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In the heart of Sooner Country resides one loyal Georgia Bulldog
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In the heart of Sooner Country resides one loyal Georgia Bulldog

In the heart of Sooner Country resides one loyal Georgia Bulldog

In the heart of Sooner Country resides one loyal Georgia Bulldog

OKLAHOMA CITY – Anybody still wondering about what to get Owen Condon for Christmas, he has a suggestion.

“I’d love some Rose Bowl tickets,” the 6-foot-7, 315-pound offensive lineman said.

Condon will be able to accompany the Georgia Bulldogs to bowl games free of charge soon enough. He has been committed to them since last summer and will sign with the Bulldogs on the first day of the new early period next Wednesday.

In the meantime, he’s just a huge Georgia fan, literally and figuratively. He proved as much two weeks ago when he and his mom traveled to Atlanta to watch the Bulldogs play Auburn in the SEC championship.

It was then, after the Bulldogs’ 28-7 victory, that the craziest thought first occurred to Condon. “Georgia and Oklahoma could actually end up playing each other in the College Football Playoffs.”

And, of course, they did. The nation’s No. 2- and No. 3-ranked teams will meet in the semifinals in Pasadena on Jan. 1.

You have to visit Condon in his hometown to really understand how cool that is to him. The young man lives in the heart of Sooner country. Bishop McGuiness Catholic High School, where Condon grew into a major college football prospect, is located just 27.1 miles from Oklahoma’s Memorial Stadium.

Nevertheless, everybody around here knows full well that Condon is fully committed to the Bulldogs. So he heard it from them when he returned to school on Monday following the College Football Playoffs selection show.

“He got a lot of ‘Boomer Sooners’ in the hallways,” Bishop McGuiness head coach Justin Jones said with a laugh. “That’s the big rally cry around here. Oklahoma is very passionate about their Sooners. It’s pretty cool to see Georgia meet them in the College Football Playoffs.”

Condon thinks so, too.

“Obviously, I’m really good friends with a lot of diehard OU guys, so there’s some friendly trash talking there,” Condon said. “But I think it’s going to be a really good game, a really good matchup. They both have two young, up-and-coming coaches. They’re two good programs with fans that are really passionate and travel well. It’d be really fun to go out there and see that.”

Alas, Condon said he probably won’t make the trek to Pasadena. He’d like to, but he has a lot of work to do here in his little hamlet just northeast of downtown Oklahoma City.

At the moment, his primary focus is rehabilitating the knee injury that snuffed out his senior season. Condon actually got hurt in his school’s first game of the season but didn’t realize how badly. He said he knew he “tweaked it” but played through that game and the second one as well.

But it was after Game Two that Condon realized he may have a problem. The pain finally got to him and he broke down and asked to see a doctor.

An MRI revealed a torn meniscus. His season was senior shut down at that point and Condon underwent surgery 11 weeks ago.

“The surgery was a success,” he said. “It was in an area that had vascular to it, so they were able to stich it up rather than just scope it out. I should be good to go soon.”

In the meantime, though, Condon had to stand on the sidelines as Bishop McGuiness continued you through the season. His team’s season didn’t end untl that lost to Carl Albert High School in the Class 5A state championship game.

“That hurt,” Condon said of not being able to play. “I feel like I could have made a difference.”

Condon feels like he can make a difference at Georgia, and obviously the Bulldogs do, too. They offered him in the middle of his first unofficial visit to Athens last spring.

Condon and his parents are actually in Athens this weekend on his official visit. They flew out early Friday morning.

As for Oklahoma, the Sooners never came forth with an offer for Condon. They probably would have eventually, according to his high school coach, but Condon wasn’t interested in waiting to find out.

“OU’s always slow to offer local kids,” Jones said. “Texas is just down the road and they spend a lot of time recruiting there. They feel like they can come in late on the locals because they’re the home school. OSU will recruit guys a little earlier, but OU’s always slow to offer. And Owen is a transplant Oklahoman, so he wasn’t willing to wait.”

