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Latest from Tim Bryant

    There is NCAA tournament basketball tonight in Athens: coach Joni Taylor’s University of Georgia Lady Dogs host the Duke Blue Devils in the second round of the women’s tournament. The game tips at 7; the winner advances to the Sweet 16.  From UGA Sports Communications... Georgia won its first NCAA tournament game since 2013 with a 68-63 win against No. 13 seed Mercer on Saturday. The victory was also the first NCAA tourney victory for Georgia under head coach Joni Taylor.    » The Lady Bulldogs’ veteran frontcourt of Caliya Robinson and Mackenzie Engram combined for 44 points and 26 rebounds against Mercer. Freshman Que Morrison added 10 points and nine rebounds in her first NCAA tournament game.    » Robinson’s 23 points on Saturday were the most for a Georgia player in a non-overtime NCAA tournament game since Tasha Humphrey scored 27 against Connecticut in 2006. Her 16 rebounds are the third-most by a Georgia player in a NCAA tournament game.    » Georgia notched its 26th victory of the season on Saturday. This marks the team’s most wins in a single season since the 2006-07 campaign.    » The Lady Bulldogs are in search of their first NCAA Sweet 16 appearance since 2013 and 21st appearance overall.    » Georgia and Duke have met three times prior in the NCAA tournament, with the Blue Devils taking wins in all three contests. The last meeting came in 2005, when Duke beat Georgia, 63-57, in the Sweet 16.    » Georgia’s defense held Mercer to just 31.8 percent shooting from the floor, marking the 25th time in 32 games this season the Lady Bulldogs have held an opponent to 40-percent or lower from the floor. It is also the eighth time in the last nine games Georgia has accomplished that feat.    » Duke represents the fourth-straight ranked opponent Georgia has faced this season. The Lady Bulldogs are 2-1 against the previous three.    » The Lady Bulldogs are hosting the first and second rounds for the 18th time in Athens and for the first time since 2003. Georgia’s No. 4 seed marks its highest seeding since 2013, when the team advanced all the way to the NCAA Elite Eight. » Georgia has now been to 33 of 37 NCAA tournaments, a total that is second nationally to Tennessee for most NCAA tournament appearances. This is the second time in three years the team has made the tournament under head coach Joni Taylor. » The Lady Bulldogs finished the regular season in a tie for second place with South Carolina in the SEC standings. It marks Georgia’s best finish in the league since the 2006-07 campaign. The Lady Bulldogs advanced to the semifinals of the SEC Tournament before falling to the Gamecocks. » Georgia earned a second-place finish after being picked eighth in the conference’s preseason poll. The turnaround from 16-15 a year ago to 24-5 during the 2017-18 season is the second largest in program history. Georgia went 16-12 in Hall of Fame Coach Andy Landers’ first year in 1979-80 after the team went just 6-19 the season before. » All six of Georgia’s losses have come against teams ranked in the top-25, with four of those coming to top-10 teams. Georgia Sunday Press Conference Quotes Head coach Joni Taylor Opening comments… “Obviously great win for us yesterday against Mercer. We’ve had a chance to watch film and prepare for a Duke team that’s really good. We’re just excited to get out here and practice in a few minutes and get ready to go. We know this is a tremendous challenge for us. Duke has a great program, has a lot of tradition and we’re excited about the opportunity to play at home again and test ourselves against a really good Duke team.”   On Duke forward Leaonna Odom and Duke’s size… “Leaonna Odom is a really good player. She provides great size, great athletic ability, and she’s an X-factor in my opinion for that team. Rebecca Greenwell is who she is. Lexi Brown is who she is. With Odom coming along with them, they are really tough. I think what you saw yesterday was her showing up and doing what she’s capable of doing. We have to do our best, so that doesn’t happen tomorrow. As for their size, they are bigger than us at every position. That’s no secret. If you look at the roster, you figure that out pretty quickly. I think we’ve been in that position this year already. It’s not anything that we really pay attention to.”   On managing the team with a short turnaround… “That’s the beauty of this team. Our seniors and our experienced players understand that. They’ve been in that situation before, so they start by managing it themselves, and managing the other players. So when we come in and talk about it, it’s just secondary at that point. I think they understand how important getting rest is, getting in the bed, getting in the hot tub or cold tub, and hydrating properly after games. All of that stuff is what we talk about all the time, so it’s just second nature at this point. Also, you’re in the tournament, and it just comes along with it. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing.”   #0 | Taja Cole | R-Soph. | G On working together with Gabby Connelly… “I’m always in Gabby’s ear whether I’m in the game, on the bench, or during a timeout. I’m just talking to her or just seeing her point of view and telling her what I think. [I’m] always encouraging her. We play on the same team but I think we have our own team, our little point guard team. We just try to stay on the same page, I pick her brain and she picks mine.”   On Lexie Brown, Rebecca Greenwell, and Duke… “We got a chance to watch the game before our game and I think Duke has a really good point guard, Lexie Brown, she knows how to get her teammates the ball. She can drive [and] she can shoot. Then you have [Rebecca] Greenwell who spreads the defense out with her deep range. We’re excited to play against them and right now we’re focusing on the plan that our coaches set up for us and we’re looking forward to playing tomorrow.”   #2 | Gabby Connally | Fr. | G On working with Taja Cole… “She’s constantly in my ear especially when I come in off the bench especially when I have a mistake or two. She just constantly picks me up and uses encouraging words. If I see something on the bench that she may not see on the floor, I try to tell her what I see so we can help each other and that in turn helps the team.”   On having Taja Cole as a role model… “I think its really important and I’m glad I have Taja [Cole] with me. Just being able to watch her on the bench at first so I could get a feel for the game, see what defense the team we’re playing is [using on] us. Seeing what sets what first on the offensive end and making sure I keep the same energy, [and] make sure we’re moving in transition.”
  • Georgia Bulldog football coach Kirby Smart claims another postseason honor: Smart, in his second season in Athens, has been named Coach of the Year by Sporting News magazine. Smart and his SEC champion Bulldogs are twenty days away from a New Year’s Day Rose Bowl playoff game against the Oklahoma Sooners.    From UGA Sports Communications… Georgia coach Kirby Smart had an unexpected visitor before the SEC championship game against Auburn on Dec. 2.   'I thought it was hilarious Bo Jackson came up to me before the game,' Smart said after the Bulldogs beat the Tigers 28-7. 'He's my childhood idol. I worshipped Bo Jackson. I had Bo Jackson posters, baseball cards. I had over 300 baseball cards of Bo Jackson. He comes up to me before the game and said, ‘A lot of pressure in this job, isn't it?''   Smart's reply?    'Hell yeah, it is.'    Smart handled that pressure. He guided the Bulldogs to a 12-1 record, their first SEC championship since 2005 and their first College Football Playoff berth. For those efforts, Smart is Sporting News' 2017 Coach of the Year.   Georgia became the first SEC East school to win the conference championship since 2008. It was a turnaround from the former Alabama defensive coordinator's first season, when the Bulldogs finished 8-5. This year, Georgia swept rivals Florida, Tennessee and Georgia Tech, won a marquee nonconference game at Notre Dame and avenged its only loss of the season in the SEC championship rematch against the Tigers.    'All those ones I won at Alabama and here, they felt awesome too because it's hard to do,' Smart said of his latest conference title. 'This one feels the same way. 'You know, it's just the psychological stamina it takes to win an SEC Championship. I don't think people really realize what you go through the entire year — going on the road, playing these intense games.'   Smart repeatedly praised a senior class that featured players such as Nick Chubb and Roquan Smith, who opted to stay in school for one more season. What was the first day like when Smart took over for Mark Richt?    'Yeah, I remember,' Chubb said. 'Happy the first day he came and spoke to us. He was busy with Alabama winning the championship, and he came in, and he just looked exhausted. We're like, 'Man, what's this man been up to?'   'Just the things he says, and he actually backs it up with his actions,' Smith added. 'It is what it is. He's an awesome guy, as you guys can see, and he knows what he's doing.'    Georgia hasn't won a national championship since 1980. That's the next challenge for Smart, who will get to take it at the Rose Bowl Game. Smart faces that pressure every day, but he clearly enjoys it. So do the players.    'That's why we do it for moments like this,' Smart said. 'All that work for moments like this for these guys to enjoy.
