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It’s about Georgia Tech and a whole lot more for UGA’s seniors

It’s about Georgia Tech and a whole lot more for UGA’s seniors

It’s about Georgia Tech and a whole lot more for UGA’s seniors

It’s about Georgia Tech and a whole lot more for UGA’s seniors

georgia football-sec-college football-nick chubb-sony michel-lorenzo carter-davin bellamy

ATHENS – Total domination. This was the plan all along for this season. That’s what we’re now learning from the Georgia Bulldogs, and those notable seniors in particular.

Having played their last home game, which resulted in another blowout win over an SEC East opponent, the Bulldogs are allowing themselves to talk a little about what they’ve achieved this season. That hasn’t been the case all year, you know, with that whole “next game” mantra and all.

But some things have been achieved at this point. UGA (10-1, 7-1 SEC) finished undefeated at home for the first time in five years, for instance. In case you haven’t heard, the Bulldogs have won the SEC’s Eastern Division championship. And not by a little. With that 29-point victory over Kentucky this past Saturday, they outscored their division brethren 247 points to 72, or an average score of 41-12 per game.

It was as thorough and complete a domination as we’ve witnessed by Georgia. So, clearly, the right team will be representing the division when the SEC Championship commences on Dec. 2 in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

And that was the plan. Georgia is exactly where it intended to be at this point.

Well, almost.

“It didn’t go exactly how we wanted,” senior tailback Sony Michel said. “We planned on winning every game. Ultimately, things don’t always go as planned. But, you know, this is the type of season we planned on having.”

Ah, yes. There was that anomaly that occurred on The Plains two weeks ago. Unfortunate, but not fate altering. Georgia can still win out and achieve all those preseason goals.

But there remains one more box to check.

Since Saturday, a lot of people have asked me if I thought there was any danger in Georgia tripping up against its archrival, Georgia Tech. You know, that team that just fell to Duke, 34-20 giving up 319 yards rushing.

Normally, I’d say yes to that. “Of course.” Throw out the records and all that business when it comes to Tech and that Clean Old-Fashioned Hate rivalry.

But I’m going to say no. And here’s why. Here, I return to all those seniors — and “The Big Four,” in particular. I return to that scene of last December and what Nick Chubb had to say about what happened at Sanford Stadium in the last game, of the year.

“The last game didn’t go how any of us wanted,” he said. “It kind of hurt inside. I’m a very prideful guy.”

That was Chubb nearly a year ago. He was explaining the reasons he intended to come back his senior year.

There was the 29-28 loss to Tech. There was the way the Bulldogs lost, giving up 14 points in the final 6:28. And then there was what happened after the loss.

You might recall that about the half of the field-side hedges on the north side of the field were left bare.

It’s a scene these seniors haven’t forgotten. It was also Georgia’s second loss in three years to the Yellow Jackets. That’s the main reason why the Bulldogs are no danger of overlooking their 5-4 opponent this week.

Losing to Georgia Tech is not cool in these parts. Leaving school with a losing record to that school borders on sacrilegious.

“That was one of the things I thought about personally, something I needed to come back and finish,” senior Lorenzo Carter said. “I had unfinished business. I didn’t want to leave having a losing record to Tech. Right now I do. All the seniors do. So we wanted to come back play our ball and finish strong.”

Said fifth-year senior John Atkins: “That’s what a lot of guys came back for, losing to Tech last year. You don’t want to lose to Tech in your last year. I mean, we’re not thinking about the SEC yet. Tech’s the next game. We’ve just got to go out against them and play ball.”

Regardless of that has happened to this point, Georgia has had a great season. It has been a special year no matter how one slices it up. A win on Saturday gives the Bulldogs 11 wins. The school has managed that many wins only nine other times, the 13-1 season of 2002 being the most ever.

They’ve left a regular season undefeated and untied only three times. With that goal thwarted, the Bulldogs don’t want to relent on anything else. Least of all, Georgia’s seniors don’t want to leave with the smudge of another loss to Tech.

Because of what Georgia has done to this point, Kirby Smart is in line for coach of the year, nationally as well as for the SEC. But when talk turns to what the Bulldogs have accomplished this season, he fully deflects the praise and redirects toward his fourth-year guys.

