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    Arkansas lawmakers voted Thursday to exempt college sporting events from a new state law that greatly expands where concealed handguns are allowed, moving quickly to address concerns about the sweeping gun rights measure leading to armed spectators at stadiums and arenas. The Arkansas Senate voted 22-10 to add the exemption to a new state law that Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed Wednesday allowing concealed handguns at colleges, government buildings, some bars and even the state Capitol. It allows people with concealed handgun licenses to carry in the locations if they complete eight hours of active-shooter training. The change , which now heads to the House, also would exempt the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the state hospital from the gun rights expansion. The law as-is would let guns into Razorback Stadium while umbrellas remain banned. The lawmaker who called for the sports exemption noted that there's already police and security on hand for stadium and arena events. 'It's one of those areas where I don't think the value offsets the risk,' Republican Sen. Jim Hendren, the Senate majority leader, said before the vote. 'There's alcohol, there's people getting excited and so probably I think most people agree that maybe this is one of those areas we ought to think about before we expand the privileges.' The law takes effect Sept. 1, but Arkansas residents likely won't be allowed to carry concealed weapons into the expanded locations until early next year. The law gives Arkansas State Police until January to design the additional training that will be required. More than 220,000 people have concealed handgun licenses in Arkansas. The legislation originally was intended to only allow faculty and staff to carry concealed handguns at college campuses, but the bill expanded as it hit roadblocks in the Legislature. The lawmaker behind the expanded concealed gun law said the exemptions approved by the Senate would undermine that measure. 'It will kill the campus carry bill we just passed,' Republican Sen. Trent Garner said. Arkansas law currently allows faculty and staff at colleges and universities to carry concealed handguns on campus if the schools allow it. None have opted to do so since that law was enacted in 2013. A Democratic lawmaker whose district includes the University of Arkansas said the changes help address some concerns, but called the expanded gun rights law 'awful' and the move to swiftly amend it shows the problems it'll pose around the state. 'The whole thing just makes us look careless and short sighted,' Rep. Greg Leding said. ___ Follow Andrew DeMillo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ademillo
  • The NCAA will start deciding on locations for its upcoming championships next week and has indicated it will leave North Carolina out of that process if the state hasn't changed a law that limits LGBT rights by that time. In a statement Thursday, the sports organization said its committees will begin picking championship sites for 2018-22 and will announce those decisions April 18. The statement says 'once the sites are selected by the committee, those decisions are final.' The NCAA says its position has not changed since last fall, when it pulled seven championship events from the state because of the law known as HB2. The law requires transgender people to use restrooms at schools and government buildings corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates. It also excludes gender identity and sexual orientation from local and statewide antidiscrimination protections.
  • The folks at Madison Square Garden were drooling at the thought of a Duke-Villanova regional final. Two schools that consider the Garden a home away from home in a No. 1 seed vs. No. 2 seed dream matchup that would make MSG the place to be this weekend. Instead, there are four football schools fighting for a berth in basketball's Final Four. On Friday night, eighth-seeded Wisconsin plays fourth-seeded Florida, while third-seeded Baylor meets seventh-seeded South Carolina. No team left in the NCAA Tournament is as used to being in the Sweet 16 as Wisconsin. The Badgers are in their fourth straight regional semifinal, a feat no other team can claim. They have also been in the round 16 six of the last seven years. Florida is making its fifth straight Sweet 16 appearance, but it's over a seven-year span. Baylor is making its fourth regional semifinal appearance since 2010. South Carolina? The Gamecocks won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time since 1973. Last year, South Carolina was mistakenly told on Selection Sunday that it was in the field. 'Privately, in my own home with my wife, when I spoke to my mom, when I spoke to guys that raised me, I let them know, 'This ain't right, these kids deserve to be there,'' South Carolina coach Frank Martin said. 'But being around guys like (Sindarius) Thornwell allowed me to understand, I got a responsibility here to get them in for the next opportunity. It's here and it's been an unbelievable ride. I'm happy they're experiencing it right now.' The Gamecocks came into the NCAA Tournament having lost two straight and five of seven. Now they're on a roll that includes wins over Marquette and Duke. 