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Georgia Sports News

  • Kirby Smart took some time on Tuesday morning to update the fan base through a couple of channels. American is in the midst of a global health pandemic concern. He sought to educate the public on all things Georgia football through a couple of media opportunities. The first of those was on Atlanta's WCNN-AM '680 The Fan' on Tuesday morning. He spoke with Chuck Dowdle on the 'Bulldog Roundtable' program. Smart did not entertain any speculation on what was to come. The onus of what was on his mind was the health of everyone as a large. The COVID-19 health scare is something that just goes beyond football. It goes beyond even the daily news cycle of college football recruiting, too. 'You are concerned for the well-being of the young men you are recruiting,' Smart told Dowdle. 'The primary concern right now is not where a kid is going to go to a school. It is how is he doing. How are his teammates doing? How are his grandparents doing? How are his parents doing?' 'Is it affecting their livelihood? Are they able to put food on the table and work with so many people unemployed? That's probably the biggest concern right now. It is building relationships with these kids so that they know and trust that you care about them.' The Bulldogs only have four commitments in their 2021 class. As a means of comparison, the Ohio State Buckeyes have 15 commitments for their 2021 class. That Ohio State class ranks No. 1 in the nation on the 247Sports Team Composite ratings. The Bulldogs rank No. 15 nationally at this time. That's good enough for No. 3 in the SEC behind Florida (13 commits) and Tennessee (8 commits) so far in this cycle. Smart's okay with that. The Bulldogs have traditionally lagged behind other schools until the summer months with their recruiting momentum. Georgia tended to wait on those crucial spring practice evaluations before extending and accepting those scholarship commitments. 'Some kids might move up their decision time,' Smart said. 'Some might push back. That's not a big concern for us right now. It is more about how we can support them and help them understand. What they can do right now is work within their own friendly confines. Because they can't go out to high school gyms. Everything is closed. So they have got to do it on their own. They have got to self-motivate. You find out a lot about somebody if they are able to do that when nobody is watching.' Smart and the Georgia staff is getting of snapshot of America and COVID-19 with every different recruiting interaction. 'I find it unique every conversation I get to have,' Smart said of those conversation. 'I am genuinely interested in what is going on in your community. How are they handling this? What is your high school doing to adapt? What does your community support look like? Because we are recruiting kids all over the country. Not just Georgia.' 'So it becomes a conversation piece in some of the hotbed areas. It is like Man this is really impacting them' and I know from watching the news. So what are they doing to protect themselves?' Georgia football: COVID-19 affecting recruiting operations The calendar and the timing at work here has also slowed Georgia's traditional recruiting momentum. Consider the following: T he entire month of February was a dead period for on-campus college recruiting. That was unique to the recruiting calendar for the 2020 cycle. When that month was up, the Bulldogs and their staff was on spring break. That was tied to the academic calendar at UGA. When the COVID-19 shutdown and stay-at-home guidelines quickly materialized, it all added up to about five and half lost weeks of face-to-face recruiting. There is no end in sight at this time. Georgia did benefit from being very active with the 2021 class in the month of January. It is not as dire as that may seen. For example, Ohio State does not have a pattern of welcoming a core of elite prospects in January for the upcoming cycle. The Buckeyes didn't have the back-to-back-to-back 'Junior Day' weekends for 2021 recruits in January that Georgia did. Ohio State is still faring pretty well so far without those. What that February dead period meant was it offered the Georgia staff the ability to learn how to recruit these young players differently without that face-to-face contact. 'So during February, you had to look at it say how can I recruit without them coming to campus,' Smart told reporters in a conference call later on Tuesday. 'Well, and behold, that's how we're having to recruit the total time now and timing wise we got a raw deal because when we came back, we were on spring break. So, two of our weekends, that we would've been active, we had spring break, where our staff, our players our campus was dead. Nobody was here. So, other campuses were able to bring kids in the weekend of March, and the next weekend of March where both those were tied to spring break, we lost both weekends.' It is coming in handy now. It has been FaceTime communication. It has been talking to family members. As stated earlier, the push right now is focused on checking in on the well-being of the players they recruit. 