Archive for the ‘Football’ Category

Georgia looks to shore up run defense before taking on Nebraska’s ‘Big Red Machine’

Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree racked up a lot of tackles against Alabama (11), but too often it was not at or near the lilne of scrimmage. (AP photo by Dave Martin)

Georgia linebacker Alec Ogletree racked up a lot of tackles against Alabama (11), but too often it was not at or near the lilne of scrimmage. (AP photo by Dave Martin)

ATHENS -- For all the adoration heaped upon Georgia’s defense and its cavalcade of all-star players this season, it hasn’t been all that good at the one thing considered a cornerstone of being great – stopping the run.

The fact is, the Bulldogs exited the 2012 regular season ranked among the bottom third in the nation in rush defense. They’ve given up an averaged 177.77 yards per game, which is 77th among 120 FBS teams.

Most notably, the last time we saw it in action, the Georgia defense gave up 350 yards on the ground to Alabama in the SEC Championship. For all the debate about whether the Bulldogs should have spiked the ball or not in the closing seconds, it could be argued the inability to stop the run is the reason they lost the game 32-28.

“Some of it was just wrapping them up better,” Georgia …

Continue reading Georgia looks to shore up run defense before taking on Nebraska’s ‘Big Red Machine’ »

Notebook: Tight end Jay Rome uncertain about basketball future

ATHENS — With the Georgia basketball team is clearly in neeed of some help, Jay Rome hasn’t decided yet whether he can offer any.

The 6-foot-6, 265-pound tight end joined the basketball team as a forward and played in seven games last year. He remains undecided about this year.

“Both coaches are still going to allow me to do it if I choose to but I’m not really sure myself if I want to go through with it again this year,” Rome said on Tuesday. “I haven’t made a decision yet. It’s something me and my dad are going to talk about, something I’m going to pray about and talk to Coach Richt and Coach Fox about.”

After redshirting in football last season, Rome played in all 13 games this season with one start. He caught 11 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns, including a 19-yarder against Alabama in the SEC Championship game. In basketball, Rome  averaged 0.4 points and 2.4 rebounds in 2.4 minutes.

Rome, an all-state basketball player at Valdosta High, has always been …

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Mark Richt puts end to debate; Malcolm Mitchell to play offense only

ATHENS – The Malcolm Mitchell debate is a debate no more.

Mark Richt put an abrupt end to the speculation over what the sophomore’s role on the team will be going forward.

“What do I think (his role) is going to be? Wide receiver,” Richt said matter-of-factly after Tuesday’s practice. “I doubt he plays any more corner.”

Mitchell, a sophomore who played both cornerback and split end this season, expressed mixed emotions recently about continuing his career as a two-way player. Meanwhile, Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham each said this week they’d like to have him full-time on their respective sides of the ball, but ultimately deferred to Richt.

Richt was able to weigh in on it publically for the first time on Tuesday, and he didn’t pussyfoot around the issue.

“I just think he needs to play one position,” he said. “. . . If he’s going to be the best he can be at either position, I think he needs to …

Continue reading Mark Richt puts end to debate; Malcolm Mitchell to play offense only »

Notebook: Open competition for starting spots on offensive line

ATHENS – Technically it’s just bowl practice. But for Georgia’s offensive lineman, the month of December may seem more like preseason camp.

The Bulldogs’ offensive coaches made a pronouncement regarding the line almost as soon as the SEC Championship game ended: Every position is up for grabs and the starting lineup will be determined during the 15 practices leading up to the Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl.

“That’s how we put it to those guys,” Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “The five that are going to play, we’ll figure out between now and the bowl who’s going to be where. I do think the line played extremely well this year and got better. But there’s always room for improvement, and any time there’s competition that’s good for the group.”

The Bulldogs were seemed stable up front this season. They played just three different starting lineups – including the same for the first nine games – and shuffled it around only because of injuries. …

Continue reading Notebook: Open competition for starting spots on offensive line »

Updated: Georgia’s Malcolm Mitchell conflicted about future as ‘two-way’ player (with poll)

Adds comments from offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham . . .

Georgia's Malcolm Mitchell (26) continued to attend the Bulldogs' defensive meetings until the week of the Georgia Southern game. The question is whether he should attend them anymore going forward. (AJC photo by Bob Andres)

Georgia's Malcolm Mitchell (26) continued to attend the Bulldogs' defensive meetings until the week of the Georgia Southern game. The question is whether he should attend them anymore going forward. (AJC photo by Bob Andres)

ATHENS – Georgia’s Malcolm Mitchell is one conflicted football player.