  • The University of Georgia says it will make the largest screen on campus available for viewing in a Saturday afternoon SEC Championship Game watch party: the party begins at 3 o’clock at the Tate Student Center. The Georgia Bulldogs kick off against the Auburn Tigers an hour later: 4 o’clock at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.  From Gabriel Burns, AJC... Auburn had few problems in a 40-17 blowout win over Georgia three weeks ago. The rematch could be closer, but the Tigers remained favored. Georgia is a 2.5-point underdog in the SEC championship, per OddShark.com. The Bulldogs were favored by that same amount prior to the first Auburn game. The Bulldogs won the SEC East in a landslide, sweeping the division for the first time by an average score of 41-12. Their lone bad day came in Auburn Nov. 11, when the Bulldogs distanced themselves from their previous clean, disciplined play that made them the No. 1 team in football. The total points is set at 49 for Saturday. Unless Auburn’s defense repeats its last performance, a shootout could be looming.
  • We are on the eve of the final home football game of the Georgia Bulldog season: the seventh-ranked Dogs host the Kentucky Wildcats in tomorrow’s SEC finale. Kickoff for UGA Senior Day is set for 3:30 in Sanford Stadium, with national television on CBS.   The senior ceremony will begin at 3:16 p.m. ET at Sanford Stadium. Kickoff for the Bulldogs’ final home game of the season is set for 3:30 p.m., with the contest nationally televised on the CBS.  The 31 seniors to be recognized are John Atkins, DL, Thomson, Ga.; Davin Bellamy, LB, Stone Mountain, Ga.; Jeb Blazevich, TE, Charlotte, N.C.; Aulden Bynum, OL, Valdosta, Ga.; Lorenzo Carter, LB, Norcross, Ga.; Reggie Carter, LB, Stone Mountain, Ga.; Nick Chubb, RB, Cedartown, Ga.; John Courson, LS, Athens, Ga.; Aaron Davis, DB, Locust Grove, Ga.; Jordan Davis, TE, Thomson, Ga.; Alex Essex, DL, Richmond, Va.; Turner Fortin, RB, Johns Creek, Ga.; Trent Frix, LS, Calhoun, Ga.; Jacob Gross, RB, Thomaston, Ga.; Carson Hall, OL, Dallas, Ga.; Daniel Harper, LB, Atlanta, Ga.; Matthew Herzwurm, LS, Augusta, Ga.; Tim Hill, DB, Atlanta, Ga.; David Marvin, K, Charlotte, N.C.; Miles McGinty, TE, Savannah, Ga.; Sony Michel, RB, Hollywood, Fla.; Cameron Nizialek, P, Chantilly, Va.; Malkom Parrish, DB, Quitman, Ga.; Christian Payne, RB, Athens, Ga.; Brice Ramsey, QB, Kingsland, Ga.; Dominick Sanders, DB, Tucker, Ga.; Dyshon Sims, OL, Valdosta, Ga.;Thomas Swilley, OL, Athens, Ga.; Shakenneth Williams, WR, Macon, Ga.; Javon Wims, WR, Miami, Fla.; Isaiah Wynn, OL, St. Petersburg, Fla.
  • The Georgia Bulldogs tumble to number seven in the latest college football playoff rankings. The previously top-ranked Dogs lost this past Saturday at Auburn; they are gearing up for this coming Saturday’s home finale, a 3:30 kickoff against the Kentucky Wildcats. This week’s top four playoff teams are Alabama, Clemson, Miami, and Oklahoma.  Former Georgia coach Mark Richt leads undefeated Miami.
