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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

  • ATLANTA (AP) - The Baby Braves are all grown up. It's almost time to celebrate. With another gutty performance that pushed Atlanta to the brink of its first NL East title since 2013, the Braves bounced back from Ronald Acuna Jr.'s defensive blunder with a five-run seventh inning that carried them past the Philadelphia Phillies 6-5 Friday night. Ozzie Albies sparked the comeback with a two-run homer and Johan Camargo finished it off with a two-out, two-run single, giving the youthful Braves a chance to celebrate as soon as Saturday afternoon with one more victory over the second-place Phillies. 'Man, this might be doable,'' manager Brian Snitker deadpanned. Acuna misjudged Wilson Ramos' liner to left in the top half of the seventh, turning what should have been an out into a two-run double. Pinch-hitter Jose Bautista tacked on a run-scoring single, giving the Phillies a 4-1 lead. It didn't last long. Tyler Flowers led off the bottom half with a single off Pat Neshek (3-2), and Albies followed with a drive into the right-field seats for his 23rd homer. Dansby Swanson walked and Lucas Duda followed with a pinch-hit single before Neshek finally got an out - on a grounder that bounced off the third-base bag and was backhanded by Asdrubal Cabrera, who threw home to get Swanson trying to score. That was only a brief respite for the Phillies. Luis Avilan surrendered a run-scoring double by Ender Inciarte into the right-field corner. With two outs and the bases loaded, Camargo came through on a 3-2 pitch by lining a single to left to put the Braves ahead for the first time all night . 'There's an 'it' factor with teams,' Snitker said. 'You don't know how they get it. But when they've got it, it's really something special.' Acuna and Inciate celebrated at home plate, while Camargo pumped his fist emphatically at first, knowing he had pushed the Braves another step closer to the postseason. The Phillies dropped 7 1/2 games behind the Braves, while the Washington Nationals were eliminated from the division race. After their last NL East title, the Braves went through a massive rebuild that led to three straight 90-loss seasons. With some of baseball's brightest young stars, including 21-year-old Albies and 20-year-old Acuna, they're pushing for the playoffs far sooner than most people expected. Julio Teheran and Freddie Freeman are the only holdovers from Atlanta's last playoff team. 'We were talking about it the other day,' Teheran said. 'It's been a while since the last time we did this. We're excited. We have a new team. I'm excited to see the guys do it for the first time. It's going to be different for me. I was a rookie the last time we did it.' After giving up a leadoff homer to Cesar Hernandez, Teheran turned in one of his best outings of an inconsistent season. He didn't allow another hit until pinch-hitter J.P. Crawford started the sixth with a triple off the right-field wall. Teheran escaped that jam by striking out Roman Quinn, getting Hernandez on a grounder to second and retiring Rhys Hoskins on a fly ball to right. But the Braves defense let Teheran down in the seventh. With one out, Justin Bour walked and Carlos Santana singled before Ramos sent a liner to left field for what should have been the second out. Acuna completely misjudged the ball, however, realizing too late that it was over his head. After a futile leap, the rookie had to go all the way to the wall to retrieve it, as both runners raced home to break a 1-all tie. Jonny Venters (4-0) claimed the win by getting the final two outs in the seventh. A.J. Minter earned his 15th save despite giving up a run in the ninth , striking out Quinn to end the game with a runner aboard. ROUGH OUTING After a very effective season, Neshek had one of his worst outings. The side-arming right-hander was charged with four runs while recording just one out, bouncing his ERA from 1.16 to 2.66. Neshek claimed home-plate umpire Gerry Davis missed several pitches that should have been called strikes. 'When you leave it in thee ump's hands, that can happen,' Neshek said. 