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Latest from Sam Franco

    Sam gives his thoughts on UGA’s beat down of Georgia Tech. 
  • Humility is only a week away… It’s been Kirby Smart’s mantra all season long when talking about the success that Georgia Football has had in 2017. Week in and week out, Georgia has taken care of their opponents with relative ease. The game at Notre Dame was tough, and South Carolina provided a tougher test than most thought they would, but other than that, it’s been smooth sailing for the Dawgs. Well, smooth sailing hit the eye of the storm in Auburn, Alabama on Saturday. The Tigers dominated the Dawgs in every way possible and proved that they have come a long way since blowing a big lead against LSU. Here’s what I saw from an awful performance from Georgia: 1. Well, it was a good start: I wanted to start off on a good note, because the only thing Georgia did well in this game was putting points on the board on their first drive. If you had told me this game would go the way it did after watching the Dawgs’ first turn on offense, I would have said you were crazy. Jake Fromm was 3 for 3 on the drive for 56 yards, including a big third down pass to Javon Wims. The two of them have developed a very good understanding of each other, and Fromm has become comfortable throwing jump balls to Wims because of his ability to come down with a bunch of them. Unfortunately, Georgia never came close to replicating the success of the first drive at any point during the rest of the game.  2. Complete and utter domination: After that first drive, Auburn took control of this game and at no point looked like they would give it back. The Tigers more than doubled up Georgia in terms of total yards and outgained Georgia on the ground 237 to 46 (net rushing yards). Kerryon Johnson alone ran for 167 yards while the trio of Chubb, Michel, and Swift only combined for 66 yards for the Dawgs. In the passing game, Georgia couldn’t keep Jake Fromm upright as he was sacked four times and pressured a bunch more. At times, football is a very simple game. If you keep your quarterback protected, hit/pressure the other team’s quarterback, and control the game on the ground, you’re going to win a lot more than you lose. That was the formula for Auburn in this game, and they executed about as well as I’ve seen any team in the country this season.  3. There’s a first time for everything: Two things that have been a hallmark of Georgia Football this season are discipline and fundamental execution. Unfortunately, both of those were essentially non-existent against Auburn. Georgia kept shooting themselves in the foot with dumb penalty after dumb penalty. One that comes to mind was a late hit out of bounds by Malkom Parrish, but the glaring one was D’Andre Walker’s leaping penalty while trying to block a punt. Georgia’s defense had done a good job to force the punt and get off the field. After the penalty, Jarrett Stidham would hit Darius Slayton on a 42-yard pass for a touchdown. These players are told over and over again what they can and can’t do in those punt block situations, so Walker’s penalty was extra maddening. Another thing we had not seen this season was Georgia missing tackles. Kerryon Johnson did a great job of making defenders miss and might prove to be the best back the Dawgs have faced/will face all season.  4. Second-guessing: One of the more talked about things from this game was the way the Dawgs handled the end of the first half. Instead of taking a few shots into the end zone, Georgia was content with settling for a field goal when attempting to put some points on the board before the half. At the time, Auburn led 16-7 and was going to get the ball to start the 2nd half. Georgia had good field position due to a good Mecole Hardman that put the ball at Auburn’s 26-yard line with about 22 seconds left in the half. Georgia then ran the ball with Sony Michel and spiked the ball to give Rodrigo Blankenship time for the kick, a kick that he would ultimately miss. I actually said to a few people near me in the press box that there was no chance that kick was going to go in. It just didn’t feel like it was the right thing to do in that situation. If you take a few shots at the end zone and then kick, it would have felt much better. It just felt like Georgia was resigned to taking the three, and that was disheartening.  