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Georgia football: 5 offensive players poised to break out in 2018

Georgia football: 5 offensive players poised to break out in 2018

Georgia football: 5 offensive players poised to break out in 2018

Georgia football: 5 offensive players poised to break out in 2018

Georgia football-Riley Ridley-Isaac Nauta-breakout players

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.

5 Bulldogs who could break out on offense

Compared to the defense, Georgia’s offense heads into the 2018 season relatively unscathed from departures.

Although the Dawgs lost Nick Chubb and Sony Michel at tailback, they should be improved at every other position on offense. And there are plenty of talented Dawgs on the verge of a breakout campaign.

Here are five Bulldogs ready to make a difference.

  • Riley Ridley, wide receiver: Ridley had a solid freshman outing in 2016, hauling in 12 catches for 238 yards and 2 touchdowns. That production dropped steeply his sophomore season with just 8 catches for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns. But in the National Championship Game, he rose to the occasion with 6 catches for 82 yards. If he can continue that connection with Jake Fromm this season, he could make a play to become UGA’s top receiver.
  • Ben Cleveland, right guard:  Cleveland beat out Solomon Kindley and was fantastic in a run of five starts at right guard to end last season. Although I think he’ll play out his UGA career at guard, he could see work at right tackle if one of the talented freshman guards steps up and the coaches believe Cleveland is a cut above Isaiah Wilson and Cade Mays, at least for now.
  • Elijah Holyfield, tailback: Holyfield has done some serious bulking up recently and appears to be in line to become Georgia’s No. 2 back behind D’Andre Swift. Based on how Georgia has used its tailbacks the past few years, that’s as good as a starting job at some schools. But he’ll have to hold off fellow junior Brian Herrien, as well as freshmen Zamir White and James Cook to hold on to the gig.
  • Isaac Nauta, tight end: In 2016, Nauta looked like a future star, hauling in 29 catches for 361 yards and 3 touchdowns. Then, Georgia decided to stop throwing to tight ends and his production dropped to 9 catches for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns. But with a greater emphasis on the passing game potentially in the cards this season, Nauta could once again take on a larger role in the offense and finally turn into the star that was expected from him last season.
  • Ahkil Crumpton, wide receiver: Crumpton had a quiet 2017 — 5 catches, 95 yards and 1 TD — but it’s difficult to expect too much from a JUCO transfer who joined the team only a few weeks before the season began. But he did use those few opportunities to prove he can be an explosive playmaker, because 78 of those yards and that TD came on the same play against Georgia Tech and he had another big play at G-Day. That’s a small sample size, but now that he has a year in the offense, I think Crumpton could be one of the most explosive players on the team, if his number is called more often.

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Diamond Dogs end regular season on high

This has been a resurgent season for Georgia baseball (37-17 overall, 18-12 SEC) and it ended with the No. 13 Diamond Dawgs beating No. 6 Arkansas two games to one in a three-game series at Foley Field. And they clinched the series in thrilling fashion, with a 3-2 win Saturday as Keegan McGovern gunned down Arkansas outfielder Dominic Fletcher at home on a potential sacrifice fly that would have tied the game.

I can’t think of few more exciting ways to head into the postseason than with a play like this.

Now the focus turns to the SEC Tournament, which commences this week in Hoover, Ala. Georgia holds the No. 3 seed and will open the tourney Wednesday, May 23 at 10:30 a.m ET against the winner of the first-round game between 11th-seeded Texas A&M and sixth-seeded Vanderbilt. The game will be shown live on SEC Network.

Georgia softball to host Tennessee in Athens Super Regional

While Georgia baseball is about to start its postseason run, Georgia softball is in the middle of a run of its own.

The Bulldogs went 3-0 in the NCAA Athens Regional over the weeken, beating Harvard once and Northwestern twice to advance to the Athens Super Regional. They’ll meet a familiar foe this weekend, with SEC East rival Tennessee coming to Athens for a best-of-three series for a place in the Women’s College World Series. The super regional starts Thursday.

Tom Crean hires 2 staff members

It was a busy weekend for Tom Crean as the new Georgia men’s basketball coach put the finishing touches to his staff by hiring his third and final assistant as well as a new support staffer.

Amir Abdur-Rahim will join Chad Dollar and Joe Scott as Crean’s assistants. Abdur-Rahim has strong ties to the state of Georgia. He’s a graduate of Wheeler High School in Marietta and also coached at Georgia Tech for a spell. He also has SEC experience, spending the last four seasons as an assistant at Texas A&M. And if his name sounds familiar, you probably know his brother, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, a former member of the Atlanta Hawks and an NBA All-Star.

“Amir has proven himself to be an outstanding basketball coach with the drive and knowledge to help develop players, game plans and overall scope of the programs he has worked in,” Crean said in a statement. “His ability to recruit is shown in his energy, dogged determination and relationship building. His knowledge of the SEC and ability to work with our big men will provide immediate help.”