  • The Georgia Bulldogs hold on to the top spot in the college football playoff rankings: it’s the second week in a row for the Dogs, with Alabama, Notre Dame, and Clemson rounding out the top four. The Bulldogs play the Auburn Tigers this coming Saturday at Auburn: 3:30 kickoff, television on CBS.  The Tigers are ranked 10th in the playoff poll. There was more movement in the bottom half of the playoff top 10, with one-loss TCU climbing to No. 6, undefeated Miami to No. 7 and undefeated Wisconsin to No. 8.
  • The first college football playoff rankings come out today, and the second-ranked Georgia Bulldogs figure to be among the top four teams. It’s those top four who will complete in the college football playoffs at the end of the season. The season continues for the Bulldogs with a Saturday home game against the South Carolina Gamecocks. The ninth game of the year kicks off at 3:30 in Sanford Stadium.  We will have to wait until this coming Sunday to learn the kick time for the Georgia Bulldogs November 11 football game at Auburn. It will either be a 3:30 game on CBS or a 7 o’clock game on ESPN.  Athens-Clarke County Police are dealing with what has become something of a dubious tradition, investigating reports of home break-ins and burglaries committed while football fans are away for the annual Georgia-Florida football game, a game that Bulldogs won 42-7. 
  • Today begins Homecoming Week at the University of Georgia. Activities that begin with this morning’s Bulldog Bash at the Tate Student Center will culminate with Saturday night’s Homecoming football game against Missouri. The game kicks off at 7:30 in Sanford Stadium.    The Georgia Bulldogs climb from 5th to 4th in the latest Associated Press college football rankings: this, after this weekend’s win at Vanderbilt. Up next: this Saturday night’s Homecoming game against the Missouri Tigers. 
  • Four players and coaches with ties to the University of Georgia will be inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in ceremonies set for next February: former Bulldog football player Champ Bailey, men’s golf coach Chris Haack, former women’s golfer Terri Moody Hancock, and swimming and track letterman Tom Cousins are part of a class that will also include Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank.  From the UGA Sports Information Office... Four athletes and coaches with ties to the University of Georgia highlight the Class of 2018 for the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.   Football standout Champ Bailey, swimming and track letterman and philanthropist Tom Cousins, current men’s golf coach Chris Haack, and women’s golf star Terri Moody Hancock were among those chosen by the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame’s Honors Court.   The additional members of the Class of 2018 are Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank, Lombardi and Outland award winner and longtime collegiate coach Tracy Rocker, Olympic gold medal sprinter Angelo Taylor and basketball standout Kenny “Sky” Walker.   The official induction will take place Saturday, Feb. 4, 2018, at the Macon City Auditorium. Tickets and sponsorships for the induction ceremony are available by calling (478) 752-1585.   Bailey, one of the most versatile players in Georgia history, starred for the Bulldogs from 1996-98. He was a consensus All-American in 1998 as he logged snaps at cornerback and receiver and on returns. Bailey won the Bronko Nagurski Award as the nation’s top defender in 1998. He also was a member of the track and field team and set a school indoor long jump record at the 1998 SEC Championship. Bailey continued his success in the NFL as a 12-time Pro Bowl performer for the Washington Redskins and the Denver Broncos. He was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2000s.   A Georgia swimming letterman in 1950 and 1951 and a member of the 1950 SEC track and field championship squad, Cousins is a real estate developer who brought the Hawks (NBA) and the Flames (NHL) to Atlanta and later spearheaded the revitalization of East Lake Golf Club, the current home of the PGA Tour Championship. The Cousins Foundation has been a generous benefactor to UGA and the Athletic Association, including gifts to endow the head coach positions for baseball and swimming and diving.   Haack is in his 22nd season as the Bulldogs’ head coach for golf. He has guided Georgia to a school-record 60 tournament titles, including two national and eight SEC championships. Haack is a 2-time National and a 5-time SEC Coach of the Year. He has produced 60 All-Americans, many of whom currently are starring on the PGA Tour. Haack previously was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America and the Georgia State Golf Association halls of fame.    Moody Hancock was the first female to receive a full athletic scholarship to Georgia. A two-time All-American, she was named 1981 National Golfer of the Year after she captured medalist honors at the AIAW National Championships that spring -- becoming the first UGA female student-athlete to claim a national title -- and leading Georgia to a runner-up finish. She finished her career with four individual titles and 12 team crowns. Moody Hancock is a member of UGA’s Circle of Honor and Women’s Golf Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame.