5. Taming the savages: For me, this was the most shocking part of this game. Georgia’s defense has been DOMINANT all season long, but they were the exact opposite of that against Auburn. Auburn moved the ball seemingly at will against the Dawgs, whether it was through the air or on the ground. I’ve already mentioned how Kerryon Johnson could not be stopped, but neither could Jarrett Stidham. I was talking with Coach Donnan about this game, and he made a great point: It’s hard to have a consistent pass rush against a team that constantly runs RPOs (run-pass options), especially if you have a quarterback that is good a pre-snap reads. Stidham called a great game in that regard, and constantly had Georgia’s defense guessing.  6. Roadblock in Lee County: The two strongest elements of Georgia’s team this season have been the defense and the run game. I just talked about how Auburn’s offense dominated Georgia’s defense, and you can flip the words “offense” and “defense” there and the same held true. Two of the best backs in the country (Sony Michel and Nick Chubb) had no room to run against the Tigers. The offensive line was flat out horrible in this game. As soon as Georgia’s backs would hit the line of scrimmage, they were met with a host of blue jerseys. There just weren’t any holes for Chubb and Michel to operate in. D’Andre Swift has also been a big part of Georgia’s offense this season, particularly in catching passes out of the backfield. He had zero catches against Auburn and only ran for 18 yards on four carries (which resulted in a yards per carry average that was two yards better than either Chubb or Michel). When you’re a team that leads with the run and can’t run, it’s not going to be a good day for you.  7. Keep Chopping: Was this a bad result for Georgia? Absolutely. A lot of the national media had been questioning Georgia in the lead up to this game, and those doubters were given a lot of ammunition as a result of it. That being said, Georgia still has everything in front of them. If they win the last two games of the regular season against Kentucky and Tech and go on to win the SEC Championship, they WILL be in the College Football playoff. This is where Coach Smart’s “keep chopping wood” slogan comes in handy. Georgia just has to keep working hard and preparing well for each opponent. Even if Georgia doesn’t win the SEC Championship this season, they are still well set up to be in a good bowl game and are ahead of where I thought they would be at this point in Kirby Smart’s tenure as head coach. The future is bright for this program with the recruiting classes the Dawgs are building, but let’s not give up on this season just yet as a lot of different scenarios could still play out. During his press conference this week, Coach Smart spoke very little about the Auburn game, as he, his staff, and his team have moved on to Kentucky. I suggest all of you in DawgNation do the same. There’s still A LOT left to play for and that starts against the boys from the Bluegrass on Saturday.  
  • Sam gives his thoughts on Georgia’s destruction of Florida in Jacksonville
  • Sam gives his thoughts on another big Georgia win, this time against Mizzou
  • Sam gives his thoughts on UGA’s domination of Vanderbilt. 
  • Sam gives his thoughts on UGA’s beat down of the Vols. 
  • Sam gives his thoughts on Georgia’s blowout victory over Mississippi State.
  • Sam gives his thoughts on Georgia’s historic win over Notre Dame in South Bend. 
  • Sam’s thoughts on Georgia starting the season off with a dominating win over App State. 
  • According to a report in the Palm Beach Post, former UGA football coach Mark Richt will pay $1 million of his own money towards an indoor practice facility for the University of Miami. During his tenure in charge of the Bulldogs, the indoor practice facility topic was one that caused a lot of angst, and this will certainly grab the attention of UGA fans. Check out the story from the Palm Beach Post. 
  • Sam Franco

    Morning Show Co-Host

    An ATLien by birth, Sam makes no apologies for being a long-suffering Atlanta sports homer. Having grown up in Decatur, a short ten minute drive from downtown Atlanta, he's seen the good (the 1995 Braves World Series triumph), the bad (the Hawks years under Lon Kruger and Terry Stotts), and the ugly (the Falcons for, well, most of his life on this earth).

    Sam is a proud Double Dawg who earned his bachelor of arts degree from the Grady College at UGA in Broadcast News in 2009 and his Master's degree in Sports Management at UGA in 2014. In addition to his work here at The Ref, Sam is also the Public Address Announcer for UGA Men's and Women's basketball, Baseball, and Soccer.