With the regular season and final exams in the rear-view mirror and a bowl game still a ways down the road, Mitchell has been able to reflect some on the “Great Experiment” that the 2012 season was for him. He went through spring practice and into the season expecting to be a two-way player. He said what came to pass wasn’t exactly what he envisioned, but neither was it anything approaching a disappointment.

In the end, Mitchell played the first four games as a cornerback and the last nine as a wide receiver. He never truly played both in one game, save for an occasional offensive play …

Continue reading Updated: Georgia’s Malcolm Mitchell conflicted about future as ‘two-way’ player (with poll) »

Notebook: Bulldogs’ Kwame Geathers says don’t count him gone just yet

ATHENS – Because most of his brothers, uncles and cousins left college early to play pro football, most assume Georgia’s Kwame Geathers will follow a similar path.

Not necessarily, Geathers said Friday.

“It’s not right to assume at all,” said Geathers, a 6-foot-6, 355-pound junior from Georgetown, S.C. “They let me make my own decisions, so it’s up to me. Sometimes I feel like, ‘all right, break the tradition.’ They were all in college for three years. I’ve been here for four years already, so I feel like I’m already breaking it a little bit.”

The Bulldogs would definitely appreciate Geathers sticking around. They’re already going to lose John Jenkins and Abry Jones off the line. Junior linebackers Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree are expected to turn pro and a total of nine senior starters will be graduating off Georgia’s defense.

That will certainly leave a leadership void for next season.

I’d like to have that leadership role, to be a guy for the …

Continue reading Notebook: Bulldogs’ Kwame Geathers says don’t count him gone just yet »

No missed playing time for Georgia players’ actions in SEC Championship game

ATHENS — Georgia coach Mark Richt said he has disciplined freshman cornerback Sheldon Dawson for an incident in the SEC Championship game in which it appears Dawson tried to poke the eyes of Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner. But he said Dawson won’t miss any playing time and no other UGA players are being punished for their actions in that game.

Richt also declined comment about the SEC’s decision to not suspend Alabama defensive lineman Quinton Dial for his illegal hit on quarterback Aaron Murray. Richt addressed the situations at the end of the Bulldogs’ practice Friday afternoon.

“Dawson, I did (discipline), yes,” Richt said. “I’m not going to give detail of it. But, yeah, and Dawson saw it. He realizes it was a bad thing and a bad image for him and for Georgia. He understood why I needed to discipline him. It won’t be any playing time.”

Video shows Dawson sticking his fingers in Milliner’s facemask after a scrum for a loose ball following an Alabama kickoff return early in …

Continue reading No missed playing time for Georgia players’ actions in SEC Championship game »

No SEC suspension for Bama’s Quinton Dial for hit on Aaron Murray

ATHENS – If Quinton Dial is going to receive any discipline for his illegal hit on Aaron Murray in the SEC Championship game, it’s not going to come from the SEC office.

That was the word Friday as the SEC sent out a short news release stating that it had reviewed several plays from the Dec. 1 matchup between Georgia and Alabama and that it would be leaving punishments decisions to the respective schools. In addition to Dial’s hit on Murray at the end of a first-half interception, Georgia’s Sheldon Dawson appears on video to be trying to gouge the eyes of Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner at the end of a kickoff return. Also, Bulldogs’ linebacker Alec Ogletree was flagged during the game for a “targeting” hit on Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron.

“The Southeastern Conference has completed its review of video from the 2012 SEC Football Championship Game. Several plays involving both teams were reviewed. After review, all subsequent action will be handled internally by the two …

Continue reading No SEC suspension for Bama’s Quinton Dial for hit on Aaron Murray »

Georgia’s Dallas Lee says ‘no thanks’ to joining his family for BCS game in Miami

Georgia guard Dallas Lee (64) offers a forced smile for a photo with brother Dillon Lee in the minutes immediately after the Bulldogs' 32-28 loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship game. (Photo by Rob Saye)

Georgia guard Dallas Lee (64) offers a forced smile for a photo with brother Dillon Lee in the minutes immediately after the Bulldogs' 32-28 loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship game. (Photo by Rob Saye)

ATHENS — Dallas Lee’s parents have begged him to go with them to Miami for the BCS National Championship game. But if Georgia’s starting left guard couldn’t go as a participant, he said he definitely wasn’t going to go as supportive brother.

“I’m still a little upset so I’m not going,” Dallas said. “I’m going to watch it on TV at the house. I’m a little too upset about it to go down there and have fun.”

