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How D’Andre Swift is ‘trying to be the best running back in college football’

How D’Andre Swift is ‘trying to be the best running back in college football’

How D’Andre Swift is ‘trying to be the best running back in college football’

How D’Andre Swift is ‘trying to be the best running back in college football’

Welcome to Good Day, UGA , your one-stop shop for Georgia footballnews and takes. Check us out every weekday morning for everything you need to know about Georgia football, recruiting, basketball and more.

D'Andre Swift off to a strong start to the 2019 season for Georgia football

ATHENS Mark Webb is proud of the football leagues played in and around the city of Philadelphia. While the area does not have the same amount of talent as say the metro Atlanta area, it is highly competitive and has produced the likes of Marvin Harrison, Matt Ryan, Steve Slaton and Will Fuller.

Webb is also among the greats to come out of the Philadelphia area, as he played his high school football for Archbishiop Wood High School. The junior defensive back was clearly a talented player, as he's now a starter on the Georgia defense.

But there was one player from the area who shined brighter than he did during his high school years. It was his cousin, D'Andre Swift.

As a senior, Swift ran for 1,564 yards and 25 touchdowns on just 149 carries atSaint Joseph's Preparatory School. That's a touchdown roughly every 6 carries.

"He was pretty good. If we had a best player, he was the best in the league," Webb said of Swift.

By now, just about every Georgia fan knows what Swift is capable of. After flashing as a freshman, he was Georgia's leading rusher a season ago, finishing the year with 1,049 rushing yards. He was named Second-Team All-SEC for his performance.

But the final numbers and accolades don't paint an accurate picture of what Swift went through as a sophomore. He was significantly slowed by offseason groin surgery to begin the 2018 season. Swift didn't top 100 yards rushing in a game through the first 7 games of the season. Then he proceeded to do it in 4 of Georgia's next 5 games.

Related: SEC Network analyst predicts Georgia running back D'Andre Swift to win 2019 Heisman Trophy

As a junior, Swift now has his sights set higher. Fully healthy, or at least as healthy as a starting running back can be, Swift doesn't want to just be known as one of the top running backs in the SEC.

"It's just crazy how his work ethic has compounded," Webb said. "The work he was doing in high school compared to now, he's trying to be the best running back in college football. It's crazy to see the work he puts in. He's doing sit-ups in his room, and we definitely wasn't doing that back then."

Swift got off to a much faster start to his junior season, as he racked up 147 yards against Vanderbilt on only 16 carries. He then added another 67 yards and 2 touchdowns in the win over Murray State.

Though it is through just two games, Swift has shown he's one of the most explosive players in the country. Of players with at least 20-plus carries, only Appalachian State's Darryton Evans has as a high yards per carry average than Swift's 9.73. Of Swift's 22 rushing attempts so far, 9 have gone for at least 10-plus yards so far. That's tied for 5th in the country, and every player ahead of him has more carries.

Given Georgia prefers a balanced workload under Kirby Smart only once in 2018 did a Georgia running back finish a game with 20 carries and it wasn't Swift the junior running back isn't likely to see a Herschel Walker level of touches. But Swift pretty clearly makes the most out of his touches.

"He's done well. He's put up good numbers, right, He didn't really, have much of a rotation this past weekend," Smart said. "We got up, and once we got up, we weren't going to sit there and let him carry it the whole game, so it was a tale of two games. One game he needed to carry it more, and one game he didn't."

Related: Kirby Smart details how D'Andre Swift has set himself apart' this spring

There's been another change of sorts with Swift this season, as he's taken on a more vocal role on the team.

Georgia has had a long tradition of great running backs. When Swift was a freshman, the team was defined by the play and leadership styles of Sony Michel and Nick Chubb. And now in a similar position as those two Georgia greats, he's trying to pass it on the next group of Bulldogs.

"D'Andre relishes that role," Smart said. "I think he understands that he's one of the inspirational players on the team; he inspires others to do more by the way he competes on the field, the way he runs the ball, the energy he attacks practice with. He tries to set a good example for the young players. "

Smart highlighted how in the Murray State game Swift went up and spoke with freshman wide receiver George Pickens after a "bonehead" unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. At the time in the game, the Georgia win was already well in hand, but that wasn't enough for Swift.

