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Smart is finalist for Dodd award

Smart is finalist for Dodd award

Smart is finalist for Dodd award

Smart is finalist for Dodd award

Officials from the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl have announced the finalists for the 2018 Dodd Trophy. Finalists include seven of the nation’s top coaches in college football who embody the award’s three pillars of scholarship, leadership and integrity, both on and off the field.


This year’s finalists represent four conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC), along with Notre Dame, and have combined for a 2018 record of 75-9 during the regular season. Overall, the seven coaches have a combined 88 years of head coaching experience, seven national championships and 781 career wins among them.


Two former winners of The Dodd Trophy were included in the 2018 list with Nick Saban (2014) and Dabo Swinney (2011) being named finalists. Additionally, three of the coaches were finalists for last year’s award, including Pat Fitzgerald, Kirby Smart and Dabo Swinney. 


Winners of the award from the previous two years and first-year coaches at an institution are not eligible to be finalists.


The 2018 Dodd Trophy Finalists:







CFP Ranking


APR Score


Dino Babers




No. 20




Pat Fitzgerald




No. 22




Brian Kelly


Notre Dame


No. 3




Lincoln Riley 




No. 4




Nick Saban




No. 1




Kirby Smart




No. 5




Dabo Swinney 




No. 2






“All of these finalists truly exemplify the type of leadership that Bobby Dodd valued and are noteworthy candidates to join the esteemed group of former Dodd Trophy recipients,” said Jim Terry, chairman of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation. “We’re honored to have such a renowned list of finalists who truly embody Coach Dodd’s spirit, both on and off the field.”


“This college football season was highlighted by outstanding coaching performances that greatly impacted the course of the season,” said Gary Stokan, Peach Bowl, Inc. CEO & president. “These seven coaches have distinguished themselves as finalists for this prestigious award, not only for having successful football seasons, but also for their efforts within their communities and commitment to empower their student athletes to succeed in the classroom as well.”


Finalists were selected by a panel consisting of all previous winners, national media, a member of the Dodd family and a College Football Hall of Fame member.


The winner of the 2018 Dodd Trophy will be selected from the list of finalists by the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation, and will be announced in Atlanta during Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Week.

