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Latest from Logan Booker

    Athens, GA - The familiar sounds of coach’s whistles and stampeding linemen can be heard around the Butts-Mehre athletic complex in Five Points this afternoon. That’s because football, the lifeblood of the University of Georgia and Athens is back for 2017 Spring Practice.  Year two of head coach Kirby Smart will officially begin today with the first of a series of practices leading up to the April 22nd G-Day game to be held in Sanford Stadium, with no shortage of storylines to watch.  The progression of sophomore quarterback Jacob Eason will likely take the forefront of attention - again - as the heralded signal caller from Washington state will look to show maturity coming on the heels of a successful but otherwise not spectacular freshman season in the Southeastern Conference. And new this year comes legit competition from another five-star quarterback recruit from Houston County, Georgia, Jake Fromm. How the two will complement and push one another through the rigors of practice this spring and into fall will clearly define the success of the 2017 version of the Georgia Bulldogs.  Not to be outdone, plenty of attention will be given to the beloved pair of senior running backs who surprised many by announcing they would indeed spend their senior seasons between the hedges. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel both could have declared for the NFL Draft, but instead decided they would rather wash the sour taste of an 8-5 season and a home loss to Georgia Teach in 2016 out their mouths the best way they know how, with the possibility of exacting revenge. Their return not only will cause headaches for opposing defensive coordinators throughout the SEC, but will provide invaluable leadership for a young corps of running backs in line behind them preparing to be the future of a program often tabbed “Running Back U.” Smart’s defense will also be under a microscope as the boys practice under the shadows of bloomed dogwood trees these next few weeks. What was considered the weakness of the program this time last year - an ultra thin and young defensive line - proved to be one of the strongest units in 2016. How they progress and grow together will be examined closely.  And the biggest mystery of them all, the offensive line, will likely not shake out until the leaves start changing this fall, rather than under the fragrance of pollen this spring. What was clearly the most-handicapping aspect of an underwhelming offense last season is now missing a few starters, but also has a lion’s share of top recruits scheduled to arrive on campus this summer. So any observations of struggles in protecting the quarterbacks or opening up holes for the running backs may require an asterisks until we make the same observations five months from now.  It’s a happy time of year for many in this part of the world. It’s often referred to as “stress-free football,” with all the nostalgia of SEC football on the practice field, without the worry of losing to a hated rival on Saturday. And when tens of thousands file into Sanford Stadium for G-Day, there’s a guaranteed Bulldog victory to be seen. And no matter how you view it, or how you want to examine and analyze it, there’s one thing everybody will agree on: football is back. And the Classic City is simply more fun with it. 
  • According to several reports, the Los Angeles Rams are signing former University of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. Most notably being reported by Ian Rappaport, a national insider for the NFL Network.  Murray graduated from UGA in 2013 after starting for four seasons, setting nearly every school quarterback record along the way. He was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs, where he played a backup role until late last season when he was cut, and then signed to the Philadelphia Eagles practice team before becoming a free agent this offseason.  Sure to make every UGA fan smile, Murray will be reunited with former UGA running back Todd Gurley in L.A. Gurley was drafted in the first round by the Rams in the 2015 NFL Draft, and then promptly won league Rookie of the Year. The duo was a huge fan favorite between the hedges, and also beat Florida together in back-to-back seasons in 2012 and 2013. 
  • Athens, Ga - You can now make Homecoming plans for the fall of 2017. The University of Georgia has announced that the weekend of October 14th will be the epicenter of a week filled with activities. The football team will host the University of Missouri that Saturday, when all alumni are invited and encouraged to return to campus to take part in a celebrations and special gettogethers campus wide.  The Bulldogs and Tigers have played five times since Missouri joined the SEC in 2012. Georgia has won four of those meetings. The last time the two played in Athens, the Bulldogs won a 9-6 game, which did not feature a touchdown by either team. 
  • Athens, Ga - The University of Georgia football team and its head coach Kirby Smart got an early Christmas present on Thursday, with the announcements that several key juniors would be returning to play their senior seasons 'between the hedges' in 2017. Most noteably, running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, both of which were highly thought to be candidates to dart to the NFL, will return and create a world of depth at the position. Chubb returned in 2016 from a devastating knee injury suffered in 2015, and progressively got better as the season went on. Michel once again made his case in 2016 as being  the best athlete on the Bulldogs' team.  Also returning will be linebackers Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy. It was rumored recently that Bellamy was a lean to the NFL, but will instead stay in Athens, and along with Carter, continue to help a strong defense get stronger under defensive-minded Kirby Smart.  “It’s really special when you get around a special group that care about a place that I really care about, and regardless of their decision – which all four of them have decided to stay, and want to come back – it means a lot to me when guys do that,' Smart said. “I think each one would tell you they handled it the right way. They got a lot of information, they used all the resources that our university provides, and they made the decision. I particularly tried to stay out of the decision-making, and just get these guys information, and I think they did a nice job about that.” Chubb spoke to media after the announcements, where he declared the sour taste left after the loss to Georgia Tech played a factor in why he and his junior teammates elected to have one more round with Georgia's many rivals.  “The last game didn’t go the way any of us wanted it,” Chubb said. 'So I couldn’t have that be my last memory of Georgia.”