'It means a lot. For us, for our first time and our last time playing at the university means a lot, because when we came in our ultimate goal was to make it to the tournament,' said Thornwell, the Southeastern Conference player of the year. 'We didn't get that chance our first three years and for us to get this opportunity this year heading out is a blessing for us, and it's good for the basketball program, and also for us to still be playing and make it to the tournament. Making a run is huge for everybody.' Wisconsin, which many felt was underseeded as a No. 8, comes in having just beaten the overall No. 1 seed, Villanova. 'They had a great year. We never talked about in preparation for Villanova about playing the defending national champions,' Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. 'We just talked about playing a really good team and that we were going to have to play really well in order to have a chance in that game.' And now the Badgers are back in the Sweet 16. 'You have to be playing some of your best basketball late,' Gard said of the four-year run. 'I think having upperclassmen, as our program has predominantly been in that position where we've relied on upperclassmen leadership. Sometimes you have star power and upperclassmen leadership. Sometimes it's just matter of guys who've had experience. You draw on that and you have to play well. You can't afford an 8- or 10-minute stretch of inconsistent basketball and I think our guys have handled that the right way.' Some things to consider about the East Regional: BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: South Carolina played at Madison Square Garden this season and the Gamecocks have to hope the result is different Friday. They lost 67-66 to Seton Hall on Dec. 12. It was South Carolina's first loss of the season and started the Gamecocks on a stretch when they lost three of five. 'Definitely I think it's good for us that we have played in this arena before,' South Carolina's PJ Dozier said. 'I think that it works in our favor. But first game, second game, third game, I feel like you're always going to be kind of nervous playing here, just due to the history of basketball in this arena.' JOHN WHO?: Florida lost starting center John Egbunu to a torn ACL on Feb. 14. Egbunu was averaging 7.8 points and 6.6 rebounds and was becoming a real force in the middle for the Gators. Sophomore Kevarrius Hayes was called on to replace Egbunu and since he moved into the starting lineup he has averaged 5.5 points and 5.5 rebounds, establishing himself as one of the SEC's leading shot blockers. BAYLOR'S BENCH: During the season Baylor's bench accounted for 20.2 points per game. That number has shot up to 33.5 points in the two NCAA Tournament games. EXTRA TIME: Wisconsin has won eight straight overtime games and only one of them has been at home. ___ More AP college basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25.
  • NFL owners will consider proposals next week to cut regular-season overtime from 15 minutes to 10; eliminate players leaping over the line on kick plays; and expansion of coaches' challenges and what can be reviewed by officials. In what promises to be a busy annual meeting next week in Phoenix that will include discussing the Raiders' potential relocation from Oakland to Las Vegas, the 32 owners also will vote on changing the mechanics on replay reviews and other items intended to reduce downtime during games. The Eagles proposed four rules changes, including abolishing the leaping techniques that league football operations director Troy Vincent said Thursday 'don't belong in the game.' Seattle and Buffalo co-authored a proposal allowing a coach to challenge any officiating decision, whether a foul is called or not. 'That is a significant change to our current replay rule and it is something that will be on the floor and will be debated next week,' NFL officiating chief Dean Blandino said. Another major change would be the reduction of overtime in-season; the extra period in the playoffs would remain at 15 minutes. The powerful competition committee, of which Vincent and Blandino are members, believed it's a player safety issue, noting that number of snaps for games going to OT — especially deep into the overtime — is excessive. Especially if a team has a quick turnaround. 'We don't know where a team is going to be playing the next week, it could be four days later,' said committee chairman Rich McKay, president of the Atlanta Falcons. 'We felt we should put an end to it. We don't think it will lead to more ties. Could it? It could, but we are not concerned with that.' As for changing the format of overtime to ensure both teams always get a possession — a popular topic after how the Super Bowl ended — Blandino said the league's wants to keep the element of sudden death in the extra period. The 'leaper rule' has taken some priority among competition committee members, the players' union and coaches. Vincent said coaches have begun scheming how to defense it, which can 'create a real safety issue.' 'It is really in the best interest of the game' to outlaw leaping on kicks,' Vincent added. McKay noted that the NCAA is in the process of passing a similar ban on the technique. During the meetings that run from Sunday to Wednesday, the teams will be shown plays the competition committee believes should result in suspensions or ejections. Game officials already have had the leeway to eject players, but it rarely has happened; there were three in 2016. 'They don't happen very often, let's give the players credit,' McKay said. 'We have 40,000 plays in a year. We'll show a tape that will have four or five plays that would warrant suspension. This is not a widespread situation.' Added Vincent, a former NFL defensive back: 'When you see the plays, they are catastrophic. We had two players who did not return for the season. They are high-impact plays that belong out of the game. It will be a real point of emphasis this season.' ___ For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