  • The Georgia Bulldogs begin the week as a top-five team, checking in at number five in the latest Associated Press college football poll. The Dogs, coming off their big win at Tennessee, will travel to Vanderbilt this coming Saturday. That game will kick off at noon and will be televised on ESPN. Georgia is the second highest ranked SEC team in the poll behind Alabama. The Bulldogs demolished Tennessee from start to finish on Saturday in a game they were expected to win. Nick Chubb finished with 109 yards on the ground in a game which was never in doubt. Georgia finished with 294 yards on the ground. The Bulldogs will stay on the road next week as they head to Nashville to play Vanderbilt and try to improve to 6-0. They then get Mizzou at home, and the next true test for the Bulldogs should be Oct. 28 in Jacksonville against Florida.
  • Tim  Bryant

    News Director

    Tim Bryant is News Director for Cox Media Group Athens and also works as an anchor and reporter for WSB Radio in Atlanta. Previous stops on the dial include Augusta and Tallahassee. Tim has reported for ABC, CBS, and the Associated Press, and has provided guest commentary and analysis on stations across the US, the U.K., and New Zealand. Tim hosts Classic City Today, 6-10 weekday mornings on 98.7FM & AM 1340 WGAU in Athens. 

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Georgia Sports News

  • ATHENS — New Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean has finally pulled the trigger on naming a second assistant basketball coach. Joe Scott, most recently an assistant coach at Holy Cross, sports 16 seasons of head coaching experience at three Division I schools. He joins Chad Dollar on the Bulldogs’ staff. “I’m excited to welcome Joe, Leah, Ben and Jack to our Georgia Basketball family and the entire UGA community,” Crean said in a statement released by the school. “Joe is known nationally as someone who excels at coaching, teaching and competing. He has tremendous respect of his peers who have gone against him and those who have worked along side him. He will bring many different elements to our program, but overall and he will help our young men get better every day.” Said Scott, also in a statement: “My family and I are extremely excited to be joining the Georgia family. The University of Georgia is a special place. This is a tremendous opportunity to help Coach Crean implement his vision and make Georgia Basketball special. I cannot wait to get started coaching our players to develop and get better every day.” Scott was tabbed one of the nation’s top-20 “Xs & Os” coaches in a survey of his peers by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman in 2013. He was head coach at Air Force for four seasons, Princeton for three campaigns and Denver for nine seasons. He also has served as an assistant coach at Monmouth, Princeton and Holy Cross. All told, Scott sports 27 years of collegiate coaching experience. Before breaking into the head coaching ranks, Scott was an assistant coach at Monmouth during the 1991-92 season and at Princeton from 1992-2000. While at Princeton, Scott helped the Tigers to five consecutive postseason appearances, with trips to the 1996, 1997 and 1998 NCAA Tournaments and the 1999 and 2000 NITs. The Tigers won three Ivy League titles from 1996-98, including perfect 14-0 records in the final two seasons. Princeton upset defending national champion UCLA in the 1996 NCAA Tournament and ranked as high as No. 7 nationally in 1998 en route to earning a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the highest ever for an Ivy League team. The post Georgia’s Tom Crean finally settles on a second assistant coach appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia basketball and Tom Crean have hired a second assisstant coach, this time in former Princeton head coach Joe Scott. The school released a statement on the hiring, with a statement from Crean. “I’m excited to welcome Joe, Leah, Ben and Jack to our Georgia Basketball family and the entire UGA community,” Crean said. “Joe is known nationally as someone who excels at coaching, teaching and competing. He has tremendous respect of his peers who have gone against him and those who have worked along side him. He will bring many different elements to our program, but overall and he will help our young men get better every day.” In addition to serving as the head coach at Air Force, Scott also has head coaching experience at Princeton and Denver. As an assistant Scott has worked at Monmouth, Princeton and Holy Cross, where