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College
Greg McGarity has tough decisions to make on some of Georgia coaches
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Greg McGarity has tough decisions to make on some of Georgia coaches

Greg McGarity has tough decisions to make on some of Georgia coaches

Greg McGarity has tough decisions to make on some of Georgia coaches

Georgia tennis-Towers Take-McGarity has some tough decisions to make on some Georgia coaches-Georgia Bulldogs

ST. SIMONS ISLAND — This is the time of year that Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity starts to have his postseason meetings with the Bulldogs’ spring sports coaches. Two of those conversations promise to be quite difficult, and for different reasons.

McGarity will meet with women’s tennis coach Jeff Wallace upon his return from Orlando and the NCAA Tennis Championships this weekend. The No. 2-ranked Bulldogs made quite a run there as a team, reaching the finals before falling to perennial powerhouse Stanford 4-0 in the championship match. It was only the second loss of the season for Georgia (28-2), which went undefeated in winning the SEC regular-season title and also won the National Indoor championship in 2019.

As it turns out, it’s a significant year for Wallace. The 59-year-old coach, who has been coaching women’s tennis at Georgia, has been working the last three seasons without a contract. McGarity would like to change that.

“Sure we would,” McGarity said. “Jeff’s still competing, so we’ll talk when he gets back. … We’ll certainly talk about an extension. He’s done a great job. He’s got everyone coming back from this year’s team and I know he’s really excited. We’re looking forward to that. Jeff had a great this year.”

Wallace has had a lot of great years. The four-time National Coach of the year has led the Bulldogs to six national titles, two outdoor and four indoor, including this year’s national indoor title. Georgia has also won 14 SEC titles (8 regular season, 6 tournaments), been to every NCAA tournament and reached at least the Final Four 12 times.

Of course, McGarity knows that. After all, he was once the women’s tennis coach at Georgia.

Yet, despite that long history of success, Wallace is not among the higher-paid coaches in his sport. His salary of $185,000 annually (not including camp income) is well below Florida’s Roland Thornqvist ($246,000), who’s has a comparable resume. Most of the top coaches in women’s tennis make more than $200,000. Wallace even makes less than Mark Beyers of Ole Miss ($190,000).

Wallace also makes nearly $100,000 a year less than Georgia men’s tennis coach Manual Diaz. Diaz has a similar resume to Wallace, with four outdoor national titles and two indoor, but has had more sustained success within the conference (28 championships).

Georgia is preparing to undergo an Title IX review, so such a difference could come up.

Wallace declined comment Friday. He remains in Orlando with Katarina Jokic, who was to compete in the NCAA single semifinals Friday night.

McGarity’s probably not as excited about his exit interview with women’s golf coach Josh Brewer. Brewer hasn’t done awful in his seven years at the helm of Georgia’s program, but he hasn’t been able to sustain what had been a long history of sustained success in that sport.

Under Brewer, the Bulldogs have not won an SEC title or advanced to the NCAA championships. Previously, Georgia’s women have won an SEC-best 19 titles, including 11 team crowns. The program has also produced four individual national championships and won one national team title (2001).

“We haven’t sat down yet,” McGarity said of Brewer. “Chris Haack serves as our director of golf and I haven’t talked to him on that. But we’ll talk about those things when the season concludes.”

Football, basketball, baseball and gymnastics are the most popular sports at UGA and draw the most fan support. But McGarity said he gives all 21 of Georgia’s sports programs equal thought and consideration. He said he meets monthly with each one of them in their offices.

The stated goal is for the Bulldogs to finish among nation’s Top 10 teams in the Learfield Directors’ Cup standings for all-sports excellence. That’s probably not going to happen this year.

Georgia is currently 35th, seventh among SEC teams. But its expected to surge with tennis, golf, baseball and track and field still to complete their seasons.

