Monday, August 31, 2015

Lambert Named Starting Quarterback

Grayson Lambert was named the starting quarterback for the season opener Saturday in Athens against The University of Louisiana at Monroe Warhawks.

Lambert arrived on campus this summer after playing at The University of Virginia since graduating from Wayne County High School in Jesup, Georgia.

Lambert started 9 games for Virginia last season, completed 59% of his passes for 1632 yards, 10 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He carried the ball 35 times for a net loss of 6 yards. The Cavaliers finished 3-6 in the games Lambert started.

Coach Mark Richt made the following statement to media following today's practice.

“Lambert is going to start the game, there may be others that get in the game, but he’s the starter. It’s been a very, very close competition and it’s still being contested. But at this point, we felt it was wise to name the starter and get him the reps with the No. 1 unit.”

Richt said he continues to have faith in all three quarterbacks.

“They all can get us in the right plays, they all can get us in the right protections and they all can function well and help us win,” Richt said. “That’s what made it so tough.”

Asked what separated Lambert from the pack, Richt responded, “It was just a cumulative grade so to speak, a cumulative performance.”

Richt said offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer told the quarterbacks before Monday’s two-hour practice.

“Coach Schottenheimer and I were pretty sure on Saturday. This morning, we talked about it one last time,” Richt said.

Richt said this decision was one of the toughest, personnel-wise, of his career.

“It really has been,” Richt said. “It’s a big deal because it’s a big position, and it’s one where normally you don’t roll guys in and out. Every other position you do that, but quarterbacks tend not to do that. It was a tough decision because they’re all extremely hard workers, they’re smart and they’re talented. They’ve all done well in our opinion.”

IPF Approved By UGA Athletic Association

The University of Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors met today in Athens and approved the $30.2 million budget for a long awaited indoor athletic practice facility. The facility will be located adjacent to the Butts-Meher Heritage Hall, construction will begin following this season and will be completed prior to the 2017 season.

The following artist renditions were released by the board.

"Today's decision is the next step in the process to build our new Indoor Athletic Facility," J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity said. "We will now be able to share the impressive interior and exterior renderings of the facility with everyone. From a functional and aesthetic standpoint, this facility will be transformational for our entire athletic program."

The facility will be programmed for maximum functionality, as it will be approximately 140 yards long, 80 yards wide and 76 feet high, adding nearly 109,000 square feet of space.

"It's exciting to see the project continuing to move forward," Coach Mark Richt said. "We're appreciative of the support provided by President Morehead, Greg McGarity, the Athletic Association Board and Board of Regents. This will be the best indoor facility in the country!"

The announcement comes on the heels of the recent renovations and improvements to Sanford Stadium that fans will see this coming season.

On-campus indoor athletic facilities are commonplace in collegiate athletics. With the addition of this facility, weather will no longer have an impact on game preparation. The project will be funded through a combination of donor support and athletic department reserves.

The Indoor Athletic Facility will serve as the first component of a larger campaign UGA Athletics hopes to unveil soon which will be referred to as the Georgia Excellence Campaign.

To support the Georgia Excellence Campaign and subsequently the development of the Indoor Athletics Facility please contact Mónica Lébrón in The Georgia Bulldog Club for more information

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Game Week Is Here

The clock struck noon and it officially became game week for the No. 9 Dawgs about two-thirds of the way through a 90-minute practice on Saturday. A week from today, the Dawgs will host the University of Louisiana at Monroe at Sanford Stadium.

"It won't be long," coach Mark Richt said after the session. "One week from today, we're going. We'll be right in the middle of it. I'm excited."

Georgia worked out in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts, the Dawgs' traditional Monday practice gear.

"We treated today like Monday," Richt said. "We'll treat Monday like Tuesday, treat Tuesday like Wednesday, treat Wednesday like Thursday and treat Thursday like Thursday. We'll have an extra day of prep and two dress rehearsals at the end of the week, which should help them get their legs back and their focus right."

The opener will be the second meeting between UGA and ULM. The Dawgs secured a 44-7 victory on September 17, 2005, en route to an SEC Championship that season.

Next Saturday's game will be televised nationally on the SEC Network, with Dave Neal calling play-by-play, former Georgia All-American and Academic All-American Matt Stinchcomb providing color analysis and Kayce Smith serving as sideline reporter.

Friday, August 28, 2015

SEC Schools Continue Emphasis On Fan Engagement For 2015 Football Season

Each of the 14 institutions in the Southeastern Conference have once again taken steps to improve the fan experience going into the 2015 football season as the SEC continues its league-wide initiative to enhance fan engagement.

“Our institutions recognize the passion and loyalty of its fans and are committed to applying resources to maintain and improve their in-stadium enjoyment and satisfaction of SEC events,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “This is the continuation of the commitment our schools have made to address the fan experience and recognition of the importance of our fans to the future success of this conference.”