The true value in all that, Smart pointed out Monday, is theirs is a gift that will keep on giving. The seniors’ willingness to “buy in” to what Smart and his staff have been selling since they showed up will pay dividends with all those underclassmen that will coming back next year.

“I know you see (their leadership) on the field,” Smart said. “But you don’t get to see it in the meeting room; you don’t get to see it when a guy’s late; you don’t see it when a guy does some undisciplined penalty out of bounds and they grab the guy. That part is what they bring of setting a standard, the standard that we want to play to, they help set that standard.”

That includes not losing to Georgia Tech but once every seven or eight years. Certainly not two of every three years, or three of every four.

The last time Georgia lost three to the Jackets in such a short span was 1998-2000 when coach Jim Donnan dropped three in a row, and he was out of a job at the end of it.

Between the buy-in for the future and going out on top against Tech, these Bulldogs aren’t about to let up.

“We came back for a bigger purpose and we’re still working toward that,” senior outside linebacker Davin Bellamy said. “Everything’s been nice till now but it’s all about how you finish.”

Said Michel: “I think most definitely we have built a foundation for our coach, offensively and defensively,” Michel said. “The guys have bought in to what we’re trying to do; the standard is set. And I think the bar is only going to be raised when we leave. I’m excited for this program. Great things are ahead. We have guys here who are willing to learn. It’s crazy to see what’s going to happen.”

The post It’s about Georgia Tech and a whole lot more for UGA’s seniors appeared first on DawgNation.