he spent the past two seasons. Scott is a Princeton alum. “My family and I are extremely excited to be joining the Georgia family,” Scott said. “The University of Georgia is a special place. This is a tremendous opportunity to help Coach Crean implement his vision and make Georgia Basketball special. I cannot wait to get started coaching our players to develop and get better every day.” Scott will join assistant Chad Dollar in helping Crean. Dollar’s hire was announced earlier in April. Crean replaced Mark Fox, who had been the coach at Georgia since the 2008-09 season. The post Georgia basketball announces hiring of assistant coach Joe Scott appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia held their final actual practice of the spring at the Woodruff Practice Complex on Thursday. Under clear skies and relatively cool temperatures, the Bulldogs were working out in shorts and helmets and were scheduled to for about two hours. The next time they get together and play as a team will be during G-Day Saturday at Sanford Stadium (4 p.m., ESPN, News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB). Actually, it will as two teams. UGA on Thursday released its split rosters for the Red and Black squads for Saturday’s intrasquad game. This year, Georgia’s No. 1 offense, led by quarterback Jake Fromm, will be the Red team. The Black Squad will be led by the Bulldogs’ No. 1 defensive unit — and freshman quarterback Justin Fields, of course. Fromm’s Red squad will be protected by the first-string offensive line — which included both Solomon Kindley and Kendall Baker to play left guard. It will also feature juniors Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien at tailback and Terry Godwin, Riley Ridley and Mecole Hardman at wideout and Isaac Nauta and Charlie Woerner at tight end. Fields’ No. 2 offensive unit will have walkons Prather Hudson and Ian Donald-McIntyre in the backfield and will feature a receiving corps of Ahkil Crumpton, J.J. Holloman, Kearis Jackson, Matt Landers and Tyler Simmons. Of course, the Black team will be hanging its hat on a defensive team led by Tyler Clark, DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle, Jonathan Ledbetter, Julian Rochester and Malik Herring and inside linebackers Juwan Taylor, Tae Crowder and Nate McBride. D’Andre Walker, Robert Beal and Walter Grant will man the outside linebacker positions. The secondary for the Black squad has Deandre Baker and Tyrique McGhee at the corners, William Poole at star and J.R. Reed and Richard LeCounte III at the safeties. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs appeared to be going through normal drill work and play-polish in the early portions of practice on Thursday. Following are a few observations: Senior Terry Godwin was going through regular drill work with the receivers but appeared to be a bit gimpy in doing so. He had a reinforced brace on one knee and a regular sleeve on the other. Cornerback Mark Webb was not practicing after suffering a knee injury of undisclosed severity on Tuesday. Indications are it’s not a “major” injury. D’Andre Swift was going through bag drills with the running backs and did not exhibit noticeable limitations. He is dealing with a groin injury, according to coach Kirby Smart. Defensive tackle Michael Barnett (knee) was not at practice again, assuring that he’ll miss G-Day. Justin Young, who missed practices last week due to a minor knee sprain, has been able to practice and might be able to play. One area lacking depth that has not been much discussed is deep snapper for special teams. The Bulldogs technically have just one on the roster in redshirt freshman Oren Morgan of Toombs County. But senior fullback Nick Moore also snaps to the kickers. Former tailbacks Nick Chubb and Sony Michel were watching Thursday’s practice from the sideline and having a good time commenting on what they say. Asked which tailback they expected to be the leading rusher for the G-Day Game on Saturday, they simultaneously said “Prather Hudson.” Hudson is a redshirt sophomore walkon from Columbus. Recently-matriculated receiver Javon Wims was also at practice watching his position group. All of them plan to attend on Saturday, with Chubb conducting an autograph-signing at the bookstore.   