'I know the kids are getting bombarded because recruiting is a competitive market,' Smart said. 'And as you can imagine, they're getting a lot of calls. A lot of college coaches don't have anything going on right now and they're calling out these kids a lot.' DAWGNATION TODAY Why Kirby Smart gave Scott Cochran the chance that others would not Work stoppage will affect Georgia QBs more than anything COVID-19: Smart advises control what you can control Isaiah Willson details sacrifices his family made along his way to the NFL NCAA approves new legislation regarding spring sports and future college eligibility CJ Washington: 2022 prospect brings to mind Nick Chubb, Nolan Smith and Fred G. Sanford The post Georgia football: Kirby Smart looks at how the COVID-19 pandemic affects recruiting appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Scott Cochran is working for a man who believes in him at Georgia. Kirby Smart explained why he gave Cochran an opportunity to become an assistant coach with the Bulldogs. Fans and analysts have taken note, it's an opportunity Nick Saban would not provide Cochran at Alabama, even after his years of hard work and dedication and several staff openings. Smart didn't have anything to say about the Saban part of the equation, but he knows what he believes about Cochran's ability to transition. ' Scott and I have had a relationship for a long time, and when I think of good coaches, I think of guys that can relate to players,' Smart said on his Tuesday teleconference. RELATED: Kirby details position most affected by stoppage Cochran was long been considered one of the top, if not the very best, strength and conditioning coaches in the nation while working at Alabama since Saban took over the Tide program in 2007. Smart spent nine years helping Saban and Cochran build Alabama into a championship program, too, before taking over as Georgia head coach prior to the 2016 season. Cochran had made it known to Saban that he wanted to become a position coach but was rebuffed. According to one report, Saban was riding Cochran mercilessly' prior to his departure from Alabama this past offseason. RELATED: Nick Saban was harsh to Scott Cochran in front of staff Smart, having worked beside Cochran, had his own opinions on his new special team coordinator's abilities. Two things 'I've always judged a coach by two qualities,' said Smart, who hired Cochran on Feb. 24. RELATED: Kirby Smart welcomes Scott Cochran to Georgia family 'What is his ability to make players want to play for him? His relationship, do players want to run through the brick wall for their coach, do they respect their coach, do they want to play for their coach, can he relate to them in a personal way and get them to do something that maybe another coach can't. Does that separate him?' According to several who played at Alabama, Cochran definitely made a different for them in their development. WATCH: Tua Tagovailoa says Cochran backbone' to Alabama football Smart said the other area he judges a coach is 'their ability to recruit, and both of those two things in my nine years at Alabama, (Cochran) was outstanding at.' Some have suggested Smart is taking a chance by hiring Cochran to become a special teams coordinator when he has not previously held that position. But Smart had an answer for those critics and doubters, as well. 'He was always involved in some way, shape or form with special teams (at Alabama),' Smart said. 'That's always been something, even dating back to my days at LSU, that he was kind of the quality control guy at LSU that worked with special teams. So his background has been around that.' Staff workings Furthermore, Smart said he'll remain involved in special teams himself, and UGA keeps its entire staff involved in that area of the game. 'We've certainly had a staff full of guys, Glenn Schumann, Dan Lanning, Todd Hartley, Cortez, Dell, Chartlon, have all had special teams duties in their career,' Smart said. 'So this is not like Scott Cochran is the only special teams guy on our staff. We have an immense amount of knowledge and experience on special teams. They'll draw on that. Scott will be the special teams coordinator. But we'll use the entire staff to help with that.' RELATED: Nick Saban reacts to Georgia hiring Scott Cochran Bottom line, as Smart said when Cochran was hired, is that he believes his long-time friend will provide a lift across the board at Georgia. 