    When he's not working, you can probably find Sam at a concert or festival, as he is an avid live music fan. Last, but certainly not least, he is very proud of his Hispanic heritage, as his father was born in Ecuador.

    Read More

Georgia Sports News

  • ATHENS Former Georgia football receiver Jeremiah 'J.J.' Holloman has entered his name into the NCAA transfer portal after being dismissed from the Bulldogs team last Friday. Holloman was set to be the go-to target on a Georgia team expected to compete for the SEC championship this season before a police report surfaced in which he allegedly admitted to striking an ex-girlfriend following the 2018 UGA G-Day game. The victim did not file a report of the incident that allegedly occurred on April 22, 2018, with the University of Georgia Police Department until June 2, 2019. The police report states that the victim 'did not want to pursue an investigation for this incident' and 'wouldn't want him to be subject to criminal charges.' Due to that, the police report lists the case as 'inactive.' Georgia coach Kirby Smart issued a statement after the police report surfaced in the media, first in Holloman's hometown paper, the Covington News. 'We expect every member of our team to uphold the highest standards and values of the University of Georgia and Georgia football,' Smart said. 'It is disappointing when this does not happen.' RELATED: Georgia title hopes take hit, transfers must step up The Bulldogs lost three receivers to the NFL Draft along with their top receiving tight end from the 2018 season. Holloman's dismissal leaves Georgia without its top five pass catchers from last season. Georgia will likely lean heaviest on incoming Miami graduate transfer Lawrence Cager, along with 2018 transfer Demetris Robertson and returning senior Tyler Simmons at the start of fall camp. UGA also added Tennessee graduate transfer tight end Eli Wolf. The Bulldogs also lost three players to transfers during this offseason. Backup freshman quarterback Justin Fields elected to transfer to Ohio State, freshman tight end Luke Ford chose to transfer back to his home state of Illinois, and reserve linebacker Jaden Hunter transferred to Western Kentucky. Fields was granted immediate eligibility with the Buckeyes, but Ford's request for a waiver to play immediately has been denied. Ford had high-profile attorney Tom Mars helping him make his case, leaving some surprised by the result. Mars helped paved the way for Fields' successful bid to gain immediate eligibility. Hunter played in only four games last season, which constitutes a redshirt under new NCAA rules. Former Georgia defensive back Deangelo Gibbs was suspended indefinitely when he transferred to the University of Tennessee, where he will be eligible to play this season. Former UGA reserve safety Tray Bishop, once a 4-star U.S. Army All-American recruit from Dawson, Ga, is also in the transfer portal. Bishop took part in the 2018 G-Day Game before being arrested in May of 2018 as a result of a 2017 incident. He did not appear in any games for Georgia. The post Former Georgia WR Jeremiah J.J.' Holloman enters NCAA transfer portal, his case inactive appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia basketball freshman Anthony 'Antman' Edwards has yet to play a second in a college game, but already, he's a legend in the making. RELATED: High-flying Antman' dazzles in McDonald's All-American Game Edwards, who's expected to start for Coach Tom Crean's Bulldogs this season, is being projected as the No. 1 overall pick by Bleacher Report in its 'Way-Too-Soon 2020 NBA Lottery Mock Draft.' 'He's a scoring 2-guard with secondary playmaking ability in the mold of Victor Oladipo,' writes Jonathan Wasserman, comparing the UGA freshman to the top-five NBA pick Crean developed at Indiana. 'Edwards has developed into a ball-screen weapon who can also create his own shot with drives, pull-ups and step-backs.' Edwards recently sat down with the WSB Bulldogs Game Day show and made it clear his mindset is to make it about 'team' at Georgia. 'I came to Georgia where we're a team, we were all highly recruited,' said Edwards, a consensus top-five national recruit out of Atlanta's Holy Spirit Prepatory School. 'We're in this together, no one is separate, and I love all my guys,' he said. 'We're all gelling together, getting to know each other, spending time with each other, building our chemistry and trying to get better as a team.' How's life at @UGABasketball with all the new recruits now in Athens? Here's Ant Man, Anthony Edwards! Go Dawgs! More on the Dawgs Saturdays at 10am on @WSBbulldogs on @wsbtv. pic.twitter.com/Gx2fUcZ4Ek Bulldogs Game Day (@WSBbulldogs) June 25, 2019 Some of that time together has been spent on the football field for conditioning, pushing sleds. DAWG SLEDS pic.twitter.com/SscBZ1PPCL Georgia Basketball (@UGABasketball) June 25, 2019 'We're gonna really kick the training up this offseason after this mandatory seven-day break,' Crean said after last season. 'This is not going to be business as usual.' The post WATCH: Georgia basketball's Anthony Antman' Edwards already projected No. 1 in NBA draft appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Former Georgia baseball players have made their professional debuts.
