Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dawgs Ready For Knights

FOOTBALL

Coach Mark Richt met with the media one last time here Thursday as the Dawgs have concluded preparations for their AutoZone Liberty Bowl contest with the 24th-ranked UCF Knights.

“We’re ready to play, we’re through practicing, and this morning we had a walk-through and some meetings, and the guys did exceptionally well in the practices in Athens and here in Memphis,” said Richt. “They have kept their focus. The guys have had a good time here and the hospitality has been great, and we appreciate everything that the AutoZone Liberty Bowl has done for the team. It’s all business from this point on and play the game.”

Richt was asked about the Knights freshman star signal-caller Jeff Godfrey and his impact on UCF’s offense.

“He’s a true freshman and he’s been spectacular,” said Richt. “He’s the number one freshman passer in America in passing efficiency, and he’s played well in the clutch, like on third down situations. They have converted 52 percent of their third downs, and that’s tremendous to be anything over 50 percent. When the pass is not there, he can run too.”

Richt said every team wants to win their bowl game to end the season on a high note, and it’s especially important to the seniors.

“We’ve been fighting to get to .500 after the 1-4 start, and we did that with the win over Georgia Tech,” said Richt. “This is our last and only chance to get above .500. The 1996 team was the last one to finish below .500, and we want to keep it that way.”

For fans attending the game, the Dawgs will have a “Dawg Walk” when they get to the stadium. Georgia is slated to arrive at 12:15 p.m. CT in the area known as “Tiger Lane” in the green lots between A and D.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lady Dawgs Lose

BASKETBALL

Adrienne Johnson scored 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Louisiana Tech (7-4) to a 77-62 win over Georgia (9-3) in the opening round of the FIU Fun & Sun Classic on Wednesday.

Jasmine James posted a team-high 20 points for Georgia and freshman Khaalidah Miller chipped in 10 off the bench.

"Louisiana Tech stayed the course for the entire 40 minutes," Andy Landers said. "It was a very well-deserved win for Louisiana Tech and a very sound effort."

Tech seized control of the game late in the first half and then used a decisive 10-0 run in the second stanza.

The Lady Techsters outscored Georgia 13-5 over the final 5:46 of the opening period to turn a tie game into a 41-33 lead at the intermission.

Georgia was within five points at 50-45 with 15:51 remaining and gained possession on a steal. However, a turnover in transition led to an uncontested Johnson layup that sparked a 10-0 surge during the next two minutes.

The Lady Dawgs never whittled the lead to single digits the rest of the way.

"When we got it close, it seemed to me that we turned it over and they scored easily and quickly on the other end," Landers said. "Then you have to start over trying to get it back close. At least half of our turnovers were on the perimeter, and when that happens it results in easy baskets on the other end."

After Louisiana Tech led for most of the game's early moments, the Lady Dawgs knotted the score at 18-18 on a Miller three from the right corner with 9:50 remaining in the half. The team's traded back-to-back threes to make it 24-24 before the Lady Techsters surged ahead to their eight-point halftime advantage

Louisiana Tech's 77 points were the most the Lady Dawgs have surrendered this season, and the Lady Techsters' 51.6 percent shooting effort from the floor represented the first time a Georgia foe has made half their shots. Tech also won the rebound count, 41-20.

"It was a very poor effort on the defensive end and very poor effort on the boards and that's very disappointing," Landers said. "That was the difference."

The Lady Dawgs will now face FIU in the tourney's consolation game at 4 p.m. on Thursday.

Georgia will then open Southeastern Conference play this Sunday when the Lady Dawgs host South Carolina at 2 p.m. at Stegeman Coliseum. The first 1,000 kids (8th grade and below) in attendance will receive University of Georgia silly bands.

Wednesday Practice Report

FOOTBALL

The University of Georgia football team conducted its final practice of the 2010 season on Wednesday by holding a one-hour walk through at the Memphis University School in preparation for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl versus #24 UCF on Friday.

The Dawgs' practice session started 30 minutes earlier than originally scheduled to avoid incoming inclement weather.

"They said it's going to rain during the game," coach Mark Richt said prior to practice. "It might, but who knows about weather forecasts and all. It's coming any minute here today too. I don't mind getting a little work in the rain. We got a little work in the rain in Athens during this bowl time, which is good. I thought we actually handled the rain pretty good throwing and catching. That's probably the thing you worry about the most, but I think the guys actually did pretty good. A little rain won't hurt us."

On Tuesday night, the Dawgs had the opportunity to attend a Professional Rodeo at the Argricenter Show Place Arena. Then on Wednesday morning, members of the team visited St. Jude Children's Research Hospital while defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and selected defensive players attended a media press conference. Prior to the final workout of the season, the entire Georgia squad took part in a team luncheon.

Grantham stated that he felt the Dawgs have had a good week of practice in Memphis and throughout all 15 bowl practices, and that the team would conclude the final preparations for UCF by going through situational aspects like red zone, short-yardage and goal line.

"UCF has an explosive offense that starts with their quarterback," Grantham noted. "He's a freshman. He really came on in their game against N.C. State, and they almost came back. He's very accurate, and he's accurate on the move. He can make the first guy miss and he can run, so he's really a duel threat guy and has helped their offense, but they also have other very good skills guys too."

Junior outside linebacker Justin Houston added that the Dawgs have been competitive in each contest in 2010 while echoing Grantham's sentiments on UCF quarterback Jeff Godfrey.

"Every game we have played this year I think we were in position to win, but we beat ourselves in several of them," Houston said. "Hopefully, we can finish this one off. UCF's quarterback stands out the most to me on their team. His skill level reminds me of other option guys we've played against, but we haven't faced anyone that small and that quick at quarterback."

Senior defensive end Demarcus Dobbs noted the importance of the bowl game for the Dawgs.

"We have come a long way this season," Dobbs said. "This game is big to us because everyone is looking forward to going out with a win, but we face a great team in UCF. This is just as big a game for us as it is for UCF because we have to beat a ranked opponent and try to finish with a winning record."

Georgia (6-6) will square off against 24th-ranked UCF (10-3) in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl Friday at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised nationally by ESPN.

The Dawgs will be making their 14th consecutive bowl appearance, and UGA ranks as one of the top five bowl teams of all-time in wins and appearances. Georgia is 26-16-3 all-time in bowl games including 7-2 under Richt.

Dribble Dawgs Post 10th Win

BASKETBALL

Travis Leslie scored 15 points to lead the Dawgs to a 70-55 victory over Charleston Southern on Tuesday in front of 6,406 fans at Stegeman Coliseum.

Leslie posted 12 of his 15 points in the first half as the Dawgs (10-2) built a 41-20 advantage. He finished 7-of-10 from the floor and also pulled down a team-high seven rebounds in only 24 minutes of work.

Trey Thompkins added 13 points for the Dawgs, while Jeremy Price contributed 10 points. Georgia’s starters combined for 52 of the team’s 70 points.

Georgia’s largest lead of the game came at the 15:12 mark of the second half when the Dawgs went up 55-22 on Price’s jumper.

“I thought our team played well in the first half,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “I thought we played really well to start the second half. We got the young guys some much-needed time and experience. I thought our bench played well at times. I’m just pleased to get the win and get ready for the next one Friday.”

