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College
Georgia report card: Bulldogs overcome themselves in 23-17 win over Notre Dame
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Georgia report card: Bulldogs overcome themselves in 23-17 win over Notre Dame

Georgia report card: Bulldogs overcome themselves in 23-17 win over Notre Dame

Georgia report card: Bulldogs overcome themselves in 23-17 win over Notre Dame

ATHENS Georgia football passed the test Saturday night, but just barely.

Coach Kirby Smart and his Bulldogs surely need the bye week they are afforded this week after surviving Notre Dame by a 23-17 count at Sanford Stadium.

It was a case of home field advantage trumping the so-called luck of the Irish. UGA fans were so loud that they triggered six motion penalties and forced Notre Dame to burn valuable timeouts.

As for the 4-0 Bulldogs, they were often their own worst enemies, from muffed punts to tight ends running wide open.

There will be a great deal of disparity where takes on this game are concerned, depending on if people consider Notre Dame a legitimate top 10 opponent, or revert back to the Irish's 30-3 CFP final score last season.

The baseline here is that Notre Dame is indeed a Top 10 opponent, and certainly the best team Georgia will see until the month of November when a trip to Auburn is on tap.

Another issue here is this looked like a game plan with personnel decisions that were made without regard to the first three games of the season.

Quarterback (A)

Jake Fromm was 20-of-26 passing for 187 yards and a touchdown, and once again he came through when afforded the opportunity to use tempo in UGA's version of the hurry-up. Fromm put the ball in tight windows and used his legs for two rushes that netted 15 yards. Once Fromm went downfield, the offense came to life, making one wonder why that isn't the approach from the onset.

Running backs (B)

Brian Herrien had the longest run of the night, a much-needed 16-yarder that sparked a key scoring drive in the second half. D'Andre Swift had 18 carries for 98 yards, including a highlight-worthy 10-yarder during which he leaped a player. Neither Swift (5.4) nor Herrien (5.2) were able to take over the game, however. Meanwhile, James Cook only got one carry and Zamir White and Kenny McIntosh didn't touch the ball.

Receivers (A)

Lawrence Cager was outstanding, likely playing himself into the 2020 NFL Draft with that 5-catch, 82-yard performance that included a gyrating TD grab that proved to be the difference in the game Demetris Robertson had 4 catches for 48 yards and Dominick Blaylock looked good (2-19) when afforded the opportunity. George Pickens, the most talented WR in the group, was only targeted twice. Eli Wolf is clearly the best TE target on the team and showed that again with a clutch third down grab.

Offensive Line (B-)

Notre Dame ranked 120th in the nation against the run, but you'd never know it by the way it held up against the Georgia offensive line. The Bulldogs averaged 4.6 yards per rush, but Jake Fromm saw more pressure than he'd seen all season and took one particularly nasty shot when Cade Mays got beat off the edge. Isiah Wilson's return for the third quarter provided a lift. Justin Shaffer filled in well, but he had a costly 15-yard personal foul.

Defensive Line (A-)

This much-maligned unit is starting to earn respect with its gritty and disciplined play his season. Notre Dame's run game was pretty much non-existent (3.3 yards per carry), and for all he talk on Ian Book UGA kept him contained for the most part. Georgia nearly made a goal-line stand thanks to the physical efforts of the Bulldogs' defensive line, which forced four downs inside the 5. Tyler Clark, Justin Young and Jordan Davis were warriors.

Linebackers (A-)

It was Tae Crowder's finest performance, as he came through with nine stops and the best open-field tackling performance of his career. Crowder had one of just three TFLs for the Bulldogs as well. Monty Rice had seven tackles including what appeared to be a bone-jarring hit on Book that had to leave a mark. Outside backers Nolan Smith and Jermaine Johnson were in hot pursuit of Book on the final play, forcing a scramble that limited the effectiveness of the final heave.

Secondary (B-)

J.R. Reed's late interception was the sort of veteran play he'll be looked to make in all the big games. Reed led the defense with 3 PBU and tied Richard LeCounte with seven tackles. The unit had to step up with Tyson Campbell out for the game and Eric Stokes missing from the second play until late in the fourth quarter with a leg injury. D.J. Daniel had 5 tackles at corner and provided mostly adequate coverage. Tyrique McGhee is another veteran who stepped up, repping at corner all week with Campbell out and not getting UGA beat.

Special teams (D)

If not for Rodrigo Blankenship's steady field goal kicks makes of 40, 31 and 43 this unit was a fail. Sophomore punter Jake Camarda performed like a nervous freshman, shanking two kicks at critical junctures at the start of the game (25 yards) and again at the end (27 yards). Tyler Simmons punt return muff at the 8 set up Notre Dame for it's only TD of the first half. The kick return game continues to disappoint despite all the big names in the group.