  • ATHENS It has been said that perception can overtake reality, and while in some instances that's true, it doesn't apply to SEC football. So while it's always a fun read to pick up the preseason magazines, people do so knowing the season will bear out where teams really stand, and how good players and position groups really are. That said, it's worth reviewing how Nashville-based Athlon Magazine editors Steven Lassan and Mitch Light view Georgia, from their preseason rank, to how they think the Bulldogs' position groups stack up. Georgia is the magazine's preseason No. 3 team, and Athlon is predicting the Bulldogs run the table in the regular season before losing to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. That seems to be the most common narrative across the country: Until the Bulldogs finish the job and beat the Crimson Tide, people won't be convinced. RELATED: Tebow says Kirby ahead of schedule, but needs to beat Bama Never mind that Georgia has led or been tied with the Tide118 minutes and 54 seconds of 120 minutes and 281 of 290 plays of the past two meetings in the CFP title game and SEC title game. Here's where Athlon has the Georgia position groups ranked among the top five, and a quick take on whether it's too high, or too low: Running backs 1. Alabama; 2. Georgia; 3. Florida; 4. Vanderbilt; 5. Auburn About right. If the UGA backfield stays healthy QB Jake Fromm and D'Andre Swift the Bulldogs will beat Alabama in the SEC Championship Game and can claim the best RB unit. Wide receivers 1. Alabama; 2. Florida; 3. Texas A&M; 4. LSU; 5. Missouri Too low. The rankings go seven deep, and Georgia is among those seven. It's understandable, but considering how transfers Lawrence Cager and Demetris Robertson project, UGA should be top 5. Offensive line 1. Georgia; 2. Alabama; 3. Missouri; 4. Auburn; 5. LSU. Spot on. Georgia has six offensive linemen returning with starting experience, including three former FWAA Freshman All-Americans. Four of the five projected starters are likely top 100 NFL Draft picks in 2020. Defensive line 1. Auburn, 2. Alabama; 3. Florida; 4. Texas A&M; 5. LSU; 6. Georgia About right. Sophomore Jordan Davis ranks is a rising star, but this is UGA's weakest group, and that's alarming considering there are five seniors in the rotation. Linebackers 1. Alabama; 2. Georgia; 3. LSU; 4. Mississippi State; 5. Florida Too high. Tae Crowder leads unsettled group. Can Monty Rice stay healthy? Sort out: Azeez Ojulari, Nolan Smith, Brenton Cox, Jermaine Johnson, Adam Anderson, Walter Grant, Nakobe Dean, Channing Tindall, Robert Beal Jr., Quay Walker and Nate McBride. Defensive backs 1. LSU, 2. Florida, 3. Alabama, 4. Georgia, 5. Auburn. Too low. Richard LeCounte and J.R. Reed are the best safety duo in the league, and Eric Stokes and Tyson Campbell rank among the league's best cornerbacks. There's quality depth, as well, with Otis Reese, Divaad Wilson, and Tyrique McGhee pushing, and newcomers DJ Daniel and Tyrique Stevenson impressing. The post Georgia football position groups SEC ranking with Athlon, too high or too low appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Welcome to Good Day, UGA , your one-stop shop for Georgia footballnews and takes. Check us out every weekday morning for everything you need to know about Georgia football, recruiting, basketball and more. The best former 3-star, 4-star and 5-star prospects on the Georgia football team All recruiting rankings are based on 247Sports Composite rankings 3-star recruit: J.R. Reed, senior safety Despite all of Georgia's recruiting success over the past three cycles, Georgia will still be getting a number of contributions from 3-star recruits in 2019. On the offensive side of the ball, Solomon Kindley will be holding things down at left guard. He's started double-digit games in each of the last