“We played really well tonight,” Thompkins said. “We had guys contribute in all aspects of the game. Everyone played a certain part in the game, and I really think we got better as a team.”

Jamarco Warren recorded 24 points for the Buccaneers (6-7).

The Dawgs have won seven in a row and will return to action on Friday at 1 p.m. against Eastern Kentucky.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tuesday Practice Report

FOOTBALL

The University of Georgia football team conducted its second practice in Memphis, as the Dawgs continue preparations for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl versus #24 UCF on Friday.

The Dawgs practiced for two and a half hours under overcast skies and temperatures in the mid-30s.

Georgia won a pair of challenges away from the playing field against its UCF counterparts on Monday night. The Dawgs came out on top in a head-to-head battle in an EA Sports football game and then during a basketball challenge at the Memphis Grizzlies NBA game. Junior flanker A.J. Green and sophomore tailback Washaun Ealey were the two Georgia players who took to the basketball court and came away victorious.

The Dawgs also enjoyed a catered meal from Rendezvous, a famous barbeque restaurant in Memphis, at their practice site following Monday’s practice.

“It’s been fun this whole week, especially the basketball game, and I think one of the better bowl experiences for me in my career,” said senior offensive lineman Clint Boling. “We had great food catered yesterday and we are staying at an awesome hotel.”

Prior to Tuesday’s practice session, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo joined Green, Boling, senior split end Kris Durham and redshirt freshman quarterback Aaron Murray at a bowl press conference to discus the team’s matchup with the Knights.

“When we turn on the tape, their football team on the defensive side of the ball is fundamentally sound,” said Bobo. “Our offense is going to have to have sharp execution. UCF makes you earn everything you get against them.”

Bobo also said he was pleased with the progression of Murray in his first season as a starter. Murray has a 162.7 pass efficiency rating through 12 games this season, which is leading Bobo’s all-time No. 1 UGA mark of 155.8 set during the 1997 season when Bobo was a senior.

“That’s awesome about his passing efficiency mark and I expect him to break more records as his career with Georgia progresses,” Bobo said. “A lot of credit for Aaron’s success this season can be credited to his work ethic. He has been unfazed by his success and there isn’t a day that goes by when he doesn’t study film. He is truly dedicated to making Georgia a championship team.”

“Coach Bobo makes sure I know my reads and progressions so I don’t make as many mistakes or have interceptions,” said Murray. “Both he and Coach Richt have helped me to prepare and I also have a lot of talent around me to put up the numbers. I don’t care about breaking records while I play for Georgia, I came here to win Southeastern Conference and national championships.”

Athletic Director Greg McGarity announced today that he had signed an agreement with Ohio State to play a home and home series with the Buckeyes in 2020 and 2021. The games will be played before the SEC schedule starts each year and the schools have not decided which team will host the other first.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Monday Practice Report

FOOTBALL

The University of Georgia football team participated in its first of three practices at the Memphis University School on Monday morning as the Dawgs prepare for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl versus #24 UCF on Friday.

The two-and-a-half hour practice was held on the Owls’ field in clear, crisp conditions. Coach Mark Richt spoke to the media prior to the Dawgs’ first practice session.

“This school is a nice place,” said Richt. “We were looking for a practice facility and a school that also had a place for us to eat and this has been great. We knew it could rain or snow so we looked for a facility with a quality turf field. It’s nice here and I think the best option for us.”

The UCF Knights enter the Liberty Bowl with a 10-3 record, including a 7-1 mark in Conference USA play. These teams have met just once before, ending in a thrilling 24-23 victory for the Bulldogs in Sanford Stadium in 1999.

“We expect a physical game from UCF,” Richt said. “Coach O’Leary’s teams are always fundamentally sound. We’re not a spread offense and they like to do a little of that. I expect both teams to get after it.”

Richt also discussed the Dawgs’ running game.

“Washaun Ealey and Carlton Thomas will carry the load for us and could get up to a combined 25 or 30 carries,” said Richt. “This is a great opportunity for them since Caleb King and Shaun Chapas will be out.”

Sophomore tight end Arthur Lynch, a native of Dartmouth, Mass., is still trying to get to Memphis after being delayed because of inclement weather. Redshirt freshman cornerback Jordan Love, a native of Glen Allen, Va., arrived during the first period of Monday’s practice after also experiencing weather delays.

Dawgs Arrive In Memphis

FOOTBALL

The University of Georgia football team and staff arrived in Memphis throughout the day on Sunday to start preparations for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl on Friday.

Although inclement weather in the region slowed the arrival of some, most of the players, coaches and staff checked into the Peabody Hotel on Sunday and began preparations for Monday’s practice at 10:30 a.m. ET. This is the first of three practices for the Dawgs while they are in Memphis.

“We don’t have everyone here yet,” said coach Mark Richt. “Saturday night we called everybody and told them don’t leave until it’s safe. We had a 6 p.m. central time team meeting and we pushed that to 9:30 p.m. So we hope to have 95 percent of the guys here by then.”

A trio of Dawgs will not be making the trip to Memphis for the bowl game. Freshman cornerback Derek Owens and redshirt sophomore offensive tackle A.J. Harmon will not be at the bowl game because of academic reasons. Junior tailback Caleb King did not adhere to UGA Athletic Association policy after missing his fifth academic-related meeting and will also not be making the trip. All three players are eligible to participate in spring practice.

“We have three players that will not be here,” Richt said. “They lost their opportunity to play in the bowl game.”

Senior fullback Shaun Chapas elected to have surgery on his ankle last week and will not play, senior defensive end Brandon Wood will also miss the game due to an injury.

Sophomore split end Marlon Brown is one of two Memphis natives who is returning to his hometown to play in the bowl game. Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Austin Long is the other Dawg who hails from Memphis.

“I’m looking forward to playing in a real college game at home,” said Brown. “It is going to be fun. UCF is a very good team. They’re 10-3 this year and used to winning. I’ve got tons of family and friends coming so that’s really cool to me. Some of them couldn’t get to my games in Athens and other places because of their jobs but now that we’re playing in Memphis, there are no excuses for them.”

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Occasionally a story comes along that gives you the same feeling of hope that is usually felt as you try to go to sleep on Christmas eve.

I won’t make this long, just read the story linked below to realize that the feeling should be there on more than one cold evening in December. It’s my Christmas wish that the University of Georgia would offer this young man a full scholarship to become a member of the Dawg Nation.

Click here. 

Merry Christmas.

Dawgs Edge Mercer

BASKETBALL

Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie scored 20 points apiece as Georgia overcame a double-digit deficit in the final eight minutes to post a 56-53 win over Mercer in a non-conference basketball game Thursday night in Macon.

The Dawgs (9-2) completed their pre-Christmas slate with yet another close contest. After sprinting to a big early lead, they struggled with foul trouble as Mercer (3-8) gained its footing in the game.

A Thompkins layup with 12:40 left in the first half put Georgia ahead 19-8. Mercer responded by scoring the next 11 points, tying the game on a layin by Jake Gollon at the 11:22 mark. After the teams twice traded baskets, the Bears took a 26-23 lead on a 3-pointer by Langston Hall with 7:45 left in the half. Georgia, meanwhile, managed but a single free throw for the first half's remainder and found itself trailing 31-24 at intermission.