"He knows George is going to be a good player so here's an opportunity for him to impart some of his wisdom and knowledge on George, and I think Swift does that really well," Smart said.

Swift also seems to be at his happiest when gets to talk up some of the younger running backs in Georgia's talented group. No player has been happier for Zamir White's success than Swift. After White scored his first career touchdown, Swift came up to him and told the redshirt freshman it was going to be the first of many.

Related: Cover 4 on Georgia football: What kind of year will D'Andre Swift have this fall?

While some skill position players want to see more and more touches, Swift is very content to share the ball and thus spotlight. When he speaks publicly, he's much more like to discuss what the team does well as opposed to himself.

"I'm happy to see everybody eat," Swift said. "We all want to see each other eat."

At some point this season, Georgia will need Swift to feast more than his fellow running backs. It needed that in several games last season and he more than lived up to the task. For Georgia to be the best version of itself in 2019, the Bulldogs are going to need Swift to do that once again in 2019.

When Swift announced his public commitment to Georgia, he did so in a video that very much highlighted his Philadelphia roots. And if everything goes right for Swift and the Bulldogs this season, he can climb the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum as the best running back in college football, or even better as a champion.

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  • The Atlanta Braves have bolstered their bullpen by signing Will Smith on a three-year, $39 million contract. Smith will join his former setup man, Mark Melancon in Atlanta. All of a sudden, the Braves have one of the deepest bullpen’s in the MLB that will be highlighted by Smith, Melancon, Shane Greene, Darren O’Day and Luke Jackson. Smith was one of the hottest names on the trade market around the deadline this year, but the San Fransisco Giants refused to trade their closer. At the age of 29, Smith earned his first All-Star nomination this year with the Giants. Smith’s career stats 410.2 ip 49 saves 26 wins 3.53 era 1.247 whip 115 era+ 3.29 fip 494 k Smith was the best closer in baseball this past season, leading all National League pitchers in Win Probability Added (5.6), which was an entire point better than Hyun-Jin Ryu (4.5), who finished with the second-best WPA for NL pitchers. Smith’s 2019 stats 65.1 ip 34 saves 6 wins 0 losses 2.76 era 1.026 whip 152 era+ 3.23 fip 96 k 29.2 k-bb% 88.7 lob% 42.0 gb%
  • ATLANTA (AP) - Hawks guard Kevin Huerter is expected to miss at least two weeks with a left rotator cuff strain. Huerter also was diagnosed with a shoulder capsule strain when examined Thursday in Atlanta. Huerter left the team's West Coast trip after he was hurt in Tuesday night's 125-121 victory at Denver. The Hawks say Huerter, who is averaging 9.3 points, will have rehabilitation and treatment before being examined again in two weeks. Huerter suffered the injury when fouled by Denver's Nikola Jokic while going up for a shot. The second-year player immediately grabbed his shoulder and headed to the locker room. The Hawks were at Phoenix on Thursday night. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Matt Ryan is coming to town, which tends to mean trouble for the Carolina Panthers. The Falcons quarterback has dominated the rival Panthers of late, going 6-1 in his past seven starts while averaging 318 yards passing with 15 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. Ryan is 14-8 against Carolina. So, while much of the attention this week has been on Carolina's porous run defense - they've allowed opponents to run for a combined 516 yards and 10 touchdowns in the past three games - defensive coordinator Eric Washington knows the Panthers can't forget about old No. 2 and his favorite target Julio Jones. 'We know what he's capable of and they have explosive talent at the wide receiver position,' Washington said of Ryan. 'So we need to make sure we do a good job of getting him in third down situations they don't want to be in. And we have to be really efficient with our pass rush. The ball tends to come out fast on third-and-medium.' That won't be easy. Carolina's top cornerback James Bradberry is coming back from a groin injury this week, but the team's second- and third-best cornerbacks Donte Jackson and Ross Cockrell missed the first two days of practice this week with injuries and may not play. That means the Panthers (5-4) could have to lean on young players such as Javien Elliott, Cole Luke and Corn Elder, who was re-signed earlier this week because of injury concerns. The Falcons (2-7) may not be contending for a playoff spot, but showed last Sunday they still have plenty of life - and firepower - by throttling the Saints 26-9 NEW LOOK AT RUNNING