Lee’s family was the subject of many profiles heading into the SEC Championship as Dallas and his brother, Alabama linebacker Dillon Lee, were facing off from opposite sidelines. But after that game ended excruciatingly close for the Bulldogs, with time running out on the  at the Crimson Tide 5 in a 32-28 loss, Dallas said he just can’t bring himself …

Continue reading Georgia’s Dallas Lee says ‘no thanks’ to joining his family for BCS game in Miami »

Georgia’s Ken Malcome ‘not too happy with situation’ at tailback

Georgia's Ken "Boo" Malcome does not begrudge the success of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall but is not happy with getting mainly mop-up duty in Georgia's tailback rotation. (UGA photo)

Georgia's Ken "Boo" Malcome does not begrudge the success of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall but is not happy with getting mainly mop-up duty in Georgia's tailback rotation. (UGA photo)

ATHENS – For Georgia it’s a good problem to have. But for Ken Malcome, it’s more than a little frustrating.

Everybody knows about the successes of freshman tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall this season. Gurley was named a Freshman All-American by The Sporting News on Thursday. He became just the second Georgia true freshman to surpass 1,000 yards in a season (1,260 to date) and scored 17 touchdowns, including a 100-yard kickoff return. Marshall emerged as Gurley’s primary backup and ran for 723 yards and 8 scores.

Lost in the smoke of that fire has been Malcome, who actually began the season as the starting tailback. The redshirt sophomore from Decatur has appeared in 10 of the Bulldogs’ 13 games, averaging 27.2 yards and 5 carries in those contests.

As Georgia prepares for its …

Continue reading Georgia’s Ken Malcome ‘not too happy with situation’ at tailback »

Ideal student-athlete Christian Robinson not quite ready for graduation

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

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

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

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

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

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

Robinson

Robinson

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

Continue reading Ideal student-athlete Christian Robinson not quite ready for graduation »

Disappointed Dogs insist there will be no letdown against Nebraska

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

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

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

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

Continue reading Disappointed Dogs insist there will be no letdown against Nebraska »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bulldogs looking at total rebuilding job on defense in 2013

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading Bulldogs looking at total rebuilding job on defense in 2013 »

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

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

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

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

Other trophies handed out Saturday included:

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

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

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

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

NEBRASKA COACH BO PELINI

On being selected for the Capital One Bowl:

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

On a return trip to the Capital One Bowl:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading UGA-Bama was most-watched TV game of college season »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading Suspension possible for Bama player for hit on Georgia QB Aaron Murray »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Updated 10 p.m.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What they said after SEC Championship game

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

– Georgia coach Mark Richt

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

– Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray

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

– Murray

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

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

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

Continue reading What they said after SEC Championship game »

Georgia’s final drive ends agonizingly short

The drive of his dreams turned into a nightmare.

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

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

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

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

Continue reading Georgia’s final drive ends agonizingly short »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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GAME DAY: Georgia-Alabama preview

An SEC Championship game program on sale in the lobby outside Friday's Coaches Luncheon (AJC photo by Kent D. Johnson)

SEC Championship game program on sale in lobby outside Coaches Luncheon (AJC photo by Kent D. Johnson)

RETURN TO THE DOME

Georgia is in the SEC Championship game for the second consecutive season. The Bulldogs hope any similarity between Saturday’s game and last year’s ends at halftime.

“We had a great first half last year, but didn’t finish like we wanted to,” Georgia linebacker Christian Robinson said. “That’s been dwelling on our minds since then.”

In last year’s game, Georgia led top-ranked LSU 10-0 in the first quarter and held the Tigers to no first downs and 11 yards in the first half. But LSU dominated the Dogs in the second half and won 42-10.

Many Georgia players have said this season’s team was driven by the goal of returning to the Georgia Dome and, once there, making a better showing. They’re there, set to face Alabama at 4 p.m. Saturday with a berth in the BCS championship game at stake.

“I feel like now we know what it takes to win,” …

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SEC Championship game matchup: Special teams

Each day this week, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution takes a quick look at a matchup in the SEC Championship game. Today: special teams.

Georgia special teams

Key stat: Freshman kicker Marshall Morgan has made eight of 12 field goals and 54 of 58 extra points. Georgia has attempted fewer field goals than any other SEC team and fewer than in any other season under coach Mark Richt.

Season high point: Richard Samuel’s stop of a Missouri fake-punt play was pivotal in that early-season win.

Season low point: Georgia gave up a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown in the loss to South Carolina.

Name to know: Punting figures to be at a premium in what projects as a defensive struggle Saturday. Freshman Collin Barber averages 41.2 yards per punt.

Alabama special teams

Key stat: Senior Jeremy Shelley is the only major college kicker in the country who hasn’t missed a field goal or an extra point this season. He is 10-for-10 on field goals and 60-for-60 on extra points. His longest …

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