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Georgia Sports News

  • Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman thinks his team has what it takes to play in Super Bowl LIII. In a post on Twitter Tuesday, Freeman wrote, “Super Bowl 53 we coming for that.” Other NFL players like Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston and Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey responded to Freeman. The three NFL stars are also former teammates who played together at Florida State in 2013. TRENDING STORIES: Chipper on Braves spring competition : 'It's a free-for-all' Atlanta United using preseason play to prepare for Year 2 in MLS Famed Christian evangelist Billy Graham dies at age 99 The Falcons, who played in Super Bowl LI, fell to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Divisional Playoffs in January failing to defend their NFC Championship title. If the Falcons make an appearance in Super Bowl LIII, they would be the first team to play a Super Bowl in their home stadium. This article was written by JuliaKate E. Culpepper, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 
  • The Braves aren’t taking any veteran position players to Friday’s Grapefruit League opener against the Mets, but fans in Port St. Lucie will have a chance to see some of the team’s top prospects including two potential power hitters for the not-too-distant future. > More: See who else is on the travel roster Third baseman Austin Riley and catcher Alex Jackson will make the trip. Outfielder Ronald Acuna, the No. 1 prospect in baseball, isn’t scheduled to make the trip. > Also: Braves name starters for first spring games Never miss a minute of what’s happening with the Braves. Subscribe to myAJC.com
  • MONTICELLO – Here in the heart of Georgia’s Piedmont, you find small-town living flourishing. Monticello, the seat of Jasper County, has a fetching square with the traditional courthouse being the centerpiece as you would expect. Traffic flows hesitatingly around the square as if it were a rectangular roundabout.  Log trucks, pickups, a hog hauler or two, a Lexus or two and a fellow on a bicycle, backpack and all, offered traffic competition here recently as I was hunting for parking near the Vanilla Bean, which deals in good food and local gossip. You know, things like “what happened in that wreck yesterday out on the Jackson Road,” who has the best winter garden, the sheriff’s latest lockup and how the local prep teams are doing. If John Paul Holmes, who migrated to Monticello from northside Atlanta and learned how to be a country gentleman overnight, is in town, you can get the lowdown on doings at the legislature and Georgia football. Holmes has more friends and more connections than anybody in our state.  Not sure the governor has shaken as many hands as Holmes has in his lifetime. What folks here and across Georgia appreciate about this former Bulldogs lineman is that he is as genuine as Vanilla Bean’s pecan chicken. If your neighbor’s ox were to get in the ditch, Holmes would be the first to get him out. Even though Holmes is often in the company of politicians, nobody has ever accused him of speaking with forked tongue — even though this loquacious raconteur was put on earth to talk. It is interesting how Holmes came about setting down roots in Jasper County. He was about as natural at county living as a rooster crowing in Manhattan. It was romance and Georgia football that rooted him here.  When he played for the Bulldogs in the late 1950s and early 1960s, he met Susan Dykes. Her father was a Jasper farmer and agri-businessman. When Dykes took him home for a visit, Holmes immediately became an old shoe fit and acted like he had been riding a tractor all his life. He became fascinated with the fields and streams, woods and the outdoors, country folk and life down on the farm. When he and Susan, longtime mayor of Monticello and more recently a fixture in the Georgia House of Representatives, got serious, Holmes even thought of becoming a farmer. That was a funny bone moment with his former teammate who knew “from whence he came.” Then Holmes, who was Republican in Georgia before it was cool, was the beneficiary of propitious timing during the era when the Grand Ole Party occupied the White House under Richard Nixon. Bo Callaway, whom Holmes had befriended in Bo’s gubernatorial campaign, arranged a job for Paul as head of the ASCS (Agricultural, Stabilization and Conservation Service). This had Holmes traveling the state where he was constantly bumping into former teammates, classmates and one-time fraternity brothers. Every stop across Georgia became a reunion. Then a fraternity brother, Harrison Jones, asked him to attend a bankers conference where regulations, complaint, disagreement and negative bickering held sway. Holmes got up and began to tell stories, which immediately had the constituency eating out of his palm. His routine self-flagellation brought encroaching levity to the disjointed meeting. Like this classic vignette when he was a rookie tackle at the Dallas Cowboy training camp. Coach Tom Landry asked Holmes if he was always nervous before practice. “No sir,” Holmes replied. “Why do you ask?”  Landry then countered with, “You are the first player we ever had to put his football pants on and his jock (strap) on next.” He would quote Charley Trippi, the Georgia backfield coach, who once said before a road trip, “We are taking 45 football players and John Paul Holmes.” His best one had to do with Wallace Butts calling for a staff meeting after the first scrimmage Paul’s freshman year.  