“It won’t be Top 10,” McGarity said. “That’s our goal every year, but this year it’s probably out of reach. We’ve had some oddities on a national scale. I don’t want to name sports, but some that have traditionally been in the Top 10 aren’t. Across the board, that measurement is lagging a bit, but we expect a surge at the end.”

Georgia has two other sports that have traditionally slowed it down when it comes to national all-sports prominence. Soccer, now under the direction of fifth-year coach Billy Lesesne, remains a mystery as far becoming competitive in the SEC and nationally, which it currently is not. And Tom Black has made strides with Georgia’s women’s volleyball program in two short years, though it also is not nationally competitive.

But McGarity has made it clear that making it into NCAA postseason play is the Georgia standard. The Bulldogs are doing a good job of that in most sports. That includes football, of course.

The post Greg McGarity has tough decisions to make on some of Georgia coaches appeared first on DawgNation.

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  • Devin Willock told DawgNation earlier this week that he still had a strong interest in Georgia. It was one of his 'dream schools' at that. The New Jersey native has had a busy timeline over the last week. He was supposed to take his official visit to Penn State. That's where he was committed, but he went in a different direction. Willock de-committed from that program and promptly scheduled an official visit to UGA for this weekend. That trip went well. That's safe to say. He didn't even make it through the weekend before he knew what his next move would be. Willock committed to Georgia over the weekend. The 6-foot-6, 345-pound offensive tackle prospect now becomes the 15th public commitment for Georgia in the 2020 class. Willock broke the news with a tweet. Home is where the heart is. 100% Committed. #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/51Dq7MJz62 Devin Willock (@DevinWillock) December 16, 2019 The post BREAKING: Georgia adds 6-foot-6 OL commit Devin Willock to 2020 class appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Justin Robinson started counting on the state championship victory podium early Friday afternoon at Georgia State Stadium. When he did, he had one of his big mitts held high. Everyone could see. One finger. Two fingers. Three fingers. He could have stopped there. The Georgia early enrollee WR sat out his first year at Eagles Landing Christian Academy after a transfer. The Chargers won the championship that year. And the year before that. ELCA also won state championships at the end of his junior and senior seasons. ELCA responded with all 33 of those points in the second half to take Wesleyan down by a 33-13 margin. That's why Robinson kept counting. He put up a fourth finger. Then the fifth. He had to. His Charges became the first football team in Georgia High School Association history to win five straight state titles. That broke a tie with West Rome (1982-1985) and Buford (2007-2010) for that honor. It meant something to the Georgia early enrollee. That moment came after the end of regulation and a lot of moments for Robinson. When the game ended, he was out in front of a Charger charge onto Pete Petit Field for a victory slide at the end of their last ride. Rick Dempsey, the old catcher who made those famous during baseball rain delays in the 1980s, would have approved. For Robinson, his life now really shifts into another gear. He will sign with Georgia on Wednesday and is planning to join 4-star QB signee Carson Beck in Athens this month for bowl practices. Robinson is set to enroll early at Georgia after doubling up on his coursework at ELCA in order to be able to graduate early. Nebraska made a late push, but he's going to be a Bulldog. Justin Robinson: The reason why he will sign with UGA The formula here for why he stuck with Georgia was simple. Family. Location. Relationships. The 6-foot-4, 206-pound senior has connected to receivers coach Cortez Hankton. He calls him 'Coach Hank.' 'I love the coaching staff up there,' he said. 'Especially coach Hank' you know. He's just like my receiver trainer Terrence Edwards you know. Our relationship and our bond I like it a lot.' Robinson sees opportunity in Athens at the wide receiver position He wants to help that unit get better. 'I just know I want to be there,' he said. 