Coaching (D+)

Credit to Georgia for some halftime adjustments, because Notre Dame arrived with the better game plan and use of its personnel. The Irish coached to win and UGA coached not to lose, and nearly gave the game away in the fourth quarter (Alabama, anyone?). The Bulldogs reluctance to use tempo more often is curious considering Fromm's efficiency. The inability to account for the tight end (9-108) was mind-bogging. Cole Kmet was running wide open too many times. Some offensive personnel usage decisions will be worth reviewing.

Overall (B)

The fans can pat themselves on the back for helping to decide this game, as they bailed out the coaches on a night when the Georgia players battled their guts out against a determined Notre Dame football team. Smart needs to use the off week and review his big-game and fourth quarter philosophies. It could be a matter of the Bulldogs underestimating the Irish. Whatever, UGA appears a half-click off from performing at a championship level, and it's not a matter of player talent.

DawgNation Georgia-Notre Dame

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Recap: Georgia football holds on to beat Notre Dame, 23-17

Notre Dame injuries stop momentum, beg questions

Vince Dooley showed mercy in previous Top 10 Athens matchup

The post Georgia report card: Bulldogs overcome themselves in 23-17 win over Notre Dame appeared first on DawgNation.

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  • ATHENS Georgia football rising senior Malik Herring started the season on the bench and ended it as the top returning defensive linemen in the SEC, per advanced metrics. Coach Kirby Smart wasn't and isn't going to have it any other way. It is Smart who has pushed Herring to the verge of greatness, ensuring the Forsyth product get the best out of himself and make the most of his talents on the field. 'Malik can be a good player, (but) he's gotta hone in and do the little things right, and he's gotta be a little more mature and serious about things to be the player we want him to be,'Smart said last spring.'He's talented, though, and he's played well. He's just gotta mature some.' Pro Football Focus, which grades players each week, has Herring as the top-ranked SEC defensive lineman in its Top 25. Herring comes in at No. 7 with Alabama's Chritisian Barmore second among league players at No. 12. The 6-foot-3, 280-pound Herring showed just how much he'd grown in the 26-14 win over Baylor in the Sugar Bowl. Herring, starting in place of departing senior Tyler Clark, had five tackles, a pass break-up and 1.5 tackles for loss. Herring platooned all season in the Bulldogs' deep defensive front. It was a unit that set the tone for the nation's best run defense with its sound gap integrity. Georgia didn't allow a rushing TD until the 10th game of the season. But at the start of the 2019 campaign, on the road trip to Vanderbilt, Herring did not play. 'We talked about it after the game,' Smart said the next week. 'If he continues to use practice and get better, he'll play.' Herring did just that, earning nine starts and finishing with 24 QB hurries, third-best on the team. The Bulldogs have lost reliable seniors off the 2019 D-Line. Most notably, seniors Michael Barnett, David Marshall and Clark have moved on. But Herring is one of a handful of defensive linemen coming back with star potential that figure to play in the NFL one day. Nosetackle Jordan Davis was a Freshman All-American in 2018 and continued his run-stuffing ways last season. Freshman Travon Walker overcame in-season wrist surgery to make highlights, including the game-clinching sack at Auburn. Then there are the fellow seniors. Devonte Wyatt was second on the team with 27 QB hurries. Justin Young played in nine of 14 games and had his moments. Then there's Julian Rochester, a fifth-year senior after qualifying for a redshirt, playing just four games after coming off knee surgery. Amazingly, none of the Georgia defense was named first-team All-SEC by the Associated Press last season. This, even though the Bulldogs finished the regular season leading the conference in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense and pass efficiency defense. Ultimately, safety J.R. Reed was named an All-American by one outlet, and linebacker Monty Rice and cornerback Eric Stokes were second-team All-SEC picks by the AP. But all was silent among the defensive tackles, nosetackles, and defensive ends from an awards perspective. WATCH: Dan Lanning champions no-name' Georgia defense Smart has said he prefers his players make noise with their helmets, so UGA players won't likely be tooting their own horns during the offseason. But those who watch and grade film have taken note, and Herring leads the way on a defensive front that could dominate the SEC in 2020. DawgNation Georgia football Herring makes time for Kids Fun Day in hometown Georgia offseason has produced fascinating offensive change Football stars endorse Todd Monken hire at Georgia WATCH: 2021 commit Brock Vandagriff shares story with DawgNation Why Buster Faukner a perfect complement to Todd Monken The post Georgia's Malik Herring rated top returning D-linemen