'It just didn't go my way.' TRAINER'S ROOM The Braves will likely want former closer Arodys Vizcaino to pitch in back-to-back games before deciding whether he deserves a spot on a postseason roster. Vizcaino has allowed three hits and two runs in three innings since returning from the disabled list a week ago, but he had his most impressive performance with a scoreless inning against the Phillies in the series opener Thursday. The hard-throwing right-hander had 15 saves before he went on the DL with shoulder inflammation. He missed 55 games. UP NEXT The Braves are skipping LH Sean Newcomb's spot in the rotation, moving up RH Mike Foltynewicz (11-10, 2.90 ERA) to make Saturday's start against Phillies RH Jake Arrieta (10-9, 3.77 ERA). Newcomb has a 7.44 ERA over his last seven starts, endangering his spot in the possible playoff rotation after he spent much of the season as one of Atlanta's most effective pitchers. Newcomb will be available out of the bullpen for the remainder of the weekend but could still make another start in the final week of the regular season, according to Snitker. ___ Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/paul%20newberry ___ For more AP baseball coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball
  • FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) - Atlanta running back Devonta Freeman will miss his second straight game with a knee injury, and the Falcons also will be without starting defensive end Takk McKinley when they host the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Coach Dan Quinn declared both players out Friday, extending a rash of injuries that have plagued the Falcons (1-1) already this season. Freeman went down with a bruised knee in a Week 1 loss to Philadelphia, while McKinley sustained a groin injury that kept him off the field in the closing stages of last weekend's 31-24 victory over Carolina. Tevin Coleman took over as the primary running back against the Panthers, rushing for 107 yards, and rookie Ito Smith also was effective. The loss of McKinley means Brooks Reed will likely move into a starting role vs. the Saints. The Falcons also will be missing backup end Derrick Shelby, ruled out with a groin injury, and reserve linebacker Corey Nelson (calf). Atlanta already has lost safety Keanu Neal and offensive guard Andy Levitre to season-ending injuries. Linebacker Deion Jones (foot) will have to miss at least eight games after going on injured reserve. ___ For more AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/NFLfootball and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
  • Georgia football fans can get their statistical fix each week with By the Numbers — a stats-based look at how UGA coach Kirby Smart is doing in his attempt to keep the Bulldogs on top of the SEC and continue the program’s pursuit of a national championship. This week’s edition of By the Numbers looks at Georgia’s missing pass rush through three games and how that could improve before season’s end. Georgia’s defense hasn’t had much success getting to the quarterback this season. A fact that hasn’t been a problem yet for the Bulldogs, but could be an issue before season’s end if it doesn’t improve. UGA — as has been widely discussed — is last in the country through three games with just one sack. However, coach Kirby Smart apparently isn’t too concerned. “I’m looking more at total yards per completion and how many points they put on the scoreboard. That’s what matters to me,” Smart said when asked about not getting quarterback pressure on Middle Tennessee State last Saturday. “I know everybody wants sacks. Everybody wants pass rush, but if you put a stop watch on it and you take the whole [MTSU] offensive line off the field and don’t block anybody, I don’t know that we could’ve got there.” Smart probably has a point in that regard. The Blue Raiders did get rid of the ball quickly vs. UGA, and the stats Smart says he’s monitoring closely — yards per completion for opposing offenses and points allowed — are areas in which UGA’s excelled. The Bulldogs are tied for second in scoring defense (allowing 8 points per game) and tied for sixth in passing yards per attempt allowed (4.8). Yet that analysis ignores an obvious point. Simply put, national championship contenders sack quarterbacks. UGA made the Playoff in 2017 with 34 sacks, but dating back to 2014, 11 of the 15 other teams who’ve made the Playoff had more sacks than that. The average number of sacks for a Playoff team over that span: 39. Quarterback pressure is also among most predictive metrics for determining a team’s success in another crucial area: turnover margin. Stats guru Bill Connelly uses “sack rate” in his formula for his S&P+ rankings because as Connelly explains, “sack rates are one of the only reliable, non-random factors that contribute to a team’s turnover margin.” Smart could be forgiven