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College
Zamir White ‘looking more and more confident’ per Kirby Smart
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Zamir White ‘looking more and more confident’ per Kirby Smart

Zamir White ‘looking more and more confident’ per Kirby Smart

Zamir White ‘looking more and more confident’ per Kirby Smart

Through two weeks, Georgia running back Zamir White has validated some of the hype surrounding the redshirt freshman running back.

In the Vanderbilt game, he rushed for 51 yards on just 5 carries. He followed that up with a 72-yard day on 8 carries against Murray State. His running style has some serious Nick Chubb vibes, as he doesn't look afraid to plow through defenders.

While the competition hasn't exactly been tough, the fact that White hasn't been hesitant or worried about his surgically repaired knees should be seen as a positive start for the redshirt freshman running back.

But per Kirby Smart, White is only just starting to show what he can really do.

"He looks more and more confident. I think the initial getting the ball, reading his keys, and the burst and acceleration is starting to come back," Smart said on the weekly SEC coaches teleconference call. "The acceleration through contact, I thought we saw a little bit last week, and he continues to grow with that. That allows him to improve and get better."

Related: Kirby Smart on what comes next after Zamir White debut: The sky's the limit'

Smart has noted that running the ball hasn't been the concern with White. The Georgia head coach has brought up White's ball security and pass protection as something he wants to see White get better at as he becomes healthier.

White did have a fumble in the Vanderbilt game, as a Commodore defender chased White down and popped the ball out from behind. But Smart did notice that White has improved as a pass blocker. After the Murray State win, Smart mentioned how proud he was of White when hepicked up a blitzing backer in the A gap and smacked him right in the jaw."

White scored his first career touchdown in the Murray State win. When White got to the sideline after being congratulated by a number of teammates junior D'Andre Swift came up to him and told him it was going to be the first of many scores.

Related: How D'Andre Swift is trying to be the best running back in college football'

And to hear Smart describe White's well-known work ethic, it's easy to understand why that could be the case.

"Zamir is a self-motivated person," Smart said. "He's driven by the fact that he's been through some tough injuries and he's worked his tail off. He is a self-starter. He is motivated in and of himself. I don't think he needs Brian Herrien or D'Andre Swift. I think that he's a great kid that is motivated to do things well and he's getting better each week."

More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation

The post Zamir White looking more and more confident' per Kirby Smart appeared first on DawgNation.