in SEC, spearheads dominant front appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia suffered a 70-60 home loss to Ole Miss, a sellout crowd and decisive rebounding advantage not enough to get the Bulldogs back on track. The Rebels (10-9, 1-5 SEC) snapped a a six-game losing streak with the upset over Georgia (11-8, 1-5), which has lost two of its last three at home after opening the season 8-0 in Stegeman Coliseum. Georgia freshman Anthony Edwards continued his struggles with 13 points on 3-of-12 shooting. Ten of Edwards' attempts came from behind the arc, his inability to get to the rim out of the half court offense surfacing once again. Senior Jordan Harris led the Bulldogs with 15 points and eight rebounds in a game that saw UGA hold a decisive 38-28 advantage on the boards. Georgia however, couldn't overcome its poor shooting (17 of 55, 30.9 percent) while Ole Miss was an efficient 26 of 50 (52 percent). The loss marks UGA's first three-game losing streak of the season, sending many of the10,523 in attendance to the exits early as Ole Miss pulled away late. The Rebels threatened to run away at the start of the second half, scoring the first five points after intermission to make a 40-29, before Tom Crean called time out with 17:17 left. The Bulldogs responded with a 9-0 run sparked by a Harris 3-pointer and consecutive drives to the basket by Sahvir Wheeler (11 points) that resulted in a bucket and two free throws that cut the lead to 40-38 with 13:44 left. Moments later, Edwards pulled the trigger on a 3-pointer from the wing that put Georgia up 43-42 with 12:31 left and sent the crowd into a frenzy. It was the Bulldogs' first lead since a 13-12 advantage early, and Edwards first points since the 16:07 mark of the first half. It proved to be the final lead for Georgia. Ole Miss wrestled the lead back on a pair of J.J. Buffen (14 points) free throws the next trip down and didn't trail again. Breein Tyree scored 20 points to lead the Rebels. Georgia was down 35-29 at the end of the first half, a victim of its own 9 turnovers and 33 percent shooing (9 of 27). Ole Miss led by as many as 10 points, 32-22, before the Bulldogs battled back. Harris scored on a drive to the basket and hit a trey, and then Edwards capped the 7-0 run with a pair of free throws to make it 32-29. The Rebels scored the final three points of the half, the Bulldogs missing four shots on their final possession, squandering offensive rebounds. Georgia returns to action at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at Missouri (9-10, 1-5 SEC) before returning to Athens to play host to Texas A&M (9-9, 3-3) next Saturday. DawgNation Georgia Basketball Georgia comes up short in hard-fought loss at Kentucky Mississippi State wins battle of Bulldogs in Starkville, decisively Anthony Edwards puts the squeeze on Tennessee in blowout win Georgia falls in first SEC road game of season at Auburn Freshman Anthony Edwards discloses injury, status Sahvir Wheeler on clutch game-winner, 'been there a ton of times' Tom Izzo on Georgia: 'That was an incredible comeback' Anthony Edwards lights up Michigan State for 37 in 93-85 loss Rayshaun Hammonds wrecks Georgia Tech Anthony Edwards draws standing ovation in opener The post Anthony Edwards struggles against Ole Miss, Georgia basketball hits three-game skid appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS The Georgia football offensive staff gyrations have continued into the weekend, and the next one could be processed as early as next week. Former Bulldogs' director of player personnel Marshall Malchow is headed to Texas A&M.DawgNation reported on Friday that former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach James Coley was headed to work for the Aggies. RELATED: James Coley leaves Georgia football staff, as expected The 247Sports network was first to report the news on Malchow on Saturday. Georgia coach Kirby Smart made Coley expendable when he hired former NFL offensive coordinator Todd Monken on Jan. 17 to take over the offense and play-calling. Monken was in attendance at the Bulldogs' basketball game on Saturday, part of UGA' big weekend filled with key visitors. RELATED: Todd Monken trades 'total mess' for championship quest The writing was on the wall for Coley and other assistants closely tied to him last Monday. The hiring of former Southern Miss offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Buster Faulkner last Monday temporarily as an offensive analyst was more evidence Coley was likely on his way out. RELATED: Kirby Smart hires QB coach Buster Faulkner to offensive staff Faulkner is the odds-on favorite to fill the staff position vacated by Coley, though nothing is official at this point. Former UGA All-American Jon Stinchcomb told DawgNation that Faulkner was the right fit to work with Monken. 'You just brought in someone with experience with the NFL ranks who knows what it looks like when you have some of the elite athletes on the planet playing for you,' Stinchcomb said in regard to Monken. 'Buster comes from a background where you have to create a little more opportunities because you don't have that same level of talent. 