Condon’s father, Bill, is originally from Pensacola, and his mother, Sheri, was born in Cleveland, Ohio, but was raised in Atlanta and attended UGA. So he said he grew up more of an SEC fan and always followed the Bulldogs.

When the family ended up touring schools last spring, they ended up primarily in the South. Florida, Vanderbilt, Arkansas and Oklahoma State ended up being the main competition for Georgia. But he said it was never really close.

“I just fell in love with Georgia when I visited,” Condon said. “The campus is great. And Georgia offers a really good combination of academics and athletics. Behind Vandy they’re probably next in line academics-wise in the SEC. Obviously, their football is where it is right now; they’re in the playoffs. You can’t beat that. So the combination of the two really put it together for me.”

As for the snub from Oklahoma, Condon said it only serves as motivation for him going forward. He visited the school numerous times his sophomore and junior years and attended several games last year. Oklahoma line coach Bill Bedenbaugh called him and came to some of his game his junior season but never stepped up with an offer.

“They were just kind of slow-playing me. They have kind of a history of slow-playing in-state guys, for whatever reason. But I wasn’t waiting around to see if I could get an offer. So I started exploring other options.”

The end result is Condon is a Bulldog and there will be nothing even close to divided loyalties when the two teams play on New Years Day. Whether Condon watches the game at home here or finds some way to Pasadena, he’ll be red-and-black all the way.

And he likes the way the game matches up for UGA.

“I think a big storyline people aren’t talking about is if Georgia can control the ball and run the ball well and keep Baker (Mayfield) off the field, I think that will frustrate them,” Condon said. “Out here in the Big 12, they’re used to just running-and-gunning all day; they’re all offense.  They haven’t seen the backs like Georgia has in Chubb and Michel and Swift. I don’t think they’ve seen teams that play offense like Georgia does. I think if Georgia can generate can generate some of those long drives and keep Oklahoma’s offense off the field, I think that’ll be a big key to the game.”

Spoken like a true Bulldog.

The post In the heart of Sooner Country resides one loyal Georgia Bulldog appeared first on DawgNation.