if he ignores that logic. Despite not getting many sacks, collecting turnovers hasn’t been a problem for UGA yet. The Bulldogs have recovered two fumbles and intercepted three passes through three games — good enough for a +1 turnover margin (tied for 18th-best in the country). However, history says that might not be a pace UGA can continue for the rest of the season. Six of the last nine SEC teams to finish in the top three in the conference in turnover margin were also in the top three in sacks. The blunt truth is UGA’s pass rush needs to improve, and the good news is that’s entirely possible to happen. Improving the pass rush is something Smart’s been doing since he arrived in 2016, and he’s done it without having to blitz often — which can put the secondary in a disadvantageous position. “That’s one of the big things we’ve tried to improve,” Smart said of his pass rush last August. “You can improve your pass rush by bringing more guys, or you can rush four better. Obviously, I like to rush four better than bringing more guys. So we’ve tried to find ways to do it. It’s not always been exactly what we wanted — what we want to create — but it’s certainly improving.” Smart’s words proved prophetic. UGA’s 34 sacks last season were five more than the Bulldogs recorded in 2016, and 13 more than UGA had in 2015 — Mark Richt’s final year as UGA coach. One of the factors that could raise UGA’s sack total by season’s end is the emergence of freshmen such as outside linebacker Brenton Cox — a former 5-star recruit from the Bulldogs No. 1 rated 2018 signing class. Cox has played in every game thus far for Georgia without making much of a dent in the stat sheet. That could change soon. “Brenton has grown and progressed,” Smart said this week. “He probably hasn’t shown up in games as much as he has in practice. He hasn’t had many opportunities to get out there and flash and do what I think he can do… He’s getting better with each and every game. He’s a competitor.” As Cox’s competitive fire allows him to become more of a part of the defensive game plan the Bulldogs’ stats could benefit, and it isn’t inconceivable UGA could end up coming close to the sack total it amassed last season. Saturday will be the Bulldogs fourth game. Through that same span in 2017 UGA had just seven sacks. If Georgia creates any sacks vs. Missouri it won’t be too far off the pace it set a year ago. But as Smart has said, it can’t chase sacks at all costs because pressuring Tigers quarterback Drew Lock can be tricky. CFB Film Room tweeted this week that Lock has an adjusted completion percentage (which accounts for drops and throw aways) of 64.3 percent when facing pressure. That means if the Bulldogs come after him, they better get to him. Otherwise, he can make them pay. Ultimately, Smart and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker know UGA needs more pressure on quarterbacks, and regardless of how either might downplay the stat, they’d love to get sacks. However, neither wants to dial up blitzes to accomplish that. It’s probably the correct philosophy — especially against Lock. What many UGA fans are hoping for is a glimpse of improvement — either from Cox, or a veteran presence like D’Andre Walker, the only Bulldogs player with more than one quarterback pressure so far. If that improvement comes against Missouri, UGA could be well on its way to re-establishing the credentials that made it Playoff-worthy in 2017. The post By the Numbers: Still plenty of time for UGA pass rush to improve appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ST. LOUIS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart loves to talk about his big, physical offensive line and how it wears out defenders. Opponents, like Missouri coach Barry Odom, dread the challenge the Bulldogs’ offensive front presents. “I think they’ve got as talented of a run-oriented system when they decide to go run the ball   as we’ve seen,” Odom said. “If you are out of your gap or out of your assignment a little bit, it will get exposed quickly.” The No. 2-ranked Georgia football program will taken on Odom’s Tigers in a noon (Eastern) kick on Saturday in Columbia in a battle of unbeaten SEC teams. As much attention as quarterbacks Jake Fromm and Drew Lock draw, the line of scrimmage could ultimately decide the outcome as both teams look to stay in favorable down-and-distance situations. The key to that is often first down production, and Odom knows the Bulldogs love to dictate the flow with their power run game. “Once we