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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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Georgia Sports News

  • ATHENS Georgia has the best quarterback-receiver duo in the SEC, 'easily,' according to advanced metrics website Pro Football Focus. The PFF website, which grades and charts every player in every game at the NFL and FBS level, ranks Bulldogs' incoming graduate transfer Jamie Newman and returning sophomore receiver George Pickens among the top 10 returning players in the SEC. We @PFF_College are looking forward to the Jamie Newman George Pickens combo.. @PFF_Anthony 'The Bulldogs have easily the best quarterback-receiver duo in the SEC and one of the best in the country.' https://t.co/gumzly4rs5 Brent Rollins (@PFF_Brent) February 17, 2020 LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. was rated by PFF as the No. 1 returning player in the league. Stingley Jr. raved about Pickens when asked by DawgNation to assess him at the College Football Playoff Media Day in January. The PFF staff rated Newman the No. 3 returning quarterback in college football behind Clemson's Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State's Justin Fields earlier this offseason. Most recently, PFF ranked Newman the No. 3 player in the SEC behind Stingley Jr. and LSU receiver Ja'Marr Chase. From the PFF assessment: ' No quarterback was forced to throw into a tight window more than Newman last season, and he overcame that to produce the second-highest passing grade on those throws behind only Joe Burrow and the third-lowest rate of uncatchable passes. Newman's arm strength and accuracy will give Georgia an added boost in the deep passing game, an area it was average in at best last season. PFF noted Newman trailed only Burrow on his passing grade on throws of 20 yards or more. Former Georgia football coach Mark Richt, now an analyst for the ACC Network, told DawgNation that Newman could fit into any kind of offense. Of course, Newman hasn't even won the starting job with the Bulldogs yet. Incoming freshman Carson Beck expects to challenge, as do returning redshirt freshman D'Wan Mathis and redshirt junior Stetson Bennett. RELATED: Carson Beck making easy transition to Georgia football program Of Pickens, PFF penned, the Bulldogs' freshman displayed 'a massive catch radius and sure-fire hands . the man would catch any catchable ball thrown his way.' WATCH: The Pickens Plan, LSU defensive coordinator reveals special plan for Georgia WR Pickens was ranked No. 7 in the SEC coming off a season that saw him have the third-most catchable targets (49) without a drop last season. Georgia's George Pickens had the third most catchable targets without a drop in college football at 49 as a true freshman (per @PFF). His catch radius and hands are flat out unbelievable for his age. Pickens is easily one of the top-10 returning players in the entire SEC. pic.twitter.com/C5M2FtCSFi Anthony Treash (@PFF_Anthony) February 17, 2020 Georgia football newcomer stories Key takeaways on Georgia football newcomers Numbers game: Comparing Jamie Newman to Jake Fromm 3 things about Georgia freshman Carson Beck Kendall Milton making quick fit into Georgia football Podcast: Major Burns had best reason for choosing UGA Carson Beck making easy transition into Georgia QB Trainer: Jamie Newman fits direction of Georgia football offense Kirby Smart talks Broderick Jones 2020 signees best positioned to make Georgia impact WATCH: Mark Richt gives straight-forward analysis on Jamie Newman The post Georgia football has highest-rated quarterback-receiver combo in SEC, per PFF advanced metrics appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia football is a work in progress, but some areas require more construction than others. Kirby Smart and his staff planned ahead well, in terms of procuring key graduate transfers and utilizing the recruiting process to find impact players and restock need positions groups with top prospects. RELATED: Early takeaways on Georgia football newcomers, good news The final rank for the 2020 Class was No. 1. But Smart was more concerned with checking all the boxes. More underclassmen are leaving Georgia, leaving gaps that need filling. Five of the departing underclassmen landed NFL combine