BACK If Devonta Freeman is held out with a sprained foot, as expected, the Falcons will have a new look at running back. The position was considered to be the team's deepest spot before Ito Smith was placed on injured reserve last week following a concussion and a neck injury. Brian Hill played well behind Freeman last week and is expected to start. Former Panthers backup Kenjon Barner would be the top backup and Qadree Ollison, who was active for the first time against the Saints, could play a bigger role. Notably, Barner was used in the wildcat formation, filling the role formerly held by Mohamed Sanu before the receiver was traded to New England. There could be more direct snaps for Barner against the Panthers. NEW KICKER IS A KEEPER The Falcons may have found their kicker, at least for the remainder of the season, in Younghoe Koo. Koo made four field goals, including a career-long 48-yarder, in last week's win at New Orleans in his Falcons debut. Koo was signed after veteran Matt Bryant's second stint with the team didn't go well and Giorgio Tavecchio couldn't hold the job. Koo was the NFC special teams player of the week following his successful debut. He made three of six field-goal attempts with the Chargers in 2017 and kicked for the Atlanta Legends of the short-lived Alliance of American Football earlier this year. Koo, from South Korea, played for Georgia Southern. TACKLE CHANGE The Panthers drafted Greg Little in the second round earlier this year to be their left tackle, but two concussions have limited him to two games and one start this season. However, Little has now been cleared from the concussion protocol and is expected to start Sunday at left tackle with Dennis Daley sitting bothered by a groin injury. The Panthers have won both games that Little has played this season. SACKS SURPRISE Before last week's game, Atlanta ranked last in the league with only seven sacks. Suddenly the Falcons rediscovered their pass rush with six sacks against the Saints, including 2 by defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. Vic Beasley Jr., who has been unable to duplicate his 2016 production, when he led the NFL with 15 sacks, added 1 sacks. 'To me, it was just a good example to show what we're capable of,' Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. 'If we apply those things time after time, those are the results that we hope to get.' MORE OF MOORE The Panthers are getting more production of late out of second-year wide receiver D.J. Moore, who is coming off back-to-back 100-yard receiving games for the first time in his career. Moore had seven catches for 101 yards against the Titans two weeks ago and followed that up with a nine-catch, 120-yard performance last week against the Packers. Moore is leading the Panthers in receptions (54) and yards receiving (684). The next goal for him is getting into the end zone - he only has one TD catch. ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
  • 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 DawgNation experts as they break down the latest Georgia football recruiting news and discuss coach Kirby Smart's quest to return the Bulldogs to the top of the SEC. On episode No. 1,073 (Nov. 14, 2019) of the podcast, Georgia fans can hear a discussion about how Georgia coach Kirby Smart matches wits with Auburn's Gus Malzahn. Georgia football podcast: Kirby Smart might have something to prove vs. Gus Malzahn Beginning of the show: Georgia coach Kirby Smart is respected as a top defensive mind, but he hasn't always gotten the better of his head-to-head matchups with Auburn's Gus Malzahn. I'll discuss on today's show why the backstory between Smart and Malzahn is another compelling plot line in UGA's game with Auburn. 10-minute mark: I discuss the latest on 4-star tight end Theo Johnson. 15-minute mark: Mr. College Football Tony Barnhart joins the show. Some of the topics covered include The rich history of UGA's rivalry with Auburn A look at how tough a matchup Auburn is for the Bulldogs What to make of the College Football Playoff selection committee ranking UGA fourth Tuesday night Whether UGA can win a national championship as a defensive-led team 25-minute mark: I discuss wide receiver Lawrence Cager's status for Saturday. 30-minute mark: I take a look at other SEC headlines including Auburn reportedly installing new LED lights at season's end, South Carolina coach Will Muschamp's comparison between UGA and Alabama and former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoop's comments about possibly returning to college coaching. 35-minute mark: I share Smart's response to a question about UGA offensive line coach Sam Pittman possibly being a candidate to become Arkansas head coach, and I preview the weekend's top games. End of show: I share the Gator Hater Updater. The post Georgia football podcast: Kirby Smart might have something to prove vs. Gus Malzahn appeared first on DawgNation.