  • John Thompson III was fired as Georgetown's basketball coach Thursday after two consecutive losing seasons at the school his father led to a national championship. Thompson said in a statement released by agent David Falk that he was 'honored' to have been the Hoyas' coach and proud of what his players have 'accomplished on the court and how they are thriving since leaving Georgetown.' 'Georgetown Basketball has been a part of my life since 1972,' Thompson's statement said, referring to the year his father took over as the Hoyas' coach, 'which makes this moment even more impactful, but I look forward to my next chapter.' School president John DeGioia told Thompson on Thursday he would not be brought back next year at a basketball program strongly associated with his last name. 'Our tradition of excellence as a university will forever be inextricably linked with John and his family,' DeGioia said in a statement. 'We are committed to taking the necessary steps to strengthen our program and maintaining the highest levels of academic integrity and national competitiveness.' Thompson, known as 'JT3,' was Georgetown's head coach for 13 seasons, including a run to the Final Four in 2007 with future NBA players Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert on the roster. But he went a combined 29-36 the past two years, with some of those defeats punctuated by crowd chants of 'Fire Thompson!' What had once been unimaginable — a Thompson being sent away from Georgetown — became a topic of conversation among the team's fans as the losses mounted. When the subject was broached with Thompson after a defeat against defending national champion Villanova, a team spokesman jumped in to say: 'Leave it to game-related questions, please.' The Hoyas' 14-18 record this season included six losses in a row to finish and marked the team's worst winning percentage since the 1950s. They went 15-18 a year ago, losing seven of their last eight games. 'We're not going to keep rehashing last year,' Thompson said before the start of this season. 'A lot of introspection where you just stop and, from top to bottom, look at everything: How you do things, how you approach things, how we should change things, how you should alter things. ... We have to make some changes on how things were done, and we have. We're in the process of doing it.' Not quickly enough, apparently. Thompson's record was 278-151 at Georgetown, with eight trips to the NCAA Tournament. Since that lone Final Four appearance a decade ago, the Hoyas had several missteps at the Big Dance, going 3-6 and never winning more than one game in any single bracket. There were plenty of memorable exits against low-seeded opponents such as Florida Gulf Coast and Ohio. His father, John Thompson Jr., led the Hoyas to 20 trips to the NCAAs, three Final Fours and a national title in 1984 with Patrick Ewing at center while coaching the team from 1972-99. 'Big John,' as many call him, has been a visible and vocal presence at Georgetown's games during his son's tenure, often sitting in on news conferences and interjecting his thoughts from the back of the room. Georgetown's new on-campus practice facility, which was opened with a dedication ceremony in October, is named after the older Thompson. ___ AP Sports Writer Stephen Whyno contributed to this report.
  • The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times local): 2:15 p.m. The White House says the New England Patriots will visit next month. Spokesman Sean Spicer said Thursday that the 2017 Super Bowl champions will stop by the White House on April 19. Patriots owner Bob Kraft joined President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One last week, although it's unclear if the visit was discussed. A number of players said they will boycott a White House visit. Trump responded to the planned boycott by some players even before a visit was officially announced. He told Fox News, 'They're taking a lot of heat. But you know what? They're also getting a lot of popularity out of it.' Spicer, a native of Rhode Island, said he was 'proud' to make the announcement. ___ 12:50 p.m. President Donald Trump and Denmark's prime minister have a scheduled a White House meeting for next Thursday. White House press secretary Sean Spicer says the March 30 visit by Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen will fall on the eve of the 100th anniversary of Denmark formally ceding the U.S. Virgin Islands to the United States. Spicer says Trump and Rasmussen will discuss bilateral relations, defeating the Islamic State group, and the defense and security relationship between their countries, bilaterally and through NATO. The meeting comes as tensions between Turkey and the Netherlands run high over the Dutch authorities' refusal to allow Turkish ministers to hold campaign meetings to address Turkish citizens before an April 16 referendum on expanding the powers of the Turkish president.