invites. Here's a pre-spring good news/bad news look at each position group for Georgia, as Smart readies for what should another run at the College Football Playoff: Quarterback Good news: Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman (6 foot 4, 230 pounds) brings a new dual-threat option to the offense. Incoming freshman Carson Beck is a capable competitor and D'Wan Mathis is optimistic he'll be completely cleared in May. Bad news: It's essentially an overhaul at the position. There figures to be a lot of newness with coordinator Todd Monken and offensive line coach/associate head coach Matt Luke added to the staff. Running back Good news: Georgia scored well in recruiting with California blue-chip Kendall Milton (6-1, 227) and South Georgia back Daijun Edwards (5-10, 201). The Bulldogs have just about every type of back to choose from. Bad news: D'Andre Swift was essentially 'every type of back' rolled up into one and will be difficult to replace. None in the stable currently project to fill Swift's shoes, it will take a committee effort. Receiver Good news: Smart went deep addressing this position. Georgia landed five receivers and two incoming tight ends to ensure talent and depth at the position. RELATED: George Pickens graded top true freshman in nation by PFF Bad news: The 'newness' factor once again. The only one of the seven new pass catchers to early enroll is Justin Robinson, meaning a lot of the work and timing can't get done until voluntary summer drills and fall camp. Offensive line Good news: Matt Luke proved a capable recruiter, securing elite offensive tackles Broderick Jones and Tate Ratledge, along with the nation's No. 1 center, Sedrick Van Pran. Bad news: It's hard to imagine anyone filling Andrew Thomas' shoes at left tackle, commonly referred to as the most important line position on either side of the football. Defensive line Good news: Malik Herring's decision to return for his senior season and former starter Julian Rochester getting a redshirt means strong experience returning. Freshman Jalen Carter is good enough to make the rotation. Bad news: If Georgia could put more pass rushers on the field at one time, it would. Azeez Ojulari, Nolan Smith, Jermaine Johnson, Adam Anderson and newcomer MJ Sherman are forces. Linebacker Good news: Middle linebacker Monty Rice heads into the offseason healthy and ready to improve himself and lead the others around him. The linebackers took a step forward last season. With Nakobe Dean a quick learner, the group figures to be even better in 2020. RELATED: Adam Anderson turning heads in Georgia football offseason Bad news: Teams went after Georgia's linebackers in pass coverage, and the tackling wasn't always the best in the open field. There's room for improvement in both areas along with a need for more playmaking in the form of forced turnovers. Secondary Good news: Richard LeCounte's decision to return seemed to set the trend on defense, and the talented rising senior should emerge as a permanent captain. Lewis Cine showed he could fill J.R. Reed's shoes in the Sugar Bowl. Georgia has four NFL talents at corner with the addition of Kelee Ringo. Bad news. None. Special teams Good news: Jake Camarda is back for his junior season. Most probably don't know his 46.8 average last season is third highest among the returning punters in the nation. UGA has several fleet-footed incoming freshmen who could spice up the return game, which took a hit last season with Mecole Hardman moved on to the NFL. Bad news: Rodrigo Blankenship is headed to the NFL, so Smart will have a new kicker for the first time in his tenure. Dominick Blaylock had earned Smart's trust on punt returns, but he underwent knee surgery in January and the timeline for his return is uncertain. DawgNation Georgia football Kirby Smart curiously short on early Todd Monken praise 21 names to know for Georgia football 2021 recruiting class Brandon Adams podcast: Recruiting key to national titles Freshman RB Kendall Milton finding quick fit at Georgia Jeff Sentell: How the nation's No. 1 class came together Georgia football produces 10 NFL combine invites Pre-combine Georgia NFL draft projections, top 3 rounds The post Georgia football: Good news, bad news offseason outlook in position groups appeared first on DawgNation.