The post Practice report: Jake Fromm to lead Red against Justin Field’s Black squad on G-Day appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Don’t be surprised if you see players being shuffled around a lot and playing in somewhat unfamiliar positions Saturday, especially on defense. Spring practice is a highly experimental time as it is, but injuries have forced Georgia’s hand in some key areas on the football field. As a result, you’re likely to see some defensive ends playing tackle, some tackles playing nose guard and some safeties playing cornerback when the Bulldogs conduct their annual G-Day spring intrasquad game at Sanford Stadium (4 p.m. Saturday, ESPN, News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB). Georgia has been hit with injuries along the defensive line and in the secondary this spring. Defensive end Justin Young and tackle Michael Barnett have been out for most of the spring with what coach Kirby Smart calls “minor” knee injuries. This Tuesday, cornerback Mark Webb suffered what’s characterized as a non-serious knee injury, but he won’t be available for game simulation on Saturday. He’ll be joined on the sideline by senior safety Jarvis Wilson, who has a sprained foot. As a result, Georgia will have to do some mixing and matching in order to keep a competitive 22 players on the field at all times. The Bulldogs have 111 players on their spring roster, but that includes six kicking specialists or holders and 36 walk-ons, including three quarterbacks not named Stetson Bennett. The point is, not all of those players are going to play and many won’t get significant amounts of time. Junior David Marshall, who played in 14 games at defensive end last season and started three, has been playing inside at tackle. Likewise, defensive tackle Julian Rochester has been cross-training at nose guard. Just a week ago, the Bulldogs moved redshirt sophomore Chris Barnes from offensive guard to the defensive line to shore up depth. “We’re just a little short,” said Marshall, who logged 52 tackles and 3 1/2 quarterback sacks last season. “But it’s next man up around here, so we’ve got to tough it out.” Smart hasn’t been thrilled with the end result. At different times this spring he has complained about the defense not being “stout enough” against the run. “We’ve certainly got to get better at defending [the run], especially against big, physical people like our offense,” Smart said. “But the way to do that is you’ve got to have big people to combat big people with, and we don’t have a lot of big guys. So, we’re looking to recruit. We’re trying to find 290-[pound]-plus guys that can help us become more stout. For us to play the way we want to play we’ve got to have physical guys in there.” In terms of interior defensive linemen that are on scholarship, Georgia has just eight. Freshman signees Jordan Davis and Tramel Walthour won’t join the team until this summer. Smart said he’d like to sign four in the Class of 2019. Georgia also is missing Deangelo Gibbs and is down to 10 scholarship players in the secondary for the scrimmage. By specialty, it breaks down to five corners and five safeties. As always, some from both groups work at the “star” or nickel back positions. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker also could pluck a linebacker to play in the back third. That has required proven veterans such as junior safety J.R. Reed and senior cornerback Deandre Baker to do a lot of on-field coaching when they’re facing off against Georgia’s high-octane offense. “It’s always good to see these young guys grow,” said Reed, who started all 15 games at strong safety last season. “My goal is to really mold these young guys and really get them up to almost be where I’m at and to get these guys that don’t know a lot to learn more.” While Georgia is expected to receive an infusion of talent when elite signees Tyson Campbell, Nadab Joseph and Otis Reese enroll in June, G-Day will be especially important for their predecessors. Sophomores Ameer Speed, Eric Stokes and William Poole and redshirt freshmen Tray Bishop and Latavious Brini have much to prove. “It’s their time,” Smart said, “and they have to step up or they’ll be replaced by the people coming in.” Low numbers overall are not unusual for spring games. After all, the majority of the incoming recruiting class hasn’t joined the team yet. In Georgia’s case, it has 17 more players on the way. In the meantime, the players that are present and accounted for aim to give the expected crowd of 78,000 a show of some sort. “We like to see all the fans come out and support us,” Marshall said. “We’re going to come out and show great effort hopefully we’ll see how the season will go this year.” The post Injuries have left Bulldogs a little light on defense heading into G-Day appeared first on DawgNation.