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Georgia Sports News

  • GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank watched coach Dan Quinn offer explanations about another defeat. The boss then gave Quinn a hug before he walked out the door of a Lambeau Field media room. Blank still appears to have Quinn's back as the losses keep piling up for Atlanta. In less than two years, the Falcons have gone from a trip to the Super Bowl to a losing record that was clinched with a 34-20 defeat on Sunday to the Green Bay Packers. It was Atlanta's fifth straight defeat. Matt Ryan threw for 262 yards and three scores, including two to star receiver Julio Jones. But after an encouraging game-opening touchdown drive that ended with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Jones, the Falcons (4-9) played mistake-filled football to fall behind quickly by double digits. By the time Ryan and Jones connected for another score, from 12 yards with 13:34 left in the game, Atlanta was still down by 20. In between, they hurt themselves too many times, including eight defensive penalties. Thirteen flags overall cost the Falcons 101 yards. 'It's definitely frustrating, maddening, disbelief, all of those things when we don't execute on those,' coach Dan Quinn said. It wasn't just the penalties that hurt, either. Bashaud Breeland returned an interception 22 yards for a score in the second quarter after jumping a sideline pass intended for Austin Hooper. Later, an ill-timed shotgun snap in the red zone epitomized the misfortunes of an injury-filled year. The hike from center Alex Mack hit Mohamed Sanu in the leg just as the receiver crossed in motion behind the line of scrimmage in the fourth quarter. The Falcons retreated from the ball for a moment, appearing to be unaware of what happened - just enough time for Breeland to sneak in for the recovery. 'That was tough, but that's on me. The whole operation starts and ends with me, so I've got to do a better job of that and making sure that we don't have things like that coming up,' Ryan said. 'I think if we score on that drive it's a much different game where you have a better opportunity of making a comeback.' Instead, with three games left on the schedule, the Falcons are stuck with their first losing season since going 6-10 in 2014, Mike Smith's last season as coach. Quinn replaced him the following season, when Atlanta finished at .500 before taking a giant leap forward in the 2016 season to reach the Super Bowl. Atlanta beat Green Bay in the NFC title game that year in a contest between teams that looked like they would be contenders for season to come. But both haven't lived up to expectations in 2018. The Packers fired head coach Mike McCarthy last week, while Blank reaffirmed support for his coach. Green Bay snapped a three-game skid, winning for the first time under interim head coach Joe Philbin. The frustration continues for Atlanta. One bright spot for the Falcons is that Jones reached 1,400 yards receiving for the fifth straight season, an NFL first. He finished with eight catches on 11 targets for 106 yards. Otherwise, it was understandable why the visiting locker room cleared out so quickly following an error-filled afternoon. The preparation and effort were there, Quinn said. The execution needed to improve. 'For us to be the team that we need to play like,' he said, 'that can't be our identity.' ___ More AP NFL: and
  • ATHENS — SEC legend Tim Tebow has been right about Georgia football most of the season, and that’s why his concerns about the Bulldogs having an Alabama hangover in the Sugar Bowl are alarming. After all, Tebow predicted Georgia QB Jake Fromm would bounce back after the LSU loss, and T ebow said freshman Justin Fields could ultimately be an answer for the Bulldogs in short-yardage situations. And now Tebow says Georgia coach Kirby Smart will be challenged to get his No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) motivated to play No. 15-ranked Texas (9-4) in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 in New Orleans. Tebow said allowing the SEC Championship Game to ‘slip through their fingers’ in the 35-28 loss could damage morale. “Now for the time leading up to the game, where’s your motivation? Where is your edge? Where is that fire?” Tebow said in a 247Sports story. “That is something that the leaders of Georgia really have to lock in and say, ‘Hey you know what? We’re playing for pride. We’re playing a big program in Texas.’ “But a lot of these guys are going to say, ‘Listen, we don’t care about Texas. We care about Bama. We let that one get away. Now we’re going to play the 15th-ranked team in the country?’ “ Tebow said. “It’s like the motivation isn’t there, so I’m a little bit nervous about this game. And Kirby Smart has to do a really good job of disciplining his players, locking in, focusing.” Smart has been in a similar situation before and seen championship caliber teams at Alabama fall flat in the postseason, most notably, in the Tide’s 2009 Sugar Bowl loss to Utah. Smart, however, said he doesn’t feel this Georgia team is apt to allow the disappointment of losing to Alabama to break its will to play up to the program’s standard. “This is a much younger team than any of those Bama teams,” Smart said. “A lot of those kids, this will be their first or second time in a big-time bowl environment, which we’re still getting accustomed to that. “ Indeed, 68 percent of Georgia’s roster is freshmen and sophomore. “So these guys aren’t quite as experienced at that kind of bowl environment as maybe those Alabama teams that didn’t play as well as we probably should have,” Smart said. Tebow also added his list to the many who believed Georgia should have been granted a spot in the four-team College Football Playoffs. “ I thought Georgia was one of the top few best teams in the country,” Tebow said, ”should have been in the College Football Playoff.” Smart said lessons will be learned and the Bulldogs will be ready to step into the future. “There’s also the opportunity to move forward with really a young team,” Smart said. “and a chance to go on a national stage where our fans, I know, follow us to play in a New Year’s Six bowl game.” DawgNation Georgia football Sugar Bowl Kirby Smart and Tom Herman clash again in Sugar Bowl, now as head coaches Georgia football coach Kirby Smart believes Bulldogs will bounceback Some interesting Sugar Bowl numbers via Brandon Adams Georgia football double-digit favorite over Texas in Sugar Bowl Texas named Georgia football opponent in 2019 Sugar Bowl CFP Chairman explains why Georgia football was left out of CFB Playoffs 3 Georgia football players get Senior Bowl invites Mel Tucker will be hard to replace, when or if he leaves Georgia football     The post Tim Tebow: Georgia football challenged to find motivation for Texas appeared first on DawgNation.
  • GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - A tough week for the Green Bay Packers ended with a sorely needed win that relied on a familiar formula. They beat a warm-weather team on a chilly afternoon at Lambeau Field by building a big lead and winning the turnover margin. Aaron Rodgers threw two touchdown passes and set an NFL record for interception-free football, and the Packers beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-20 on Sunday to win their first game under interim head coach Joe Philbin. Aaron Jones ran for a 29-yard score in the third quarter. The defense forced two turnovers - their first takeaways in three games - and limited quarterback Matt Ryan after a game-opening touchdown drive to hand Atlanta its fifth straight loss and guarantee the Falcons a losing record for the first time since 2014. The Packers (5-7-1) regained some swagger with Philbin taking over for the fired Mike McCarthy. They've still got work to do to avoid a losing record, but at least Green Bay snapped a three-game losing streak. 'It was an emotional week, we all know that. I feel very happy for the organization, players and staff that work so hard to make this a unique place,' Philbin said. 'I told the team I was very proud to be their head coach today.' In return, the team gave the game ball to Philbin. 'He's a great man. I love Joe. I love everything that he's about, and it was a lot of fun,' said receiver Randall Cobb, who caught a 24-yard touchdown pass with 12:44 left in the third quarter to make it 27-7. That pass also turned out to be momentous for other reasons for Rodgers, giving him 359 consecutive attempts without an interception to break the league record previously held by New England's Tom Brady (358 in 2010-11). Rodgers finished 21 of 32 for 196 yards and two scores. Linebacker Deion Jones had a couple chances to snap Rodgers' interception streak, but couldn't hang on either time. 'You need a little bit of good fortune when you have a streak like that,' Rodgers said. The Falcons (4-9) had trouble keeping up after their first series. When they did, they hurt themselves with eight defensive penalties. 'It's definitely frustrating, maddening, disbelief, all of those things when we don't execute on those,' coach Dan Quinn said. FRUSTRATED FALCONS Atlanta found some semblance of a running game that it hoped to get to open up play action. Yet the Falcons still endured a long drought after Ryan found Julio Jones for a 16-yard touchdown pass on an easy opening series. By the time Ryan and Jones connected for another score, from 12 yards with 13:34 left in the game, Atlanta was still down by 20. Their frustrating and injury-filled season was epitomized by a botched snap in the red zone later in the fourth. Atlanta drove to the 8 when the shotgun snap from center Alex Mack hit Mohamed Sanu's leg while the receiver was in motion. Bashaud Breeland recovered. 'That was tough, but that's on me,' Ryan said. 'The whole operation starts and ends with me, so I've got to do a better job of that and making sure that we don't have things like that coming up.' He finished 28 of 42 for 262 yards and three scores, connecting with Justin Hardy for a 19-yard touchdown with 14 seconds left. Ryan also tossed a 22-yard interception returned for a score by Breeland in the second quarter. ON THE RUN Ryan was outplayed by Rodgers, who also hurt Atlanta on the ground with trademark scrambles. A scrum broke out in the second quarter after cornerback Brian Poole hit Rodgers as the quarterback slid near the end of a 21-yard run to the Atlanta 27. Pushing and shoving ensued, with Deion Jones and Packers center Corey Linsley each whistled for offsetting personal fouls. After a sack, the Packers still got a 48-yard field goal as time expired to take a 13-point halftime lead. Guard Lucas Patrick, one of three backups filling in up front because of injuries, also got physical after Rodgers went down. 'To take a cheap shot, as we felt, I didn't like that, so I wanted to go down there and let the guy know and kind of lock him up and let him know that's not going to fly,' Patrick said. UNDER PRESSURE Rodgers was sacked four times, but all four hits came in the first half. Overall, it turned into a good day for the line, even with left guard Lane Taylor (foot), right guard Byron Bell (knee) and right tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee/illness) out with injuries. UP NEXT Falcons: Host the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 16. Packers: Visit the Chicago Bears on Dec. 16. ___ More AP NFL: and
