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WATCH: Stream the Complex Networks weekly series with UGA freshman Justin Fields

WATCH: Stream the Complex Networks weekly series with UGA freshman Justin Fields

WATCH: Stream the Complex Networks weekly series with UGA freshman Justin Fields

WATCH: Stream the Complex Networks weekly series with UGA freshman Justin Fields

Justin Fields-UGA football-Georgia football-UGA recruiting

Jake Fromm was captured beyond the lights first. Justin Fields was the next man up the following season.

That was a pair of 5-star QBs. Both on their way to UGA. Both starring in a documentary series that chronicles their final season of high school football.

Sound like DawgNation deja vu? Imagine how Brett Whitcomb feels. He spent the last two football seasons working with the next great Georgia QB.

The local producer for the streaming “QB1: Beyond the Lights” program embedded himself into Jake Fromm’s world in 2016. He then did the same for 10 full weeks with Justin Fields in 2017.

He had a funny line when considering the odds of working with another 5-star QB on the way to UGA in the fall of 2018.

“It is going to get so weird,” Whitcomb said while holding back an eventual chuckle. “I won’t mind again if it is again close to my house. I will like it. But if it happens again (another UGA recruit) I might get investigated for some kind of weirdness going on. I don’t want that.”

The series offers the chance for UGA fans to relive it. But they know this time it ends with Fields in red and black.

Fields is one of three major character arcs in Season 2 of the docu-series. It i s available for streaming on Verizon’s portfolio of media brands including go90, Complex, Complex Networks’ Rated Red channel, Yahoo Sports, Yahoo View, Rivals.com, Fios On Demand and Fios1.

The series drops a new episode every Wednesday right here .

10-star work: Filming Jake Fromm and Justin Fields 

Justin Fields-UGA football-Georgia football-UGA recruiting
Justin Fields, now a UGA freshman, was rated as the nation’s No. 1 dual-threat QB for 2018. (Complex Networks)

It is a unique alignment of the stars. A pair of 5-stars, at that.

Whitman saw both up close in moments when the red light was off and on. He was there for major injuries to both.

The Rated Red cameras were there if things went south. Fields was assigned some late-night lawn care by his father when he wasn’t where he was supposed to be after one practice.

“Right off just the similarities would be incredible family structure and just the best kind of parents you could ask for,” Whitman said. “Justin’s parents were just the most fantastic people and the same with Emerson and Lee (Fromm) and Jake’s parents. They were both incredibly hospitable. They got the show and understood what we were doing. That was exactly how it was when we first started with Justin.”

There are differences in those players, though. That’s even evident when following their careers.

“Justin is a little more reserved,” Whitman said. “He’s a little more quiet than Jake. Jake is a tad bit more outgoing and just kind of says things whenever he wants. He’s very energetic. Justin was a little more reserved but that was the only kind of difference.”

“But you could tell if you met them together, that you would kind of get that vibe. But both (are) highly intelligent kids. They prove it with their GPAs and when you are talking to them.”

Jake Fromm-UGA football-Georgia football-Georgia recruiting
The QB1 series also followed Jake Fromm along his senior year of high school ball at Houston County in 2016. (Rob Saye/Special to DawgNation)

He said both only needed about 15 minutes of prep. They were good to go with all the hours and hours of shooting after that. Whitman said he would shoot all day at Harrison. The goal was to come away with just a couple of minutes every day that might work for the show.

“Those two kids really got it and they never looked back,” he said. “Once I told them what we were doing, they just put their head down and went about their high school life.”

He felt the production was a “dream come true” from a creative standpoint.

“They ignored me,” Whitman said. “It was kind of a dream when Matt gave me the access to go in there and we had access to go to the school. Everyone was nice and welcoming and nice. Then they just did their job and kind of ignored us. Which is really kind of the best thing you can ask for when trying to do a documentary.”

How Harrison managed the film crews all season long

Harrison coach Matt Dickmann gives credit to Fields and his family. He thanked his father for providing the structure for his program to flourish under some intense media spotlight.

The family basically shut down all media access to Fromm. Except for that documentary crew.