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  • The Georgia Bulldogs pulled off another big win on Saturday, as they took down the Auburn Tigers with a 21-14 victory. And because of the win, Georgia leapfrogged the Alabama Crimson Tide to settle in at the No. 4 spot in both the AP and Coaches Polls for week 13. Georgia (9-1, 6-1) also clinched the SEC East for the third consecutive season with the win over Auburn. That means Georgia will be playing the winner of the SEC West on Dec. 7 in Atlanta. Should LSU beat Arkansas next week, the Tigers would lock up the SEC West. However, Georgia isn't looking past its next opponent, as the Bulldogs have a tough game against Texas A&M this coming Saturday. Georgia coach Kirby Smart wasn't looking past the Aggies and head coach Jimbo Fisher after Georgia finished off Auburn. 'There's significance in coming here and beating a ranked team in their place in an unbelievable environment,' Smart said. 'There's a lot of significance to that and the East, but we're worried about Texas A&M.' Related: Even after winning third-straight SEC East, Georgia football knows it isn't done yet The Aggies are ranked No. 24 in the Coaches Poll and AP Poll this week. Georgia had previously jumped the Crimson Tide in the College Football Playoff rankings, as the Bulldogs were No. 4 in that poll. The next version of those results comes out on Tuesday. Alabama did lose its starting quarterback, as Tua Tagovailoa suffered a dislocated hip and will miss the remainder of the season. The only other teams ranked ahead of Georgia in the polls are LSU, Ohio State and Clemson. The Buckeyes take on No. 9 Penn State this week, while Clemson is off as the Tigers have a week to prepare for the South Carolina Gamecocks. For the full Week 13 AP Poll and Coaches Polls, see below. AP Poll Top 25 Week 13 1 LSU (10-0) 1 SEC 1,542 2 Ohio State (10-0) 2 Big Ten 1,478 3 Clemson (11-0) 3 ACC 1,442 4 Georgia (9-1) 5 SEC 1,343 5 Alabama (9-1) 4 SEC 1,263 6 Oregon (9-1) 6 Pac-12 1,243 7 Utah (9-1) 8 Pac-12 1,155 8 Oklahoma (9-1) 10 Big 12 1,144 9 Penn State (9-1) 9 Big Ten 1,030 10 Florida (9-2) 11 SEC 984 11 Minnesota (9-1) 7 Big Ten 902 12 Michigan (8-2) 14 Big Ten 829 13 Baylor (9-1) 12 Big 12 787 14 Wisconsin (8-2) 15 Big Ten 746 15 Notre Dame (8-2) 16 IA Independents 676 16 Auburn (7-3) 13 SEC 623 17 Cincinnati (9-1) 17 American Athletic 536 18 Memphis (9-1) 18 American Athletic 520 19 Iowa (7-3) 23 Big Ten 493 20 Boise State (9-1) 19 Mountain West 379 21 SMU (9-1) 20 American Athletic 328 22 Oklahoma State (7-3) 25 Big 12 200 23 Appalachian State (9-1) Sun Belt 154 24 Texas A&M (7-3) SEC 132 25 Virginia Tech (7-3) ACC 61 Coaches Poll Top 25 Week 13 Ranking Team Record 1 LSU 10-0 2 Ohio State 10-0 3 Clemson 11-0 4 Georgia 9-1 5 Alabama 9-1 6 Oregon 9-1 7 Oklahoma 9-1 8 Utah 9-1 9 Penn State 9-1 10 Florida 9-2 11 Minnesota 9-1 12 Michigan 8-2 13 Baylor 9-1 14 Wisconsin 8-2 15 Notre Dame 8-2 16 Auburn 7-3 17 Cincinnati 9-1 18 Memphis 9-1 19 Boise State 9-1 20 Iowa 7-3 21 SMU 9-1 22 App State 9-1 23 Oklahoma State 7-3 24 Texas A&M 7-3 25 San Diego State 8-2 More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation Extremely athletic' Travon Walker churns freshman potential into performance WATCH Auburn's Gus Malzahn: Tigers stuffed' Georgia in fourth quarter The Dawgs' sputtering offense isn't doing great UGA defense any favors WATCH Jake Fromm after 21-14 win at Auburn: We have to get better on offense' Kirby Smart details Georgia football injuries: Lawrence Cager and O-Line banged up Auburn player: Shout out to Georgia they are a great team' Georgia football stock report: Bulldogs' cash in at Auburn The post Georgia football jumps Alabama in AP, Coaches Polls after win over Auburn appeared first on DawgNation.
  • AUBURN, Ala. Travon Walker came to Georgia to do the type of things he did on Saturday against Auburn. It was not to try to give his coach an ACL tear. It was to be a drive killer. A lights-out closer from the defensive line spot, if you will. To slam doors shut. The potential was there for Walker to slam them the way he did basketballs as an all-state level power forward and post player at Upson-Lee High School for a back-to-back state championship team. Or continually dig deep for his best like the way he used to throw the shot put at a state championship level in track. When an athlete can do those things and still list those as his best sports, then a contending national championship program is on to something. ( The 6-foot-5, 290-pound freshman also played some 'Wildcat' quarterback his senior year of high school, too.) Auburn has two highly impressive future longtime NFL senior starters across its front in Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson. That said, the opinion here is Walker is on that same road. At least. Walker was one of the five prospects with that elite 5-star rating that signed with Georgia in its 2019 class. When he did, the upside was so vast Walker was this correspondent's pick (the well-respected 247Sports scouting expert Barton Simmons also said the same) to have the most likely tools to wind up a top 5 or even a No. 1 overall NFL draft pick one day. He's not the prototype for the position he already plays in the rugged SEC. If he keeps working and progressing like his humble roots (son of a Marine) has wired him to do, he'll wind up north of that 'prototype' label. The head-shaking part is he still has at least two more seasons in Athens to go. 