  • Athens, Ga - Reports are swirling from numerous outlets today that University of Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker is a candidate for the head coach opening down the road at Georgia State University.  GSU fired Trent Miles after the Panthers started the 2016 season a dismal 2-8.  Tucker is finishing his first season with the Bulldogs in Athens, coming over with head coach Kirby Smart from Alabama after UGA fired Mark Richt this time last year. Prior to his role as defensive backs coach at Alabama, he held several stints in the NFL, most notably the Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Cleveland Browns.  GSU would have to be willing to drastically increase its head coaching salary if it were to lure Tucker from Athens. Prior to his firing last month, Miles was making $463,500 as Panthers head coach. Tucker is currently making $850,000 as defensive coordinator at UGA.  The job at GSU could be more appealing with an overhaul coming to the football program, among other athletics. The school will begin construction on Turner Field, the now former home of the Atlanta Braves for the last 20 years, converting the 46,000 seat baseball stadium into a 22,000 seat football stadium. The team currently plays in the Georgia Dome, usually in front of only a few thousand. Many believe the new stadium will be much more appealing to recruits and fans alike. 
  • The Atlanta Braves announced this morning that they will be removing the 'interim' label from manager Brian Snitker, making him the full time manager of the program.  Snitker took over as Braves interim manager back on May 17th after the club fired former manager Fredi Gonzalez, and then lead the team to a 59-65 record for the remainder of the year - a drastic improvent from the beginning of the season. The Braves finished one of the hottest teams in baseball, winning 10 of their final 12 games.  Several candidates were reportedly interviewd for the job over the past couple weeks since the conclusion of the 2016 MLB season, which suposedly included former Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington - who was instead named Braves third base coach today - and Sandiego Padres manager Bud Black.  Also being rtained on the Braves coaching staff will be bench coach Terry Pendleton, first base coach Eddie Perez, hitting coach Kevin Seitzer and assistant hitting coach Jose Castro, and bullpen coach Marty Reed.  The Brave also announced the hiring of Chuck Hernandez as their new pitching coach, after announcing last week that former pitching coach Roger McDowell's option would not be picked up in 2016. 
  • Athens, Ga - While most of the collegiate sports focus is zeroed in on college football, the college basketball season is right around the corner. And with a new season comes a plethora of new rule changes.  The NCAA released a 23-min video explaining all of these rules with demonstrations, which will help you better understand the men with whistles making the calls.  You can watch the video by CLICKING HERE. 
  • The term 'add insult to injury' has never been more true, at least for the University of Georgia and its football fans on Saturday. Star running back Nick Chubb carried the ball 12 times for a total of 57 yards before leaving the game with an ankle injury, and did not return. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart addressed the issue during his postgame press conference. “Don’t know the severity yet. He couldn’t come back in the game,” head coach Kirby Smart said. “If he could have come back, I know he wanted to. So we’ll see how that goes the next couple days.' Georgia has relied heavy on its passing game the past two games, as it has struggled with the run since the first game. Whether thats banged up running backs, weak offensive line play or a playcalling issue is up for interpretation.  During the 45-14 loss, UGA freshman Brian Herrien ran the ball 11 times for 78 yards and two touchdowns, while Elijah Holyfield - another true freshman - was given four carries for 27 yards. Both players could be relied on even heavier if Chubb's injury results in any loss of playing time. 