"You've got to give Mercer credit for the way they played tonight," Georgia coach Mark Fox said. "They played an inspired game in a great atmosphere. We feel fortunate to have gotten this victory.

The outlook seemed bleaker still with 8:32 left in the game, when Mercer's Jeff Smith canned two foul shots to put the Bears ahead by their largest margin at 48-37. Only then did the Dawgs begin to scratch their way back into contention.

Six straight points by Thompkins -- a 3-pointer first and an old-fashioned 3-point play a minute later -- got Georgia within five at 48-43. His two free throws with 5:38 left pulled the Dawgs within 48-47. Jeremy Price followed a Thompkins steal by giving Georgia the lead on a layup with 4:53 left.

Thereafter, the lead changed hands twice more before Price put the Dawgs ahead for good at 54-53 on a foul shot with 52 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, Mercer's Brian Mills, who led all scorers with 21 points, traveled as the shot clock dwindled with 21 seconds remaining.

The Bears had one final possession after Georgia committed its own turnover on the inbounds play. Mills, however, fumbled away a possible layin with just two ticks left.

Georgia will reconvene in Athens on Sunday before resuming its non-conference schedule Tuesday against Charleston Southern.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dawgs Honored

FOOTBALL

Five University of Georgia football players have been named to the Pro Football Weekly All-America Team, according to a recent announcement.

Junior flanker A.J. Green, senior offensive guard Clint Boling, junior offensive guard Cordy Glenn, junior outside linebacker Justin Houston and junior punter Drew Butler were all named to the first team at their respective positions.

The five Dawgs named to the team are more than any other school in the nation.  There are only four other players from the Southeastern Conference on the squad with one each coming from LSU, Alabama, Auburn and Florida.

PFW’s All-America team annually honors the most talented players in college football and is determined based on considerable feedback from NFL evaluators taking into consideration a player’s pure talent and contribution to his team.  Unlike many other teams rewarding the best college football players, PFW places an extra premium on true talent and draft value in the selection process.  Extra attention was paid to qualities such as toughness, competitiveness and work ethic.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lady Dawgs Win

BASKETBALL

Anne Marie Armstrong canned a 25-foot three-pointer with 1.5 seconds left to lift the Georgia Lady Dawgs (9-2) to a 60-57 victory over TCU (6-6) at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum on Wednesday night.

The Lady Dawgs outscored the Horned Frogs 7-0 over the final 1:06 to earn the victory over TCU, an NCAA Tournament team during nine of the past 10 seasons.

"It's a good win," Andy Landers said. "It was a win we needed. We needed a solid road win.

"I thought we played pretty well 80 percent of the time," Landers continued. "The other 20 percent we were in breakdown mode. Ten percent of that time, we scrambled and did a good job of saving ourselves. The other 10 percent, we were giving away points."

Porsha Phillips' game-high tallies of 18 points and 14 rebounds led Georgia, her sixth double-double of the season. Armstrong added 15 points and Jasmine James chipped in 12.

"I thought Porsha was tremendous all night," Landers said. "She played with a lot of heart. She looked tired. Actually, we played our kids more minutes tonight than we have all season, and I think that showed a little bit."

Georgia controlled the scoreboard for most of the contest.

The Lady Dawgs built a 16-point first-half lead but allowed TCU to close within single digits at the intermission. After the Horned Frogs closed the gap to four early in the second stanza, Georgia pushed its advantage pack to nine with 12:21 remaining.

A Phillips jumper made it 46-37 at the 10:28 mark; however, TCU outscored the Lady Bulldogs 12-0 over the next 6:27 to gain a five-point lead with 5:09 remaining.

Armstrong broke Georgia's scoring drought with a layup with 4:00 remaining and knocked down a three on the next possession to trim the margin back to two.

The teams each made four straight free throws – all of Georgia's from Jasmine Hassell – to make it 57-55 with 1:06 left. A James steal turned into an Armstrong layup to knot the score with 50 second left.

Georgia then forced a shot clock violation and regained possession with 15.4 seconds left. James brought the ball down and passed to Meredith Mitchell on the baseline. She hit Phillips just outside the lane who passed back to Armstrong for the game-winner.

After missing their first five shots of the game, including four three-point attempts, Phillips finally got the Lady Dawgs on the board with a triple from the left corner on an inbounds. That bucket ignited a 12-5 over the next 12-5 run that put Georgia up 12-7 at the 16:08 mark.

The Lady Dawgs gradually expanded that margin and used a 10-0 surge in a span of 3:18 to go up 35-19 with 3:32 remaining in the half.

TCU cut that lead to single digits at the break, using a quartet of free throws on one-and-one opportunities for Helena Sverrisdottir at the final 40 seconds of the half.

The Lady Dawgs will return to action next Wednesday when they face Louisiana Tech in the opening round of the FIU Fun & Sun Classic in Miami at 8 p.m. Georgia will then face either FIU or Marquette on Dec. 30 at 2 or 4 p.m.

Georgia will then open Southeastern Conference play on Sunday, January 2 when the Lady Dawgs host South Carolina at 2 p.m. at Stegeman Coliseum. The first 1,000 kids (8th grade and below) in attendance will receive University of Georgia silly bands.

Reserved seat tickets for the Lady Dawg games are $5 for adults and $3 for children and will be available via the internet at www.georgiadogs.com. In addition, tickets will go on sale at Stegeman Coliseum box office (side of arena closest to Sanford Drive) beginning 90 minutes before tip-off.

UGA students, faculty and staff are admitted to all Lady Dawg games free of charge with a valid UGA Card. Faculty and staff should pick up tickets at the Coliseum box office. Students are admitted to the arena via the entrance to the left of the box office by showing their UGA Card.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Practice Report

FOOTBALL

The Dawgs logged about two hours of practice on Monday afternoon as preparations continued for the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.

After a short special teams practice Monday morning, the Dawgs worked on situations during the afternoon session. 

“It was a good fundamentals day,” coach Mark Richt said. “We treated it like a regular season Tuesday with a lot of scout team work. We worked mostly on first-and-10 situations and finished up with some third-down work. We’ll work scout team only on Tuesday.”

Monday marked the seventh of eight days of bowl practice in Athens for the Dawgs. They will have a total of 11 practice sessions, including a pair of two-a-day workouts. The on-campus practice schedule will conclude Tuesday morning before breaking for Christmas. The team will reconvene in Memphis, Tennessee, for final preparations on December 26.

Georgia (6-6) will battle 24th-ranked Central Florida (10-3) in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl on December 31 at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised nationally by ESPN.

The Dawgs will be making their 14th consecutive bowl appearance, and Georgia ranks as one of the top five bowl teams of all-time in wins and appearances. Georgia is 26-16-3 all-time in bowl games including 7-2 under Richt.         

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lady Dawgs Win Close One

BASKETBALL

The Lady Dawgs played a close one Sunday afternoon but held on to down High Point 66-61 in Stegeman Coliseum. They were aided by a game-high 16 points out of Jasmine Hassell, while Jasmine James chipped in 13 points to move Georgia to 8-2 on the year.

Neither team led by more than eight points all afternoon. In all, there were four ties and seven lead changes in the inaugural meeting between the two teams.