'The big part was hiring Scott,' Smart said, 'because we felt like he brought a lot to the table in terms of the entire organization.' Georgia football offseason reads WATCH: Monty Rice shows proof of 'invisible progress' at Georgia Georgia football odds on title run and Heisman Trophy winner J.R. Reed explains why UGA won't be 'No-name' defense much longer Georgia offense has areas where much to be determined The post Kirby Smart: Why Georgia gave Scott Cochran opportunity that Nick Saban wouldn't appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Kirby Smart says the football position affected most by the universal sports stoppage is quarterback, where Georgia will be breaking in a new starter next season. 'There's no substitute for reps out on the field,' Smart said during his Tuesday teleconference. 'We can't argue that we're not going to lose reps. 'If you had to say who does this affect the most it's going to affect the quarterback more than anything, in my opinion.' Smart didn't want to speculate on when college football might resume amid the coronavirus pandemic, preferring to defer to more educated authorities. RELATED: Kirby Smart shares staff's top priority during sports break But the Bulldogs' fifth-year head coach was comfortable talking about his team, and how his players and staff are handling these unprecedented times. Georgia is among the national favorites once the action resumes. The Bulldogs were ranked No. 3 behind Clemson and Ohio State in the USA Today's post-spring preseason Top 25. RELATED: Georgia football jumps 8 spots in offseason rankings Georgia is regarded by many to have the best defense in the nation returning, with 9 of 11 starters back off a Sugar Bowl team that finished No. 4 in the nation and went 5-1 vs. Top 25. Opposing quarterbacks will be challenged by Smart's defense whenever action resumes. But the Bulldogs have their work cutout on offense, too. Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman is expected to win the starting job at quarterback. But redshirt junior Stetson Bennett, redshirt freshman D'Wan Mathis and incoming freshman Carson Beck are all competing. RELATED: QB trainer says Jamie Newman will excel quickly Smart said Newman was able to get plenty of throwing in during the voluntary workouts portion of offseason conditioning. 'I feel like he was starting to get some rhythm, he got to throw a lot with those guys in their own time, the time that they elected,' Smart said. 'He and Stetson and Carson and D'Wan would all go out there and throw with our wideouts.' RELATED: Mathis continues comeback from brain surgery in Athens Smart said Georgia maximized the NCAA allowances during the offseason conditioning portion of the sports calendar prior to the scheduled start of spring drills. 'We were able to meet leading up to spring practice, a lot of people forget that, we were able to have walkthrough, leading up to spring practice,' Smart said. 'We maximized that time and knew that we needed that time.' Smart had no idea spring drills would be canceled, but he knew he had an offense that was under construction. 'Knowing we had new quarterbacks, and a new offensive system,' Smart said. 'We had to make sure we spent time with that, so we spent a lot of time with that.' Georgia football offseason reads WATCH: Monty Rice shows proof of 'invisible progress' at Georgia Why Scott Sinclair keys positive culture shift under Kirby Smart Georgia football odds on title run and Heisman Trophy winner J.R. Reed explains why UGA won't be 'No-name' defense much longer Georgia offense has areas where much to be determined The post Kirby Smart: Football stoppage will affect quarterbacks more than anything' appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Kirby Smart says he's like everyone else, 'trying to figure out what the new normal is' amid the sports stoppage triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. The fifth-year Georgia football coach can't be on the field with his players, but he's doing everything he can to look out for them. 'The number one thing we do is try to worry about the well-being of our players and making sure their families are ok,' Smart said on Tuesday, speaking on 680 AM and a teleconference. 'We've tried to encourage them through conversation and talking to them and spending time with them over the phone. 'The biggest thing is control what you can control, take care of your own health first.' Smart and the Bulldogs were scheduled to be taking the field for their seventh practice on Tuesday. Instead, daily staff meetings are being held via video conference. 'It's an adjustment for everybody out there,' Smart said. The NCAA canceled the spring sports practices, seasons and championships on March 12 amid the coronavirus pandemic. The SEC has suspended all on-campus activity. Georgia, most recently ranked No. 3 in USA Today's preseason rankings behind Clemson and Ohio State, is scheduled to open the season on Monday, Sept. 7 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium against Virginia. Georgia returns nine starters from defense and five off the offense that took the field against Baylor in the Sugar Bowl. 