'He's special, man,' junior All-SEC safety candidate Richard LeCounte III said. 'We'll be able to see it. I can't wait to see how he does things in these years coming up.' Travon Walker: That big play he made against Auburn First and foremost, let's rewind that play Walker made that broke Auburn's back on Saturday at Jordan-Hare Stadium that all of DawgNation is talking about. Travon Walker ( @D1Figure_) with the SAAAAAACCCCCKKKKKK!!!!!! GEORGIA WINS!!!!!!!!! #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/jDPFswHWeA Hiro Katsuki (@KatsukiFB) November 17, 2019 It could be stretched technically into calling that rush here a stunt. But it is better known as a loop. Perhaps a loop that only an athlete like Walker at DT can consistently pull off. It was once more common to see ILBs try this, but Walker has shown he can do it. DawgNation's Connor Riley pointed out that both of Walker's sacks have come this year on a loop like that one against Auburn. It is an NFL technique that teams like the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL employ when they still want to press the pocket and flush the passer while still just bringing a four-man rush. Bo Nix was getting rid of the ball fast all night against Georgia in Jordan-Hare Stadium. He had been rated as the nation's No. 1 dual-threat QB prospect a year ago, too. The defensive coordinator can dial up a call like Dan Lanning to get Walker in place to slam the door against Auburn and Nix. But it still takes a special athlete to line him up and take a good athlete at QB down like Walker did last night. 'That guy [Travon Walker] is a beast, man,' LeCounte III said. 'To be able to let him rush and we hold it up on the back end that felt good. Travon is a great player.' Travon Walker: What Kirby Smart had to say about No. 44 Brown was the 5-star in-state defensive tackle that Kirby Smart and his just-hired staff at Georgia missed out on in the class of 2016. Travon Walker was the 5-star in-state DT that Smart and line coach Trey Scott did not miss on. That key stop wasn't the first play he's made this year either. He now has 10 tackles, 2.5 tackles for losses and 1.5 sacks in 2019. When a 290-pound freshman can do all those things and flash enough athleticism to be on the kickoff return team, well..that's really something. It says a lot about Walker. 'It says what I keep saying to our guys,' Smart said. 'We've got to find more ways to play the guy.' But that wasn't it. Smart found a way to do more with his assessment of Walker as a true freshman. 'I mean he is probably one of our better overall football players and he's playing on third down,' Smart said. 'He plays quite a bit but we have got to find [more] ways to use the kid. He's talented and we've got to do a better job as coaches to find more ways and more avenues for him to help us because he's extremely athletic.' And then there's the end. Walker toppled Nix. Then he dropped his coach onto the turf at Jordan-Hare, too. First, the game sealing sack by Travon Walker and the chest bump with Kirby Smart that followed: pic.twitter.com/7Avm9774vQ Jed May (@JedMay_) November 17, 2019 The Georgia coach was asked if he regretted that decision afterward. 'Hell no,' he said. 'I'd chest bump Travon all day. I thought I might lose an ACL, but I was committed to it.' Sounds like Smart will take one of those every week in those circumstances RELATED: Check out the Homegrown DawgNation profile of what led Travon Walker to Georgia The post Extremely athletic' Travon Walker churns freshman potential into performance appeared first on DawgNation.