“The one thing that Justin’s Dad, Pablo, did well was once the season started there were no more interviews,” Harrison coach Matt Dickmann said. “Which really made it much easier for me. Because I was getting one phone call or email request on the average of one to two per day. People would want to come to practice and you really don’t have time.”

Dickmann has lived those hours. The school day begins at 7 a.m. and the football practice wraps about 12 hours later. Now multiply that by the fact that Field was the nation’s top-rated recruit for his entire senior season. He also remained uncommitted until the first week of October.

“(Those requests) takes away from preparing for football and I don’t think the average person or fan understands that,” Dickmann said. “… If we would have done every request, I don’t know that we would have ever got anything done.”

The many layers to Justin Fields

The head coach feels that the crew has captured the essence of the young man he’s gotten to know so well over the last few years.

“I think for the most part they have shown how competitive he is,” Dickmann said. “They’ve shown his sense of humor. They have shown how serious he can be when it is game time because Justin is very intelligent but he also likes to have fun with his teammates. He also likes to compete and challenge people, too. I think they’ve done a good job of bringing that side out and showing that part of his personality, too.”

There’s one moment in the series where Fields tries to hit a teammate in the head during a lull in practice. His buddy is wearing a helmet and he’s attempting to cover about 20-30 yards with that heave.

It was a loft. Not a toss with the same amount of mustard on it that he used during the first day of spring practice at UGA on Tuesday.

“I would kid with him and tell him ‘Don’t do that’ because I know he was kidding around,” Dickmann said. “But I wanted him to know that is not him being a really good teammate when he is doing that. But that’s just him being a kid.”

That was the fun side he sometimes would show. That would be a counter to the cerebral and calculating presence he shifted into when surrounded by about 10 reporters at the Nike Opening out in Oregon.

“He would like to have fun with me,” Dickmann said. “He would say sometimes that ‘Coach, I can’t go today because I strained my hamstring’ but he was kidding with me. I wouldn’t know if he was kidding or not with me some days.”

So the ol’ coach would give as good as he got.

“I would kid him back and tell him that  I was having chest pains that day and would have to go to the hospital,” Dickmann said. “I would tell him I wouldn’t be able to coach.”

RELATED: Harrison’s Matt Dickmann knows what UGA fans should expect out of Justin Fields this spring at UGA

The post WATCH: Stream the Complex Networks weekly series with UGA freshman Justin Fields appeared first on DawgNation.

