second carry from scrimmage, Gurley broke two tackles at the line of scrimmage and scored on a 10-yard run off left tackle. Five minutes later, he returned a kickoff …

Continue reading Dynamic debut by Todd Gurley overshadows lackluster day for Dogs »

Early notes: Marlon Brown won’t play today, Malcolm Mitchell on crutches

ATHENS — A few early notes from Sanford Stadium:

  • Add another player to the list of those who won’t play today, this time an offensive player: Wide receiver Marlon Brown is sidelined from the game against Buffalo (12:21 p.m. kickoff) with what UGA describes as a left hamstring strain. Brown, who was to have started at split end today, said on the sidelines before the game he feels like he could have played today and should be fine for the Missouri game next week.
  • No surprise, but neither linebacker Alec Ogletree nor safety Bacarri Rambo are dressed out for the game.  It has long been reported, although not confirmed by UGA, that they are suspended. Linebacker Chase Vasser and cornerback Sanders Commings were also in shorts and jerseys due to two-game suspensions for off-season arrests.
  • Cornerback/wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who Georgia said Friday would not play because of a sprained ankle reportedly suffered in Thursday’s walk-through practice, was spotted in Sanford …

Continue reading Early notes: Marlon Brown won’t play today, Malcolm Mitchell on crutches »

Malcolm Mitchell the latest defensive starter to be scratched for season opener

Malcolm Mitchell (R) sprained his left ankle in Georgia's walk-through practice on Thursday, meaning Damian Swann (5) will get the start Saturday at boundary corner (AJC photo by Curtis Comption)

Malcolm Mitchell (R) sprained his left ankle in Georgia's walk-through practice on Thursday, meaning Damian Swann (5) will get the start Saturday at boundary corner (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

ATHENS — Yet another defensive starter is going to miss Georgia’s opener against Buffalo.

Malcolm Mitchell, who was moved from wide receiver to cornerback due to attrition in the Bulldogs’ secondary, has been scratched from the game as well. The sophomore from Valdosta reportedly sprained an ankle in Georgia’s “walk-through” practice on Thursday. That’s according to UGA, which closes its practices to the media on the Thursdays before games.

“I can confirm that he sustained a left ankle sprain in yesterday’s practice and will not play in tomorrow’s game vs. Buffalo,” Georgia spokesman Claude Felton said on Friday afternoon. “No projections at this point on his availability for next week’s game.”

No details were provided on how Mitchell actually injured his ankle in a …

Continue reading Malcolm Mitchell the latest defensive starter to be scratched for season opener »

Georgia promotes ‘Russ’ to Uga IX

Despite the brown patch on his back, "Russ" had the interim title removed from his name and will officially become Uga IX on Saturday. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Despite the brown patch on his back, "Russ" had the interim title removed from his name and will officially become Uga IX. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

After two stints as the University of Georgia’s interim mascot, “Russ” will be promoted to Uga IX, the school announced Thursday.

Georgia, in a news release, termed the removal of Russ’ interim tag a “battlefield promotion.”

A ceremony will be held before the Sept. 15 football game against Florida Atlantic to crown Russ, the 8-year-old half-brother of Uga VII, as next in Georgia’s continuous 56-year line of official English Bulldog mascots.

“Like many great and memorable Bulldogs, Russ has earned the opportunity to serve in this capacity,” UGA president Michael Adams said in a statement. “I am confident that he will represent the Bulldog Nation very well and continue the grand tradition of Ugas.”

Russ first served as interim mascot following the November 2009 death of Uga VII, filling in for the final …

Continue reading Georgia promotes ‘Russ’ to Uga IX »

Notebook: Merritt Hall No. 1 at fullback but not assured of start

If Georgia opens in an I-formation on Saturday, redshirt freshman fullback Merritt Hall will start his first college football game leading the way for tailback Ken Malcome. (UGA photo by Steven Colquitt)

If Georgia opens in an I-formation on Saturday, redshirt freshman fullback Merritt Hall will start his first college football game leading the way for tailback Ken Malcome. (UGA photo by Steven Colquitt)

GEORGIA FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK

Athens – Merritt Hall was listed as the No. 1 fullback on the depth chart released Tuesday for Georgia’s opener Saturday against Buffalo. But that doesn’t mean he’ll be the starter.

The Bulldogs utilize multiple position groups on offense, meaning they could just as easily start the game with four wideouts or three receivers and a single back as a fullback and a tailback. Ultimately, what formation they open up in will be determined by offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.