  • An appeals court overturned the conviction of a former Baylor football player whose sexual assault case helped ignite a scandal that engulfed the nation's largest Baptist school. The Texas 10th Court of Appeals said in a ruling Wednesday that text messages between the accuser and friend should not have been excluded from the testimony in Sam Ukwuachu's 2015 trial in Waco. The court ordered that a new trial be held for the former standout defensive end for the Bears. The accuser exchanged text messages with a friend before and after the offense. But the trial court two years ago allowed testimony based only on the texts that came afterward, in which the accuser told her friend that Ukwuachu raped her. But Ukwuachu argued that the earlier texts showed the woman had consented to sex. 'In this case, the text messages were made immediately prior to the offense and appeared to potentially relate to prior occasions where the victim and Ukwuachu had engaged in some type of sexual conduct,' justices determined in their ruling. John Clune, the attorney for the woman, said Thursday in an email that the justices issued an 'unfortunate ruling' that ultimately will be decided by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, which is the highest criminal court in the state. 'The trial court ruled that these text messages had no bearing on consent and we remain optimistic that the higher court will agree,' Clune said. 'Either way, the victim will continue to cooperate with the prosecution and see this case to its proper end.' Ukwuachu was sentenced to six months in jail but ended up serving an abbreviated sentence. Ukwuachu's lawyer, William Bratton III, said the former player had 'great confidence' his conviction would be overturned. 'He needs a fairer run at this case than he had the first time,' Bratton said. A spokeswoman for the McLennan County district attorney's office declined to comment, saying a statement may be released later Thursday. Ukwuachu transferred from Boise State University in 2013 after being dismissed for unspecified reasons, but never played for Baylor. He was ineligible in 2013 and suspended in 2014. Media coverage of his case and the 2014 sexual assault conviction of another former player, Tevin Elliott, led the school to hire Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton to investigate how the university and the football program handled reports of assault. The university faces several lawsuits from women who say Baylor mishandled, ignored or suppressed their claims of assault for years, including several cases involving football players. The school also faces a federal civil rights investigation. ___ Jim Vertuno in Austin contributed to this report. ___ Follow David Warren on Twitter at https://twitter.com/WarrenJourno
  • A Virginia high school baseball team in desperate need of equipment finally got the help they needed. John Marshall High School coach Brent Butler told local TV station WTVR that his team needed essential equipment, like gloves, cleats and bats.  >> Read more trending news He said he’s seen his team make big strides in recent weeks, but now they need equipment. The committed coach got so desperate he said that he took to Facebook to ask the community for donations. “It’s been really beneficial so far,” said Butler because donations are starting to trickle in. WTVR stepped up to the plate, too, and presented the coach with a gift of $500. “We know you have gotten some things and that helps, but we wanted to help as well,” WTVR reporter Lane Casadonte said.  Butler said he was caught off guard and surprised by the gift. “This is going to be really beneficial… I thought you guys were here for the weather!” Butler joked.  
  • Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth face what could amount to elimination day at the Dell Technologies Match Play. Both lost their opening matches at Austin Country Club. Even with two rounds remaining in group play, neither can afford to lose if he wants a chance at advancing into the weekend of single elimination. McIlroy is the No. 2 seed who won in 2015 and reached the semifinals last year. Spieth is the No. 5 seed. He played poorly in a 4-and-2 loss to Hideto Tanihara, and on Thursday faced another Japanese player in Yuta Ikeda. McIlroy played Gary Woodland, whom he beat in the championship match at Harding Park two years ago. A year ago, only one player who lost his opening match advanced out of his group.
  • A good luck tweet from Kristi Yamaguchi to former Olympic figure skating teammate Nancy Kerrigan is drawing online attention. Kerrigan is competing on the current season of 'Dancing with the Stars.' Yamaguchi tweeted to Kerrigan on Monday, 'Can't wait to see you grace that ballroom floor,' before adding 'break a leg.' Ahead of the 1994 Winter Olympics, Kerrigan was hit in the leg with a crowbar by a man hired by the ex-husband of fellow Team USA skater Tonya Harding. Social media users quickly took notice of the wording and responded with memes to express disbelief at Yamaguchi's words. Yamaguchi's spokeswoman says in a statement that 'Kristi loves Nancy' and 'no ill will was intended.