two seasons, and barring an injury will do so again. Running back Brian Herrien also figures to play an important role, as does wide receiver Tyler Simmons, following the dismissal of Jeremiah Holloman. But it's on the defensive side of the ball where there is even more 3-star talent. Monty Rice is expected to be a starter at one of the inside linebacker spots. Cornerback Eric Stokes had an excellent spring after a strong close to the 2018 season. And he might not even end up being the best 3-star prospect in the secondary, with senior J.R. Reed entering his third season as a starter. Reed wasn't highly thought of as a recruit or as a transfer from Tulsa. But he's become a key piece in the Georgia secondary. After bypassing the 2019 NFL Draft, Reed is expected to be a leader for the Georgia defense in 2019. And it's a challenge that the former No. 1856th ranked prospect in the country is ready for entering his final season in Athens. 'I have to take my role more seriously,' Reed said of his senior season. 'It is a different role than I have had in the past. Now, a lot of it comes on your shoulders. We just have to get everybody leaning in the same direction.' Related: Georgia safety J.R. Reed puts NFL dream on hold to pursue championship goals with Bulldogs 4-star recruit: Andrew Thomas, junior offensive tackle In the four recruiting classes that Kirby Smart has signed, he's landed a total of 58 4-star prospects. Some of them have played well above that already high ranking, as several multi-year starters on Georgia's 2019 team were 4-star recruits. Perhaps the most important 4-star recruit Smart has landed is quarterback Jake Fromm. He was ranked as the No. 44 overall player in the 2017 class, just missing out on 5-star status. In his two seasons at Georgia, he's racked up 23 wins as a starter and thrown 54 touchdown passes. Defensively, nose guard Jordan Davis proved to be a huge difference-maker on the defensive line last season, while outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari has been pegged as a possible breakout player by ESPN. But in terms of pure talent and how they rank amongst their peers, there is no better 4-star recruit on Georgia's 2019 roster than left tackle Andrew Thomas. As a freshman, he started every game at right tackle for a team that played for a national championship. As a sophomore, he started 13 games at left tackle and earned First Team All-SEC honors in doing so. As a recruit, he was the No. 45 overall prospect in the 2017 class, one spot below Fromm. Next April, he's got a very realistic chance of being the first offensive tackle taken in the NFL draft. And while Thomas might not grab or garner a ton of headlines, he might end up being the most talented player on Georgia's team, regardless of their high school recruiting ranking. 5-star recruit: D'Andre Swift, junior running back Georgia has signed 18 5-star recruits under Smart, the most in the country. He's signed a 5-star prospect at every position group and in 2019 signed the No. 1 overall player in the country in Nolan Smith. Guys like offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson and safety Richard LeCounte are both entering their second seasons as starters. Linebacker Nakobe Dean and Smith had standout springs for Georgia. And given Holloman's dismissal, there's a chance we're talking a lot about freshman wide receiver George Pickens come the end of the 2019 season. But running back D'Andre Swift like he often does against opposing defense has put a healthy gap between himself in the field. After rushing for over 600 yards in his freshman season, he topped the 1,000-yard mark as a sophomore. Swift was rated as the No. 33 overall prospect in the 2017 class and just barely earned his 5-star status. Related: NFL draft expert explains what 2 traits really help D'Andre