  • From UGA Sports Communications: OXFORD, Miss.-----The 12th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs (3-1, 1-1 in Southeastern Conference) were handed their first loss of the season against the No. 21 Ole Miss Rebels 45-14 on Saturday at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in front of 65,43 attendees, second biggest in Ole Miss history.  The Rebels (2-2, 1-1 in SEC) came out firing by putting up 31 points in the first half and the deficit proved to be too large for the Bulldogs to mount another second-half comeback. Ole Miss accumulated 510 total yards (330 through the air and 180 on the ground), while UGA managed 396 total yards with 230 rushing and 166 passing.  “They came out and dominated from the start of the game,” said Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. “It was disappointing to get the penalties that we got. We shot ourselves in the foot. A couple drives where we had things going, we struggled when we had 2nd-and-15 or 3rd-and-15. We couldn’t convert those. The pick-six then defensively we just gave up too many big plays. When they throw the ball down the field vertically, you have to make plays on the ball and make those things misses and they hit those.”  Bulldogs’ freshman quarterback Jacob Eason went 16-for-36 for 137 yards with an interception and a fumble. Freshman tailback Brian Herrien led Georgia with career-highs 78 yards on 11 touches and two touchdowns. Junior tailbacks Nick Chubb and Sony Michel added 57 and 66 yards, respectively, on the ground. Michel notched a team-high 34 receiving yards on two catches.  Senior quarterback Chad Kelly led Ole Miss with 282 yards passing on two touchdowns, and he had a team-high 53 yards rushing with one touchdown. Senior tight end Evan Engram grabbed team-high six receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown.  “We struggled with that third-and-long,” said Smart. “The penalties backed us up because we ran the ball decent early in the game. We had 93 yards rushing in the first half and that was with a sack. Any time you are playing behind the sticks with a freshman quarterback on the road, it is challenging. But we got to execute and do better on offense.”  The Rebels took their opening possession 69 yards on seven plays but the Georgia defense halted the Rebels on the UGA seven-yard line to force a Gary Wunderlich 24-yard field goal that gave Ole Miss the early 3-0 advantage. On the following Bulldog possession, defensive back Derrick Jones of the Rebels intercepted Eason and returned it 52 yards for a touchdown. Later in the first quarter, Ole Miss tailback D’Vaughn Pennamon punched it into the end zone from one yard out to finish a 10-play, 84-yard drive for a 17-0 lead. Then Ole Miss’ Kelly connected with receiver Demarkus Lodge and Engram for second quarter touchdowns.  At the half, the Rebels had 323 total yards (53 rushing and 270 passing), while the Bulldogs managed a total of 186 yards (93 rushing and passing, each). Eason went 7-for-21 for 64 yards and an interception. Kelly of the Rebels amassed 233 yards and two touchdowns.  The Rebels added two touchdowns in the third quarter on a 5-yard Jason Pellerin reception from backup Ole Miss quarterback Eugene Brazley and a 41-yard run by Kelly.  The Bulldogs got on the board in the subsequent possession as they orchestrated a 75-yard, 7-play drive capped with a touchdown. Herrien had 43 yards on the drive with 10-yard scurry to make it a 45-7 game.   At the 7:38 mark in the fourth quarter, Georgia and Herrien reached the end zone again as the tailback finished the Bulldogs’ longest drive of the game (79 yards in 12 plays) with a one-yard touchdown run. Eason amassed 45 yards on 5-for-6 passing, while he added 8 yards on the ground.  Junior safety Dominick Sanders notched team-high seven tackles and added a sack. Georgia cornerback Aaron Davis picked off Pelerin’s pass in the third quarter and returned it for eight yards.  “These men have had setbacks before, we all have setbacks,” said Smart. “But it’s how we respond to it. It is the first setback this year. But we haven’t played a complete game yet and that was kinda how this one was. We need to continue to improve and sell these kids on working to get better and that is what we are going to do.”
  • Athens, Ga --- The University of Georgia and its football fans can now start planning those tailgates and road trips for the fall of 2017, as the Southeastern Conference released next season's football schedule for all teams on Tuesday night.  With the announcement one significant change in the usual weekly matchups Bulldog fans are accustomed to. The annual meeting against the South Carolina Gamecocks - usually an early season game - will take place in November for the first time since the 1980 season.  Also for the first time since the 1980 season, Georgia will face Notre Dame, which it beat in the 1981 Sugar Bowl to claim its latest National Championship. That game we have known about for several years now, and will take place in South Ben, Indiana on September 9th.  The rest of the 2017 football schedule is as follows: Sept. 2    APPALACHIAN STATESept. 9  at Notre DameSept. 16  SAMFORDSept. 23  MISSISSIPPI STATESept. 30     at TennesseeOct. 7     at VanderbiltOct. 14   MISSOURIOct. 28   Florida (Jacksonville)Nov. 4    SOUTH CAROLINANov. 11  at AuburnNov. 18  KENTUCKYNov. 25  at Georgia Tech 
  • Logan Booker

    Logan Booker is the producer for Classic City Today on 98.7FM and AM 1340 WGAU from 6am-10am weekdays, and occasionally contributes on-air with Tim Bryant. Logan also covers the midday news on WGAU Monday-Friday. On occasion, he fills as a co-host of The Morning Show on 960 The Ref. 