Latest Bulldog News

  • There will be a new policy in place for football fans who go to games at Sanford Stadium later this year. The University of Georgia says it will be following Southeastern Conference guidelines and requiring fans to bring items into the Stadium and other athletic venues in clear plastic bags. UGA says the policy will be in place for the April 22 G-Day spring football game.  From the University of Georgia…   In the interest of public safety and to expedite entry into its venues, the UGA Athletic Association will begin to implement the Southeastern Conference Clear Bag Policy in 2017. This policy will be in effect at the annual G-Day intrasquad football game on April 22. It will go into effect permanently for the 2017-18 competition season and will include all UGA venues that host ticketed events: Sanford Stadium (football), Stegeman Coliseum (men’s & women’s basketball, gymnastics) and Foley Field (baseball). Following are the basics concerning the Clear Bag Policy: > These bags will be permitted inside UGA athletic events: Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl, or PVC and do not exceed 12”x6”x12”. One-gallon clear plastic freezer bags. Small clutch bags, with or without a handle or strap, that do not exceed 4.5” x 6.5”. Bags that contain necessary medical items, which must be inspected and approved at a designated gate. > Each ticket holder is allowed one large clear bag such as a one-gallon Ziploc style bag or clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bag that does not exceed 12” x 6” x 12”, plus a small clutch purse > Prohibited bags include, but are not limited to: purses larger than a clutch bag, briefcases, backpacks, cinch bags, fanny packs that are not clear and/or exceed the size restriction, luggage, computer bags/cases, camera bags/cases, binocular bags/cases, or any bag larger than the permissible size. > Several SEC schools began implementing this policy in the 2016 school year. All SEC schools will have this policy in place by the 2017-18 school year. > Fans can still carry items such as binoculars, smart phones, tablets and cameras (with lenses shorter than four inches), so long as they are not in a bag or carrying case. > Seat cushions -- without arms or pockets -- will still be permitted into the venues. Fans may also bring in blankets during cold weather events, provided they carry them in over an arm or shoulder to allow for easy screening upon entry. > More information on this new policy can be found at the following website: http://georgiadogs.com/clear-bag-policy/
  • From UGA Sports Communications KENNESAW, GA.--- Georgia defeated Kennesaw State 9-6 Tuesday in a game called after six innings due to rain and lightning at Stillwell Stadium.  The Bulldogs (9-13) scored in each of the first four frames, building a 9-4 edge. Both teams planned to use several pitchers as part of a staff night. Seven Bulldogs pitchers saw action while the Owls (8-12) employed five on the mound. Georgia senior Andrew Gist pitched a perfect inning for the win to even his record to 1-1 and junior Blake Cairnes notched his first save of the year. KSU starter Chris Erwin got the loss, allowing four runs on three hits in two innings.   Georgia junior first baseman Keegan McGovern paced the 10-hit attack, going 4-for-4 with three runs scored. Six Bulldogs drove in a run including a pair by freshman Aaron Schunk while freshman Austin Biggar connected for his second home run.    Georgia returns to action Friday for its SEC home opener against 16th-ranked Auburn. First pitch is slated for 7:02 pm EDT and be available on SEC Network+ and the Bulldog Sports Network from IMG.   Dawg Tracks *Junior 1B Keegan McGovern enjoyed a 4-for-4 night with two doubles and an RBI. *Freshmen CF Tucker Maxwell extended his on base streak to 17 games with a walk to start the contest.  *Sophomore DH Michael Curry extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single in the third inning.  *Freshman SS Cam Shepherd now has a seven-game hitting streak after a single in the first.    Coach's Corner: Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin “I thought we swung the bats well tonight, and we were able to put pressure on them right from the start. Keegan McGovern had a good night at the plate going 4-for-4. Everybody in our lineup got on base and contributed and seven different guys scored. On the mound, it was good to see the way Andrew Gist and Blake Cairnes pitched a clean inning after Kennesaw State started chipping away at our lead.”