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Georgia Sports News

  • ATLANTA — Georgia football quarterback Justin Fields has embraced his role and his going with the flow, working to develop into the player most everyone things he can be. Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart clarified Fields’ current role on Tuesday, and senior teammate Terry Godwin shared insights into the mindset of the No. 1-ranked dual-threat QB in the 2018 signing class. “ He’s taken on the second team role quickly, and I’m excited about the things he’s done,” Smart said at SEC Media Days at the College Football Hall of Fame. “He gives us an element in our offense that we don’t have. Excited to see what he can do.” Smart said Georgia football has no plans to redshirt Fields —  which most had already assumed. The Bulldogs have only two quarterbacks on scholarship after Jacob Eason’s transfer to Washington in February. Bulldogs sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm has been observed in command of the team, both on the field and in the locker room. RELATED: NFL QB whisperer dishes on Jake Fromm running Georgia team Fields, just as importantly, is managing his situation in optimal fashion. “He’s going to come in and compete very similar to the way Jake Fromm came in and competed with Easton,” Smart said. “He’s coming in to compete and learn our system. He’s made the players around him better. He’s embraced the challenge of learning the offense, and he’s a very bright young man.” Indeed, Fields is smart enough to avoid falling victim to the hype train, according to Godwin. “He’s not really listening to all the noise,” Godwin said. “He’s out there making plays at practice, and just going as hard as he can and trying to prove a point.” Justin Fields highlights   The post Georgia freshman Justin Fields has Kirby Smart ‘excited to see what he can do’ appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATLANTA — To hear their teammates talk about them, Deangelo Gibbs and Natrez Patrick are full reinstated and set to play in Georgia’s first game this season. But Terry Godwin, Jonathan Ledbetter and Jonathan Ledbetter aren’t in charge. Kirby Smart is, and the Bulldogs’ head coach is not ready to discuss game availability. That four-person contingent was representing UGA as the Bulldogs’ took their turn at SEC Football Media Days on Tuesday. Before their turn at the podium in the College Football Hall of Fame, the players and coaches met with beat corps that covers the team on the sixth floor of The Omni Hotel, where they lodged in Atlanta Monday night. The players went first, meeting with reporters on the open-air pool deck, fittingly overlooking Mercedes-Benz Stadium. They were, of course, asked about the status of their respective teammates. Patrick, a starting inside linebacker, did not play in the Bulldogs’ last two games of last season after a marijuana-involved police encounter following the SEC Championship Game. Gibbs, former 5-star signee from Grayson, did not play in the Bulldogs’ last seven games of the season, withdrew from school and did not participate in spring drills. “Yes, sir, he’s back with the team,” said junior safety J.R. Reed, who also happens to be Gibbs’ first cousin. “And he can’t wait to play in a game like the rest of us.” “Natrez has everything going for him,” said senior defensive end Jonathan Ledbetter, Patrick’s roommate their first two years at Georgia. “He is on the up-and-up now and headed in the right direction. I’m just proud of to see him doing that for himself. He’s working hard and doing the right things and he wants to continue to do the right things.” Smart, speaking to reporters in a suite down the hall a short time later, appreciated his players weighing in on the matter. And while he continues to confirm those players being reinstated as members of the team, he’s not ready to discuss player availability. “Their making these decision now? You put them in charge?” Smart said sarcastically when told his players inferred Gibbs and Patrick were fully reinstated. “I will validate that both of those guys are on the team. They’re on the team working with us. But you guys know that. They’re in there working hard and competing and doing a good job for us.” Asked if that meant they would be available for Georgia’s first game of the season, Smart said, “again, they’re on our team right now and that’s what they’re doing. You can ask them whether they’ll play in the first game, but they’re not the head coach and they’re not going to make that decision.” Mandatory disciplinary suspensions are unclear in both cases as charges against Patrick actually were dropped and the reasons behind Gibbs benching and withdrawal from school are unclear. Gibbs also underwent offseason surgery for a shoulder injury that also contributed to him being sidelined. Suffice it to say, the availability of either player significantly enhances Georgia’s defensive prospects this fall. Patrick is unquestionably one of the Bulldogs’ top 11 defensive players and, as a Mike/Mac inside linebacker plays a position of a great need for Georgia this fall. When on the field, the 6-foot-3, 242-pound senior from Atlanta, has been one of the Bulldogs’ most productive players. As it is, the three-year starter has participated in 30 of Georgia’s 41 games in his career, starting 18 of those. Patrick enters his senior season with 116 career tackles, two sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss. He had a career-best total of 10 tackles against Tennessee in 2016. Gibbs was working out with the No. 1 defense at star, or nickelback, as an early enrollee last spring. He dressed for six of Georgia’s first eight games last season but did not record any stats. He did not suit up for the Bulldogs after the Florida game. Gibbs, a former 6-foot-1, 205-pound former Under Armour All-American, could be a contender to start at nickelback