  • UGA has a pretty illustrious sports history, including having produced such stars as Dominique Wilkins, Teresa Edwards, Frank Sinkwich, Courtney Kupets, Spec Towns, Charley Trippi, Fran Tarkenton, Bubba Watson and, of course, Herschel Walker, recently named by ESPN as the second-greatest college football player in the history of the game. You'd expect an athletics program with such a storied history to be celebrated on campus in high style, as a way of commemorating past accomplishments, inspiring current student athletes and impressing future enrollees. Perhaps a statue like the University of Florida has for Tim Tebow? Maybe a street named after them like Peyton Manning has in Knoxville? No? Well, surely, there's at least a first-class museum or hall of fame paying tribute to UGA's past athletes, right? Unfortunately, that's not the case either, a point driven home to me this week when I stopped by Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall in Athens to drop off my annual Hartman Fund contribution, and I spent some time in the athletics headquarters' rotunda, perusing the somewhat underwhelming historical displays (you can't really call it a 'museum,' despite the Explore Georgia website optimistically trying to do so ). The best thing you can say is that there's a display case for every varsity team that UGA fields, men's and women's. Plus, there are displays for three of UGA's football coaches ( Harry Mehre, Wally Butts and Vince Dooley), cases for Sinkwich and Walker that include their helmets and their Heisman Trophies, and a display paying tribute to longtime UGA publicist and tennis coach Dan Magill. Another case shows the evolution of football helmets through the years. Although all sports are represented, the emphasis is on football. Kupets winning the 2008-2009 award as the national women's athlete of the year is noted inside the Gymdogs' case, rather than in a display of her own. Around the rotunda are wall displays with photos and artwork depicting different eras of UGA football (the early years, the Butts years, the Dooley years, and 1989 to the present). There's a wall case with the four retired football jersey numbers (Sinkwich's 21, Trippi's 62, Theron Sapp's 40 and Walker's 34), and another display listing all of UGA's SEC championships. The national championship crystal football trophy is on display, too. Also in the building is the Larry Munson Trophy Room, featuring awards and trophies Georgia football has garnered through the years, but that's on the second level (one floor down from the rotunda), where fans aren't as likely to roam. (It's aimed mainly at recruits, I think.) Still, the most prominent display area is in the rotunda, where visitors have more immediate access. Unfortunately, my latest visit to the rotunda displays left me with the feeling the athletic association is not really trying much anymore when it comes to celebrating UGA sports history. The touch-screen audio-video displays with vintage footage and Munson calls that my son used to check out when he was a kid? Gone. And, I noticed the bowl history display hasn't even been updated since 2014! The SEC championship display does at least include 2017, but that is the rotunda's only mention of that fairy-tale football season. (Thankfully, over on the other side of campus, the Hargrett Library's current football exhibit, 'Beautiful and Brutal: Georgia Bulldogs Football, 2017,' runs through Feb. 29. Thank goodness for Hargrett!) Senior Associate Athletic Director Claude Felton explained that 'most of our individual sport museums' are spread around at the respective sport facilities. We have lots of special displays in various facilities the Boyd Golf Center, Stegeman, in and around the men's and women's basketball and gymnastics areas, equestrian facility, etc. All have historical displays (and graphics) of those particular sports.For example, we have a Teresa Edwards display in Stegeman that includes some of her Olympic medals, jerseys, etc.' That's fine, but I believe such displays would have a greater impact (and the historic artefacts more easily could be maintained and protected) if they were gathered together in one proper museum space. I asked Athletic Director Greg McGarity whether, in the current $80 million expansion of Butts-Mehre, there are any plans for the history display area to be expanded/changed/moved at all. Any thought given to a more elaborate museum covering Georgia athletics? 'We do not have any current plans to renovate this space; however, we do have future plans that would address updating this area of the Butts-Mehre,' he said, adding that the timing is still to be determined. As for what happened to the touch-screen displays that my son used to use? 