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

Odds & Ends

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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

  • ATLANTA (AP) - Falcons kicker Matt Bryant is likely to miss the next game against the New York Giants after straining his right hamstring making a 57-yard field goal. Coach Dan Quinn said Monday that the Falcons are going to bring in another kicker by the time they return to practice this week. Giorgio Tavecchio, who was with the team at the end of the preseason, is among the candidates to fill in for at least one game. The 43-year-old Bryant is one of Atlanta's most reliable offensive weapons. He has made all nine of his field goal attempts this season, including three from at least 50 yards. His long kick Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers helped clinch a 34-29 victory. But Bryant immediately grabbed his hamstring, hobbled off the field and headed straight to the locker room. The Falcons (2-4) face the New York Giants (1-5) next Monday night. ___ For more AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NFLfootball and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
  • ATHENS — College football games between relatively evenly matched teams can often come down to a handful of plays, with momentum playing a large role in the outcome. The LSU-Georgia game on Saturday in Tiger Stadium was no different, the Bayou Bengals prevailing 36-16 over the previously undefeated Bulldogs. Both teams had their strengths, but they had also shown their deficiencies leading up to a high-profile clash that drew the largest college football game rating last weekend. LSU did a better job of exposing the Bulldogs’ weaknesses than Georgia did the Tigers. Here are the three key moments that played a large role in determining the outcome of Saturday’s game 1. Georgia’s failed fake field goal Perhaps the biggest play of the game in hindsight, as Georgia had ran the ball nine straight times for 60 yards before two incomplete passes put the Bulldogs in position for a field goal attempt. Kirby Smart said the staff knew before the game they were going to run a fake if they saw an LSU alignment they felt they could take advantage of, and the Tigers presented that look on Georgia’s second drive. “They were like 15 of 17 (88 percent) with a look that it would work on,” Smart said, explaining why the Bulldogs passed on a 31-yard field goal attempt at the 3:28 mark of the opening quarter, down 3-0. “We wanted to be aggressive.” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said Georgia’s fake field goal did indeed surprise him. “ It surprised me, 10 yards to go, it surprised me,” he said. “But we always have a guy for the fake. We have eyes. And when you’re playing for the field goal block, you have to have your eyes on your man, not on the field goal kicker. Tremendous discipline.” 2. LSU’s 47-yard run on third-and-1 Tiger Stadium erupted again on the final play of the first quarter on the ensuing drive after Georgia had lost its initial momentum with the fruitless fake field goal. The game within the game was LSU’s offensive line vs. the Georgia front seven, and this was the first short-yardage battle of the game, third-and-1 at the Tigers’ 46. RELATED: Kirby Smart challenges defense to ‘knuckle up’ at LSU The Bulldogs were not gap sound, and LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed 47 yards to the UGA 7 to set up a TD that made it 10-0. It was only the second run of longer than 20 yards Georgia had given up all season. The play gave the Tigers the confidence they needed to go for it on four other fourth-and-1 situations against the Bulldogs, all of which they converted in back-breaking fashion. “At the end of the day,” Smart said, “you don’t win the line of scrimmage in this league, you won’t win the football game.” Orgeron, meanwhile, said LSU was still smarting from its 27-19 loss at Florida the week before. The Tigers coach was intent to make amends after electing to kick a field goal from the Gators’ 15-yard line on a fourth-and-inches situation in the second quarter with that game tied at 7-7.. “We were throwing out the kitchen sink, man, everything we had, we did,” Orgeron said, asked about the decision to go for it on four fourth downs against Georgia. “All week, we talked about being aggressive. I was a little pissed at myself for not going for it against Florida down there fourth and half an inch.” Third-and-6 sack in fourth quarter Georgia trailed 19-9 when it took over at the LSU 38-yard line with 14:39 remaining, Mecole Hardman having broken loose on a 27-yard punt return after the Bulldogs’ defense turned the momentum by forcing LSU to go three-and-out. RELATED: LSU defensive wizard outschemed Georgia football A jet sweep call for Hardman was stopped for no gain, and then Justin Fields was brought in to handoff to third-string tailback Brian Herrien for 4 yards, bringing up the third-and-6 at the 34. Georgia was still within Rodrigo Blankenship’s field goal range when Jake Fromm took the snap, but the veteran QB failed to make a play — instead taking a 9-yard sack that took the Bulldogs out of field goal range. “Some of those you’ve got to escape and get rid of the ball, there’s a lot of pressures they run that are hard to pick up, and I was very concerned with that coming into the game,” Smart said. “But I didn’t think it was the protection as much as it was making decisions quicker, getting rid of the ball quicker, and at the end of the day, don’t be in third-and-long.”   LSU, its crowd still roaring from the sack, responded with a six-play, 86-yard drive to go up 26-9. Georgia-LSU football DawgNation Georgia-LSU top-rated television game, Atlanta market shines Kirby Smart defends Jake Fromm at LSU Georgia football saw warning signs, couldn’t dodge Tigers’ trap Why didn’t Georgia use Justin Fields more? Report card: Bulldogs bomb midterm Georgia football stock report, LSU cashes in on Dawgs mistakes Instant analysis: Georgia melts in Louisiana heat against LSU Tigers came at Georgia for four downs on each series RECAP: Scoring, injuries, news from Georgia’s 36-16 loss to LSU Georgia rushing attack goes AWOL in battle at LSU         The post Georgia-LSU rewind: 3 momentum-changing plays in Bulldogs’ 36-16 loss 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 episode No. 803 (Oct. 15, 2018) of the podcast, Georgia fans can hear a discussion about how Georgia coach Kirby Smart’s handling his quarterbacks. Georgia football podcast: Kirby Smart facing tough questions about his QBs Beginning of the show: Georgia lost Saturday vs. LSU and UGA quarterback Jake Fromm didn’t have a good game. This will increase calls from some fans to see more of the backup quarterback, freshman Justin Fields. There’s a debate to be had about whether Fromm or Fields is the right choice for UGA, but what isn’t debatable is that UGA coach Kirby Smart’s decision making about his quarterbacks is becoming more controversial. I’ll talk more about that subject on today’s show. 10-minute mark: I’ll share audio of Smart addressing the quarterback situation. 