'I want to help out. I want to play for him.' DawgNation spoke to Robinson on Friday right after that state championship victory. That DawgNation conversation covered the following topics: What does it feel like to be a 3-time state champion? What about part of a 5-time state championship program? His team didn't complete a pass in just three attempts due to dreary conditions. How was he still able to make an impact? How does his time at Eagles Landing shape him as a player and as a person? Why he will be a Georgia Bulldog? What sort of benefit will showing up for bowl practices next week have for him? How much does he like his mother's macaroni and cheese? His view of two early big defensive plays he made for his Chargers Justin Robinson: Check out the state title photo gallery Robinson finished with three tackles in what he felt was likely the most miserable playing conditions of his high school career. It was a fun day for the nation's No. 48 WR and the No. 291 overall prospect. He wanted to get in all the championship photos. He made the meanest faces he could to try to get on the big screen at Georgia State Stadium. Check out the view of the day from the DawgNation.com lens. The post WATCH: Georgia early enrollee Justin Robinson revels in being a 3-time state champion appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Dawgs fans weren't in a very good mood after another loss in the SEC Championship Game, this time a blowout, and a season that saw continued offensive struggles. As reflected heavily in the Junkyard Mail, fan talk this week was full of discussion over what Kirby Smart needs to do about the offense (and whether he'll do it), and what happened to Jake Fromm in his junior season. Plus, of course, the continuing debate involving Fromm beating out Justin Fields, who left UGA to become a Heisman Trophy finalist at Ohio State. A fan going by Lorenzo Dawgriquez noted that the response to Fields 'tearing it up' at Ohio State frequently is, 'But that is an easy, QB-friendly system.' Lorenzo concluded: 'Then let us get a QB-friendly system.' Brian Kim is tired of Smart's 'pro-style' offense. ' It seems [Mark] Richt hasn't left the building yet. We never had an interest in signing Georgia-grown Cam Newton or Deshaun Watson, and they brought championships to Auburn and Clemson. Now, we have to watch Justin Fields to lead OSU to a championship. Sad.' Jason Watson thinks Georgia's recruiting might be affected by its offensive struggles. 'If I were a wide receiver or receiving tight end, why would I want to come to UGA?' Noted a fan called PacBear: ' David Pollack said it before the game, that LSU isn't running something new, it is the same offense the Big 12 has been doing for years, only with better players in all the positions. I wonder why Smart recruited Justin Fields, a modern spread offense quarterback, and tried to make him fit into an antiquated pro-style offense?Talk about a round peg and a square hole! We saw what Fields can do when placed in the right scheme. The major question is, can and will Smart adjust to the new reality? Nick Saban has moved on and so has Ed Orgeron.Will Smart and Georgia?' Ned Newell isn't optimistic about Smart changing the offense: 'Rather, he will just double down on his dated offensive philosophies with a Kirby-against-the-world mentality.' Quite a few national football writers also believe Smart needs to bring his team's attack into the 21st century, as Saban and Orgeron have done, opening up their offenses with more spread and run-pass-option elements. And, it's noteworthy that the four teams that made the College Football Playoff this year all run wide-open offenses. But, many have taken Smart's comments after the SEC Championship Game as an indication that he doesn't see anything wrong with his current approach. After all, the coach pointed out, Georgia threw 42 times against LSU. However, only going pass-heavy when you don't have any choice feels more like desperation than diversification. Considering he's modeled himself on Saban, Smart clinging to the pro-style offense puzzles me. I'm hoping it's not sheer stubbornness, and that his desire to win will trump his desire to wear down opponents with an up-the-middle running game that opponents jammed this season by loading the box, since they weren't afraid of the Dawgs' passing attack. As Smart himself noted, he had not done a good job of recruiting at wide receiver, which meant that not much experienced talent was left after the exodus of Georgia's top receivers following last season. Georgia only returned 24 percent of its receiving yards from 2018. A piece written by Andy Staples, late of Sports Illustrated and now with the Athletic, was