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  • Game-Ender bunt for bold Inciarte How does a walk-off bunt sound, Braves fans? Because that’s how your squad won a thriller Saturday night against the Mets. Another leadoff walk by a Braves reliever and a couple of defensive mistakes in the eighth inning helped turn what had been a scoreless pitchers’ duel between Julio Teheran and the Mets’ Jacob deGrom into what looked like it would be a hard-to-swallow loss for the Braves before the largest crowd of the season at SunTrust Park. Then the Braves revived last year’s late-innings magic. After falling behind 3-0 in the eighth, the Braves got a two-run double from Freddie Freeman in the bottom of the inning and a game-tying triple from Johan Camargo in the ninth before Ender Inciarte surprised Mets closer Jeurys Familia by dropping a bunt down to right side of the infield, scoring Camargo for a 4-3 walk-off win and at least a split of the four-game series that ends Sunday.  After Teheran and deGrom each pitched seven scoreless inning of four-hit ball – Teheran had one walk, six strikeouts; deGrom had two walks, 10 strikeouts – the Mets got their leadoff runner aboard in the eighth when reliever Sam Freeman walked Wilmer Flores. It was the 55th walk of the season by a Braves reliever, while no other major league bullpen had issued more than 40 walks before Saturday. What Braves said about stirring comeback win over Mets So that part wasn’t so surprising, but what followed was uncharacteristic of a defensively improved Braves team. Ozzie Albies has been one of baseball’s most dynamic performers in the early season, but the second baseman had a rough inning afield in the eighth. First, it appeared to be his blown assignment when no one covered first base on a Jose Reyes bunt after the leadoff walk. It went for a hit when Braves catcher Carlos Perez fielded the ball and had no one to throw to. Michael Conforto then grounded to third baseman Johan Camargo, who threw to Albies to start a potential double play. The ball popped out of Albies glove before he could transfer it to his hand. Reyes was called out at second, but the Mets challenged and the call was overturned, giving the Mets a bases-loaded, no-outs situation. Shane Carle replaced Freeman and coaxed a weak fly-out from Yoenis Cespedes before Asdrubal Cabrera hit a two-run single. Jay Bruce followed with another single to push the lead to 3-0. Another overturned call went against the Braves in a crucial situation in the sixth inning, after Ender Inciarte reached on an infield hit to start the inning and stole second on the next pitch with Albies batting. Inciarte then stole third on the second pitch to Albies and, notwithstanding the questionable decision to steal third there with none out and Albies up and Freeman on deck, Inciarte beat the throw and was called safe. But the call was challenged by the Mets and overturned after umpires ruled that Inciarte briefly lost contact with the base during his slide while third baseman Todd Frazier’s glove kept the tag applied. That play cost the Braves’ a potential run when Freeman followed two batters later with a two-out double off the right-field wall. Never miss a minute of what’s happening with the Braves. Subscribe to myAJC.com
  • ATLANTA (AP) - A pair of perfectly placed ground balls helped the Atlanta Braves pull off an unexpected win over the New York Mets. Johan Camargo tripled home the tying run, then scored on Ender Inciarte's bunt single as the Atlanta Braves scored twice in the ninth inning off Mets closer Jeurys Familia to beat New York 4-3 Saturday night. It a took a rare game-tying triple in the ninth inning by Johan Camargo and a better walk-off bunt by Ender Inciarte off New York closer Jeurys Famila, who entered the game unscored upon and tied for the major league lead with eight saves. A crowd of 41,396 that was the largest of the season at SunTrust Stadium saw starters Jacob deGrom and Julio Teheran each pitch seven scoreless innings. After they left, the bullpens wilted. Familia (1-1) issued a leadoff walk to Dansby Swanson and Camargo followed with a grounder right of second base that rocketed past diving second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera and snaked between outfielders Michael Conforto and Jay Bruce to right-center field the wall. That tied the game. Camargo held when pinch-hitter Kurt Suzuki singled off the glove of Mets third baseman Todd Frazier, and after Familia struck out pinch hitter Charlie Culberson, Inciarte went to plate planning to swing away. 'I was going to swing the bat ... ' Inciarte said. 'Once I walked into the box and I saw Camargo at third, I always tell the runners be ready, I might bunt at any time.' Mets first baseman Adrian Gonzalez was at medium depth, and after Inciarte punched the ball at him with too much speed for Familia to field, the throw to the plate was too late to get the sliding Camargo. 'We had an idea he might do that. That's a really tough play to defend,' said Mets manager Mickey Callaway. 