  • As his Georgia Bulldogs continue the spring practice sessions that began Tuesday, coach Kirby Smart prepares to host a coaching clinic. Coaches from the NFL, college, and high school levels will keynote the annual UGA Coaches Clinic hosted by Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart and his staff scheduled for March 30, 31 and April 1.   The UGA Coaches Clinic is a comprehensive, three-day clinic that will feature presentations from outstanding coaches representing all levels of the industry. This annual clinic is an ideal setting for middle school and high school coaches to socialize, “talk ball,” and share ideas with college and NFL coaches.   Featured NFL coaches on the program include Tampa Bay Bucaneers head coach Dirk Koetter, Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher, New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, and Atlanta Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong. North Dakota State head coach Chris Klieman, who led his team to the 2014 and 2015 national FCS championships, is also on the schedule along with former College Football Hall of Fame kicker Kevin Butler.   Georgia 2016 state championship coaches scheduled include Jonathan Gess, Eagles Landing Christian Academy; Danny Britt, Benedictine Military School; Jermaine Smith, Cedar Grove High School; Joey King, Cartersville High School; John Reid, Rome High School; Alan Rodemaker, Valdosta High School; and Jeff Herron, Grayson High School (now at T.L. Hanna High in Anderson, SC). In addition, Adrian Snow, West Forsyth High School, Cemmons, NC, and Gabe Infante, St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia, PA, are on the clinic program.   Attendees will have the opportunity to attend breakout sessions, participate with the UGA coaching staff during chalk talks and enjoy great food and fellowship at the clinic socials. Participants will enhance their knowledge of all aspects of the game through break-out sessions with guest speakers covering philosophy and scheme and by participating in the chalk talks led by each member of the UGA staff.   The 2017 clinic also offers the unique opportunity to join the UGA staff on the field for two spring practice sessions. Attendees can get an up-close look at on-field demonstrations, position-specific drills and overall practice scripting and format.   The entire UGA coaching staff — as well as the Directors of Strength & Conditioning, Recruiting Operations, Sports Medicine and Player Development — will be available to answer questions.
  • 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. 
  • From UGA Sports Communications BATON ROUGE--- Sixth-ranked LSU defeated Georgia 7-6 Sunday at Alex Box Stadium in front of a crowd of 10,608.   Georgia (8-13, 0-3 SEC) led 2-1 following a two-run home run by freshman Will Proctor in the fifth. However, the Tigers (16-5, 3-0 SEC) responded in their half of the frame, scoring three runs on one hit plus two bases-loaded walks for a 4-2 advantage. Bulldog freshman Aaron Schunk delivered a two-out, RBI-single in the sixth to make it a one-run contest. In the sixth, LSU scored a run without the benefit of a hit as the first three batters were hit by a pitch and then Greg Deichmann picked up an RBI with a sacrifice fly and a 5-3 lead.   Georgia had a chance to rally in the seventh, loading the bases with one out. Junior Keegan McGovern notched an RBI when he was hit by a pitch, however Michael Curry lined into a double play, which kept the Tigers in front 5-4. LSU added a pair of unearned runs in the seventh. Georgia rallied in the ninth to make it a one-run contest as Tucker Maxwell and Cam Shepherd picked up an RBI apiece but the tying run was stranded at third.   LSU freshman Eric Walker (3-0) picked up the win, pitching six while Chase Adkins dropped to 3-1. Caleb Gilbert allowed two runs in the ninth but got his second save.   Up next, Georgia travels to Kennesaw State Tuesday with first pitch slated for 5 pm EDT and be available on the Bulldog Sports Network from IMG.   Dawg Tracks *Freshmen CF Tucker Maxwell extended his on base streak to 16 games with an RBI-double in the ninth.  *Freshman 2B Will Proctor gave the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead in the fifth with a two-run blast, his third of the year.  *Sophomore DH Michael Curry extended his hitting streak to seven games with a base hit in the fourth inning. *Freshman SS Cam Shepherd went 7-for-15 in the series. Over the last 10 games, he is batting .422 (19-for-45).   Coach's Corner Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott Stricklin “We had some really good at bats late in the game. We battled and competed and came up short. The story today and yesterday was just giving too much away against a good team. We’re not taking advantage of our opportunities and playing clean baseball, and our opponents are, and that’s the difference. We’re starting to see some guys step up, but bottom line, we need to do it as a team.”