'I think this new role for him is a great compliment to coach Monken being hired and the rest of the staff.' The departure of Malchow, an Alabama graduate, represents more collateral damage from Coley taking his recruiting prowess to Jimbo Fisher's staff in College Station. Coley has previously worked for Fisher at Florida State. Smart, who has stayed silent throughout the changes, traditionally holds a February signing day press conference, at which point he could address the new Georgia staff. More from DawgNation Georgia offseason has produced fascinating offensive change Football stars endorse Todd Monken hire at Georgia WATCH: 2021 commit Brock Vandagriff shares story with DawgNation Podcast: Brandon Adams shares his take on Brock Vandagriff addition Kirby Smart has turned Georgia offense upside down Why Buster Faukner a perfect complement to Todd Monken The post Georgia football changes continue, another staff member leaves for Texas A&M appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia basketball returns to the friendly confines of Stegeman Coliseum where the team is 9-1 his season, seemingly, just in time. The Bulldogs (11-7. 1-4 SEC) play host to Ole Miss (9-9, 0-5) at 5:30 p.m. (TV: SEC Network) in desperate need of a victory to rekindle any sort of NCAA tournament hopes. The fan support is certainly there. The only remaining Georgia home basketball games with tickets available this season are South Carolina (Feb. 12) and Auburn (Feb. 19). This, even though virtually no one outside the program is projecting Coach Tom Crean's young team, filled with nine freshmen on the roster, to make the so-called Big Dance. Even with projected NBA lottery pick Anthony Edwards on the roster. Still, sophomore Tye Fagan and freshman Toumani Camara confirmed that is indeed the long-term season goal, even if the focus never goes beyond one game. 'Most definitely, without a doubt, we take each game one at a time so we're not thinking so far into the future,' said Fagan, who's coming off a 6-of-6, 13-point shooting performance at Kentucky last Tuesday. 'But that is the goal.' The surge from the 6-foot-8 Camara over the last 12 games, has provided a boost. Camara is UGA's second leading rebounder (5.2 rpg) and third on the team in scoring (7.6 ppg) and minutes played (26.9 mpg) in that span. But the Bulldogs, No. 56 in the projected RPI rankings, had better get back on the winning track and take advantage of the softer stretch of the schedule. After opening the 2020 with six opponents and seven games against teams that played in last year's NCAA tournament and going 2-4 in that stretch so far, with wins at Memphis and against Tennessee Georgia's schedule lightens up this week. Saturday's Ole Miss home game is followed by a road trop to Missouri (9-9, 1-5) on Tuesday, and then a home game with Texas A&M (9-8, 3-3) next Saturday. Crean, understandably, isn't losing sight of the task at hand against the Rebels. ' Right now we're focused on how we get ready for Ole Miss,' Crean said. 'I had the number one team in the country and wasn't talking about the NCAA Tournament, back at Indiana. 'What you do is you focus. We're in late January here. We focus on the team and what we have to do and be absolutely wrapped up in that.' Crean said he's not certain if freshman point guard Sahvir Wheeler is back at 100 percent after suffering an ankle injury in the 80-63 win over Tennessee on Jan. 15. Wheeler has played the last two games, but he has last the explosion and quickness that makes him so effective. He has scoring just one basket and dished out two assists in the last 38 minutes he played against Mississippi State and Kentucky. Edwards continues to lead the nation's freshmen in scoring with 18.9 points per game, but he's still learning to get to the rim and overcome the extra attention defenses are paying to him. Edwards was held scoreless in the first half at Kentucky last Tuesday night before scoring 16 points in a second half at Rupp Arena that saw the Bulldogs fail to get closer than seven points. RELATED: Too little, too late from Anthony Edwards at Kentucky Crean, however, defends Edwards' youth and is focusing on developing him like he does every other player. ' I came in knowing we're going to have to develop him every day, help him grow every day,' Crean said. 'It's all different when you get them and how they process, how they learn, what do they have to get better at, how they apply it, how you build confidence, how you tweak them, how you challenge them is all a part of the daily process. We're just right in the midst of that and I'm enjoying it.' A win over Ole Miss would make Crean and Georgia enjoy the process of the team growing more, as well as keeping what appears to be scant NCAA tourney hopes alive. DawgNation Georgia Basketball Georgia comes up short in hard-fought loss at Kentucky Mississippi State wins battle of Bulldogs in Starkville, decisively Anthony Edwards puts the squeeze on Tennessee in blowout win Georgia falls in first SEC road game of season at Auburn Georgia basketball delivers signature Top 10 win at Memphis Freshman Anthony Edwards discloses injury, status Sahvir Wheeler on clutch game-winner, 