'You just have to hope he pops it up or something.' Each starting pitcher allowed just four hits. DeGrom struck out 10 and Teheran fanned six. Atlanta lefty Sam Freeman replaced Teheran to start the eighth and Wilmer Flores, pinch-hitting for deGrom, drew a walk. Jose Reyes followed with his third hit, a perfect bunt. Conforto followed with a grounder to third base and Camargo threw to second, where Ozzie Albies tried to turn a double play. But Albies dropped the ball and, a video replay reversed the call and ruled all runners safe. With the bases loaded, Atlanta righty Shane Carle came on to face the right-handed Yoenis Cespedes, who flied out before Cabrera hit a two-run single. Jay Bruce added an RBI single. Freddie Freeman hit a two-run double off Jerry Blevins in the bottom of the eighth. Jesse Biddle (1-0) went one inning for the win in his debut. 'This is a good win for our club, to beat this team like that,' said Atlanta manager Brian Snitker. 'It's got to give our club confidence. TRAINER'S ROOM Mets: LHP Jason Vargas, who signed a two-year contract with New York in February after playing most recently for the Royals, is expected to make a final rehabilitation start Monday for Triple-A Las Vegas and then join the Mets' starting rotation. He has been out since surgery to remove a small bone in his non-pitching hand. Braves: C Tyler Flowers, who has been sidelined since straining an oblique on opening day, is working with Triple-A Gwinnett. If all goes well, he may rejoin Atlanta as soon as next weekend. DODGING A BOMB Biddle's first big league game was exciting . . . and scary. With two outs and a runner on in the top of the ninth, Cespedes launched a ball down the left field line and third-base umpire Dan Iassogna signaled home run. After replay, the ball was called foul and he Cespedes grounded out. 'I don't want to say that my heart rate was ever too high when I was out there because I was trying to stay calm, and then he hit the ball and it popped my ears with how hard it was,' Biddle said. 'They called it fair, and that's when my heart started racing. I'm glad they got the call right.' ROSTER MOVE The Braves selected the contract of Triple-A RHP Miguel Socolovich from Gwinnett, and sent righty Josh Ravin to Triple A Gwinnett. UP NEXT Mets: Right-hander Zack Wheeler (1-1, 2.77 ERA) will make his fifth career start in Atlanta, where he is 2-1 with a 1.93 although this will be his first start in SunTrust Park. Braves: Righty Mike Foltynewicz (1-1, 2.53) will make his third start against the Mets since joining the Braves in 2015 and hope for better. In a relief appearance and two starts against New York, he's 0-1 with a 10.45 ERA in 10.1 innings vs. the Mets.
  • ATHENS — Jake Fromm was down after the G-Day Game on Saturday. Not down like “woe is me” and “everything was terrible.” More like he was saying all the right things but deep down was kind of bummed. Fromm’s Red Team lost to the Black team 21-13, and that was his chief gripe. But he also didn’t play up to the level we saw most of last season when he was leading the Bulldogs to a 13-2 record, SEC championship and national runner-up finish. To start with, he never threw 2 interceptions in a game all year. Well, up until the last game of the year. He had that many on Saturday, including one that was returned for a touchdown, and a couple of other throws that maybe could have been picked. His final line was 19-of-38 passing for 200 yards. He finally connected with Riley Ridley on a 57-yard touchdown pass with 1:42 to play in the game. But just the fact that Fromm was still in the game that late speaks to the struggles. “You want some throws back,” said Fromm, who completed 62 percent of his passes and threw only 7 interceptions all season last year. “I thought I threw a couple of deep balls pretty well, but at the end of the day I could definitely can play better. There’s no excuse for that. I can’t wait to come back out and get with the guys in camp and keep going.” Conversely, Fromm’s counterpart, the highly touted Justin Fields, had a very good day. The No. 1-rated dual-threat quarterback in the Class of 2018 looked the part on Saturday. He was 18 of 33 for 207 yards passing and a touchdown and slipped out of the pocket on several nice runs, the best a 22-yard scamper. He threw an interception, too, but his offense generally seemed to move better. Now, for some perspective. Coach Kirby Smart was happy to provide it, just like he did last year when was addressing Fromm outpacing an incumbent starter by the name of Jacob Eason at that G-Day. The key difference here is one quarterback is facing the No. 1 defense while the other is not. It’s not uncommon for the backup quarterbacks to outshine the starters during spring intrasquad games. Georgia sets up its annual G-Day Game where the No. 1 offense is going against the No. 1 defense, the 2s versus the 2s, and so on. So that first group, either way, has the tougher job. Conceivably at least. “You all were sitting there last year saying the same things you are now because the other guy was throwing against the No. 2 defense and he was throwing it pretty good,” Smart said of Fromm, who was 14 of 23 with 277 yards and 2 touchdowns this time last year. “Jacob Eason was in there going against the No. 1 defense, which at that