'There were those kinds of screens years ago, but they always malfunctioned, so I assume they were never replaced,' McGarity said, adding that 'they were not here when I returned in 2010.' The only touch-screen they have now is 'a display that indicates the hometowns of our football players, and it's located outside the public entry of the football offices on the second floor,' one level down from the rotunda display. It is open to the public. Also, McGarity said, 'We have TV monitors that display content throughout the indoor [practice] facility, as well multiple areas throughout the entire facility. We have a mix of static' displays and a mix of the monitors that provide content change throughout the year.' However, the indoor practice facility is not open to the general public. So, a proper athletics museum may not be in the cards any time soon, but at least the recognition of UGA's past glories has improved a little bit at Sanford Stadium in recent years, with the addition of wall graphics, such as one emblazoned with 'Oh you Herschel,' borrowing a phrase from Munson. But, aside from the SEC championship banners and the mascot cemetery, that's about it. It seems like they could at least add some plaques or busts or something to Reed Plaza. As I've written before, I've often wondered why you see so little of UGA's football history at Sanford Stadium, in contrast to schools like the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where Tar Heel history is a tangible presence at Kenan Memorial Stadium. UNC generally isn't thought of as a football power these days, but it has a statue of Charlie 'Choo Choo' Justice. Speaking of statues, aside from an 8-foot-long bronze likeness of former mascot Uga VI outside the veterinary school and another small statue of one of Uga's predecessors, Mike, in front of Memorial Hall, the only athletics-oriented statue at UGA is that of Dooley, located at the southernmost tip of the campus, in the athletic complex named for the coach. It's not for want of trying. Athens sculptor (and UGA alum) Stan Mullins, who did the bronze statue of Dooley being hoisted by some of his players, also has created an 8-foot-tall bronze sculpture of Walker, but so far has had no luck getting the athletic association interested in putting it on display. When he approached UGA few years ago, he said, 'the initial pushback was that they needed to honor Sinkwich and Trippi first.' So, Mullins also created clay models of those two players. His grand plan, dubbed the Crowns of Glory Project ( which has its own Facebook page ), called for monuments at the four corners surrounding the stadium, with the Walker statue to be at the bookstore end of the Sanford Drive bridge, a Trippi statue at the other end of the bridge, and a Sinkwich statue near Gate 6 on the east side. A fourth monument, located at the other eastside corner, would have an uncarved 12-ton Carrara marble block as an unfinished sculpture, which Mullins views as a recruiting tool and incentive for players, showing that Georgia is waiting on its next hero. Mullins self-financed the casting of the bronze statue of Walker out of money he made doing a monument at Marshall University, and he unveiled it in 2016. The Walker sculpture spent time at various locations around Athens, and several months at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in Macon, before settling down at Mullins' studio, a renovated and redesigned 18thcentury cottonseed oil refinery on Pulaski Street in Athens. 'He's attacking the Greenway, the entry way to the river,' Mullins said of the Herschel statue this week. The public is welcome to visit the statue there and take pictures, he said. I asked Mullins about the status of his efforts to have the sculpture put outside the stadium. 'I don't know,' he said with a sigh. 'I stopped trying. I kept hitting resistance. ' It seems like everybody else has one,' he added, referring to athletic statues on other campuses. 'It does not make sense. ' McGarity said the issue of adding statues 'will always be an item for discussion moving forward,' but he added that there are 'no firm plans.' These days, Mullins is busy working on a sculpture of Tomochichi, a Yamacraw chief instrumental in Georgia colonial history, to be located in a park near Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. He made the point that commemorating past heroes with monuments is all about inspiring future heroes. 'The pageantry of sports leads to the pageantry of humanity,' Mullins said. 'And, if we don't celebrate it, it goes away.' I've never understood the reluctance to do more to celebrate UGA's athletics history. Whether it's the statues offered by Mullins, or monuments created by someone else, UGA athletics should do more to embrace its past, and not just Walker. As a friend put it, 'We have such a rich history, and I think we undersell it; we're more than just Herschel, as great as he was.' On Georgiadogs.com, it says that part of the UGA Athletic Association's mission is 'to serve as a source of pride, a rallying point, for the legions of supporters that follow its teams.' I think that's one area where greater effort is warranted. The post UGA athletics needs to do more to celebrate its history appeared first on DawgNation.