  • With two games left in the regular season, it has become clear that Kirby Smart's 2019 Dawgs will live or die by their top-level defense. That was the case Saturday at Auburn, where the Georgia D was magnificent for three quarters, carrying a shutout of the Tigers until the final 10 minutes of the game. Unfortunately, that almost wasn't enough. The Dawgs' defenders, who have notched a remarkable 28 scoreless quarters this season, were on the field way too long against Auburn, due to an only fitfully effective Georgia offense that, despite taking a 21-0 lead, was held to a ridiculous nine three-and-outs by the best defense they'd faced all season. As a result, the Georgia defense 'lost composure,' as Smart put it later, and let Auburn back into the game with a pair of too-easy fourth-quarter scoring drives. As the Georgia head coach told the Bulldogs radio network's Chuck Dowdle after the game, 'Defensively, we just wore down. And we can't do that. We've got to be able to play four quarters.' The Bulldogs had to defend a season-high 86 plays, the most by an opposing team in theSmart era. It didn't help that, perhaps because his troops were tiring in spite of his liberal substitution policies, defensive coordinator Dan Lanning had the Dawgs' defense in soft zone schemes in the fourth quarter that allowed Auburn freshman quarterback Bo Nix to slice and dice his way downfield with the sort of short passing game that unfortunately seems to have gone absent from UGA's offensive playbook. It also didn't help that Georgia again appeared to try to sit on a lead (you'd think Smart would have learned that lesson after being burned twice by Alabama), with Georgia's already less than prolific offense going ultra conservative in the fourth quarter, resulting in no first downs for the Dawgs in that period. In the end, the Georgia defense, so stout against the run all season, even gave up its first rushing touchdown of the year (though it held the Tigers' rushers in check most of the game, with AU netting only 84 yards on the ground). Auburn QB Nix was the Tigers' leading rusher, with a net 42 yards on 13 carries. Nix put the ball in the air 50 times, completing 30 of them for 1 touchdown. Georgia's Jake Fromm completed just 13 of 28 passes for 110 yards, but 3 of those passes were for TDs. Part of the problem with the 2019 Dawgs is that the word long has been out on how to defend Georgia's talented but incomplete offense, resulting in a wash-rinse-repeat storyline week after week: Stack the box with 8 men to slow down or stop the run, because the Dawgs' passing game isn't consistent. While it's true that Georgia's receiving corps lost an awful lot of talent at the end of last season, the relative youth and inexperience of the Dawgs' pass catchers isn't the main problem. In fact, they made some terrific catches Saturday, including the 51-yard bomb caught by Dominick Blaylock that gave Georgia its first score, and a third-quarter pass to Kearis Jackson in the corner of the end zone that was ruled out of bounds on video review but was still a fantastic effort. (Georgia did manage to score on that drive, thankfully.) No, the problem wasn't receivers not getting open; it was ineffective scheming. Sorry if this sounds like a broken record stuck on the same phrase over and over, but the offensive play-calling again was problematic. Too many times Saturday, we saw the Dawgs facing a 3 rd -and-medium or 3 rd -and-long situation, and too many times offensive coordinator James Coley and Fromm seemed fixated on difficult sideline routes 15 or 20 yards downfield. If you need just 5 to 9 yards for a first down, why send so many receivers deep? Two years ago, in Georgia's march to the national championship game, the short slant pass was Fromm's bread and butter, to the point that opposing defenses centered their trash-talking on that tendency. Remember the 'anyone can throw a slant' diss that Fromm made the Gators regret? However, this season, Coley calls a slant (the sort of pass that Auburn was so successful with on its two scoring drives) only once or twice a game, if that often. Instead, Georgia fixates on those back-shoulder sideline routes that are wonderful when they work, but which don't work often enough. The 3 rd -down magic Georgia had back in the Florida game seems to have evaporated, as they converted only 3 of 15 tries Saturday. (Auburn was a similarly dismal 5 of 18.) The result was a decidedly lackluster day offensively for the Dawgs. Remember how a week ago we were complaining that Georgia relied too heavily on Rodrigo Blankenship, settling for too many field goals instead of scoring touchdowns? If only that had been the case Saturday, as Hot Rod never even got to try one against Auburn. Instead, it was Georgia punter Jake Camarda getting the stiff workout, kicking an incredible 11 punts for an average 50.7 yards. That included a magnificent field-flipping 66-yarder in the first quarter. In the end, with Auburn having seized the momentum after a second scoring drive that took just over a minute off the clock, it was Georgia's defense that put the game away, with a couple of 4 th -down stands. On the first one, Nix misfired on a short pass, but the play that nailed the coffin shut on the subsequent Auburn drive saw freshman Trayvon Walker sacking Nix. That ended the Tigers' final chance. Thus, Georgia will represent the SEC East