Hall is  rooting for a straight I-formation. That would, of course, give him his first collegiate start.

“Coach Bobo knows a lot more than me about running an offense, so I’ll trust him to do that,” said Hall, a redshirt freshman from Alpharetta. “[But starting …

Continue reading Notebook: Merritt Hall No. 1 at fullback but not assured of start »

Howard, Williamson fired up about 20th season on UGA broadcasts

This will be the 20th season on Georgia’s radio broadcast team for both Scott Howard and Neil Williamson. In 1993, they joined the team as color analyst and pregame show co-host, respectively. Howard succeeded the legendary Larry Munson as play-by-play voice in 2008, and Williamson has maintained his spot alongside Loran Smith on the “Tailgate Show.”  On the cusp of their 20th season, which opens Saturday against Buffalo in Sanford Stadium, Howard and Williamson chatted with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about past and present. (Answers were edited for length.)

AJC: What, to you, is the most memorable moment in the past two decades of UGA football?

Howard: “I get asked that a lot. The one that always jumps out to me is the Tennessee game in 2001, the ‘Hobnail Boot’ game as it became known [because of Munson’s famous call of Georgia’s game-winning play: ‘We just stepped on their face with a hobnail boot and broke their nose. We just crushed their face.’] …

Continue reading Howard, Williamson fired up about 20th season on UGA broadcasts »

Atlanta submits bid for SEC-Big 12 ‘Champions Bowl’

Atlanta and at least four other cities submitted bids this week to host the Champions Bowl, a new college football postseason game between SEC and Big 12 teams.

Atlanta’s bid is a 100-page document “that answers all the questions and hopefully puts our best foot forward,” Gary Stokan, president of the Chick-fil-A Bowl, said Wednesday.

Still, “we know we are an underdog” in the bidding, Stokan said.

That’s because Atlanta already hosts -– and wants to continue to host — the SEC Championship game annually. The SEC might be reluctant to put back-to-back events in the same city, and the Big 12 might be reluctant to put the new event on what could be regarded as an SEC home field.

The bowl begins with the 2014 season.

Other cities known to have submitted bids by Wednesday’s deadline are Arlington, Texas, site of the Dallas Cowboys’ stadium; New Orleans, which has long ties to the SEC through the Sugar Bowl; Houston; and San Antonio. Several other cities declined …

Continue reading Atlanta submits bid for SEC-Big 12 ‘Champions Bowl’ »

UGA Olympians happy to be back in school but still enjoying limelight

UGA swimmers and Olympic gold medalists Allison Schmitt (L) and Shannon Vreeland share a laugh as they answer reporters' questions Wednesday at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. (AJC photo by Chip Towers)

UGA swimmers and Olympic gold medalists Allison Schmitt (L) and Shannon Vreeland share a laugh as they answer reporters' questions Wednesday at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. (AJC photo by Chip Towers)

ATHENS -- There were a lot of smiles, a lot of laughs and a couple of big chunks of gold being shared Wednesday at the University of Georgia.

Allison Schmitt and Shannon Vreeland — two of 14 UGA swimmers past, present and future represented at the 2012 Olympic Games — came to the Bulldogs’ football complex on Wednesday to talk about their experiences in London and show off their gold medals. Schmitt, a senior, won three gold medals, a silver and a bronze and Vreeland, a junior, won one gold during the games.

Both athletes returned to Georgia for fall semester to resume for their college careers. Needless to say, Jack Bauerle’s Bulldogs ought to be pretty decent in the pool this year.

“I feel pretty good about our relays,” Bauerle said with a sly grin. “I think we’ll be all …

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Notebook: Still no offensive snaps for Malcolm Mitchell, but coming soon

ATHENS – The Bulldogs have completed 18 preseason practices as of Saturday morning and Malcolm Mitchell has yet to take an offensive snap in any of them. And that, the sophomore cornerback/wide receiver said, is fine with him.

“I’m just going with it,” said Mitchell, who gained 665 yards and scored four touchdowns as a freshman receiver last season. “Coach [Mark] Richt and the coaching staff are good at preparing and planning things, so I’m just letting them figure it out and I’ll do what they say.”

For now, Mitchell said he runs routes and catches balls with the quarterbacks only after practices have concluded. Richt said they will start bringing Mitchell over to work with the offense on a limited number of plays during practice about eight to 10 days before the opening game against Buffalo.