    Logan has covered UGA sports since 2012, previously with Bulldawg Illustrated. 

    He is a graduate of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, where he earned a degree in magazine journalism in addition to a Grady Sports Media certificate. He was born and raised in Lawrenceville, Georgia, and in addition to his current home in Bethlehem, Georgia, he spends lots of time with his dog and his boat in Lincoln County, Georgia. 

     

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Latest Bulldog News

  • New England Patriots wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell can be sweet when he wants to be. Mitchell has a three-book deal with Scholastic, the children's publisher told The Associated Press on Thursday. The books include a newly illustrated edition of his self-published 'The Magician's Hat,' to come out next May, and two more original works. Mitchell is a literacy advocate who founded the 'Read With Malcolm' program. With New England, Mitchell caught 32 passes last year during the regular season and another six in the Super Bowl, when the Patriots came from behind and defeated the Atlanta Falcons 34-28.
  • After his shot at the NFL ended, former University of Georgia linebacker Amarlo Herrera is working on his next dream— the WWE. An alum of North Clayton High School in Atlanta, Herrera was one of 40 athletes who participated in a WWE tryout last week at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Fla., according to the WWE. Herrera, who was named second-team All-SEC during his senior season, was drafted by Indianapolis Colts the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, but was released on Aug. 10, 2016 after playing in three games as a rookie. Herrera also has stints with the Tennessee Titans and the Washington Redskins. In his four seasons as a Bulldog, Herrera started 43 games and recorded 334 tackles, 3.5 sacks and three interceptions.
  • Sanford Stadium Utility Work Update - Tate Drive Closing From 6/19 through 6/30, construction crews working on the utilities at the Tate drive will be performing their work at night starting at 7PM and working to 6AM. During this time, the drive to the Tate Parking Deck from Lumpkin will be closed. The entrance to the parking deck will be shifted to the ramp just south of the intersection at Baxter and Lumpkin and traffic will be directed by UGA PD. There will also be a full closure of the drive from 7pm on 6/23 through 10pm on 6/24 as the utilities are installed across the width of the drive. During the day, the drive will be re-opened.
  • From UGA Sports Communications ATHENS, Ga. — Six home games – three each in November and December – and four road challenges anchor the Georgia Bulldogs’ 2017-18 non-conference schedule, which was announced by head coach Mark Fox on Thursday. “The goal every year is to create a non-conference schedule that 1) prepares you for SEC play and 2) gives you the strength of schedule at the end of the year to have a chance to go to postseason play,” Fox said. “I think again we’ve put one together that again should allow us to do both of those things The Bulldogs will open their campaign in the dramatically renovated Stegeman Coliseum on Friday, Nov. 10, by hosting Bryant. This summer, Stegeman is undergoing the final phase of more than $20-million in upgrades over the past several years. The arena’s inner bowl is the focus of the final portion of the project and will feature acenter-hung scoreboard, new seats, significantly upgraded sound and lighting systems and additional LED signage. “The final stage of the Stegeman renovations is finally here, which will be the most drastic stage of the project,” Fox said “Obviously, the installation of the glass and work on the concourse was significant, and the building looks different from the outside. I think the interior will look just as significantly different as the outside. I also think you’re going to see the game experience change greatly because of the center-hung scoreboard and video boards and all the other things that can be done with that will be a big upgrade for our game atmosphere and our fans.” The matchup with Bryant is the first of three home games to open the season. Georgia also will host USC-Upstate on Tuesday, Nov. 14 and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Sunday, Nov. 19. The Bulldogs will then play three games as part of the Wooden Legacy in California over the Thanksgiving break. Georgia is among the eight-team field which also includes Cal State Fullerton, DePaul, Harvard, Saint Joseph’s, Saint Mary’s, San Diego State and Washington State. Games will be played on Thursday, Nov. 23; Friday, Nov. 24; and Sunday, Nov. 26. Georgia will then face Marquette in Milwaukee on Saturday, Dec. 2 before returning to Stegeman to host Winthrop on Tuesday, Dec. 5. The Bulldogs will venture to UMass on Saturday, Dec. 16, before wrapping up their pre-SEC slate with dates against Georgia Tech on Tuesday, Dec., 19 and Temple on Friday, Dec. 22. Georgia’s remaining non-conference outing will be at Kansas State on Saturday, Jan. 27 as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge. Last week, the SEC announced the league’s home and away matchups for this