time was really good. So, there’s a lot of similarities between those two situations.” Fromm didn’t make any bones about it; he didn’t think he played real well. Then, again, he did note that the defense he was playing against was exceptional. They also had some other more subtle advantages. “Going into it, we felt like we’re playing one of the best teams in the SEC, one that’s great,” Fromm said. “They know a lot of our calls and a lot of our [routes] and stuff. It just is what it is. I had some throws I’d like back.” Mainly the one Deandre Baker picked off and returned 32 yards for a touchdown 11 minutes into the game. There were some others he’d like to have had caught as well. Earlier in the first quarter, Jayson Stanley was running free down the right sideline, but he was unable to time his reach to haul in Fromm’s well-aimed pass. Later that quarter, Fromm hit Riley Ridley perfectly in stride for what should have been a 44-yard TD. But Ridley landed hard in the end zone — nearly knocking himself out in the process — and failed to maintain possession of the ball. “I got a little dinged up hitting my head,” Ridley said. “Otherwise I’d hold on.” One of the best offensive plays of the game was when Fields hooked up with redshirt freshman Matt Landers for a 15-yard TD on third down late in the third quarter. Fields had extended the drive earlier when he fled the pocket on third down to get the Black team to the 34. In all, Fields had 44 yards on quarterback runs. But he also had 41 in losses because of the liberal use of referee whistle to honor the non-contact rule on the quarterbacks. Fields, who is under Smart’s perennial gag rule for freshmen, wasn’t available for comment. But Fromm, for one, liked what he saw from the kid, just like he has all spring. “Yeah, he’s made countless plays this spring where me and Coach [James] Coley look at each other and go, ‘Dang, that was a good play,'” Fromm said. “He’s a good football player. That’s what he should be doing. … He does a great job of extending plays. He’ll throw the ball down the field sometimes, he really does it all.” Which is not to say Fields is about to unseat Fromm as the Bulldogs starting quarterback. It only means that Georgia has a really good backup behind him, and maybe another one still as walk-on Stetson Bennett played well also. But it’s Fields and Fromm that everybody was watching and evaluating, Smart especially. “Both quarterbacks managed things pretty well,” Smart said. “I learned more about them being able to handle things on the field, with a crowd presence, and the shot clock and took the coaching of the players, which I liked.” As for Fromm, he’ll probably feel better Sunday after he looks at the video and sees how close his bad plays were to being good, and vice-versa, of course. Fromm was asked if he felt he should be extended a certain amount of grace considering what he did on the field for the Bulldogs last fall. “At the end of the day, whether it does or doesn’t is not up to me,” Fromm said. “You kind of come in and you do what you do. You come in and throw the ball around and try to put guys in position to succeed. That’s all I do at my position and try to lead the best I can.” As Georgia fans know well, Fromm’s best is pretty awesome. The post Georgia freshman QB Justin Fields outperforms Jake Fromm at G-Day appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia held it’s G-day scrimmage on Saturday, April 21st. The black team, led by Justin Fields, pulled out a 21-13 win over the red team, which was quarterback by Jake Fromm. After the game, several players, including Fromm, defensive star Deandre Baker and running back Elijah Holyfield broke down the game. Below you can see the players’ interviews following the game. Jake Fromm Deandre Baker, > Elijah Holyfield Mecole Hardman Lamont Gaillard Andrew Thomas Riley Ridley The post WATCH: Georgia players recap G-day appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Nobody will readily admit it, but there was a good bit of angst going around before the G-Day Game on Saturday. It was shared in part by UGA officials, by fans and by coach Kirby Smart. I mean, it’d be pretty embarrassing for the coach to implore fans to pack out the joint and then they don’t. But they did. “I certainly think that was an incredible atmosphere,” Smart said after the game, won by the Black Team 21-13. “There were tons of people lining the Dawg Walk. I know our players really enjoyed it. I really just want to thank our fans for being out there that early.” There was a little bit of a debate before the game about how many spectators it’d take to fill up Sanford Stadium on Saturday. It normally seats 92,746. But the entire west end was cordoned off because of a $63 million construction project that will give Smart the new locker room and recruiting lounge he wanted. Early in the week, Georgia was saying that meant room for 78,000. But on the eve of the game, executive associate athletic director Josh Brooks said in an email to DawgNation it’d be “roughly 82,000.” They finally arrived at the number 82,184 as the official attendance, which is a lot. That’s the second-highest total for a spring