'been there a ton of times' Tom Izzo on Georgia: 'That was an incredible comeback' Anthony Edwards lights up Michigan State for 37 in 93-85 loss Rayshaun Hammonds wrecks Georgia Tech Anthony Edwards draws standing ovation in opener The post Georgia basketball returns to home sellout, desperate for win over Ole Miss appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia has the quarterback and the coaching expertise to flip the offense, and from Terry Bowden's perspective, that should be enough to get a new-look offense off and running. Bowden was holding court wearing Clemson gear two days before the College Football Playoff Championship Game. The fact he's now a graduate assistant with the Tigers does nothing to dilute Bowden's knowledge or experience flipping an offense to a mobile quarterback. RELATED: Mark Richt says Jamie Newman can adapt to any system ' Once you make the decision that's where you need to go and you see a lot of the pros doing it now, you see college teams that make that move, and it starts with a quarterback that can do that,' Bowden told DawgNation. 'I think the other parts of that block with the right assistants,' the 63-year-old former Auburn, North Alabama and Akron head coach said. 'You have to have people that know what their doing in that capacity, and you've got to have a quarterback you believe in.' Georgia certainly checks all the boxes. RELATED: Georgia creates buzz with Todd Monken hire The Bulldogs return mobile quarterbacks in redshirt junior Stetson Bennett, redshirt freshman D'Wan Mathis and incoming freshman Carson Beck. The biggest offseason player addition, however, has been Wake Forest graduate transfer quarterback Jamie Newman. Pro Football Focus ranks Newman the No. 3 returning quarterback in college football and recently projected Georgia football the preseason No. 3 team. Bowden, 63, knows all about high rankings after winning his first 20 games as the Tigers' head coach after replacing Pat Dye before the 1993 season. Georgia snapped the streak with a 23-23 tie at Auburn, and Bowden lost his first game as the Tigers' head coach the following week to Alabama, 21-14. Bowden left Auburn halfway through the 1998 season with a 47-17-1 record at Auburn. After 10 years out of coaching working as a television analyst, Bowden returned to coaching at North Alabama, a Division ll school where he was 29-9 with playoff appearances each three seasons. Bowden moved on to Akron from there, ultimately resuscitating the Zips' downtrodden program with an 8-5 season in 2015 that included the program's first-ever bowl game victory. More history was made in 2018, when Bowden's Akron team beat Northwestern for the school's first win over a Big Ten team since 1894. The Zips, however, finished 4-8 and Bowden was fired. That led Bowden to the opportunity at Clemson, that came with the graduate assistant provision. It's surely a snap for Bowden, who graduated magna cum laude from West Virginia with a degree in accounting. Bowden did postgraduate work at Oxford University in England and earned a law degree from Florida State. 'Thirty-seven years ago, I graduated from law school, and the next year I became a football coach, and we didn't have internet, and we didn't have computers,' Bowden said, putting his unique situation in perspective. 'Thirty-seven years later, in order to be a coach on the field, I have to be a student. So I got accepted to Clemson grad school, and I'm getting a Master's in athletic leadership. I've got two classes this semester and they are online and that's been kind of fun.' Bowden seems to think offenses that employ mobile quarterbacks are apt to have more fun and success on Saturdays. 'I don't feel like you need to go to a running quarterback, but you must have a quarterback that's mobile, and Joe Burrow is mobile,' Bowden said, tying he conversation into the game he was preparing for at the time. 'The guy can scramble, but he's not a running quarterback. He is a drop-back, classic quarterback that has what you need.' No doubt, Burrow put on a show against Clemson in the CFP Championship Game. Georgia fans are yearning for an offense with the same explosive elements and big-play potential. Bowden explained how a running quarterback changes the dynamics by simple math. 'Anytime your quarterback runs the football, it gives you one more blocker,' Bowden said. 'And if they've got any safeties sitting up high upfield, that evens you up pretty good in the blocking department. 'So once your quarterback either scrambles well, or you devise a few plays that allow him to run, you have created plays that are in (your) favor for the offense, in numbers, that you just don't have when the quarterback is just a fake or a disguise.' More from DawgNation Football stars endorse Todd Monken hire at Georgia WATCH: 2021 commit Brock Vandagriff shares story with DawgNation Podcast: Brandon Adams shares his take on Brock Vandagriff addition Kirby Smart has turned Georgia offense upside down Why Buster Faukner a perfect complement to Todd Monken The post Georgia offense flipping script: Terry Bowden's thoughts on drop-back to dual-threat transition appeared first on DawgNation.