encounter one of their big dudes up front, we have to do a great job using our hands playing through and off the blocks,” Odom said this week, “because there’s times — the way they play and get to the next level of defenders, which would be our linebackers and sometimes drop down safety — that they can overwhelm you a bit with the way they play in the run game.” Georgia is averaging 272 yards per game on the ground, 13th-best in the nation, and fourth in the SEC. The Bulldogs offensive line leads the way, from left to right: • LT Cade Mays (6-foot-6, 318 pounds) • LG Solomon Kindley (6-4, 335) • OC Lamont Gaillard (6-2, 308) • RG Ben Cleveland (6-6, 335) • RT Isaiah Wilson (6-7, 340) “Our offensive line is   physical, they’re big, they lean on you,” Smart said. “It just wears on you.” The Bulldogs are splitting the carries at the tailback position four ways between leading rusher Elijah Holyfield (200 yards, 9.1 yards per carry), D’Andre Swift (119 yards, 5.0 yards per carry), James Cook (105 yards, 4.8 yards per carry) and Brian Herrien (91 yards, 7.0 yards per carry). Holyfield broke a 66-yard run against Middle Tennessee, and his hard-charging, physical style of play has impressed Smart and Odom. “He practices tough, physical; every day for him is physical,” Smart said. “He’s not a guy you have to motivate. He loves the game. He practices hard …. He likes contact, and he’s a bowling ball. He’s hard to bring down. He’s really tough.” Odom has seen plenty of film of No. 13, too. “He’s a strong runner, he’s got really good quickness on making his first initial jump cut, and then getting back vertical,” Odom said. “.Strong, strong power runner, really good in block protection when they throw the ball when he’s in there, he’s an impressive guy.” Odom said the Tigers, who rank 74th in the nation in total defense (379.7 yards per game) have a challenge on their hands. “We need to tackle well, we need to make sure that we play assignment sound,” Odom said. “When they do throw the ball we have to be good in our coverage zones, either n zone or man to man, we have to have really great eye discipline.” Elijah Holyfield is a physical runner. Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images The post Georgia football run game ‘can overwhelm you,’ per Missouri coach Barry Odom appeared first on DawgNation.
  • 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 cast of DawgNation experts as they break down the latest Georgia football recruiting news and discuss UGA coach Kirby Smart’s quest to keep the Bulldogs on top of the SEC. On episode No. 787 (Sept. 21, 2018) of the podcast, Georgia fans can hear a discussion about Georgia coach Kirby Smart and the upcoming game vs. Missouri. Georgia football podcast: Kirby Smart’s search for ‘one defining moment’ could come vs. Missouri Beginning of the show: Georgia coach Kirby Smart has spoken before about his belief that UGA needs to overcome some adversity at some point this season if the Bulldogs are to be as good as they were in 2017 and have the same quality of leadership displayed along the way to the College Football Playoff. I’ll talk on the show today about whether the Missouri game will provide that opportunity for UGA. 10-minute mark: I’ll share the Kroger Checklist and discuss the emergence of safety Richard LeCounte. 15-minute mark: DawgNation’s recruiting insider Jeff Sentell joins the show. Some of the topics covered include… 4-star defensive lineman Derick “Rambo” Hunter’s recently released top five Reaction to 4-star defensive lineman — and Florida State commit — Quashon Fuller’s recent tweet about UGA Whether turmoil at Auburn hurts the Tigers’ chances of swaying 5-star wide receiver Jadon Haselwood’s UGA commitment And the latest on 5-star offensive lineman Clay Webb 30-minute mark: I take a look at other SEC headlines including wide receiver Nate Craig-Myers decision to transfer from Auburn, Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher’s attempt to become the first former Nick Saban assistant to beat his old boss, and a look at the hype building for the Florida-Tennessee game. 35-minute mark: I discuss why freshman outside linebacker Brenton Cox could emerge as a major contributor for UGA by the end of the season. End of show: I update the Gator Hater Countdown and discuss the likelihood of seeing another stadium emptied early by a dominant UGA performance on the road. The post Georgia football podcast: Kirby Smart’s search for ‘one defining moment’ could come vs. Missouri appeared first on DawgNation.