widely shared among Dawgs fans this week. In concluding the Dawgs' offense needs to change, Staples said: ' Georgia needs to change tempo more often. It needs to get the ball in the hands of its best athletes in space. If there's a logjam at tailback and the receiving corps is thin, take the best catching tailbacks and have them run routes. Move them around the formation and drive defenses crazy by creating mismatches. Use the tight ends.' I'm sure Smart knows all of that. Only time will tell if he's willing to make the changes to make it happen. I think he will, especially if he senses Georgia's reputation for a stodgy offense is affecting recruiting. Another popular topic in this week's Junkyard Mail was summed up by Al in North Carolina, who asked: 'What the heck happened to Jake Fromm this year? I know he lost most of his receivers after last season, and injuries plagued the wideouts this year. But, like you said in your blog after the LSU game, that doesn't explain him missing wide-open receivers. Any clue as to what's going on?' At his press conference after the loss to LSU, Smart pointed to the loss of talent at wide receiver. 'The first two years, Jake's numbers were better,' the coach said, when there were four receivers on Georgia's sideline 'that are playing in the NFL. So, right now, I don't know if we have four wide receivers that are going to be playing in the NFL at this time next year. And the loss of those wideouts, the vertical threat, has probably hurt our team.' In his Athletic piece, Staples noted that Fromm's numbers this year were comparable to (and a bit better than) Joe Burrow's were for LSU last year, before Orgeron changed offensive approaches. Said Staples: ' Fromm could be next year's Burrow if given the right toolbox.' Smart and Staples are right that Fromm has proved he can get the job done when he has good receivers. Remember when he was even in the peripheral Heisman conversation? But, there was more to it than that this year. Reader Gary Cody and several others suggested that, perhaps Fromm was less sharp this season because he ' did not have a Fields or [Jacob] Eason pushing him in practice for playing time, meaning he didn't have to work as hard and be as sharp in practice and that showed on the field. Smart says iron sharpens iron, but Fromm has no iron to sharpen against. ' It is possible that not having to look over his shoulder this year did take a bit of edge off Fromm's development, but I also think the fact that Georgia didn't have a dedicated quarterbacks coach this year was a factor. It showed in Fromm's eroding fundamentals. As several former players turned analysts pointed out during the season, his footwork, in particular, was not good. Maybe that was a result of poor coaching. Speaking of which, that brings up the Fromm-Fields debate. Reader Kevin Kelley lamented, ' the fact that Georgia let Eason and Fields go for him just floors me.' And Larry Pope asked: ' Jake vs. Justin do you have any thoughts on how Kirby handled 2 QBs last year, and whether he may have chosen the wrong one considering their respective play this year? I know Justin was not used enough and used poorly when he was called, but, long-term, was he the better choice?' I think Fields was a bad fit for UGA to begin with, unless they planned on opening up the offense a la Ohio State. In the pro-style, he definitely was not as good as Fromm, so there was no talk last year that Georgia was playing the wrong quarterback. Whenever Fields took the field, the drop-off from Fromm was evident to all. As PacBear put it, Georgia's coaching staff followed a round-peg-in-a-square -hole approach with Fields, and I think it was doomed from the start, especially since Georgia didn't make any effort to customize a package of plays for Fields. That, and the regression of Fromm's fundamentals this year, indicate Smart's coaching staff has a problem coaching/developing QBs. A couple of other topics came up in this week's Junkyard Mail. Preston Hayes touched on the rather laissez faire officiating in the SEC Championship Game. 'I don't ever remember watching a game with a scrambling QB without a single holding call,' he said. 