in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta for the third consecutive year. It was Georgia's 12 th win in the past 15 games of the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry. Auburn wound up the game with more first downs than Georgia (22 to 16) and more offensive yards (329 to 251), and dominated the time of possession (32:17 to 27:43), but most of it was too little too late. Those 329 yards the Georgia defense held Auburn to were the Tigers' lowest home output of the season. Dawgs defenders also got a bit of that 'havoc' Smart always is harping on, tallying eight tackles for loss and two sacks. Georgia's leading tackler was Monty Rice,with 10 stops. Dawgs safety Richard LeCounte also recovered a Nix fumble, though Georgia wasn't able to do anything on the ensuing drive. Offensively, Georgia never really established its rushing attack (which, Smart noted, makes it tough to get the play-action passing game going), but D'Andre Swift did rack up 106 yards on his 17 carries and, for the second straight year, went over a 1,000 yards for the season. He is the fifth Bulldog in history to have a pair of 1,000-yard seasons. Brian Herrien added 26 tough yards and a couple of catches, including one for a touchdown. With Fromm's favorite receiver, Lawrence Cager, again going out injured, Demetris Robertson and Blaylock ended up the day as Georgia's leading receivers, with Robertson catching 3 passes and freshman Blaylock snagging 2 (including one TD). On special teams, Smart noted after the game that Georgia needs to 'fix' the problem of too many penalties (on one punt, Georgia was flagged for both a false start and delay of game, though the latter was a bad call by the officiating crew). So, bottom line: The defense is great, but the offense has a lot that needs fixing. As Swift said after the game, 'I can't say it enough: We've got to sustain drives. We've got to be better on third down. Third down has always been our strength. We didn't do well today, not well enough. We'll go back and look and see what we can do in those situations.' Still, there's one thing that shouldn't be overlooked amid all the fretting about the Georgia offense's shortcomings, or how the 4 th -ranked Dawgs nearly collapsed in the fourth quarter: UGA got a third quality win Saturday against the 12th ranked Tigers, to go with a pair of Top 10 victories earlier in the season. As Smart said, playing at raucuous Jordan-Hare Stadium 'was a tough environment,' and the Auburn Tigers are 'a good football team.' Georgia became the first team to defeat Auburn under Gus Malzahn following a bye week, as the Tigers previously were 9-0 after a week off. So, Georgia once again is the best of the SEC East. But, as impressive as that is, it's the least of what was expected of this team. And, the road going forward, to achieve their ultimate goals of making the playoff and having another shot at a national championship, will require better effort from the offense than we've seen so far. Smart summed it up: 'We've got to get better offensively to get where we need to go.' The post The Dawgs' sputtering offense isn't doing great UGA defense any favors appeared first on DawgNation.
  • AUBURN, Ala., Georgia saw first-hand yesterday how important it is to have a 5-star defensive lineman on the field. Not so much because of Auburn's Derrick Brown who did indeed make things miserable for the Georgia offense. But because of Georgia's own former 5-star prospect in Travon Walker. The freshman from Thomaston, Ga., made the biggest play of the game for Georgia, as his fourth-down sack of Bo Nix officially ended Auburn's comeback. And that game-clinching sack displays exactly why Walker had such a lofty ranking as a high school prospect. Walker began the final play lined up between the center and left guard. He then looped all the way around the offensive tackle on the right side of the line, going completely untouched while doing. Nix never had a chance. The play was made possible by Walker's overwhelming athleticism. It's easy t0 see why Walker was also a high school basketball and track star as well. Travon Walker ( @D1Figure_) with the SAAAAAACCCCCKKKKKK!!!!!! GEORGIA WINS!!!!!!!!! #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/jDPFswHWeA Hiro Katsuki (@KatsukiFB) November 17, 2019 Plays like the one above are why Georgia coach Kirby Smart has said multiple times that Georgia has to find ways to get Walker on the field more. 'He's probably one of our better overall football players. We've got to find ways to use the kid,' Smart said. 