In June of 2012, the Athletic Directors of the SEC approved the formation of a working group to conduct a thorough review of attendance trends and develop recommendations to enhance the fan experience in the SEC.

The SEC continues to address the fan experience even as attendance thrives in the SEC. Last football season, the SEC averaged 77,704 fans, an increase from 75,674 in 2013 and 74,636 in 2012. Also, the average percentage capacity in 2014 for SEC games was 99.90, up from 99.02 percent in 2013 and 97.40 percent in 2012.

“There is a certain culture within the SEC that must be maintained and it is important to our athletics directors to continue to improve the elements that make the experience of being in an SEC stadium different than any other,” said Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin, chair of the SEC Fan Experience Working Group. “Our research clearly identifies the issues that are most important to our fans, and SEC schools have responded accordingly.”
The SEC was the first major conference to initiate rule changes that allow fans to see in-stadium replays of officials’ reviews while in progress and also has increased in-game opportunities for musical entertainment the past two seasons. In 2014 ESPN partnered with the SEC to provide video highlights to schools to utilize on stadium video boards for in-game highlights and updates for fans.

Throughout the past two athletic years, the SEC has conducted league-wide fan research studies in football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and softball, adding surveys to the student population in 2014-15. SEC schools have utilized the research to address fan concerns.

“We will continue to conduct research to better engage with fans and to serve their needs,” said Sankey. “Our schools are using the research to be strategic in applying resources to the fan experience.”

According to research conducted following the 2014 football season, among the highest areas of concern are concessions, connectivity and restrooms.

At least 11 SEC institutions are making improvements to its concessions operations, including such features as themed food kiosks, refillable beverage cups, improved points of sale in stadiums, additional menu choices, addition of local fare to menus, additional in-stands sales persons and increased number of locations to decrease wait times.

At least seven SEC schools have taken measures during the off-season to improve cellular service in their stadiums. Research shows that fans are most interested in performing day-to-day tasks on their phones during games such as texting, placing calls and connecting to their provider’s 4G or LTE network. As a result, many SEC schools are placing an emphasis on boosting mobile coverage in 2015. This comes on the heels of eight schools making similar efforts to improve cell service for its fans in 2014.

No less than six SEC schools are making improvements to its restrooms in 2015, including the replacement of fixtures and addition of restroom attendants, and -- in the case of stadiums with significant renovations -- an additional number of restrooms and family restrooms.

Research has shown that fans expect the best in sight and sound when attending SEC events and schools have responded by adding new video elements and enhancing sound systems. Last year at least six SEC schools put emphasis on its video elements and in 2015 two more schools have added new video boards and ribbon panels while several have improved their sound systems.

Other top improvements include five schools that are addressing parking issues, four adding new methods to showcase program accomplishments and school athletic history, at least four enhancing programs specifically for student fan enjoyment, as well as others adding fan ambassadors, enhanced ticket services, water filling stations, additional televisions on concourses and at concessions stands, specialized apps for mobile devices and more entertainment for fans outside the stadium.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Thursday Scrimmage Report

The Dawgs conducted their final scrimmage of the preseason Thursday at Sanford Stadium, working out for 90 minutes in full pads.

When coach Mark Richt met with the media earlier in the week, he said the final scrimmage would feature plenty of competition and not be a “dress rehearsal” as has been the case in past years. After Thursday’s scrimmage, he provided a few highlights but also said that Georgia was unable to overcome a 24-0 halftime deficit.

“We played the second half of a game and started out in the third quarter with the Dawgs down 24-0 and ULM won it 31-24,” Richt said. “We had a couple of drives to try and tie it up, but we weren’t able to do that. I was thinking if we did tie it, we’d go to overtime because we haven’t practiced that yet.”

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Brice Ramsey started the third quarter for Georgia while junior quarterback Greyson Lambert took the snaps for the Dawgs in the fourth quarter. Junior quarterback Faton Bauta directed the No. 2 unit as ULM. No statistics were announced but Richt said that the No. 2 unit functioned well and had success with Bauta leading them including a lengthy touchdown drive. Georgia’s scoring output featured a pick-six by the defense and a long touchdown run by sophomore running back Sony Michel. All three quarterbacks will continue to be evaluated, according to Richt.

The captains for the first game have been named, and they are senior linemen John Theus and Kolton Houston for the offense, senior linebacker Jordan Jenkins and junior linebacker Leonard Floyd for the defense.

“It’s a great honor to be named a captain for the first game, and these guys have earned it,” Richt said. “We take in to account everything they’ve done in the offseason and during camp. For example, Leonard is a guy everybody respects. He doesn’t say much but when he does, the guys pay attention. He has charisma, a trait you see in a leader.”

Georgia will practice Friday and Saturday and will be off Sunday before game week finally arrives. The ninth-ranked Dawgs open the season against Louisiana Monroe September 5th at noon ET on the SEC Network.