upcoming season. Georgia will face Auburn, Florida, LSU, South Carolina and Tennessee on a home-and-home basis. The Bulldogs also will host Alabama, Arkansas, Ole Miss and Texas A&M, while traveling to Kentucky, Mississippi State, Missouri and Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs will return 10 letterwinners, including five with double-digit starts, from a year ago. Consensus All-SEC forward Yante Maten headlines that list. Maten is the SEC’s leading returning scorer after averaging 18.2 ppg a year ago. Junior Derek Ogbeide is the second-leading returning rebounder in the league. He averaged 7.6 rpg last season. In addition, Georgia will welcome four freshmen to the Bulldogs’ roster. “We have a significant number of returning players – nine of our top-10 are back and we’re adding probably one of the better recruiting classes that we’ve had,” Fox said. “But obviously, experience, there’s no substitute for. Everyone is going to be a little bit different role this year because we lost a great leader (J.J. Frazier). We have a lot of guys who we understand what their abilities are and what they’re capable of and I think our chemistry remains very strong. The new guys have the advantage of learning from that experience. We’re working like a team that is very hungry and driven. Right now, we’re excited about their approach.” Stegeman Coliseum Renovation Information Stegeman Coliseum is undergoing major renovations this summer. Work began recently on Phase II of the approximately $8-million project to the Coliseum’s interior. Prior to last season, Phase I included the addition of an HD scoreboard and a dramatic mural covering the distinctive end wall of the arena’s east end. This summer, renovations include a center-hung scoreboard, new seats, significantly upgraded sound and lighting systems and additional LED signage. The current projects follow a $13-million renovation in 2010 that transformed Stegeman’s concourses, upgrading the graphics, enhancing spectator access to concessions and restrooms and adding 5,000-square feet of concourse space on each side of the arena. Those efforts won awards from both the American Institute of Architects and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. Basketball Enhancement Fund Information Donations to the UGA Athletic Association's Basketball Enhancement Fund (BEF) will be accepted beginning this Thursday (June 1) through August 1. Current BEF contributors should expect renewal notices to arrive via email on June 5. BEF contributions are utilized for determining renewable season tickets and various other benefits available to Georgia Basketball supporters. The BEF has established records for both amount contributed and number of contributors in each of the past two years. The Georgia Bulldog Club is hoping for another record-setting effort and is challenging donors to contribute 110 percent of their previous donation. The minimum donation to purchase renewable season tickets is $150 per seat. A gift of $150 also will be recognized with a car decal and an invitation to a designated preseason practice of the Bulldogs. Varying levels of BEF donations are used to determine ability to purchase premium courtside seating, as well as tickets to the SEC and NCAA Tournaments. Additional potential benefits associated with contribution levels include reserved parking at Stegeman Coliseum, invitations to the team's preseason and postseason banquets and pre- and in-game hospitality.
  •  From UGA Sports Communications ATHENS------Georgia senior pitcher Andrew Gist was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the ninth round of the 2017 Major League Baseball Draft Tuesday.   Gist, a 5-10, 196-pound native of Cumming, Ga., served as Georgia’s SEC Friday night starter this past season, posting a 3-4 record and a team-best 3.80 ERA. He appeared in 17 games with 11 starts for a total of 73.1 innings as the team went 25-32 and advanced to the SEC Tournament. He clinched Georgia’ spot in the postseason when he provided a career-high eight innings in a 6-3 road win over No. 30 South Carolina. Also, he struck out a career-high 10 in six innings as part of a combined 3-0 shutout of Missouri this past April.   Gist enjoyed a two-year career with the Bulldogs after spending his first two seasons at Walters State in Tennessee. As a Bulldog, Gist went 6-6 with one save and a 4.35 ERA in 32 appearances including 17 starts. He tallied 116 strikeouts and 33 walks in 122 innings.   Georgia has a string of 44 straight seasons with at least one player signing a professional contract. In 2016, six Bulldogs were drafted and began their professional career.   The MLB draft began Monday with the first two rounds while Tuesday’s slate featured rounds three-10. On Tuesday, the Atlanta Braves in the second round selected Bulldog signee Drew Waters, an ALL-USA First Team outfielder out of Etowah High School. The draft concludes Wednesday with rounds 11-40. The MLB signing deadline for underclassmen and high school seniors selected in this year’s draft is July 15.   Bulldogs In The 2017 MLB Draft *Drew Waters, OF, 2nd Round (41st overall), Atlanta Braves Andrew Gist, LHP, 9th Round (259th overall), Tampa Bay Rays *2017 Georgia signee