  • It's February, and we are in full-blown hype mode for the upcoming NFL Draft. It's the season for bold opinions and draft projections seemingly out of nowhere. That's what makes it so fun. If you can remember this time last year, draft 'experts' had former UGA defensive end D'Andre Walker and Bulldogs receiver Riley Ridley going in the first round. Nevertheless, if there's one consistency for this year's crop of NFL-bound Bulldogs, it's offensive lineman Andrew Thomas being drafted in top half of the first round, and D'Andre Swift being one of the top three running backs off the board. Swift, who stepped up as UGA's locker-room leader on offense this past season, got some love from two notable NFL analysts this week. He was compared to two of the best NFL running backs this past season: To Dalvin Cook, by ESPN's Matt Bowen; and to Alvin Kamara, by Bleacher Report's Matt Miller. The arrow is definitely pointing up for Swift, and he could even rise higher with a strong performance at the NFL Combine, which kicks off on Feb. 23. Love it. My comp is Kamara. Excellent receiving option. Hate that he got banged up late but saved some tread on his tires Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) February 4, 2020 The post D'Andre Swift compared to two of NFL's best running backs appeared first on DawgNation.
  • It's referred to as the NFL draft 'process' for a reason. The millions of dollars and championship hopes at stake are two reasons for that, and the NFL teams' changing needs and players' changing bodies and stock value are others. The game film and postseason all-star games are in the books, and next up is the 2020 NFL Combine in Indianapolis from Feb. 23 through March 2. This year's event will have some prime-time evening viewing, so the drill work and testing figure to get more public attention than ever before. Georgia football will have 10 players taking part in the combine tied for second-most among SEC teams with Alabama, behind only LSU. RELATED: The 10 Georgia football players invited to 2020 NFL Combine The players' performances have the potential to greatly effect their draft stock, for better or worse, as they move up or down the totem pole at their respective positions. RELATED: Andrew Thomas first-round NFL draft lock The interest level in the NFL is such fans can't wait for the actual draft April 23-25 in Las Vegas hence the proliferation of mock drafts. The first round takes place on the first day, the second and third rounds take place on the second day and Day Three consists of the final four rounds of the 255 players who will be selected. A consensus is beginning to shake out that Georgia will have five players selected in the first two days, and possibly six. Related: Jake Fromm more than ready for NFL, per Senior Bowl director NFL.com and CBSSports.com both have at least four Bulldogs going in the first three rounds NFL.com analyst Chad Reuter 2020 NFL Draft First Round No. 18 OT Andrew Thomas, Miami Dolphins No. 26 RB D'Andre Swift, Miami Dolphins 2020 NFL Draft Second Round No. 38 QB Jake Fromm, Carolina Panthers 2020 NFL Draft Third Round No. 67 OG Solomon Kindley, Detroit Lions No. 71 OT Isaiah Wilson, Los Angeles Chargers CBS.com analyst R.J. White 2020 NFL Draft First Round No. 10 OT Andrew Thomas, Cleveland Browns No. 29 RB D'Andre Swift, Tennessee Titans 2020 NFL Draft Second Round No. 61 QB Jake Fromm, Carolina Panthers No. 64 OT Isiah Wilson, Seattle Seahawks 2020 NFL Draft Third Round No. 94 OG Solomon Kindley, Green Bay Packers No. 99 FS J.R. Reed, New England Patriots DawgNation: Georgia in the NFL draft Jake Fromm evaluation, comparison, per former Super Bowl scout ESPN labels Georgia a 'loser' in NFL early entry process Evaluating Andrew Thomas, why he's a first-round lock Eli Wolf, Charlie Woerner, Brian Herrien, Tyrique McGhee shine in all-star games Todd McShay projects Georgia QB Jake Fromm to have first-round talent Closer look at Jake Fromm's decision, factors and faith The post Pre-combine Georgia football 2020 NFL Draft projections: Jake Fromm staying down South? appeared first on DawgNation.