  • Georgia Tech’s new football coach, Geoff Collins, appeared charismatic and confident in his introductory press conference. Collins also said a couple of things that caught the attention of some UGA fans. The first happened after Collins pulled out a piece of paper from his sports jacket with red ink on it during the Friday press conference. While smiling, Collins said, “This is the last time I will ever write anything in red, just so we’re on the same page … There will be no more red that will ever be written again in this organization.” The second moment, which garnered far more attention, was towards the end of meeting with reporters. What did Collins say? One national college website described it as “Georgia Tech (coach) takes academic shot at Georgia,” while another media outlet’s headline was “New Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins takes a swipe at Georgia’s academics.” In fairness to the new Georgia Tech coach, he never mentioned UGA or any specific school in his comments that generated those headlines. Here’s what happened: Collins was asked to discuss the challenges of recruiting at Georgia Tech verses other places he has coached at – “given the academic situation at (Tech).” Towards the end of his long-winded answer, Collins said, “A lot of programs that we are going to recruit against don’t have the advantage of having the ability of having a meaningful degree … to come to place where education matters.” So was Collins taking a subtle jab at UGA? Who knows? Maybe, maybe not. It must be pointed out that Georgia Tech and UGA, despite being in-state rivals, have rarely gone head to head on any recruits in recent years. However, that could eventually change since Collins is promising offensive (and defensive) schemes that will prepare future Georgia Tech players for the NFL. Collins replaced Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson, who announced his retirement after losing to UGA 45-21. The Bulldogs have dominated the series, winning 15 of the last 18 meetings. There’s no doubt that one of Collins’ top missions will be turning around Georgia Tech’s fortunes against UGA on both the football field and recruiting trail. Collins was Temple’s head coach the past two seasons, and previously served as defensive coordinator at Florida and Mississippi State, among other numerous stops as an assistant coach. How do you think Georgia Tech’s coaching change will affect the rivalry with UGA that is described as “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate?” Please post below. The post Georgia Tech’s new football coach vows not to use red ink again appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Bulldog Nation was not a happy place this past week. The reaction from Georgia fans to Alabama’s comeback win over the Dawgs in the SEC Championship basically has broken down into four broad categories. Loudest, perhaps, were Georgia fans who blamed the officiating, along with those who blamed the UGA coaching staff, and Kirby Smart in particular. Then, there were those forlorn fans who see jinxes and other unseen forces at work; some have given up all hope of another national championship for the Dawgs. The fan base may be down now, but come next season they should be UGA strong. (University of Georgia) Finally, there were the more pragmatic fans, who saw a Georgia program that lost a lot of key talent from last year and was supposed to be in a “bridge” year, but somehow managed to take what was essentially a playoff play-in game down to the wire against what many had touted as Nick Saban’s best ever team. Yeah, the proverbial “wait till next year!” Perhaps the worst thing about the Dawgs’ second loss to Bama in just this calendar year was that Georgia should have been a defending national champion winning another conference title. As my buddy Scott put it, these “may be the most infuriating stats I’ve seen in my 50-plus years as a UGA fan.” He was talking about the fact that the Bulldogs have led or been tied with Alabama 118 minutes and 54 seconds of 120 minutes and 281 of 290 plays of the past two meetings in the national championship game and SEC title game. That points to a team that has trouble finishing the drill, as someone used to say. The coaches’ fault? That’s what some fans believe. Let’s explore those and other reactions … Junkyard Mail: Dawgs fans speak out Should everyone else in the SEC just give up on ever getting an even playing field with the officiating, and figure that the home office in Birmingham has made it clear which program it wants to be the perennial conference champ? Or is it just college football officiating in general? After all, it was Big 10 refs who stole the game from us back in January! — Sarah Peters Even at their best, SEC officiating crews tend to be maddeningly inconsistent and, at their worst, seem barely conversant with the rule book. However, this game was about average in officiating. I think most of the flags thrown — three against Bama for 10 yards and six against Georgia for 50 yards, plus one against Bama that was declined and a pair of offsetting penalties that produced a no-play — were fair. The primary officiating problem, as many Dawgs fans have pointed out (often with video clips and screengrabs to back them up) was the flags they chose not to throw against the Tide in key situations, including blatant holding on a Bama touchdown pass (among many other uncalled instances of holding on both sides), an uncalled Bama hand to Jake Fromm’s facemask, and, most egregious of all, the no-call on pass interference on Georgia’s final drive in which a Bama defender had the receiver in a bear hug before the ball arrived. Still, while the officiating certainly wasn’t great, it wasn’t as bad as with that awful Big 10 crew back in January’s natty. Frankly, though, I think mistakes by the UGA coaches were a bigger factor. Which brings us to … I am frustrated and mad. … [The fake punt against Bama] was a high-risk call and it was botched from the start. … They were not fooled. Anyway, I hope that all of this, plus losing Mel Tucker, will not hurt recruiting and we can move on from this setback. Plus, maybe Kirby will improve as a game manager. —  GSU 1972 I’d say the strong showing Georgia gave in college football’s most-watched regular-season game in seven years — and the fact that many of ESPN’s experts were flatly stating Georgia was among the four best teams in the country, even after the loss, should keep recruits all over the country interested in coming to Athens. Now, the Dawgs just need to shake off the Bama loss and take care of business in the Sugar Bowl. I have a feeling Smart will have them ready to show they really are one of the nation’s four best teams. This one was all about coaching and bad decisions.  