“The last three minutes of the game our defense was pretty good,” said coach Andy Landers. “On the inbound plays, we got balls on the floor. It was good that in the last three minutes we had a couple of fouls to give and we were not in the bonus situation. That allowed us to foul a couple of times and basically they got the ball out of bounds instead of going to the line and having the chance to score.”

High Point was dominant from three in the first half, going 7-of-10 from deep through the first 20:00, including perfect 6-for-6 shooting from Jurica Hargraves and Mackenzie Maier to pace the Panthers at the outset.

The Lady Dawgs led by just a three-point margin at the break, and the tightly-contested action continued in the second frame.

Less than two minutes into the second half, the Panthers’ Frances Fields made a trip to the line and sank both her free throws to make it a one-point game, 39-38. Georgia then scored six straight points – all belonging to freshman Khaalidah Miller – to take another seven-point lead, 45-38, with 16:55 remaining.

Georgia took another seven-point advantage, 47-40, with 14:16 on the clock on the strength of a jumper for James, but High Point hung around and cut it back to a two-point Georgia lead, 53-51, with 8:12 left. The teams went blow for blow over the next two minutes before the Lady Dawgs put up a 5-0 run to take a seven-point lead, 62-55, with just 2:37 to play.

A pair of free throws for Shamia Brown, followed by a jumper from Maier trimmed the Lady Dawg lead back to just three late. James and Brown traded jumpers to keep it a three-point differential, but when Hassell grabbed a rebound following an HPU miss, the Panthers were forced to foul. Hassell sank both from the stripe to re-establish the five-point lead, 66-61, with eight ticks left and that’s where it stayed as Georgia earned the victory in front of the home crowd – their final home outing prior to the holidays.

Behind the double-digit efforts of the Jasmines – Hassell and James – Georgia got nine from the freshman Miller. HPU was led by a trio of players with 13 points in Hargraves, Brown, and Maier.

Georgia jumps to 1-0 vs. High Point and 14-1 all-time vs. teams from the Big South conference.

The Lady Dawgs will hit the road to play Wednesday, December 22 at TCU – a 7:30 p.m. tip to be shown on CSS. Georgia will play two as part of the FIU Fun and Sun Classic December 29-30 in Miami, before returning home to open the SEC slate January 2 at 2 p.m. vs. South Carolina.

Notes
•       Today’s win marks the first in Georgia’s series with High Point.
•       With the win today, Georgia is now five wins shy of 800 all-time victories in intercollegiate play.
•       Andy Landers is now 10 wins shy of his 850th career victory as a collegiate head coach.
•       Porsha Phillips is now 108 points from 1,000 career points as a college basketball player.
•       Porsha Phillips is now 12 blocks from No. 8 Tasha Humphrey
•       Khaalidah Miller had a season- and career-high rebounds with six.
•       Khaalidah Miller also had a season- and career-high minutes played with 29.
•       Jasmine Hassell had a season-high eight rebounds.

Double-Digit Lady Dawgs

•       Jasmine Hassell hit double digits in today’s game with 16, her sixth of the season and 13th of her career.
•       Jasmine James hit double digits in today’s game with 13, her sixth of the season and 24th of her career.

Georgia Head Coach Andy Landers
No question that they are a good team. We watched them on tape and in discussions with our players, we made it a point to tell our kids they won’t go away and they won’t quit. We told them that this team has been behind before and they keep playing. They’ve come from 20 behind before. They are not afraid to get beat, and they know about winning. I thought at times both teams played very well today, but there were also times when neither one of us could do a whole lot with the other.

Today, Hassell was consistent from beginning to end. She was very good and when we finally found her in the first half she cashed in. But they started defending the shot and we didn’t do a good job of recognizing it and threw away about four times trying to force it to her. We were able to come back to her again later in the game, and she was terrific when she got the ball down low and could turn and go to the basket.

High Point Head Coach Tooey Loy

The biggest thing we had to do was stay close to equal on the boards. Georgia is such a big team and we had to limit their second shots. We did a good job considering our size compared to theirs. At half time the rebounds were pretty close to even. They hurt us a little bit, wore us down as the game went on.

I thought we did a really good job of guarding them inside. We’ve watched them on film. Porsha Phillips can really hurt people under the basket. I thought we did a good job guarding her. We’ve always been pretty good at the guard spot and we’re improving in the post. We took another step in being able to play these bigger schools.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dribble Dawgs Win

BASKETBALL

Trey Thompkins scored 15 points and Travis Leslie added 14 as Georgia (7-2) opened a big second-half lead but had to hold off Arkansas State (3-7) late to post a 68-59 victory over the Red Wolves here Saturday.

The Dawgs, playing their first game in 11 days, sputtered at first before opening a 9-point lead by halftime. They blew the game open with a 10-1 spurt to begin the second half. Thompkins contributed four points during the run, which ended on a Gerald Robinson layup with 16:59 left that pushed Georgia head 46-28.

Georgia kept its large lead until the final minutes, when Arkansas State used some hot outside shooting to trim its deficit. A 3-pointer by Donald Boone got the Red Wolves within 10 at 63-53 with 3:44 left. Brandon Peterson’s layup on their next possession pulled ASU within nine at 64-55. Boone’s long trey at the 1:34 mark got Arkansas State its closest margin at 66-59.

The Red Wolves, led by former LSU coach John Brady, had one possession to draw closer but couldn’t capitalize on a Jeremy Price turnover. Boone missed his final 3-point attempt and Price stripped Malcolm Kirkland of the rebound. Dustin Ware was fouled and sealed the victory by making two free throws with 25 seconds left.

“We have to give Arkansas State credit for battling their way back,” coach Mark Fox said. “I don’t think we played the full 40 minutes well, but we did play well enough to leave here today with our seventh win.”

The 15 points recorded by Thompkins pushed him past the 1,000-point mark for his career. He became the 40th player in UGA history to reach the milestone.

Georgia’s real hero on this day, however, was reserve forward Chris Barnes. The senior contributed 12 points in 24 minutes off the bench, even sentencing his coach to some punishment for his free-throw accuracy. A 50 percent foul shooter on the season, Barnes made good on a bet with Fox, who agreed to run the Sanford Stadium steps if his player ever made both ends of a 2-shot foul opportunity.

“He (Fox) just told me that he’s going to have to go run them now,” Barnes said. “I’ll be out there to watch him. I haven’t forgotten.”

Georgia returns to action Tuesday night when it plays host to High Point at 7:00 p.m.

Saturday Practice Report

FOOTBALL

The Dawgs completed a nearly two-hour practice on Saturday afternoon to cap the second of three two-a-day sessions during preparation for the upcoming AutoZone Liberty Bowl.

"It was cold out there," coach Mark Richt said. "So far we've practiced in the snow, we've practiced in the rain, we've practiced in the sunshine and we've practiced in the overcast skies of Athens, Georgia. It's been a lot of fun."

The Dawgs concentrated on special teams play during an earlier morning session before returning to the Woodruff Practice Fields in the afternoon. It marked the fifth of eight days of bowl practice in Athens for the Dawgs which will include a total of 11 practice sessions. The remainder of the on-campus practice schedule features a single-practice on Sunday, another two-a-day workout on Monday and concludes with a Tuesday morning session before breaking for the holidays. The team will reconvene in Memphis, Tennessee, for final preparations starting on December 26.