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Georgia Sports News

  • ATHENS — New Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean has finally pulled the trigger on naming a second assistant basketball coach. Joe Scott, most recently an assistant coach at Holy Cross, sports 16 seasons of head coaching experience at three Division I schools. He joins Chad Dollar on the Bulldogs’ staff. “I’m excited to welcome Joe, Leah, Ben and Jack to our Georgia Basketball family and the entire UGA community,” Crean said in a statement released by the school. “Joe is known nationally as someone who excels at coaching, teaching and competing. He has tremendous respect of his peers who have gone against him and those who have worked along side him. He will bring many different elements to our program, but overall and he will help our young men get better every day.” Said Scott, also in a statement: “My family and I are extremely excited to be joining the Georgia family. The University of Georgia is a special place. This is a tremendous opportunity to help Coach Crean implement his vision and make Georgia Basketball special. I cannot wait to get started coaching our players to develop and get better every day.” Scott was tabbed one of the nation’s top-20 “Xs & Os” coaches in a survey of his peers by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman in 2013. He was head coach at Air Force for four seasons, Princeton for three campaigns and Denver for nine seasons. He also has served as an assistant coach at Monmouth, Princeton and Holy Cross. All told, Scott sports 27 years of collegiate coaching experience. Before breaking into the head coaching ranks, Scott was an assistant coach at Monmouth during the 1991-92 season and at Princeton from 1992-2000. While at Princeton, Scott helped the Tigers to five consecutive postseason appearances, with trips to the 1996, 1997 and 1998 NCAA Tournaments and the 1999 and 2000 NITs. The Tigers won three Ivy League titles from 1996-98, including perfect 14-0 records in the final two seasons. Princeton upset defending national champion UCLA in the 1996 NCAA Tournament and ranked as high as No. 7 nationally in 1998 en route to earning a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the highest ever for an Ivy League team. The post Georgia’s Tom Crean finally settles on a second assistant coach appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia basketball and Tom Crean have hired a second assisstant coach, this time in former Princeton head coach Joe Scott. The school released a statement on the hiring, with a statement from Crean. “I’m excited to welcome Joe, Leah, Ben and Jack to our Georgia Basketball family and the entire UGA community,” Crean said. “Joe is known nationally as someone who excels at coaching, teaching and competing. He has tremendous respect of his peers who have gone against him and those who have worked along side him. He will bring many different elements to our program, but overall and he will help our young men get better every day.” In addition to serving as the head coach at Air Force, Scott also has head coaching experience at Princeton and Denver. As an assistant Scott has worked at Monmouth, Princeton and Holy Cross, where he spent the past two seasons. Scott is a Princeton alum. “My family and I are extremely excited to be joining the Georgia family,” Scott said. “The University of Georgia is a special place. This is a tremendous opportunity to help Coach Crean implement his vision and make Georgia Basketball special. I cannot wait to get started coaching our players to develop and get better every day.” Scott will join assistant Chad Dollar in helping Crean. Dollar’s hire was announced earlier in April. Crean replaced Mark Fox, who had been the coach at Georgia since the 2008-09 season. The post Georgia basketball announces hiring of assistant coach Joe Scott appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia held their final actual practice of the spring at the Woodruff Practice Complex on Thursday. Under clear skies and relatively cool temperatures, the Bulldogs were working out in shorts and helmets and were scheduled to for about two hours. The next time they get together and play as a team will be during G-Day Saturday at Sanford Stadium (4 p.m., ESPN, News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB). Actually, it will as two teams. UGA on Thursday released its split rosters for the Red and Black squads for Saturday’s intrasquad game. This year, Georgia’s No. 1 offense, led by quarterback Jake Fromm, will be the Red team. The Black Squad will be led by the Bulldogs’ No. 1 defensive unit — and freshman quarterback Justin Fields, of course. Fromm’s Red squad will be protected by the first-string offensive line — which included both Solomon Kindley and Kendall Baker to play left guard. It will also feature juniors Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien at tailback and Terry Godwin, Riley Ridley and Mecole Hardman at wideout and Isaac Nauta and Charlie Woerner at tight end. Fields’ No. 2 offensive unit will have walkons Prather Hudson and Ian Donald-McIntyre in the backfield and will feature a receiving corps of Ahkil Crumpton, J.J. Holloman, Kearis Jackson, Matt Landers and Tyler Simmons. Of course, the Black team will be hanging its hat on a defensive team led by Tyler Clark, DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle, Jonathan Ledbetter, Julian Rochester and Malik Herring and inside linebackers Juwan Taylor, Tae Crowder and Nate McBride. D’Andre Walker, Robert Beal and Walter Grant will man the outside linebacker positions. The secondary for the Black squad has Deandre Baker and Tyrique McGhee at the corners, William Poole at star and J.R. Reed and Richard LeCounte III at the safeties. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs appeared to be going through normal drill work and play-polish in the early portions of practice on Thursday. Following are a few observations: Senior Terry Godwin was going through regular drill work with the receivers but appeared to be a bit gimpy in doing so. He had a reinforced brace on one knee and a regular sleeve on the other. Cornerback Mark Webb was not practicing after suffering a knee injury of undisclosed severity on Tuesday. Indications are it’s not a “major” injury. D’Andre Swift was going through bag drills with the running backs and did not exhibit noticeable limitations. He is dealing with a groin injury, according to coach Kirby Smart. Defensive tackle Michael Barnett (knee) was not at practice again, assuring that he’ll miss G-Day. Justin Young, who missed practices last week due to a minor knee sprain, has been able to practice and might be able to play. One area lacking depth that has not been much discussed is deep snapper for special teams. The Bulldogs technically have just one on the roster in redshirt freshman Oren Morgan of Toombs County. But senior fullback Nick Moore also snaps to the kickers. Former tailbacks Nick Chubb and Sony Michel were watching Thursday’s practice from the sideline and having a good time commenting on what they say. Asked which tailback they expected to be the leading rusher for the G-Day Game on Saturday, they simultaneously said “Prather Hudson.” Hudson is a redshirt sophomore walkon from Columbus. Recently-matriculated receiver Javon Wims was also at practice watching his position group. All of them plan to attend on Saturday, with Chubb conducting an autograph-signing at the bookstore.   The post Practice report: Jake Fromm to lead Red against Justin Field’s Black squad on G-Day appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Don’t be surprised if you see players being shuffled around a lot and playing in somewhat unfamiliar positions Saturday, especially on defense. Spring practice is a highly experimental time as it is, but injuries have forced Georgia’s hand in some key areas on the football field. As a result, you’re likely to see some defensive ends playing tackle, some tackles playing nose guard and some safeties playing cornerback when the Bulldogs conduct their annual G-Day spring intrasquad game at Sanford Stadium (4 p.m. Saturday, ESPN, News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB). Georgia has been hit with injuries along the defensive line and in the secondary this spring. Defensive end Justin Young and tackle Michael Barnett have been out for most of the spring with what coach Kirby Smart calls “minor” knee injuries. This Tuesday, cornerback Mark Webb suffered what’s characterized as a non-serious knee injury, but he won’t be available for game simulation on Saturday. He’ll be joined on the sideline by senior safety Jarvis Wilson, who has a sprained foot. As a result, Georgia will have to do some mixing and matching in order to keep a competitive 22 players on the field at all times. The Bulldogs have 111 players on their spring roster, but that includes six kicking specialists or holders and 36 walk-ons, including three quarterbacks not named Stetson Bennett. The point is, not all of those players are going to play and many won’t get significant amounts of time. Junior David Marshall, who played in 14 games at defensive end last season and started three, has been playing inside at tackle. Likewise, defensive tackle Julian Rochester has been cross-training at nose guard. Just a week ago, the Bulldogs moved redshirt sophomore Chris Barnes from offensive guard to the defensive line to shore up depth. “We’re just a little short,” said Marshall, who logged 52 tackles and 3 1/2 quarterback sacks last season. “But it’s next man up around here, so we’ve got to tough it out.” Smart hasn’t been thrilled with the end result. At different times this spring he has complained about the defense not being “stout enough” against the run. “We’ve certainly got to get better at defending [the run], especially against big, physical people like our offense,” Smart said. “But the way to do that is you’ve got to have big people to combat big people with, and we don’t have a lot of big guys. So, we’re looking to recruit. We’re trying to find 290-[pound]-plus guys that can help us become more stout. For us to play the way we want to play we’ve got to have physical guys in there.” In terms of interior defensive linemen that are on scholarship, Georgia has just eight. Freshman signees Jordan Davis and Tramel Walthour won’t join the team until this summer. Smart said he’d like to sign four in the Class of 2019. Georgia also is missing Deangelo Gibbs and is down to 10 scholarship players in the secondary for the scrimmage. By specialty, it breaks down to five corners and five safeties. As always, some from both groups work at the “star” or nickel back positions. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker also could pluck a linebacker to play in the back third. That has required proven veterans such as junior safety J.R. Reed and senior cornerback Deandre Baker to do a lot of on-field coaching when they’re facing off against Georgia’s high-octane offense. “It’s always good to see these young guys grow,” said Reed, who started all 15 games at strong safety last season. “My goal is to really mold these young guys and really get them up to almost be where I’m at and to get these guys that don’t know a lot to learn more.” While Georgia is expected to receive an infusion of talent when elite signees Tyson Campbell, Nadab Joseph and Otis Reese enroll in June, G-Day will be especially important for their predecessors. Sophomores Ameer Speed, Eric Stokes and William Poole and redshirt freshmen Tray Bishop and Latavious Brini have much to prove. “It’s their time,” Smart said, “and they have to step up or they’ll be replaced by the people coming in.” Low numbers overall are not unusual for spring games. After all, the majority of the incoming recruiting class hasn’t joined the team yet. In Georgia’s case, it has 17 more players on the way. In the meantime, the players that are present and accounted for aim to give the expected crowd of 78,000 a show of some sort. “We like to see all the fans come out and support us,” Marshall said. “We’re going to come out and show great effort hopefully we’ll see how the season will go this year.” The post Injuries have left Bulldogs a little light on defense heading into G-Day appeared first on DawgNation.