Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tucker Included As Semifinalist For Broyles Award

UGA Sports Communications

Dawg defensive coordinator and secondary coach Mel Tucker has been included as one of 15 semifinalists for the Broyles Award, given to the nation’s most outstanding assistant coach.

Tucker, who is in second year directing Georgia’s defense, is one of four coaches from the Southeastern Conference who was on the list. Head coach Kirby Smart was the 2009 winner while serving as Alabama’s defensive coordinator while Brian VanGorder garnered the honor as Georgia’s defensive coordinator in 2003.

From the list of 15, five finalists will be selected and invited to travel to Little Rock, Ark., where the 2017 Broyles Award winner will be announced on Tuesday, December 5th at the Marriott Hotel.

Tucker has led a defensive unit that is ranked as one of the country’s best in Scoring Defense (14.4 points/game, fourth nationally), Total Defense (276.1 yards/game, fifth nationally), Rushing Defense (105.6 yards/game, sixth nationally) and Pass Defense (170.5 yards/game, 10th nationally). 

Georgia’s defense held six of its eight SEC opponents to 14 points or less as the team finished a perfect 6-0 in the SEC East for the first time since divisions were created in 1992. The Dawgs posted a 41-0 shutout of Tennessee earlier in the regular season, which snapped the nation’s fourth-longest active scoring streak and sixth-longest streak in college football history.

Roquan Smith Named 2017 Butkus Award Finalist

UGA Sports Communications

Georgia junior inside linebacker Roquan Smith has been named one of five finalists for the 2017 Butkus Award, given annually to the nation’s best collegiate linebacker.

Smith, a native of Montezuma, joins Michigan’s Devin Bush, Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds, Wisconsin’s T.J. Edwards and Clemson’s Dorian O’Daniel as finalists. 

The winner of the Butkus Award will be announced on or before December 6th.  Smith has already been named a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award.

Smith, a midseason All-American, is on pace to lead the Dawgs in tackles for the second consecutive season with 91 stops through 11 games (8.3 tackles/game) and has one of the team’s eight forced fumbles. He has directed a defense that is ranked as one of the country’s best in Scoring Defense (14.4 pts./game, fourth nationally), Total Defense (276.1 yds./game, fifth nationally), Rushing Defense (105.6 yds./game, sixth nationally) and Pass Defense (170.5 yds./game, 10th nationally).

Offensive Line Named Joe Moore Award Semifinalist

UGA Sports Communications

Georgia’s offensive line has been included as one of seven semifinalists for the Joe Moore Award, given to the country’s most outstanding offensive line unit.

The Dawgs are one of three units from the Southeastern Conference named to the award that is based on six criteria: toughness, effort, teamwork, consistency, technique and finishing. Three finalists for the honor will be announced on Monday, November 27.

Led by offensive line coach Sam Pittman, Georgia is anchored by senior left tackle Isaiah Wynn, junior center Lamont Gaillard and true freshman right tackle Andrew Thomas.  Wynn and Gaillard have combined for 60 career starts at different spots across the line while Thomas became the first true freshman offensive lineman to start for the Dawgs since John Theus in 2012.  Junior left guard Kendall Baker has also made 10 starts while redshirt freshman Solomon Kindley and senior Dyshon Sims have shared time at right guard.

Completing their schedule versus the SEC East with a perfect 6-0 record for the only time since the divisional split in 1992, the Dawgs lead the SEC in Red Zone Offense and are tied for the national lead (98 percent), are tops in the league and ranked fifth nationally in Third Down Conversions (48 percent) and are second in the SEC and 10th nationally in Rushing Offense (267.4 yards/game). Georgia has posted 36 rushes of at least 20 yards, which leads the conference and is ranked fourth nationally, and only given up 14 sacks, which ranks third in the SEC.

Practice Report

UGA Sports Communications

The Dawgs worked out for a little over two hours on Tuesday afternoon in preparation for their matchup this Saturday at Georgia Tech.

Following are comments from head coach Kirby Smart:

On concentrating on this week’s game before the SEC Championship…

“We’re doing exactly what we do every week. We don’t prepare for the next game till we’re through with this game, trust me. Georgia Tech has got our undivided attention. They’re very hard to prepare for. It’s hard to simulate what we do. It’s not normal for us, so we’re having to play a lot of calls that we don’t typically play. It’s tough, but it is what it is. They do what they do for a reason. They run the ball well, but as far as the SEC Championship, we have to worry about that come Saturday night and Sunday.”

On the advantages Auburn and Alabama have preparing for Georgia in the SEC Championship…

“We already have everything on Auburn except the one they just played. Our graduate assistants and quality control have broken down that game, plus every game they’ve played. And Alabama, we’ve already broken down. So we have to prepare for both. We have the same information they have. And I assure you, they’re worried about each other. They’re not stressing about us.”