'I would have said it wasn't possible, but they missed every one of them, including the one clearly seen on the big screen where the O lineman was hanging on 99's jersey while Burrow continued to search for a receiver unmolested.' Preston has a point, but, to be fair, the officials also allowed cornerbacks on both teams to get very handsy in their coverage. Frankly, given a choice between a game that's marred by frequent flags and one in which they allow them to 'just play,' I prefer the latter. And, switching sports, James Parry already is writing off this year's Georgia basketball team, despite the fact that new star Anthony 'Antman' Edwards is living up to his billing. Said Parry: 'OK, we have Antman.' Big deal. Our b-ball team is still getting blown out on a regular basis. My analysis of Tom Crean as an overrated coach is coming true. I'm sad to say. I said it last year, and I'll say it this year. The guy is a rah, rah!!' guy. All hype. No results.' I think it's a bit early in the season to write the basketball Dawgs off, especially as they haven't even begun conference play yet. But I will concede that they haven't looked good whenever the level of opponent rises, and the fact that it took a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Edwards to dispatch Division II Chaminade in the Maui Invitational was alarming. Still, Edwards' performance in the loss to Michigan State, bringing Georgia back from a 28-point deficit as he hit seven 3-pointers and scored 33 of his 37 points in the second half, was encouraging. The Spartans still pulled out a win, but, no doubt about it, Antman is the real thing. As for Crean, the jury is still out. Let's let them get into conference play before we dismiss his coaching ability. One more thing: Congratulations to fan favorite Rodrigo Blankenship, winner ofthe2019 Lou Groza Award, given to nation's top placekicker. He didn't have a great game against LSU, but, over the course of his career, he's proved himself a Dawg for the Ages. How a future UGA legend became a hometown hero Fifty years ago this week, the Athens High Trojans, led by future UGA star Andy Johnson, met the mighty Valdosta Wildcats for the state football championship in what many consider one of the greatest high school football games ever played. In fact, there are some who claim it was one of the best football games they've ever seen, at any level. Providing a preview of the sort of late-game heroics that would make him a Georgia Bulldogs legend two years hence against Georgia Tech, Johnson led the Trojans down the field for a touchdown and 2-point play that tied the game 26-26 as time expired. Back then, ties still were acceptable, so Athens and Valdosta reigned for the next year as co-champions . Johnson's highlights included an untimed play tacked on to the end of the first half after a penalty. Johnson took the snap from center, burst through theValdostadefensive front and raced 68 yards for a touchdown. Valdostaled by only 13-12 at halftime. As the final minute of the game approached, the Wildcats led 26-18. It looked like Valdosta was going to run out the clock, when Wildcats quarterback Don Golden (who also wound up playing at UGA as a safety and punter) fumbled with less than 2 minutes to play, and the Trojans recovered. Athens High coach Weyman Sellers later said he told Johnson on the sideline that Athens was going to score. Andy replied, 'I know.' For a look back at the making of a hometown hero, check out my Quick Cuts blog. The post Junkyard Mail: Bulldog Nation wasn't a very happy place this week appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Pac-12 Network play-by-play announcer Ted Robinson joked Saturday night during the Georgia-Arizona State men's basketball broadcast that every NBA scout west of the Mississippi was in Tempe, AZ to see Bulldogs freshman phenom Anthony Edwards. While Edwards played fairly well, Sun Devils junior guard Remy Martin shined the brightest, posting a game-high 23 points and six assists to lead Arizona State (8-2) to a, 79-59, victory against Georgia (6-3) at Desert Financial Arena on Saturday night. Martin, who scored 15 of his 23 points in the first half, hit three 3-pointers and posted three rebounds. Playingits first true road game of the season and in its first contest in 10 days because of final exams, Georgia was sloppy in its return to the court. The Bulldogs shot under nine percent from the 3-point line and committed 18 turnovers. The result was a season-low 59 points. With the long off period, a slow Georgia start in the first few minutes wouldn't have been at all surprising, but the Bulldogs didn't start as slowly as they finished. After an Edwards jumper with just a little more than seven minutes remaining in the first half, Georgia trailed only 21-20. But Arizona State ended the half on an 18-11 run, including an 11-5 spurt during the final four minutes. Georgia lost an opportunity to cut into a six-point