'It's been a different three or four weeks than I've ever experienced,' Smart said. 'I can't speculate on what I don't know. We don't know a lot about the future and what that holds, so I'm not gonna sit back and say this is what I think should happen. 'The number one things is the well-being of our players,' Smart said. 'We're trying everything we can to make sure they have everything they need.' Georgia football offseason reads WATCH: Monty Rice shows proof of 'invisible progress' at Georgia Why Scott Sinclair keys positive culture shift under Kirby Smart Georgia football odds on title run and Heisman Trophy winner J.R. Reed explains why UGA won't be 'No-name' defense much longer Georgia offense has areas where much to be determined The post Georgia football coach Kirby Smart: Control what you can control' appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Many questioned Isaiah Wilson's decision to declare himself eligible for the NFL draft with two years of eligibility remaining. But interviews with Wilson at the NFL combine, and more recently on ESPN, reveal a young man who places a high value on his family. RELATED: Colorful and caring, Isaiah Wilson a popular teammate Wilson explained to DawgNation at the combine in Indianapolis last month his decision to skip Georgia's 26-14 bowl win over Baylor. 'I took off from the bowl season to spend time with my family,' Wilson said. 'I'm from New York. My family stayed in New York when I went to Georgia, and I spent probably a total of eight days with them in a three-year period. 'I just wanted to get home and spend a little time with my mom, and my dad, and my brother, before I embarked on this journey.' The 6-foot-6, 350-pound Wilson has been projected to be selected between the second and fourth round of the NFL draft. Isaiah Wilson's NFL draft stock rising, per 7-round CBS mock But wherever he gets selected, he told ESPN host Laura Rutledge it will be a tearful moment for his mother when his name gets called. As @AdamSchefter has reported, the NFL Draft will look a lot different this year but the emotions for families in the middle of it will be the same. @_LayZay_ illustrates that beautifully here: pic.twitter.com/Mg8OuRqYS7 Laura Rutledge (@LauraRutledge) March 29, 2020 'I think she's going to be speechless, genuinely,' Wilson said. 'I don't think she's going to have a lot of words. She may say, I'm proud of you' after about 10 minutes of crying. But I think initially she's going to cry for a long, long time.' There has been a lot of hard work and sacrifice behind the scenes, said Wilson, who hails from Brooklyn, N.Y. and attended Poly Prep 'In youth leagues I had to pay for membership to play and all that good stuff,' Wilson said. 'High school, I went to a prestigious private high school that was 40k a year in tuition. It was more than some colleges out there, and she made it work. 'I wasn't on full athletic scholarship, because it was just so much, and she had to make ends meet. 'She had to sacrifice weekends where she was supposed to be resting to take me to practice or take me to a game,' Wilson said. It didn't take long for the sacrifices to pay off once Wilson was at Georgia. Wilson started and earned FWAA Freshman All-American honors in 2018 after redshirting the 2017 campaign. Last season, Wilson overcame an ankle injury to help anchor the offensive line. NFL.com projects Wilson as a player who will be a starter in the next two seasons at football's highest level, even though he needs more work on his technique. 'I would say I'm big, strong, fast and athletic,' Wilson said last month in Indianapolis. 'My football I.Q. is pretty good, so the playbook won't be a problem. 'I come from a Pro Style system. It was a Pro Style Spread (at UGA), which is making its way into the NFL.' But more than anything, Wilson likes sharing that he comes from a father and mother that loves and supports him. 'That's 12 years of your weekends just gone, so the time she's put in, and financial support she's put in, emotional support of when things got tough to keep my head up and help me push through certain adversity, she's done a ton, and so has my dad,' Wilson said. 'They've both broke their backs to help me to get into this position.' DawgNation Georgia NFL draft stories D'Andre Swift NFL draft stock breakdown from Mel Kiper Jr. Mel Kiper Jr. Top 10 position rankings feature several UGA players Georgia football Mauler' Solomon Kindley on Atlanta Falcons radar Andrew Thomas in first-class form at NFL combine Isaiah Wilson sheds light on 2020 Georgia O-Line Jake Fromm, Jacob Eason reunite anf NFL combine Lawence Cager message at NFL combine high ceiling' D'Andre Swift draft stock makes Georgia football RBU' again Jake Fromm evaluation, comparison, per former Super Bowl scout Georgia OL Isaiah Wilson The post WATCH: Former Georgia OL Isaiah Wilson reveals years of family sacrifice appeared first on DawgNation.