Crean also added Jake Thelen to his staff as the director of basketball operations. Thelen worked for Crean at Indiana as a graduate assistant before heading back to his alma mater, Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky., as an assistant coach last season after Crean was fired by the Hoosiers.

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The post Georgia football: 5 offensive players poised to break out in 2018 appeared first on DawgNation.

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Georgia Sports News

  • For the UGA fans who wish the Bulldogs didn’t always play the Florida Gators in Florida, they’ve found an ally on the other side. Florida athletics director Scott Sticklan was asked this week what he thought about the Gators-UGA series being played in Jacksonville, as part as an extensive Q&A with Gatorsports.com’s Pat Dooley. “Jacksonville is really unique and special,” Sticklan said. “It’s something not many schools have. It would be nice to have Georgia on our campus and go to their’s, but we have to weigh that against what Jacksonville means to that series. It’s pretty important now. But you never say never.” The Georgia-Florida game has been played in Jacksonville since 1933, with the exception being a home-and-home series during the 1994 and 1995 seasons due to stadium renovations at Jacksonville. Many UGA fans approve of the Florida game always being in Jacksonville because it’s a longtime tradition, and nice vacation during the fall to go to St. Simons Island and the nearby beaches. Other Bulldog fans prefer a switch to a home-and-home series because they feel that Florida has an advantage with the game being played in the state of Georgia or they simply don’t like giving up a home game every other year, among other reasons. Are you pro-Jacksonville or not? Please post your opinion below. The post Florida A.D. likes idea of home-and-home series for Georgia-Florida appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — The Georgia basketball family is rallying around Coach Tom Crean, whose mother Marjorie passed away Thursday in Michigan. Bulldogs’ assistant coach Amir Abdur-Rahim said he wanted to respect Crean’s privacy at this sensitive time. But Abdur-Rahim confirmed what many of the Georgia players have already come to know and respect: Tom Crean is a man of faith and a man of great strength and resiliency. RELATED: Tom Crean dealing with pain of mother’s passing There’s no doubt Crean will be coaching with a heavy heart when Georgia (9-7, 1-3 SEC) plays host to Florida (9-7, 1-3) at noon on Saturday in a nationally-televised CBS tilt. But throughout these final times of his mother’s life in Michigan, Crean has shown exemplary leadership in Athens amidst a challenging schedule dealt him and UGA the SEC conference office. A sellout crowd will be at Stegeman Coliseum to show their support for Crean and the Bulldogs. UGA has already played the three highest-ranked teams in the SEC in Tennessee, Kentucky and Auburn — easily the most difficult early slate in the league. Georgia fans have responded, having already sold out seven games this season. It’s the most sellouts for the Bulldogs since they had eight during the 2002-03 season. Crean has been appreciative of the support, but obviously, he has also been dealing with a much more painful, personal family issue for some time. “I t’s a pretty private matter, (but) the one thing that I will say is you know Tom Crean is a really strong person,” Abdur-Rahim said. “Obviously you know that his faith is very important to him, but just watching him here over the last you know week or so, you just realize how strong of a person he is.  He’s still been able to come to practice dealing with what he was dealing with and still give guys and give our guys and our staff 100-percent effort, 100-percent focus on what we’re doing and preparing us. “I think he’s one of the best leaders I’ve been around. I’m sure it’s been difficult for him, but how he’s done it I couldn’t answer that for you.” Crean has kept the focus completely on basketball, declining to elaborate on his mother’s health after a road loss at then-No. 12 Auburn last Saturday. RELATED: Tom Crean wants more mental toughness from Bulldogs The Georgia head coach hinted that he may have to make some lineup changes to spark his team’s defensive effort and slow starts in the second half. “We know that’s been our Achilles heel this season,” Abdur-Rahim said, “so we have to make sure we do a great job of just mentally coming out with great energy you know physically being prepared to playing knowing that it’s a 40-minute game.” Georgia sophomore star Nicolas Claxton said the Bulldogs are ready to change their mental approach. WATCH: Kentucky coach John Calipari praises Nicholas Claxton “I think it is more of a mental thing, I wouldn’t really say it is a physical thing,” Claxton said. “We have to make sure to come out with the right mentality and make sure that we starting the second half with the right mindset and ready to go.” Georgia is 7-2 at home this season, with the only losses coming to ranked opponents Arizona State (No. 20) and Kentucky (No. 12). Georgia basketball assistant Amir Abdur-Rahim   The post WATCH: Georgia basketball family respects, rallies around Tom Crean leading into Florida game appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Once again, Georgia offensive coordinator James Coley appears to be a wanted man. Only this time, it’s an NFL team that may be after his services. The Dallas Cowboys fired their offensive coordinator Scott Linehan on Friday, and will be searching for a new one to optimize the talents of quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott. And one name that was almost immediately mentioned was that of Coley by the NFL Network’s Adam Ian Rapoport. As the #Cowboys dig into possible replacements for embattled OC Scott Linehan, they have one on their current staff — TE coach