deficit just before halftime. With 31 seconds remaining, coach Tom Crean called a timeout to draw up a play for the half's final possession, but after receiving the inbounds pass, freshman Sahvir Wheeler threw his pass out of bounds. The turnover, Georgia's 13th of the first half, proved to be a pivotal mistake, as the Sun Devils added another bucket at the buzzer, extending their lead to eight. The Arizona State lead ballooned to 12 by the first official timeout of the second half. The Sun Devils severely outplayed the Bulldogs in the final 20 minutes, and Georgia was not within single digits again after the 16:57 mark of the second half. In addition to 18 turnovers, the Bulldogs shot just 34.8 percent, which includes the team going 2 for 24 from the 3-point line. Georgia made one 3-pointer in each half. The Bulldogs didn't have an advantage on the glass as many expected Saturday night either. Georgia outrebounded Arizona by just one, 43-42. Furthermore, Georgia posted only 11 assists, which is tied for the team's second-fewest in a game this season. Arizona State also struggled from the 3-point line, going 6 of 25 (24 percent) and didn't do a great job of taking care of the ball (17 turnovers), but the Sun Devils shot much better inside the arc, posting a 49.3 shooting percentage overall against the Bulldogs defense. Edwards led Georgia's starters with 13 points. He also had four rebounds, two assists and two steals, but he was 0-for-5 from behind the arc. Sophomore Tye Fagan scored a team-high 15 points off the bench. Senior Tyree Crump hit both of Georgia's 3-pointers, but he was just 2-for-9 from behind the arc and missed his only 2-point attempt. Junior Rayshaun Hammonds, who had 19 points in Georgia's last game on Dec. 4 against NC Central, grabbed a team-high eight rebounds with three assists and three steals, but he was only 1 of 9 shooting and missed all four of his 3-point attempts. Hammonds finished with a season-low four points. Sun Devils junior forward Romello White, who is an Atlanta native, recorded his fourth straight double-double with 18 points and 17 rebounds. White was a major reason why Georgia didn't have an advantage on the glass. He created second-chance opportunities for the Arizona State offense as well with a game-high six offensive rebounds. The Bulldogs will return home to face another tough out-of-conference test in SMU this Friday, but in that matchup, SMU will be the team that's possibly rusty. The Mustangs last played on Dec. 7, losing at home to Georgetown, 91-74. That's SMU's only loss of the season, though, as the Mustangs have opened their slate 8-1. Georgia will play host to SMU next Saturday at Stegeman Coliseum at 7 p.m. ET. The post Georgia basketball sloppy in 79-59 loss at Arizona State appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Tate Ratledge was a major worry for Dawgnation in the wake of the Sam Pittman news to Arkansas. Pittman leaving the UGA staff meant a great deal here. It was why a family that grew up wearing Tennessee Vols gear saw the nation's No. 3 OT prospect wind up committing to the Georgia Bulldogs. Ratledge took to Twitter on Saturday afternoon to reaffirm his commitment to Bulldogs. Well, he sort of let the picture do the talking. Ratledge tweeted out a picture of him shaking hands with Herschel Walker from a visit to Georgia earlier this year. He also said that he was shut down and that he will sign on Wednesday during the early period. If one can't read between the lines there, then they need some 5-star help in the deductive reasoning department. The nation's No. 36 overall prospect for the 2020 cycle had to like what he heard in his meetings with Matt Luke on Wednesday. He followed up those good vibes with an unofficial visit to Athens on Saturday afternoon. 'The time I have spent with coach Luke I have developed a faster relationship than any coach I have been around,' Ratledge said. 'I watched them practice today and I liked his style of coaching and his enthusiasm.' That's some great early momentum for the Bulldogs as they are within a critical official visit weekend on the final recruiting window before the early signing period opens up on Dec. 18. Making sure that Ratledge was still a part of the 2020 class was a big deal. It doesn't merit one of those 'yes sir' videos anymore with Pittman in Arkansas. Yet somehow the feeling here is that a handshake with Herschel Walker will do just fine here. The post BREAKING: Georgia commit Tate Ratledge uses Herschel Walker pic to reaffirm commitment appeared first on DawgNation.