The Bulldogs coach closed the meeting room door and said, “We are not leaving until I find out who signed Paul Holmes to a scholarship.” Holmes concludes the story with onrushing laughter by saying, “Nobody would own up to it.” Holmes was a member of the 1959 SEC championship team, which defeated Missouri 14-0 in the Orange Bowl. He lettered for the Bulldogs in 1960-61-62. He was teammates with Pat Dye and Fran Tarkenton, two of the most accomplished lettermen in Bulldogs history. What set Holmes apart as a teammate was that he enjoyed walking to the varsity for a hot dog with two downtrodden B-teamers as much as he did those two super stars. Holmes became a banker after that and a sought after speaker. “I certainly was not much of a player, but I learned a lot about teamwork and friendships,” Holmes said. “Later when I got into business, I found out that the Georgia influence in this state is so far reaching. Anywhere I go, I can find a friend with UGA ties. I have had the most fun and rewarding life, and I owe it all to the University of Georgia. The institution has enriched my life.” Alma mater means “nourishing mother.” Before Holmes learned about the meaning of the term, his connection was inseparable. The oldest state chartered university in our country could not have had a more passionate defender and advocate than Holmes, a city boy who gloried in segueing to life down on the farm. The post John Paul Holmes has as many connections as anyone in Georgia appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia’s Nick Chubb and Sony Michel sat in disbelief in chairs on the sideline as confetti rained down from the Mercedes-Benz Stadium roof in celebration of yet another Alabama national championship. An hour after the game, Malkom Parrish, Dominick Sanders and Lorenzo Carter hid out in the showers in the Bulldogs locker room, seeking refuge from the intruding press and their questions about what had just happened. Nobody takes losses harder than the players and coaches who are directly involved in the competitions being waged. That certainly was the case for Georgia coach Kirby Smart and the players who participated in the 26-23 overtime loss to the Crimson Tide in the National Championship Game on Jan. 8. That said, they also tend to get over losses quicker. “A lot of the seniors have pro careers to look forward to,” said Janet Frick, a psychology professor at UGA. “And the players that are coming back, they have next season to get ready for. So everybody [involved] has something to look forward to.” Indeed, unlike the fans, the players and coaches have something constructive they can do with their disappointment. They can use it as fuel for the future. Clemson lost to Alabama in a very similar fashion to Georgia in the College Football Playoff final at the end of the 2015 season. The Tigers fell victim to a late onsides-kick call by coach Nick Saban on the way to a 45-40 defeat. When the team reconvened for offseason workouts a month after the loss, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney told his players, “You can only eat an elephant one bite at a time.” It was a perfectly suited old euphemism having just played a powerhouse opponent with an elephant mascot. And the next season, the Tigers defeated Alabama 35-31 to win the 2016 national championship. “They were still dealing with the pain of losing at that point,” said Larry Williams, a senior writer for TigerIllustrated.com, who wrote the book Clemson Tough: Guts and Glory Under Dabo Swinney after the 2015 season. “He told the story of that elephant. … After the initial devastation of losing to Alabama wore off, the season still retained a sort of magical quality and everybody realized, ‘Wow, we were right there on college football’s biggest stage.’ I think very quickly it turned into motivation for the team.” Smart hopes to do the same thing. And he’s already done it, to some extent. He and his coaching staff hit the recruiting trail with a vengeance and eventually finished with the No. 1-ranked recruiting class in the country. Many of the recruits the Bulldogs signed chose Georgia over Alabama. And now Smart once again is calling for UGA fans to pack out Sanford Stadium for the G-Day Game (April 21, 4 p.m.). Meanwhile, he’s having signs and videos posted throughout the Butts-Mehre football complex to remind the players of how close they came and what it took to get there. Likewise, Georgia’s outgoing players have encouraged their successors to take the baton from them and cross the finish line next time. “We try to set the standard high so the younger guys know where to take it from here,” senior tailback Sony Michel said. “We fell short, but I think guys coming back understand what it’s going to take — plus more — to get back here.” That’s the difference between fans and Georgia’s players and coaches — the latter have somewhere to direct their emotions. “I remember an assistant coach telling me after [Clemson] won the national championship, ‘For 364 days we thought about losing and how close we came,’ ” Williams said. “That motivation came from that loss [in January 2016] and gave them an edge that they still had a year later. That was very much part of them not only winning it, but just getting there again.” Georgia can only hope for the same. The post Georgia players, coaches plan to use loss to Alabama as motivation appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Alabama has always been known for its talented athletes in football. Even more, some of the greatest wide receivers began their football dreams in Alabama, including Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones. Al. com ranked Jones the third-top receiver from the state of Alabama, behind former Falcons wideout Roddy White, a former teammate of Jones; and NFL Hall of Famer Terrell Owens. Jones has already passed three Pro Football Hall of Fame receivers on the list – John Stallworth, Don Hutson and Ozzie Newsome. The ranking of the wide receivers is determined by most NFL career receiving yards. TRENDING STORIES: Georgia stars have eyes set on NFL Draft Jameis Winston claps back at Devonta Freeman's Super Bowl prediction Atlanta United using preseason play to prepare for Year 2 in MLS To put this in perspective, Jones – who just finished his seventh NFL season – is only 6,880 yards behind Owens, who spent 14 years in the league with various teams. Jones trails White by 1,809, and White spent 10 seasons with the Falcons. If things continue to look up for Jones, he could easily become the top wide receiver in the state sooner rather than later. Top 10 NFL Receivers from Alabama high schools and colleges 1.    Terrell Owens – 15,934 receiving yards 2.    Roddy White – 10,863 receiving yards 3.    Julio Jones – 9,054 receiving yards 4.    John Stallworth – 8,723 receiving yards  5.    Don Hutson – 7,991 receiving yards  6.    Ozzie Newsome – 7,980 receiving yards 7.    Frank Sanders – 6,749 receiving yards  8.    Jerricho Cotchery – 6,623 receiving yards 9.    Jimmy “Red” Phillips – 6,044 receiving yards  10.    Rich Caster – 5,515 receiving yards