Richt noted that the Saturday afternoon workout was the first practice where the Dawgs installed more scout team work.

"I thought that went well," Richt said. "I think we are, little by little, progressing towards finishing up our game plan. Offensively, we are getting close to the finish of the plan. We probably won't implement everything, red zone and third down stuff, until Monday. We will have practice tomorrow, but I think things are moving in the right direction right now. We are having good practices so far. The biggest focus now is getting back to being fundamentally sound and installing the plan."

Richt also announced that senior fullback Shaun Chapas will miss the contest against UCF after having undergone ankle surgery earlier this week. With Chapas out of the Liberty Bowl, Richt indicated that senior Fred Munzenmaier, freshman Alexander Ogletree and redshirt freshman Dustin Royston have been getting repetitions at fullback in addition to junior tight end Bruce Figgins seeing some snaps at the position.

"That's not necessarily a full time change but we are getting him some work there because of depth issues" Richt said of Figgins' work at fullback. "He's had a little experience at this. This isn't the first time because if you have a tight end that can also do some of the fullback type things, it's a little bit tougher for the defense to really know what personnel grouping you might be in. You could be in two-tight end sets, but if one of them can learn the fullback then all of a sudden you could be in a Pro-I or you could be in a one-back set, so it gives you versatility."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Practice Reports

FOOTBALL

The Dawgs conducted a pair of practices in shoulder pads and shorts on Thursday as they continue to prepare for their New Year's Eve date with UCF in the Autozone Liberty Bowl.

The Dawgs concentrated on special teams play during a brief morning workout and then returned in the afternoon for a 90-minute session.

"I would say we're getting there," coach Mark Richt said following the second practice of the day. "It was mostly competitive work today, offense versus defense. We're gradually integrating the game plan, but we haven't gotten into a lot of scout team work yet."

Richt also commended tailback Washaun Ealey and linebacker Michael Gilliard for their efforts to assist a bus driver following an accident on campus Wednesday evening. Ealey and Gilliard helped the driver of a campus bus who was briefly trapped after the vehicle skidded off the road into a tree near the intersection of Cedar Street and Sanford Drive.

"Those two guys did a very good deed," Richt said. "They stopped and helped out and I'm proud of them. The assisted someone who was in distress, which is a good thing."

Ealey and Gilliard had just eaten at UGA's Oglethorpe House Dining Hall and were on Cedar Street behind the bus when it crashed. The driver was the only person on the bus at the time of the crash.

"We had just eaten at the 'O-House' and were driving behind the bus," Ealey said. "When it turned, I saw it start to skid and didn't think much of it, but it went off the road and went head-on into a tree. We got down there as quick as we could and helped the driver get out. She was pretty shaken up and there was a lot of broken glass. We just helped her get out and make sure she was OK."

"I've seen cars skid there other times so it really didn't surprise me at first," Gilliard said. "When I saw it skid off the road, it startled me and I thought 'Oh man. We better get over there and see if everyone it OK.' We didn't know how many people were on the bus. We didn't know it was just the driver until we got there."

Friday morning’s work out lasted approximately an hour in full pads.

Simultaneous to Friday's practice, 17 current and former University of Georgia football student-athletes received degrees at the annual December commencement exercises at nearby Stegeman Coliseum. The fall graduates bring the number of football student-athletes who have earned degrees during the Richt era (since spring, 2001) to 190.

Following the practice session coach Mark Richt addressed the workout as being an opportunity to get some of the underclassmen more repetitions than usual with such a large group at graduation.

"Today's the day we probably do that the most," Richt said. "We didn't have long practice at all with the seniors that our graduating gone. Actually, that was largest group that we've had (graduate) since I've been at Georgia. There were 17 of them with Fred Gibson and Andrew Johnson, so a lot of our guys missed this practice so we didn't do any kicking game. We did a little fundamental work, a little skeleton, a little 11-on-11, and then we scrimmaged for the rest of practice. It was a perfect day to do that."

Friday's practice also featured a group of special guests from Opportunity House in Lavonia, Ga., including James Robert "Radio" Kennedy and former T.L. Hanna High School football coach Harold Jones, for whom the 2003 film Radio was based upon.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bowl Press Conference – Part 2

FOOTBALL

Coach Mark Richt

CSC_5319On juniors Trinton Sturdivant and Cordy Glenn submitting their names to the NFL advisory board and whether that is a concern for Georgia:

You don’t want all your big linemen to leave. I think every junior in America is kind of curious where they sit as far as the NFL is concerned. There are a lot of guys who want to turn in their papers and see where the NFL sees them. I think that’s not all that surprising. These guys come in with the thought of possibly playing there one day. Now I think there is a lot of curiosity involved and there is a lot of education that needs to be given too so they make the right decision. The NFL is not going anywhere. We know there could be a lockout, but the league is going to be around, and they need to do what’s best for their careers. Also those young men and their families understand the value of that degree too. All those things have to be weighed and they’ll make their decisions before the deadline. The sooner they get their information in, the sooner they can try to get a realistic picture of where they are, because that’s still the very best gauge of where the NFL sees you. If you are going by what Coach Richt might say or what an agent might say, you are probably not going to the best source. The NFL is the best source to say where they see them. That’s a big deal, and we appreciate the NFL putting that together because before 1994 they didn’t have it and guys were just blindly making decisions off of what somebody might have said in the media or what an agent might have said or what a coach might have said. There were a lot of mistakes being made and I think this at least helps them have a better idea where they are.

Its part of college football today. Basketball, they get them for one year and they are off and running. We have a lot of quality linemen in our program and we certainly would hate to lose guys who know what the plays are and have had the experience to play in the Southeastern Conference. We certainly don’t want any of those guys to go, but well wait and see what happens down the road.

On whether the Georgia coaches see Kwame Geathers as a possible starter:

We hope so. We want Kwame to have a great career. He does too, and as he continues to develop we want him to give him a lot more snaps than he is getting right now. He’s still relatively young in his career. He’s still a redshirt freshman, so has time to continue to grow and get strong and perfect his trade, so we hope so.

On how many miles Georgia's staff has traveled on recruiting trips this week:

I don’t even know how many miles our guys put on. It’s just amazing how much ground gets covered. They are pretty relentless out there and you have to be. The recruiting wars are just as important as the wars on the field. So there is a lot going on, and everybody is just kind of swooping in at the last second. I landed just a couple of minutes ago, and timed it out just right for this 1:00. We actually pushed it back to 1:00 just so I could get in one more home visit this morning. We’ll continue to get on the road as we are trying to prepare. That’s the hardest thing you juggle when you are doing this bowl practice stuff. You are still out there recruiting, you are still out there trying to prepare for your opponent, and it’s not easy to do all those things at the same time. But we made sure our coordinators were off the road enough to get us enough of a plan that every practice would be valuable. Now it’s a matter of starting to practice and refine it as we go.