or any of the safety positions for the Bulldogs this fall. Gibbs has the ultimate mentor in his cousin, Reed. Reed was thought to have been invited to Georgia as a walkon from Tulsa in order to lure Gibbs, an Under Armour All-American, to sign with the Bulldogs. Instead, it has been Reed so far who has not only been a productive starter but has been designated a team leader and spokesman, as his presence at Media Days indicates. “That’s the reason I have a chip on my shoulder, from guys saying I was only brought in for (Gibbs’) recruitment,” Reed quipped. As for being designated a a player rep by his head coach, Reed said: “This is something I always wanted to check off my list and I’m just excited to be here,” said Reed, a preseason All-SEC candidate. “I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder for being passed up since I was little. But that just makes you play harder. If they keep missing on me, fine.” The post Georgia’s Kirby Smart weighs in on availability of Natrez Patrick, Deangelo Gibbs appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia coach Kirby Smart offered some clarity on how freshman quarterback Justin Fields will be used this season. Speaking at SEC Media Days on Tuesday morning in Atlanta, Smart told reporters that it’s not in Georgia’s plans to redshirt Fields this year. Smart added that Jake Fromm will be the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback but that Fields will be expected to be prepared in a similar way that Fromm was in 2017 when Fromm took over for the injured Jacob Eason. Check out Smart’s comments below, as relayed by The Telegraph’s Jason Butt and Times-Union Media’s Garry Smits: Kirby Smart was asked this morning on the chance Justin Fields will redshirt. Smart said, 'That's not in our plans.' — Jason Butt (@JasonHButt) July 17, 2018 @FootballUGA coach Kirby Smart said freshman QB Justin Fields will be groomed to play. Jake Fromm is still the starter but he wants Fields ready like Fromm was last year when Jake Eason was hurt. — Garry Smits (@gsmitter) July 17, 2018 Fields, formerly a 5-star prospect from Kennesaw, Ga., represented a large recruiting victory for Smart’s staff after the talented player signed with Georgia as a member of the Bulldogs’ heralded Class of 2018. The 247Sports composite ranked Fields as the nation’s top dual-threat quarterback for his class. He enrolled at Georgia in January and participated in spring drills. Fromm, meanwhile, helped guide Georgia to an SEC title, a Rose Bowl victory and an appearance in the National Championship Game last season. He finished the 2017 campaign with 2,615 yards passing with 24 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Georgia opens the 2018 season against Austin Peay on Sept. 1. The post Kirby Smart: Not in Georgia’s plans to redshirt QB Justin Fields appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATLANTA — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart is ready to welcome Demetris Robertson home, but getting the Cal transfer on the field for the Bulldogs this season is another matter. “I’m excited about Demetris, I think he’s a really competitive kid that I’ve known since his ninth grade year, I recruited him a long time,” Smart said Tuesday at the Omni Hotel. “I really believe when you recruit a kid, especially the time I spent (coaching) at Alabama, going to Savannah, getting to know him in the ninth and 10th grade, those things pay off, treating people the right way and having a good relationship with them.” Coming Home Robertson announced Saturday he would be returning to his home state of Georgia to play receiver for the SEC Champions. According to multiple reports, Robertson’s decision to return to the Peach State relates to a family illness. RELATED: DawgNation breaking news on Demetris Robertson Robertson was granted a medical redshirt last season after appearing in only two games, but he would need an NCAA waiver to be eligible to play this season. “I don’t know much about the waiver, that’s out of my department, that will be in the NCAA’s hands,” Smart said. “That’s outside of my control, and it’s not something we’re really concerned with right now. We’re preparing with the guys that are going to be eligible to play and can play.” Recruiting Stars It was yet another big recruiting win for Smart, who landed the No. 1 signing class in 2018. Robertson had announced on June 21 his decision to transfer out of Cal, triggering immediate speculation that Georgia and Alabama would be in a head-to-head battle for his talents. Robertson had 57 catches for 837 yards and seven touchdowns during his two seasons with Cal, but 50 of those catches and 767 yards came his freshman season. Last season, Robertson had only seven catches for 70 yards and two runs for 40 yards in the first two games before undergoing surgery for a lower body injury. Many expected Roberston to choose Georgia coming out of Savannah Christian Prep in 2016, when he was a 5-star prep prospect ranked as the No. 1 receiver in the nation according to the 247Sports composite. A U.S. Army All-American, Robertson was reportedly to choose between Georgia, Notre Dame and Alabama according to 247Sports. The post Georgia football coach Kirby Smart welcomes Demetris Robertson home, but waiver in question appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Welcome to  Good Day, UGA, your one-stop shop for Georgia football news and takes. Check us out every weekday morning for everything you need to know about Georgia football, recruiting, basketball and more. Georgia Football 2018 Opponent Preview: South Carolina Gamecocks I have spoken with an awful lot of Georgia fans this offseason who are worried about the week two trip to Columbia to face South Carolina. It’s understandable. With the Dawgs opening the season against overmatched and outgunned Austin Peay, the Sept. 8 game against the Gamecocks is the first big game