The fake punt, going away from the run, which was effective in the first three quarters. … Why get away from [the run] late in the biggest game of the year? I’ll never understand. …  Coaching staff lost that game. Not Fields. Not Hot Rod. Not any single player on the field. — Patrick Fisher Last year, [Smart] didn’t plan for Tua [ Tagovailoa ]. This year he didn’t plan for [Jalen] Hurts. I’m thinking the coaching staff dropped the ball … again. — John C. Allen Fair criticisms. Yes, Bama’s run defense was fearsome, but Georgia had plenty of success against it earlier in the game. Instead of trying to get cute, I would have preferred to see a steady diet of D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield, along with a few more throws to Isaac Nauta, in the fourth quarter. And, you would have thought, considering what happened in January, that the Dawgs defense might have been better prepared for a change of QBs. Still, perhaps it was just Hurt’s night. There also were some fans who are growing impatient. The next couple of letters sum up what quite a few were saying … The clock is ticking for Smart. This is now two huge opportunities we’ve blown. We can debate which was worse, this one or last year all day long, but regardless, Smart needs to learn from this. The way I see it, barring disastrous injuries, he’s got two years to bring home a natty. If these inexplicable, and now inexcusable losses continue, we’ll have little choice but to jettison him for the same reasons we finally got rid of Richt. We are not content with getting close. — Zach Hare Kirby Smart definitely is a great recruiter, and he seems to do a decent job game-planning, but he’s hopeless on the sideline. I’m now wondering if he’s really capable of getting this program over the hump that stymied Mark Richt. — Barrett Jones I had a conversation about Smart’s readiness with a friend on Facebook. I told him that I think Smart is indeed head coach material, but he’s relatively young, and has room for improvement. My friend asked: “You think he’s in the league with Saban, Urban [Meyer] and Dabo [Swinney]? My reply: I think he likely will be as good as, or better, than them eventually. He already can outrecruit them, and he seems to know how to motivate his teams (unlike Mark Richt). So far, he’s also done a good job of hiring assistants. But, he needs to master the in-game decisions and get better at clock management. And, then there’s this from an Alabama fan: Be patient, [Smart] is only in his 40s, he will eventually get better and make fewer mistakes on game day. In the meantime, he will see to it that you have enough talent that you will rarely need game day coaching to win. — Bret Rudeseal The subject of how freshman backup quarterback Justin Fields was used in the Bama game also concerned several fans I heard from, including this one: The way Jake Fromm was playing against Alabama, many fans thought it unwise to take him out of the game, even for one play. (Scott Cunningham/Gett Images) The way Jake Fromm was playing, why would you take him out? But I wonder if the coaching staff is worried about [Fields] transferring and was just throwing him a bone. What’s your thought on that? — Kenneth Meeks That idea occurred to me, too, but I’m skeptical that the Georgia coaching staff would put a championship at risk to keep one player happy. I think it’s more likely Smart was trying to play head games with the Bama defense and thought maybe he could catch them napping. Since he spent so many years there, though, he should have known better. Speaking of things he should know better about … Someone please take that Les Miles playbook away from Kirby before we play Texas. — Tony Tyson Yeah, no more fake kicks. Please. And then there are fans who are having a hard time remaining hopeful … I’m 59 years old and have either listened on the radio or watched every game as far back as I can remember. That was the most heartbreaking game of all time. I felt like we had Alabama beat. I never felt that way in the national championship game. When Kirby called the fake punt, I think that’s the maddest I’ve ever been watching a Georgia Bulldog football game. I know we are going to be really good next year, but I want a national championship before I leave this Earth. — Randy Sharpe I love my Dawgs, always have (45 years) and always will, but I’m not sure how much more I can take. These loses, including ‘12, are defining and will stand the test of time. We have missed our chances and it’s not going to get easier. Next year I expect to see the same two teams in the SECCG. If we don’t seize on that opportunity, I see our chances at future championships diminish and we’ll be right back where we’ve been. — John Randolph Have faith, guys. I think they’re very close. And then there are those fans who take a more pessimistic view … The matching of Georgia and Texas in the Sugar Bowl is the next best thing to a playoff berth. (Sugar Bowl) Only 364 more days till we lose again to Alabama. And the Sugar Bowl tastes salty, not sweet. — Gary Gill Actually, I think the Sugar Bowl against Texas is about as awesome a spot as Georgia could have expected, considering two losses made it nigh on impossible for them to crack the final four. As for future Georgia-Alabama matchups, the odds are that the Tide can’t continue to squeeze out a win every time these two programs meet for a championship. Take heart from the fact that the Dawgs obviously were Bama’s equal last week . Like I said earlier, that’s not going to hurt recruiting at all. And, remember, that close game against Bama happened in a year when many of us figured winning the SEC East was about all we could hope for, considering all the NFL talent that departed Athens after last season. The fact that Georgia gave Saban another good scare with the youngest starting lineup in the conference should fill Bulldog Nation with hope, not despair. I like the way Blawg reader Gary Cody put it: “ On the positive side we went toe to toe with what I feel is probably the best team in college football. When you consider how young Georgia is, you can’t help but get excited about the future.” Yeah, like maybe next year? The post Some Dawgs fans don’t mind saying it: ‘Wait till next year!’ appeared first on DawgNation.