On prospects waiting until late in the recruiting process to commit:

It’s tough. You always hope that when a young man knows for sure where he wants to go he would just say it. I think those days are changing. There are a lot of them who do. There are a lot of early commitments, then all of a sudden it seems like everything dries up for a while for the guys who want to wait until the very end. Sometimes it’s because they don’t know and sometimes it’s because they are wanting to do it at an all-star game or whatever it is. I think they are getting encouraged to do that a little bit. It is a special time for them and they want it to be a special announcement, and their families do too. You can understand why sometimes it drags on, and then there are guys who flat out just don’t know until the very end. I think most of them have a pretty good idea of where they are going to go. It would be nice if they would all decide and we could start working on next years class, but that’s not where it is right now.

On whether the Georgia staff gets a heads up from prospects before they commit to UGA:

We do sometimes. Sometimes well get something even as early as now for a guy who knows he’s not going to do it until the signing day, or sometimes it might be the night before they’ll let you know. I’ve rarely had a guy commit or sign with Georgia without me knowing it at least the night before. There have been a couple like that but it usually doesn’t happen very often. Usually you get clued in pretty good. Everybody is trying to find out what’s going on because if you are not going to get a guy you have to make plans, and if you are going to get a guy you’d like to let other men know that there may not be a space for you and let them move on too. It would save a lot of miles, time and travel for sure. But it’s just where we are right now.

On whether there is any added urgency in Georgia's recruiting this year:

I think that recruiting is always crucial, it’s always important. I don’t know if you could say this season more than any other. I do think this recruiting year in the state of Georgia, even as we were mapping it out a year ago because you are looking that far down the road. This class in particular we thought was going to be extremely strong, and we still believe that. Not only strong in athleticism and ability, but very strong in character from what I’m seeing. I really like the young men we’ve been dealing with as people too. It’s been a very encouraging year in that way too, which is kind of nice.

On his vision for Georgia's strength and conditioning in the offseason:

I don’t want to get too much into the future, but since that has become a topic because of the decision that I made to make a change in the strength area, first of all I think Dave Van Halanger is an excellent strength coach. I think he’s as good as any out there. I think there are different ways to skin a cat in strength, different philosophies. We aren’t saying that Coach Van isn’t a good strength coach, I’m not saying that at all, but I think there are different ways to do things, and I want to go a little bit more old school I guess. We’ll get after it a little bit differently. Like something I mentioned before, and by no means am I saying its just the strength area that we need to improve on when it comes to winning the fourth quarter and finishing, because coaching has to do with a lot of things. I’m sure that will be a big emphasis in our program is to make sure we truly finish the drill. We say finish the drill but are we really doing it? Did we do it this year? We did not.

On how he expects the Georgia players to respond to "old school" strength and conditioning:

Well see. I think the proof will be in the pudding in the end.

Quarterback Aaron Murray

On his assessment of his play this season:

I definitely felt my main goal was to get better week by week and I feel I made strides. Everything from the playbook, my footwork, my knowledge of the defenses, preparations each week, ways to pick up cues from defenders, things like that. I think I made strides, but I still a long way to go. It’s good to have the bowl game because you have time to work on some things you might not have had time for all year. Hopefully then we have a great off-season and I’ll keep getting better.

On close games and focusing on certain plays:

I’m not as good at reflecting on the good things. I definitely lay in bed at night thinking about what I could’ve done better. It shows you really have to take every play individually, because you never know what could win a ballgame for you. One or two plays here or there and our season is completely different right now. Obviously we want to finish this season and are focused on UCF, but were excited about next year we’ve seen that were that close and have a tremendous football team. We might have been 10-15 plays away from being one of the top teams in the SEC and the nation. We’re excited.

On what he learned this year:

I learned that I can play in the SEC. Before you get here everyone tells you different things, that the speed will be different, and obviously it’s an adjustment. But I think Coach Richt and Coach Bobo prepared me for that. They had me watching film and making sure I was mentally prepared for each game. I give all the credit in the world to those guys, making sure I was where I needed to be.

Split End Kris Durham

DSC_0323On playing his last game at Georgia:

It’s sunk in. I mean, at Georgia Tech it sunk in a little bit, but I also knew we had a bowl game still. Last weekend at the gala we were sitting there and when the seniors get called up and they showed our baby pictures it got emotional. I realized it was the last time I’d be doing this stuff. It brought back a lot of memories.

On the game:

It’s special it’s a big deal. You want to go out with a good taste in your mouth. For us it wasn’t the season we wanted. It was a roller coaster and there were ups and downs. We had some good wins, good moments like beating Georgia Tech and making a bowl game, so we did accomplish some of our goals. Hopefully well go there and get a win so its an even bigger accomplishment and get us going in the right direction.

Linebacker Akeem Dent

G-Day 2010 171_thumbOn how he thinks the defense has improved this year:

You can probably go and look at stats and stuff like that, but we had one of the top rushing defenses. Overall, the turnover ratio, we got more turnovers than we did a year ago. There are a lot of areas we improved on.

On DeAngelo Tyson's season:

I feel like he did a pretty good job especially being his first go around in this system.

On Kwame Geathers future:

Kwame is going to be a good player. He's already a big body guy. One thing about Kwame is he works hard, wants to improve and wants to get better. Once he gets everything down pat and knows the game plan inside and out, he's going to be a real good player.

On Aron White speaking at commencement ceremonies this coming Friday:

Aron has always been a real smart guy. He's always been a guy who is well spoken. I didn't know he was given the speech until Saturday. I think he's going to do a real good job.

Linebacker Darryl Gamble

On playing his last collegiate game:

I haven't really caught the grasp of it being my last game as a Dawg. I'm sure it will hit me sooner or later, but right now it's all about graduation that's coming up. I'm finally done with class, so that's a good thing.

On his excitement for graduation:

I'm very excited. That was one of the main things about coming to college and wanting to come to Georgia just to come and get my degree first of all and then perform on the field. It's all been falling pretty good for me.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bowl Press Conference – Part 1

FOOTBALL

Coach Mark Richt

DSC_0013Opening statement:

I’ve been running around the Southeast and around the country recruiting. I actually just got off a plane and got here just in time for this press conference. I have been watching film of UCF on my own. I videotaped their championship game. UCF is a very, very good football team. Coach George O’Leary, as we all know, is an outstanding coach. He’s done a beautiful job with their program. 

When you are 6-6 and playing in a bowl, you kind of hope you are playing a 6-6 team. We are playing a 10-3 team. We are playing a championship team. It is going to be a great challenge for us. The good news is they are a top-25 ranked team. They are a championship team and we are going to have a chance to beat a very good football team.

Were looking forward to going to Memphis to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. I’ve heard nothing but great things about it. Anybody I’ve talked to who has been there says the hospitality is tremendous. I think where we are staying is a great place, a very unique place. Its very close to all the activities the players need to get to, so I’m not even sure we are even going to need a car or bus ride when we get out there, which is nice. Were going to practice today and finish the morning of the 21st. Right around 10:00 or so everybody will go home for Christmas, then well meet up at the bowl site on the 26th.