of the years, so it’s at the front of a lot of minds as the season looms. An away game against an SEC East foe in the second weak of the season — which typically means South Carolina — is always something to fret over in the long days of the offseason. And by all accounts, Will Muschamp has made tremendous strides with the Gamecocks in his first two seasons. (Not as much as Kirby Smart, but I digress.) By my and most pundits figuring, South Carolina is the greatest threat to Georgia in the East. But are Georgia fans right to be as worried about this game as they are? Talk to anyone who knows anything and they’ll tell you the Gamecocks will be one of the most dangerous opponents on Georgia’s 2018 schedule. I don’t necessarily think that’s incorrect, I just think “most dangerous” has to be quantified relative to how dangerous other opponents are. And on a weak Georgia schedule, there isn’t a whole lot of danger. I think a lot of fans have overinflated the danger South Carolina poses because, frankly, there aren’t a ton of other opponents to worry about. Offense One thing you can always count on from Muschamp is turnover at offensive coordinator. Bryan McClendon will head the South Carolina offense this year, making him Muschamp’s fourth offensive coordinator in seven years as a head coach. And the change was warranted. South Carolina’s stodgy attack finished 12th in the SEC in scoring and 88th nationally in offensive S&P+. McClendon planning on going up-tempo to bring the excitement back to the offense, and he’s got a few weapons to do it with. I’m not totally sold on junior QB Jake Bentley — who passed for 2,1794 yards, 18 TDs and 12 INTs last season — but he has the potential to break down any defense on days he’s clicking. Aiding Bentley in his attempt to turn a corner is returning WR Deebo Samuel, who had 474 all-purpose yards and 6 TDs in 11 quarters before missing the final 10 games with a broken leg. Samuel’s return alone should make the offense significantly more dangerous. Defense Muschamp’s calling card has always been and will always be defense, but South Carolina still has a lot to improve upon on that side of the ball. The Gamecocks returns six starters and a gaggle of strong role players from a defense that was generally average on a play-to-play basis but excelled at taking the ball away, recovering 14 fumbles and snagging 14 interceptions as a team. Their greatest weakness was the pass rush. The Gamecocks finished 11th in the league with 26.0 sacks to their name last season. To be an elite SEC defense, you simply have to get to the quarterback more often. The player to watch for the Gamecock defense is DT Javon Kinlaw. The 6-foot-6, 300-pound JuCo transfer finished last season with 20 tackles working in backup duty for South Carolina, and he appears poised for a breakout campaign. He has the kind of size Muschamp needs in the middle of his defense to draw attention from offensive linemen and open lanes for other rushers. Kinlaw could single-handedly create more opportunities for this defense if he lives up to his hype. What to expect on Sept. 8 I made it a point to say Georgia fans shouldn’t be as worried about South Carolina as many I’ve spoken with are, but that’s not to say don’t worry about the Gamecocks at all. It’s an early season game and Georgia will be working out some kinks and breaking in a lot of new names in front of a hostile crowd at Williams-Brice. But there’s a really good reason the Dawgs are favored over South Carolina by two touchdowns: They’re better. FPI Projection: Georgia has a 79.1 percent chance of winning Opponent Previews: Austin Peay MORE: Want this roundup in your inbox every morning?  Sign up here! 4-star in-state OT commits to Georgia Georgia football added its 12th commitment to its recruiting class of 2019 with a pledge from Brunswick, Ga. 4-star OT Warren McClendon Jr. on Monday. McClendon is the eighth player from the state of Georgia and second offensive lineman Georgia has landed in this class. Along with fellow class of 2019 players Zion Logue and Cal transfer Demetris Robertson, McClendon is the third player to sign on to be a Bulldog since Saturday. “First, I would like to thank God for blessing me with the opportunity to play on the next level,”  McClendon wrote in a tweet. “I would like to thank my parents for supporting me during the recruiting process. Also, I would like to thank all my coaches and teammates. With that being said I’m 100% committed to … THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA.” ❗️C O M M I T T E D❗️ pic.twitter.com/B1KN6UUa40 — Warren McClendon Jr (@wcmcclendonjr) July 16, 2018 ICYMI: SEC Media Days Here’s a roundup of DawgNation coverage from the first day of SEC Media Days. Stay tuned for plenty more as Kirby Smart takes the podium in Atlanta Tuesday at 9 a.m. SEC Football Media Days not going to be in Atlanta long Texas A&M football coach Jimbo Fisher at SEC Media Days: ‘timetable is now’ Kentucky’s Mark Stoops sees Georgia as SEC measuring stick Dawgs on Twitter ICYMI: We took an inside look at the on-going construction inside Sanford Stadium, which will be ready for the @FootballUGA season-opener on September 1! #GoDawgs #ATD pic.twitter.com/eGNLavq2Hp — Bulldogs Game Day (@WSBbulldogs) July 16, 2018 One week from today is the @UGAAthletics SEC Network takeover! Tune in to @SECNetwork at 10:00am on the 23rd and re-live our big win over Mizzou last season! #GoDawgs | #CommitToTheG pic.twitter.com/MekphjXf8y — Georgia Basketball (@UGA_WBB) July 16, 2018 Good dog There’s only one option today. Another Great day to be a Dawg!! #yessirrrr #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/AdyuZcNqXl — Coach Sam Pittman (@CoachSamPittman) July 16, 2018 Miss a previous edition of Good Day, UGA? Get caught up  here . The post Georgia Football 2018 Opponent Preview: How worried should Georgia be about South Carolina? appeared first on DawgNation.