'He's talented. And we've got to do a better job as coaches of finding avenues to help us, because he's extremely athletic.' Georgia is finding other ways to get the massive freshman on the field. Walker is a member of Georgia's kickoff unit. Imagine those poor souls on kickoff return who have to try and block the 6-foot-5, 290-pound specimen while he's running full speed. Smart learned firsthand the dangers of colliding with Walker on Saturday, as he did a chest bump with his standout freshman after the sack. Smart who looked like a crash test dummy as he went flying to the ground was thankful that he didn't tear his ACL in the process. Bulldogs Head Coach Kirby Smart so excited his team beat Auburn to win their 3rd straight SEC East title he takes a tumble. #UGAvsAUB #CommitToTheG pic.twitter.com/2i3U5gvu3N Alison Mastrangelo (@AlisonWSB) November 17, 2019 It's worth pointing out that part of the reason Walker hasn't been able to get on the field more is that the defensive linemen in front of him have been outstanding. Between Tyler Clark, Malik Herring and Jordan Davis just to name a few the defensive line has morphed into one of the best units on the team. Auburn learned that the hard way on Saturday, as the Tigers were held to a season-low 84 rushing yards. Things got so dire that Auburn had Nix attempt 50 pass attempts. That's the most ever by an Auburn quarterback under Gus Malzahn. The Tigers did do one thing that no other team had against Georgia. Nix's 3-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter was the first touchdown run the Bulldogs had given up all season. The Bulldogs will just have to rest on the fact they have the SEC's best rush defense and the nation's No. 2 scoring defense. For as much recruiting success as Smart has had at Georgia, the defensive line was one area where he hadn't landed the big fish yet, prior to signing Walker a year ago. In the past, Georgia missed on the likes of Brown and Tennessee's Aubrey Solomon, who both hailed from the state of Georgia. With Walker on the team, it's now crystal clear why Alabama and Clemson have dominated college football as they have. When you have multiple difference-makers like Walker on your defensive line, you're going to win a lot of games. Related: Homegrown 5-star Travon Walker resets a recruiting narrative at UGA Walker couldn't stop smiling while Georgia celebrated on the field following its 21-14. Maybe it was because of his sensational play and the fact that Georgia had just clinched its third-straight SEC East title. Or it could be because he's beginning to put everything together and become a disruptive playmaker for the Bulldogs. And that should be a frightening thought for the rest of the SEC. More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation Even after winning third-straight SEC East, Georgia football knows it isn't done yet Kirby Smart shows off his fancy dance moves after Auburn win WATCH Jake Fromm after 21-14 win at Auburn: We have to get better on offense' Kirby Smart details Georgia football injuries: Lawrence Cager and O-Line banged up Auburn player: Shout out to Georgia they are a great team' Georgia football stock report: Bulldogs' cash in at Auburn Georgia football report card: Bulldogs pass SEC West road test The post Travon Walker shows the value of having a 5-star defensive lineman appeared first on DawgNation.
  • CBS sportscaster Gary Danielson had a lot of interesting things to say during Saturday's Georgia-Auburn game, but there's one hot topic that college football fans are still discussing today: Danielson said that Alabama, which lost star quarterback Tua Tagavailoa to a season-ending injury, still deserved to be in the playoffs if the Crimson Tide beats Auburn in two weeks with backup quarterback Mac Jones. 'I think the narrative here is backward,' Danielson said, per AL.com. 'They have been saying this is going to hurt Alabama with the voters. I think Alabama remembers back to Cardale Jones for Ohio State. 'If Alabama comes in here and beats Auburn without Tua, they deserve to be No. 4.' How does this impact UGA? It's the Bulldogs who currently hold down the No. 4 spot in the playoff rankings, trailing No. 1 LSU, N0. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Clemson. The Bulldogs will likely need to win their next three games, including a victory over LSU in the SEC Championship game, to make the playoffs. Could they still make it with a close loss to LSU? Possibly, but unlikely however it depends on how other teams fare down the stretch. Back to Danielson: Following his logic, if LSU loses to UGA in the SEC Championship and Alabama beats Auburn, then it appears that LSU will be in danger of missing the playoffs despite a head-to-head win over Alabama. Note: Cardale Jones was Ohio State's No. 3 quarterback who led the Buckeyes to the 2014 national championship after injuries to the team's top two quarterbacks. Thoughts? Please post them below. The post Gary Danielson: If Alabama beats Auburn without Tua Tagaovailoa, it should get No. 4 playoff spot appeared first on DawgNation.