In the meantime, Mitchell has concentrated full time on mastering cornerback and nickelback in the Bulldogs’ defense.

“This is a chance to show another side of what I …

Continue reading Notebook: Still no offensive snaps for Malcolm Mitchell, but coming soon »

Most questions have been answered as Georgia prepares for 2nd preseason scrimmage

ATHENS – Georgia will hold it’s second controlled scrimmage of the preseason this afternoon at Sanford Stadium. And for many of the Bulldogs, this will be their most important practice of the year.

After today, Georgia will pretty much settle in on organizing its game plan for the season opener against Buffalo. But the players who will figure into those plans will largely be decided on after today.

Most of the Bulldogs’ personnel decisions have been made. We all know who the quarterback will be and, even though there were three starters to replace, the offensive line was basically established in the first week of camp.

The only real questions on the offensive side of the ball is who will start at fullback and what will the tailback rotation look like. So this is an important day for tailbacks Ken Malcome, Richard Samuel, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, as it is for right tackles John Theus and Watts Dantzler. If Samuel or freshman Quayvon Hicks going to unseat Merritt Hall at …

Continue reading Most questions have been answered as Georgia prepares for 2nd preseason scrimmage »

Bulldogs celebrate end of ‘camp’ with annual ‘Watermelon Day’

Georgia tight end Arthur Lynch (L) and Christian Conley pose for pictures during "Watermelon Day" Saturday at Sanford Stadium. (UGA photo by Evan Stichler)

Georgia tight end Arthur Lynch (L) and wideout Christian Conley pose for pictures during "Watermelon Day" Saturday at Sanford Stadium. (UGA photo by Evan Stichler)

ATHENS — Today was “Watermelon Day” for the Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium. It’s a tradition that dates back to the Vince Dooley days and perhaps beyond in which the team celebrates the end of “camp” by sharing watermelon after the morning practice on the last day of two-a-days.

Of course, the significance of it has dwindled considerably  in recent years as Georgia — like all other FBS programs — is limited by NCAA rule to just two twice-a-day practice sessions. And the Bulldogs have completed only 12 of 28 preseason practices, so they’re far from actually completing anything. But with fall semester beginning on Monday, I guess it’s reason enough to celebrate with a melon-cutting.

Following is a link to a short video of the festivities on georgiadogs.com. You’ll note that coach Mark Richt is …

Continue reading Bulldogs celebrate end of ‘camp’ with annual ‘Watermelon Day’ »

Freshman OL John Theus making no assumptions about starting

ATHENS — Offensive freshmen were available for interviews for the first time on Friday at Georgia. So I had a chance to talk to tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, fullback Quayvon Hicks, tight end Ty Flournoy-Smith, wide receiver Blake Tibbs and, of course, offensive lineman John Theus.

Theus

Theus

Most of the guys were fairly shy and pretty much stuck to the script of “I’m just working hard and trying to get better.” But of all of them, only Theus seems almost assured of starting in the Bulldogs’ season opener. He has been entrenched with the No. 1 offense at right tackle since the first week of preseason camp.

” I don’t know if I’d name him the starter right now, but he’s definitely lining up No. 1 at right tackle,” head coach Mark Richt said. “He’s getting better every day. He’s got a ways to go but John’s getting there.”

Following are some of the comments Theus made when questioned by the press on Friday.

On working with the No. 1 offense . . .

“Me and Watts are …

Continue reading Freshman OL John Theus making no assumptions about starting »

UGA freshman Marshall Morgan getting a kick out of all the attention

GEORGIA FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK

ATHENS – Georgia freshman place-kicker Marshall Morgan made a rookie mistake after Thursday’s practice.

Rather than enter the interview area at Butts-Mehre Hertitage Hall in the company of one or more teammates, he came to the second floor alone. He also came up first, which meant he got the undivided attention of dozen or so reporters there to get first shot at first-year freshman interviews. To date, they’ve been off-limits to media.

But Morgan just smiled when he realized he was completely surrounded with the entire lot. “It’s pretty great,” Morgan said of all the attention. “I like it.”

Might as well get used to it. The kicking tradition at Georgia is one that bears some weight of responsibility as it is. Add the fact that the a highly-touted recruit out of Fort Lauderdale is having to take over  as a true freshman and it’s clear that a lot of eyes will be on Morgan this fall.