Doug Nussmeier — and may look to the college game to better utilize Dak Prescott’s talents. UGA OC James Coley will receive some consideration there. — Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 18, 2019 Just last Friday, Coley was named Georgia’s new offensive coordinator, replacing Jim Chaney. Chaney left to become the offensive coordinator at Tennessee. Contract details for Coley’s new deal have not been announced yet. Georgia hired its tight ends coach, Todd Hartley, on Monday and released his contract details on Thursday. Coley has been with the Georgia program since 2016, starting as the wide receivers coach before moving up to quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator this past offseason. Coley is also an excellent recruiter in the South Florida area, making him a major asset for the Georgia program. Last offseason, Texas A&M tried to hire Coley to be its offensive coordinator, but he elected to remain with the Bulldogs. Related:  Terry Godwin: Georgia offensive coordinator James Coley ‘brings the juice every day’ Most of Coley’s work has come in college, but he did serve as an offensive assistant for the Miami Dolphins in 2005 and 06, when Nick Saban ran the team. He previously worked as an offensive coordinator at Florida State and Miami, but only served as the play caller in Miami. While Georgia has filled out its offensive staff, it is still looking for a new defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach. The search to fill that position has lasted longer than six weeks, as Mel Tucker was named the head coach at Colorado on Dec. 5. Best Georgia football stories from around DawgNation Georgia football staff attrition challenging Kirby Smart, leaves anxious fans watching, waiting ESPN names Georgia standout Andrew Thomas to early 2019 All-American team Georgia football podcast: UGA’s delay in hiring defensive coach starting to make more sense Terry Godwin: Georgia offensive coordinator James Coley ‘brings the juice every day’ Identifying who could be Georgia’s best under-the-radar offensive player in 2019 When should Georgia fans start to worry about the defensive coordinator hire? The post Report: James Coley mentioned as candidate for Dallas Cowboys OC job appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia football is the No. 1 topic every day on DawgNation Daily — the daily podcast for Georgia Bulldogs fans. Catch up on everything happening with UGA athletics with host Brandon Adams and the cast of DawgNation experts as they break down the latest Georgia football recruiting news and discuss UGA coach Kirby Smart’s quest to keep the Bulldogs on top of the SEC. On episodes No. 868 (Jan. 18, 2019) of the podcast, Georgia fans can hear a discussion about UGA’s upcoming recruiting weekend. Georgia football podcast: UGA heads into major recruiting weekend without DBs coach in place Beginning of the show: Georgia’s expected to host a number of top recruits this weekend — incuding 4-star defensive back Kaiir Elam. However, as of Friday it still hasn’t announced a defensive backs coach. I’ll address that subject on today’s show. Eight-minute mark: UGA left tackle Andrew Thomas is generating early buzz as both an All-America candidate and a first-round draft pick. I’ll discuss why Thomas might be UGA’s most important player next season. 15-minute mark: DawgNation’s recruiting insider Jeff Sentell joins the show. Some of the topics covered include… Whether UGA’s lack of defensive coaching hires is a problem The lastest on Elam Reaction to an interesting thread from the DawgNation forum on UGA’s wide receiver recruitment And a look at some fun videos involving a a new helicopter for UGA coach Kirby Smart and an impressive dunk from 2020 recruiting target, 5-star defensive end Brian Bresee. 35-minute mark: I take a look at other SEC headlines including the odd way in which former Alabama quarterbacks coach Dan Enos was reported to have left the program, a minor NCAA violation for Tennessee that might point to a larger problem, and a Vols coach who has apparently decided to pass on a new job and promotion in order to stay with the team. 40-minute mark: I recommend DawgNation Daily listeners and viewers check out Chip Towers’ piece on running back Brian Herrien and address the reports involving former UGA defensive back Deangelo Gibbs transfer to Tennessee. End of show: I share the Gator Hater Updater. The post Georgia football podcast: UGA heads into major recruiting weekend without DBs coach in place appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean lost his mother, Marjorie Crean, after her long battle with an illness. “My sister Michelle and our family are incredibly fortunate to have my mom as a mother and a grandmother,” Crean said in a school release. “Her perseverance and toughness were huge characteristics in her life, and she carried those with her until the very end,” he said. “We could never thank her enough for giving us the wherewithal and the courage to pursue our dreams with an incredible passion she instilled in each of us.” Crean traveled to Michigan last Friday to be with his 80-year-old mother, returning last Saturday to coach the Bulldogs at Auburn. Crean, in his first year as UGA’s head coach, has let Georgia know he does not plan on missing any games. The Bulldogs play host to Florida at noon on Saturday in the second of five consecutive sellouts at Stegeman Coliseum. Georgia is 9-7 overall and 1-3 in the SEC with league losses to No. 3-ranked Tennessee, No. 12-ranked Kentucky and No. 14 Auburn. The defeats to the Vols and the Tigers were both on the road. Marjorie Crean is survived by her two children, Tom Crean and Michelle Dean; her daughter-in-law, Joani Crean; her son-in-law, Shannon Dean; and three grandchildren, Megan, Riley and Ainsley Crean.         The post Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean’s mother, Marjorie Crean, passes away at 80 appeared first on DawgNation.