On the comparison of Aaron Murray to David Greene:

Aaron Murray and David Greene are very similar in their approach to the game. I’d say that’s the thing they are most similar. When Coach Mike Bobo and I started meeting with our quarterbacks 10 years ago when David was in the room with the others, he just was very proficient at listening, at writing down all the information, and then you could see him go through the progressions that you teach him. You could see him going exactly the way you say to progress. You could just tell he was creating some very good habits. That was one of the greatest emphasis we had this fall was for these young quarterbacks to create a lot of great habits that would serve them well for their entire careers at Georgia, not just this season. Habits of just the QB-center exchange, the ball-handling, you remember how David was such a good ball-handler and he would do a great job faking the ball. I think Aaron has taken that very seriously. Just your footwork in the pocket, knowing when to move up in the pocket and as you move up in the pocket to keep your focus downfield. Just not feeling like you have to throw the ball into coverage all the time or make some type of fantastic play, just learning to throw the ball away is OK. Very few turnovers Aaron has had this year, and David didn’t have a lot of turnovers either. Just the approach to the game I think is the thing that is the most similar about them. I think another thing is they had the respect of their teammates at a very young age, which is very good to have. I think both of them have that. They have a little bit different style, a little different stature. Sorry David, but Murray is a little more athletic than David was, but David has the 6-4 height advantage and that type of thing. Just great guys, guys that you as a coach have a lot of confidence to allow them to be the leader of your team.

Statistically Aaron has had a better season. Aaron could have one of the best if not the best statistical seasons of all QBs at Georgia, so just from a statistical point of view, you’d have to say Aaron did have a better first season. Greene certainly had some real quality wins in there and a little bit better record overall, but I think they both did their jobs extremely well as freshmen.

On whether he thought UGA would have been 6-6 given Aaron Murray's performance, fewer penalties and fewer turnovers:

No, I wouldn’t have. If we had known he would have been as efficient as he was, turnovers got in the right direction in a positive way, our penalty situation was much improved. To think that you would be 6-6, I’d say no. But when we did turn it over, there were some very inopportune times for those to happen. That cost us. But no, I never would have dreamed that. 

On whether passing efficiency is the No. 1 statistic for a quarterback:

It’s a pretty good guide as to how the guy is playing the game. It really is. I think the pass efficiency is a pretty good way to be able to take a snapshot of what the guy is getting done, but there are so many other things. You could also say how many games are we winning with him. How many championships has he won? I know a lot of people will talk about that when it comes to quarterbacks. I think when you talk about the course of a career, I think that’s probably something you want to measure. Right now Aaron has done just about everything we could have asked him to do at this point.

On Garrison Smith:

Garrison, we think he is a young man who is strong enough to compete at the Southeastern Conference level this season. He has great punch, we call it. When he runs into a guy, he can use his hands well. He has a low center of gravity. He has a great change of direction. He’s still learning his trade, but we think he’s had a nice freshman year. We don’t think there is any question he’ll be a lot better next year with the experience he’s gained and with the offseason we believe he’ll have. Of course you have DeMarcus Dobbs moving out of there, Brandon Wood moving out of there, Kiante Tripp moving out of there, so its just going to automatically create more playing time for guys like Garrison, but we’re really proud of what he did and we think he is going to be an outstanding football player.

On how Florida's hiring of Will Muschamp impacts Georgia:

I think one thing about Florida, Florida State and Miami, UCF and South Florida, they have a big state. There are a lot of players in that state. They are going to have plenty of guys to recruit in their state no doubt. But they are dipping into Georgia and we are dipping into Florida. I don’t think that is going to change at all. I think Will is a very fine coach. I don’t know if he’ll admit it to anybody, but he’s still a Georgia man in a lot of ways. I think he’ll do well. He’s a good coach and a good person.

On new Florida head coach Will Muschamp coaching against Georgia:

For me personally, the first time I was at Florida State coaching against Miami, my alma mater, all the preparation, the offseason, even the week of the game, I didn’t think much of it. You watch the film, look at what they are doing and get a plan, and you are just working. I will say when we got to the game, I remember the Miami team hitting the field, knowing a good many of those players and coaches. Those were my colors at one time. So it was a little bit weird to get started, but once we started playing the game it kind of got back to business. It was kind of similar to when we played in the Sugar Bowl against Florida State here at Georgia. There was a little bit of emotion as the thing got rolling, but then once you start playing you just want to win the game maybe even more so because its your alma mater or where you worked for a long time.

On Aron White speaking at the UGA commencement on Friday:

That’s tremendous. I was really excited for him. As some people know and some don’t know, Aron White will be speaking and represent the students at the commencement Friday. He is taking it very, very seriously. He has come by and talked to me about it. He emailed me a copy of it, I haven’t had a chance to look at it yet, but he has it down pretty good. He knows it’s a tremendous honor. He’s taking it very seriously and he just wants to do a good job. I’m really proud of that, and I’m hoping we can get some good pictures of that. That belongs in all our recruiting materials and things you want to start bragging about. Aron is a highlight, no doubt.

It will definitely be a positive thing for Georgia football, for Aron personally, for the University of Georgia. I know he wants to represent the student body well, and as he said, our program well. I think it is a very positive thing for us.

On Aron White wanting to become an athletic director:

He is very capable, very intelligent, very outgoing. He communicates extremely well with people and I think that is a big part of that job. I think he’s smart enough to get the big picture. I think with the right training, he could make an outstanding athletic director.

On Darryl Gamble's career:

I think his career has been very solid. I think the NFL people really like him. They see that he can play inside linebacker, outside linebacker, special teams, he’s been outstanding in that regard. He’s been healthy most all of his career. He just has a big frame, and he’s a good instinctive football player. When it comes to linebacker play, some guys never have a good day like he had against LSU in 2008 with the two pick sixes. That’s what gets everybody’s attention, more so than a 15-tackle ballgame. It’s not surprising that he didn’t have another game that would outshine that, but he’s played a lot of really good football for us. There are some senior all-star games that are interested in him, and we are hoping to nail something down with him too.

On other Georgia seniors participating in all star games:

Clint Boling has been offered the opportunity to go to the Senior Bowl, and Akeem Dent has been offered the opportunity to go to the East-West, Kris Durham has been offered the opportunity to be at the Texas vs. the Nation game. There are other seniors we are working on right now. What happens sometimes is a guy will bump from the East-West to the Senior and that opens an opportunity for the East-West. So there are a lot of things that happen between now and then, but we have a lot of guys sitting up on there waiting lists who hopefully will get those opportunities.

Tightend Aron White

DSC_5664On speaking at UGA graduation this Friday:

I thought about it and it sounded like a good idea, so I wrote a speech, filled out an application, had an interview and got called back and they chose me. It was surprising at first but I’m excited about it. I don’t have a specific theme, but I touch on the University of Georgia and what it means to me, the value of the degree you get from here when you graduate. I talk about the rich traditions that we have and our graduating class and the things we’ve seen since we’ve been here. I’ve given speeches in class but never as big as this one.

On the differences between playing football and giving a speech:

To me its easier to play in front of 90,000 people because it’s what I’ve always done I’ve played since the fifth grade and it’s my comfort zone. I think I’ll be out of my comfort zone on Friday, but at the same time I feel like I’m a pretty personable guy and I think I am a pretty eloquent speaker. Hopefully I’ll do alright.

On representing the football team:

I feel like I am. I think there’s only been two student-athletes who have spoken at graduation and I’m very much a reflection of the football team and Georgia athletics. I want to come away from the speech with people having a positive opinion of us. I think our reputation has suffered the last couple of years and we haven’t had the best showing to the public. I want people to know the good things we do and show the positive headlines. That’s one of my goals, to be proactive instead of reactive as far as the perception of our team. It’s important for us to combat that and take a more positive approach to what were doing here.