On the differences between Georgia Tech quarterbacks Justin Thomas and TaQuon Marshall…

“They’re similar. I’d say TaQuon likes to run the ball a little more. He enjoys keeping it, and he’s a tough guy. He’s a really good passer. I thought Justin was a good passer. TaQuon’s a really good passer. I knew TaQuon for a really long time. He came to camp at Alabama for four straight years, and came over as an eight grader, ninth grader, tenth grader. He came, and he worked so hard. I always thought he was a special athlete, but I didn’t know he had the toughness he had this year. He’s taken a lot of shots, and he runs that ball with a purpose."

On the tight ends’ blocking enabling the run game…

“They’ve improved, a lot. One of the most overlooked things in college football is tight ends that can block. Ours have improved throughout the year. They’ve gotten beat, like everybody has. They take pride in blocking. We do a lot of drill work. They block big men because they’re going to have to do it in games. I thought the other night Charlie [Woerner] and Jeb Blazevich, and even Isaac Nauta on two touchdown runs, they did a tremendous job blocking at the point of attack. It’s hard to find guys that can do that in college football, block the defensive linemen they have to block.”

On time of possession influencing each game…

“It certainly helps. The issue with Tech is you’ve got to score. Because they’re going to score. It’s not like anybody’s going to shut them out. They do a good job with what they do. So you’ve got to score. Time of possession is critical for getting reps and keeping the ball away from them. But more important than time of possession is points. I remember last year, I think we had a missed field goal and a couple field goals we had to kick, and didn’t get seven. That really hurts you on these guys. You have to score when you get a chance to put points on the board because they’re hard to stop. They do a good job with their time of possession. Some games it’s been overrated."

On the success of both running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel…

“It’s pretty impressive. I think it says a lot about our offensive line. It says a lot about our ability to consistently run the ball and block on the perimeter. It says a lot about those two guys. They’re talented guys, so to put two in the top-10 is hard to do, and keep both healthy.”

On the starting slot between linebackers Natrez Patrick and Reggie Carter…

“What personnel they’re in, who practices best during the week. It’s very similar to Solomon Kindley and Ben Cleveland. they’re both going to play, so it’s not really about the ego. It’s kind of like Sony and Nick. Who’s going to start, it doesn’t really matter. They’re both going to play, and there’s no ego about it. And those guys roll with Roquan Smith and get him rest, so it’s good to have them both.”

On playing both Ben Cleveland and Solomon Kindley on the offensive line…

“I think it has a lot to do with who you’re playing. Would we have played better against Auburn if they both played? I don’t know that. I think we’re watching both. We watch them both hard in the box and see who’s playing better. If they’re both playing good, getting movement, then they both play. I think they both deserve to play. There’s not a lot of drop-off when you go to one from another. I think those two guys probably get a little more tired than the other guys, so they compliment each other by keeping each other fresh, but I am a big believer in the rhythm of the game. When you’ve got to bring a guy in cold, it’s not like he has the rhythm of the game, so sometimes you might get an offsides penalty, or a knucklehead penalty, that the other guy might not have gotten."

On simulating the triple-option offense at practice…

“Three or four different guys. We’ve got some guys that have been doing a good job. We’ve got some guys, some really quick guys, that a couple of them ran it in high school. They’ve done a good job of simulating that.”

Monday, November 20, 2017

Chubb Named SEC Offensive Player Of The Week

UGA Sports Communications

Georgia senior tailback Nick Chubb has been named the Southeastern Conference Offensive Player of the Week following the 42-13 rout of Kentucky, according to a league announcement.

This is the Dawgs’ seventh SEC weekly honor of the season.  Senior outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter was named the Defensive Player of the Week after the win at #24 Notre Dame; freshman quarterback Jake Fromm garnered Freshman of the Week honors in the victories over #17 Mississippi State and Missouri; Chubb was also named the league’s Offensive Player of the Week at Tennessee; senior left tackle Isaiah Wynn was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week after the Vanderbilt victory; and J.R. Reed earned Defensive Player of the Week honors following the Florida win.

Chubb, a native of Cedartown, posted a season-best performance of 151 yards rushing on 15 carries (10.1 average) and scored two touchdowns, including a season-long 55-yard run, to push the #7 Dawgs past the Wildcats. Chubb joined Herschel Walker as the only Dawgs in history to rush for 1,000 yards or more in three different seasons after hitting the 1,045 mark last Saturday. Chubb currently ranks fourth on the all-time SEC list with 4,469 yards and is fourth on the NCAA FBS active list with six fewer games played than anyone above him.