15-minute mark: DawgNation’s Chip Towers joins the show. Some of the topics dicussed include… Chip’s thoughts on the quarterback situation Whether the Bulldogs were guilty of abandoning the running game Saturday The strange decision to fake a field goal — which backfired on UGA and seemingly generated momentum for LSU And where UGA goes next with Florida looming in two weeks 30-minute mark: I react to the top SEC games of the weekend — including Florida’s win against Vanderbilt, Auburn’s loss to Tennessee, Alabama’s potentially costly victory over Missouri and more. 35-minute mark: I’ll talk more about why Georgia’s running backs — including Elijah Holyfield — weren’t used more Saturday despite putting up impressive stats. End of show: I update the Gator Hater Countdown and thank DawgNation for making DawgNation Invasion a fun weekend. The post Georgia football podcast: Kirby Smart facing tough questions about his QBs appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Around the Dawg House will bring you daily updates from what people and publications are saying about Georgia,  from inside and outside of Athens. National Media comes down hard on Georgia, Kirby Smart after LSU loss As just about every Georgia fan knows by now, the Bulldogs got stomped out on the road by LSU, 36-16 on Saturday. And naturally some in the national media have asked a ton of questions with regards to Kirby Smart and the Georgia football offense. Paul Finebaum went on SportsCenter on Sunday morning to explain his thoughts on what Georgia must do to get back into the playoff picture. Georgia is now the No. 8 ranked team in the country. “It’s tempting but I’m not going to,” Finebaum said on if he was going to write off Georgia. “If they can get back together again, and they did this last year after just getting eviscerated by Auburn, and almost won the national championship…What about Justin Fields? Everyone else is moving towards a younger, more mobile quarterback. Why isn’t Kirby Smart, because the schedule is going to get more problematic.” Georgia’s next two games are both on away from Sanford Stadium and both Florida and Kentucky are currently ranked opponents. As for the quarterback situation, Jake Fromm completed 16 of his 34 pass attempts while also throwing two interceptions. Fields, Georgia’s freshman quarterback, did not have a pass attempt in the loss. ESPN’s Chris Low made a similar point to Finebaum on Sunday as well. “They recovered a year ago after their loss at Auburn, but will be hard-pressed to do so again this year given some of their sloppiness and inconsistency on offense,” Low wrote. “They still have to play at Kentucky and Florida in Jacksonville. And get ready for a ton of questions about the Dawgs’ quarterback situation, too.” Both what Finebaum and Low said was pretty valid. However neither went as far as USA Today’s Dan Wolken, who stated that Alabama would never lose a game like Georgia did against LSU, while taking a shot at the UGA fan base. Alabama never loses games like that. They just don’t,” Wolken wrote. “And even though Georgia is always going to have really good players and a high blue-chip count, the combination of talent and experience that got the Bulldogs to the brink of a national title last season was not something you can replicate every year. And when you go up against other teams with really good players, especially on the road, sometimes bad stuff happens. “For a fan base that was undeservedly starting to get that invincible feeling, this was a crash back to a world of personnel problems exposed and coaching gripes empowered.” If you want to bash the football team for not being Alabama, that’s fine. No time is Alabama and the Georgia fans didn’t really compare their current run of success to what Alabama has done. But to go after the Georgia fan base just seems weird and sort of unnecessary, even if the point of his whole column is to rank how miserable each fan base is at the moment. Smart and the Bulldogs will have time to regroup following the loss as the Bulldogs are off this week, before heading to Jacksonville to take on No. 11 Florida on Oct. 27. Best stories from around DawgNation Winners and Losers from Georgia’s disappointing loss at LSU On the beat: LSU defensive wizard outschemed Georgia’s multifaceted offense Georgia-LSU rewind: 3 momentum-changing plays in Bulldogs’ 36-16 loss Georgia football odds for title diminish with loss, but Bulldogs control destiny Freshman report on UGA football: LSU 36, Georgia 16 Georgia takes big drop in AP Poll after loss to LSU Georgia football coach Kirby Smart saw warning signs, couldn’t avoid LSU trap LSU coach Ed Orgeron says Tigers had message to send to Georgia The post What the national media had to say about Georgia after its loss to LSU appeared first on DawgNation.
  • The Atlanta Braves announced Monday that the organization has agreed to terms on a two-year contract for manager Brian Snitker. The contract does include a third-year club option for 2021.  Snitker took over as manager for the Braves in 2016 and led the team to their first National League East Division title in five years this season.  Here is the full statement from the Atlanta Braves: The Atlanta #Braves and manager Brian Snitker have agreed to terms on a two-year contract with a club option for the 2021 season: pic.twitter.com/CsReyEyU9x — Atlanta Braves (@Braves) October 15, 2018 TRENDING STORIES: Georgia already topping list for flu activity in the nation President Trump to view storm damage in Georgia Atlanta police seize drugs and guns from a popular food mart Snitker has been with the Braves organization for 43 seasons, including three seasons as manager for Triple-A club in Gwinnett.  The National League 'Manager of the Year' candidate, who turns 63 on Wednesday, owns a 221-227 (.493) record in his two-plus seasons. Information from our partners at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was used in this report.