Swift shine Swift is expected to be the focal point of the Georgia offense heading into his junior and possibly final season in Athens. If he can improve off of what he did in 2018, there's going to be a very good chance that Georgia has an incredibly special 2019. UGA WR commit Marcus Rosemy wins Rivals Five-Star Challenge MVP Georgia wide receiver Marcus Rosemy isn't a 5-star prospect. But after his performance in Atlanta on Tuesday, he might be headed that way. Rosemy was named the wide receiver MVP of the Rivals Five-Star Challenge, which featured some of the top wide receiver prospects in the country. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native showed off some of his impressive ball skills in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. #UGA commit Marcus Rosemy comes to #Rivals5StarChallenge against a field of the nation's best and walks away as wide receiver MVP. Earned it. pic.twitter.com/hUvSuBOCio Jake Reuse (@ReuseRecruiting) June 25, 2019 Recent 4-star UGA commit WR Marcus Rosemy and QB Brock Vandagriff have been on the same page so far in the #Rivals5StarChallenge 7-on-7 tournament. This was 1 of 3 connections this drive. @ReuseRecruiting @SmallwoodTrent @patrickgarbin @UGASportscom pic.twitter.com/WbqP9AastQ Jack Austin (@jackaustin663) June 25, 2019 #UGA WR commit Marcus Rosemy pulls down the tough grab. #RivalsChallenge pic.twitter.com/4Iy9qPceBw Trent Smallwood (@SmallwoodTrent) June 25, 2019 Rosemy committed to the Bulldogs last week, as he ended up picking Georgia over the Florida Gators. He is rated as the No. 6 overall wide receiver in the class and the No. 39 overall prospect. If he were to just remain at those rankings, he would be the third highest ranked wide receiver Georgia has signed in the past decade, behind only 2019 signees George Pickens and Dominick Blaylock. Related: Expectations rise for freshmen George Pickens, Dominick Blaylock following Jeremiah Holloman dismissal Rosemy is the highest rated of the three wide receiver commits in Georgia's 2020 recruiting class. The other two wide receivers in the class are 4-star prospect Justin Robinson and 3-star prospect Corey Wren. Like Rosemy, Wren also committed to the program last week. Georgia has the No. 4 overall recruiting class in the 2020 cycle, behind only Clemson, Alabama and LSU. Best Georgia football stories from around DawgNation Clock running on Jake Fromm, Georgia receivers, to get in championship form WATCH: Carson Beck shares his connection to Georgia's 1980 national championship team The 5 most important games on Georgia football's 2019 schedule Numbers show if Georgia is to make the College Football Playoff, it will need new No. 1 receiver to emerge 4-star OL Akinola Ogunbiyi explains his flip to Texas A&M Greg McGarity addresses Kirby Smart's feelings about UGA-Florida venue and more Tim Tebow: Georgia football was ahead of schedule,' but needs to beat Alabama Jake Fromm, Cade Mays to play against brothers in SEC showdowns Dawgs on Twitter Looks like #DawgCountry to me! pic.twitter.com/3U9nAo4DtX Todd Hartley (@coach_thartley) June 25, 2019 DAWG SLEDS pic.twitter.com/SscBZ1PPCL Georgia Basketball (@UGABasketball) June 25, 2019 Hard work pays off Congrats @Tyefagan on being named this week's Dawg of the Week pic.twitter.com/yvUt9sIaJC Georgia Basketball (@UGABasketball) June 25, 2019 Good luck to @Awood45 as he begins rehab assignment Thurs in Louisville, been out all season due to back spasms; ready to see him back on field again with @kFarm17 and the Reds. #DGD Georgia Baseball (@BaseballUGA) June 25, 2019 Good Dawg of the Day I wish I loved doing anything as much as my dog loves rolling in grass pic.twitter.com/GWWUvHdYnU Amina Akhtar (@Drrramina) June 25, 2019 The post The best former 3-, 4- and 5-star prospects on Georgia's 2019 roster appeared first on DawgNation.