While Morgan hasn’t exactly lit up camp so far — he missed …

Continue reading UGA freshman Marshall Morgan getting a kick out of all the attention »

Bulldogs getting after it in first major scrimmage of preseason

The Bulldogs stretch in the East end zone before Wednesday's scrimmage at Sanford Stadium. Coach Mark Richt said it would be a big day as far as determining lineups for opening game.

The Bulldogs stretch in the East end zone before Wednesday's scrimmage at Sanford Stadium. Coach Mark Richt said it would be a big day as far as determining lineups for opening game.

ATHENS – Just returned from Sanford Stadium and viewing the open portion of the Georgia’s first scrimmage of the preseason. Not a lot to observe as Bulldogs give media only the warm-up sessions.

  • Notably, defensive end Ray Drew remained sidelined and not dressed out due to a concussion. Cornerback Damian Swann remained green non-contact jersey (neck sprain). OLB James DeLoach (hamstring) was back in action. Otherwise injury situation has remained pretty tame for Bulldogs one week into preseason camp.
  • Former Georgia offensive line coach and UAB head coach Neil Callaway was watching the workout. He’s been back a few times since the Blazers’ dismissed him. Said he’s still living in Birmingham and hoping to return to football as soon as possible.
  • Georgia coach Mark Richt was …

Continue reading Bulldogs getting after it in first major scrimmage of preseason »

UGA’s Rodney Garner on roster management, Penn State and recruiting character

ATHENS – Rodney Garner wears a lot of hats for Georgia. He’s assistant head coach, recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach for the Bulldogs. But for media that cover the football program, Garner is known first and foremost as a man who tells it like it is.

Garner

Garner

Garner was available to talk to reporters for the first time in preseason camp on Sunday. His candor on a number of topics is sure to grab some attention. Garner spoke frankly about Bulldogs’ recruitment — or lack of recruitment — of Penn State players, scholarship management, recruiting character and his personal coaching style, among other things.

Here are some of the highlights from Garner’s 15-minutes question-and-answer session on Sunday:

On asking permission to contact 19 Penn State players . . .

“I ain’t ever figured that out. I guess our compliance office set us up, because we’re the only ones who had to send in a list of guys we were just interested in. We didn’t even contact probably a …

Continue reading UGA’s Rodney Garner on roster management, Penn State and recruiting character »

QB Aaron Murray spends summer honing craft with football’s finest

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray throws under the watchful eye of offensive coordinator Mike Bobo on Friday in Athens. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray throws under the watchful eye of offensive coordinator Mike Bobo on Friday in Athens. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

ATHENS – Georgia’s Aaron Murray lights up like a school kid when asked that age-old question, “what did you do this summer?”

Murray did a lot, and most of it involved a football.

The Bulldogs’ highly-decorated junior quarterback spent a lot of time working out and throwing balls to his Georgia teammates in Athens. But the highlight of his summer vacation was a two-week stretch in July spent with the Eli and Peyton Manning and the some of the best quarterbacks in college football.

Murray served as a counselor at both the Manning Passing Academy in Thibodaux, La., and the Elite 11 Quarterback Camp in Redondo Beach, Calif., in mid-July. For a football junkie like Murray, he was a kid in a candy store.

“It was great,” said Murray, who skipped SEC Football Media Days in order to attend the camps. “I got to do …

Continue reading QB Aaron Murray spends summer honing craft with football’s finest »

Notebook: Georgia confirms Chase Vasser’s May DUI arrest

ATHENS — Georgia had more offseason troubles than we originally thought.

Vasser

Vasser

Chase Vasser, a junior outside linebacker from Gainesville, was arrested for driving under the influence back in May in Atlanta, Georgia officials confirmed on Thursday. The 21-year-old projected starter has been suspended for the first two games of the season as per UGA’s student-athlete conduct code, team spokesman Claude Felton confirmed late Thursday evening.

No other information was immediately available on Vasser’s arrest, which occurred May 11 in Buckhead. However, the Athens Banner-Herald reports that Vasser has a scheduled court appearance on Aug. 21 at the City of Atlanta Municipal Court.

The suspension of Vasser, who is 21, makes him at least the fourth defensive starter expected to miss playing time for the Bulldogs this season. Cornerback Sanders Commings is already suspended two games for a January arrest on domestic violence charges. Cornerback Branden Smith, …

Continue reading Notebook: Georgia confirms Chase Vasser’s May DUI arrest »

105 players report for Georgia’s preseason football camp

The University of Georgia reported Tuesday night that 105 players reported for preseason football camp. That is the maximum amount allowed by NCAA rule. Unofficially, 76 of those players are on scholarship, which is nine below the NCAA limit.