game ever. No. 1 is, of course, the 93,000 that came for Georgia’s first spring game under Smart, known as 93K day. If they had better accounting that day, it might be closer to 100K. As it is, the Bulldogs have averaged 80,439 for Smart’s three spring games, which is kind of incredible on a lot of levels. Suffice it to say, Smart likes to make a big deal out of these deals. “I just think people like Georgia football,” Smart said modestly. “Why when you have an opportunity on this nice spring day to come to Athens, I know I’d be dying to come if I lived anywhere in the state or within a five-hour radius. Get out of the house, get the kids out of the house, come watch a game. See the new guys out there, see who the new faces are. I think some of it is recruiting but I think people enjoy football in Georgia.” That’s where there was a lot of concern Saturday. Gates 1 and 10 underneath Sanford Bridge were both closed, shutting down a major point of ingress/egress for game days. Meanwhile, in an attempt to eliminate the chaos of general admission and keep tabs on how many people actually attended, ushers were handing out tickets as spectators came through the gates. Just to get an idea of what this process would look like, I followed my family of five for the day into the stadium to find the seats for the game. We didn’t go as soon as the gates opened, which was at 1 p.m., three hours before kickoff. We waited an hour and change to let the crowd build a little. I have to say, it couldn’t have gone smoother. This is what the commemorative tickets looked like they were handing fans at each of the gates. (Chip Towers/DawgNation) Just outside of Gate 9, we were handed five tickets. In addition to providing us a coupon for 20 percent off of wall art at the UGA Bookstore, the tickets directed us to Section 136. Looking up at the aisle numbers, the entrance for that section happened to be directly in front of us. After a brief logjam to get inside the aisle, it was like a parting of the Red Sea. We walked in and had our pick of seats. My group chose five on the aisle 17 rows up from the field. And that was that. Elapsed time? Couldn’t have been more than two or three minutes, max. I’m sure it was probably less orderly closer to kickoff as the sections continued to fill up. But it definitely was stress-free and kind of enjoyable in a way. My son and nephew enjoyed coming in and getting to pick our seats. So UGA needs to be commended for pulling this off swimmingly. It even unveiled its newly formed “Silver Dawgs” group, the hospitality team it formed in the wake of the positive encounters at Notre Dame last fall. Former UGA faculty member Joe Crim, posted at Gate 9, told me there were 33 of them deployed around the stadium on Saturday. And they were helping in all sorts of ways, from providing clear bags for people who didn’t know to bring one to directing people to restrooms and concessions stands. Georgia wants to have 50 to 75 of them eventually, and station them in hotel lobbies, downtown and points of interest around campus as well. As for the actual event, that wasn’t bad either. The G-Day Game itself wasn’t tremendously exciting or awe-inspiring because of great plays made. But there was a nice rhythm and flow to the whole day. And a lot of big ovations. A lengthy video feature was played to resounding cheers on the giant new jumbotron before the game. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, each wearing the other’s jersey, led the “Call the Dawgs” cheer before kickoff. And pretty much the whole senior class from the 2017 squad that went 13-2 was on hand. The players were recognized on the field at the end of first quarter, where they showed off their newly acquired SEC championship rings. Later in the second quarter, several of Georgia’s current and recently retired NFL players were introduced, including Alec Ogletree and Leonard Floyd. Soaking it all in were recruits. Lots and lots and lots of recruits. I couldn’t identify any of them — see Jeff Sentell’s reporting — but there were dozens of them, and a lot of them seemed particularly big as they eclipsed the view of those behind them on the sideline during pregame warm-ups. And then there was Justin Fields. The highly touted quarterback from Kennesaw got the most resounding applause when his likeness went up on the new gargantuan scoreboard, and did not disappoint when he went into the game. He made plays with his legs and his arm, finished with 207 yards passing and a touchdown and led Black team to victory. That gave the sun-soaked fans something to talk about on their way back home. What did we actually learn about the 2018 Bulldogs? Not a whole lot, I don’t think. Overall, I’d say the defense played a lot better than everybody expected and Jake Fromm and the No. 1 offense had a bit of an off day. But, at the end of the day, all these guys will be playing together come September. Truly, that’s not what this day was all about. It was spring celebration of Georgia football. From that standpoint, the Bulldogs knocked this out of the park. The post Georgia, Kirby Smart make G-Day feel like more than spring scrimmage appeared first on DawgNation.