The Bulldogs will undergo physicals and conditioning tests on Wednesday and several players will be taking final exams from summer semester. Then the first of 28 preseason practices will be held Thursday afternoon. UGA Media Day will be conducted at lunchtime Thursday. The season opener is Sept. 1 against Buffalo.

MORE FOOTBALL

Continue reading 105 players report for Georgia’s preseason football camp »

Marijuana charges dropped against UGA basketball player Donte Williams

ATHENS — Georgia basketball player Donte Williams told media gathered at Stegeman Coliseum on Monday that the marijuana charges leveled against him in May have been dismissed and vehemently proclaimed he does not do drugs.

Reporters came for a press conference to advance the Bulldogs’ upcoming 10-day trip to Italy for three exhibition games. But before that event got underway, Williams took a seat next head coach Mark Fox at a table on a podium in the Stegeman interview room and asked to make a statement. Following is what Williams’ said:

“I know everybody here is aware of the incident that took place on May 25th. First I want to apologize for bringing negative attention to the University and towards me team and towards my family. But I want the truth to be known that I don’t do drugs. Soon after the incident I took a drug test; passed my drug test. I came up here and passed my drug test and took another drug test for the court and passed that drug test. The case has been …

Continue reading Marijuana charges dropped against UGA basketball player Donte Williams »

UGA coach Mark Richt: ‘We don’t recruit bad kids’ (UPDATED)

UPDATED THROUGHOUT . . .

HOOVER, Ala. — I’m going to have a lot more for you a little bit later, but for now I’m going to give you just the high points and raw quotes from the beat-writer’s session with Georgia coach Mark Richt here at SEC Football Media Days this morning.

Richt will address the full media contingent here at the Wynfrey Hotel later today. Players Jarvis Jones, Abry Jones and Tavarres King are also here and I talked to them as well and will share their thoughts as soon as I can get around to it.

Now for Richt . . .

>>>As you might expect, the conversation was dominated about team discipline. We hadn’t had a chance to talk to Richt about Isaiah Crowell’s dismissal since it happened on June 29. So he talked about that and about the perception that there is a lack of discipline at Georgia.

On having to kick Crowell off the team: “Well, no decision to dismiss a guy from the team is an easy decision. It’s always tough because I care very much about all these guys. …

Continue reading UGA coach Mark Richt: ‘We don’t recruit bad kids’ (UPDATED) »

Media vote: Georgia will win SEC East

HOOVER, Ala. — Georgia will win the SEC East and lose to LSU in the SEC Championship game again this season.

That’s according to the annual preseason media poll, announced Thursday at SEC Media Days.

Georgia received 132 votes to win the East, followed by 72 votes for South Carolina and 12 for Florida.

LSU drew 139 votes to win the West, followed by 72 for defending national champion Alabama and six for Arkansas.

If the media is correct in both divisions, that would set up a rematch of last year’s SEC title game. And the outcome would be the same, too, according to the preseson media poll.

LSU received 129 votes to win the SEC championship, followed by 65 votes for Alabama and 14 for Georgia. Five other teams got six votes or fewer to win the conference title, including one unfathomable vote for Mississippi.

“I hope the media is right [on its SEC East pick],” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “I was looking at the record of picking the eventual champion, and it wasn’t …

Continue reading Media vote: Georgia will win SEC East »

It’s UGA’s turn at SEC Media Days

HOOVER, Ala. – Good morning from the The Wynfrey hotel and Day 3 of SEC Football Media Days. Today, UGA gets its turn in the spotlight.

Media Days concludes with four teams, including Georgia, on stage. First up this morning: Alabama. Followed by Tennessee, Ole Miss and UGA.

Georgia, like all teams, will be represented by three players. Quarterback Aaron Murray will not be among them. UGA associate athletic director Claude Felton said Murray, who represented the Bulldogs at Media Days last year, was excused because of his attendance at back-to-back quarterback camps. He was an instructor at the Manning Passing Academy last weekend in Louisiana, and he then headed to the Elite 11 camp in southern California.

Georgia will be represented at Media Days by linebacker Jarvis Jones, defensive end Abry Jones and wide receiver Tavarres King.

Check back to ajc.com throughout the day for full coverage of the Bulldogs.

FULL AJC COVERAGE FROM DAY 2 OF SEC MEDIA DAYS:

Continue reading It’s UGA’s turn at SEC Media Days »