On what finals week is like for the players:

It’s really pretty hectic. We finish the season and everyone thinks were done, but during the season you fall behind in your schoolwork and a lot of us are playing catch-up now and cramming for finals. Beyond that we still have workouts and runs and lifts to stay in shape, so when finals are over we can hit the ground running. It’s a struggle. We’ll have to shake the rust off. We have our first practice today and hopefully hit it full swing. We don’t want to be slowed down. It’s tough but for the older players we are used to it and know what it takes. We know bowl practice is tough because it’s an all-day affair kind of like preseason is. We need to rise to the occasion.

On the bowl game:

I haven’t lost a bowl game here and I want to keep that going against UCF. They are a great team. They won their conference, which is something we didn’t accomplish, so hopefully we can show that the SEC is a dominant conference.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Graduation Ceremonies Friday

A total of 39 University of Georgia student-athletes will be graduating in the upcoming commencement ceremonies scheduled for Friday, December 17, at Stegeman Coliseum.

UGA student-athletes earning a degree include:

From baseball: Alex McRee, Gainesville, Ga., Biology and Nathan Moreau, Lilburn, Ga., Risk Management/Insurance.

From equestrian: Kate Stewart, Dawson, Ga., Health Promotion.

In football: Quintin Banks, Warner Robins, Ga., Art; Brian Brewer, Lilburn, Ga., Psychology; Chris Davis, Jefferson, Ga., Child and Family Development; Josh Davis, Jayess, Miss., Speech Communication; Akeem Dent, Atlanta, Ga., Housing; Demarcus Dobbs, Savannah, Ga., Consumer Economics; Darryl Gamble, Bainbridge, Ga., Housing; Akeem Herbon, Gaithersburg, Md., Consumer Economics; Andrew Johnson, Athens, Ga., Biological Engineering; Fred Munzenmaier, Norcross, Ga., Finance; Derek Rich, Gainesville, Ga., Finance; Tanner Strickland, Nashville, Ga., Speech Communication; Kiante Tripp, Atlanta, Ga., Risk Management/Insurance; Aron White, Columbia, Mo., Management; Charles White, Columbia, S.C., Management and Brandon Wood, Buchanan, Ga., Housing.

From gymnastics: Lauren Sessler, Snellville, Ga., Advertising.
In soccer: Michelle Betos, Flushing, N.Y., Psychology; Natalie Farley, Carlton, Texas, Sport Studies and Carrie Patterson, Atlanta, Ga., Marketing.

In swimming and diving: Ann-Marie Botek, Elicott City, Md., Marketing; Annie Broome, Knoxville, Tenn., Marketing; Lisa Caprioglio, Highlands Ranch, Colo., Marketing; Kelsey Scott, Duluth, Ga., Early Childhood Education; Chris Thompson, Kennesaw, Ga., Consumer Economics and Neil Versfeld, Umhlanga, S. Africa, Housing.

From men’s tennis: Luis Flores, Xalapa, Mexico, Psychology and Jamie Hunt, San Antonio, Texas, Management. In women’s tennis: Yvette Hyndman, Bradenton, Fla., Consumer Journalism.

In track and field: Brano Danis, Bratislava, Slovakia, Family Financial Planning; Katie Weiss, Cedar Park, Texas, Magazines; Whitney Williams, College Park, Ga., International Affairs; and Shaquita Young of Bishop, Ga., Consumer Economics.

In addition, Fred Gibson of Waycross, Ga., who played football and basketball from 2001-02-03-04, will also be graduating in Housing. Also, Corey Butler of Decatur, Ga., who played basketball from 2007-08-09, will also be graduating in Microbiology.

Also graduating this fall are football manager Tanner Stines, Mableton, Ga., Marketing.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Top 25 – Week 15

*

Team

Record

Opponent

1.

Auburn

13 – 0

BCS National Championship

2.

Oregon

12 – 0

BCS National Championship

3.

TCU

12 – 0

Rose Bowl

4.

Nevada

12 – 1

Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl

5.

Stanford

11 – 1

Orange Bowl

6.

Michigan State

11 – 1

Capital One Bowl

7.

Wisconsin

11 – 1

Rose Bowl

8.

Ohio State

11 – 1

Sugar Bowl

9.

Boise State

11 – 1

Las Vegas Bowl

10.

Oklahoma

11 – 2

Fiesta Bowl

11.

Virginia Tech

11 – 2

Orange Bowl

12.

Arkansas

10 – 2

Sugar Bowl

13.

Missouri

10 – 2

Holiday Bowl

14.

LSU

10 – 2

Cotton Bowl

15.

Oklahoma State

10 – 2

Alamo Bowl

16.

Utah

10 – 2

Las Vegas Bowl

17.

Nebraska

10 – 3

Insight Bowl

18.

UCF

10 – 3

Liberty Bowl

19.

Alabama

9 – 3

Capital One Bowl

20.

Texas A&M

9 - 3

Cotton Bowl

21.

West Virginia

9 - 3

Champs Sports Bowl

22.

Navy

9 - 3

Poinsettia Bowl

23.

South Carolina

9 - 4

Chick-fil-A Bowl

24.

Florida State

9 - 4

Chick-fil-A Bowl

25.

Connecticut

8 - 4

Fiesta Bowl

Edwards Honored

BASKETBALL

Former Georgia Lady Dawg Teresa Edwards, a two-time All-American for UGA and the only U.S. basketball player to compete in five Olympic Games, has been named one of six winners of the 2010 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award.

The Silver Anniversary Award annually recognizes distinguished individuals on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their college athletics careers. The other recipients are: Lisa Caputo, a field hockey and lacrosse player from Brown; Joe Girardi, a baseball player from Northwestern; Tim Green, a football player from Syracuse; Bo Jackson, a football player from Auburn; and Scott Verplank, a golfer from Oklahoma State.

"I've been truly blessed to have my abilities recognized throughout the years," Edwards said. "Truthfully, it's difficult some times to put honors in context and express my feelings in words. However, to be selected for an all-sports honor by the NCAA to represent all of the former student-athletes who finished competing in college in 1985-86 is extremely special to me. To be associated with names like Bo Jackson and Joe Girardi...I've been blessed."

Edwards is the University of Georgia's fourth Silver Anniversary Award honoree since its inception in 1973, joining Fran Tarkenton (1986), Dr. Thomas Lyons (1996) and Dr. Kathyrn McMinn (2009).

Edwards, a native of Cairo, Ga., enjoyed a stellar four-year run with the Lady Dawgs that turned Georgia into one of the nation's premier programs.

She helped lead UGA to its first-ever SEC Championship and Final Four appearance as a freshman in 1983 and then led the Lady Dawgs to the 1984 SEC title, an NCAA runner-up finish in 1985 and a third SEC Championship in 1986. All told, Georgia compiled a 116-7 record during Edwards' four seasons at UGA.

Edwards also began her unmatched international playing career while still in Athens.

In 1984, the summer following her sophomore year in Athens, Edwards was the youngest member of the U.S. team that captured a Gold Medal at the Los Angeles Olympics. She started for virtually every U.S. National Team to enter a major international competition for the rest of the 20th century.

She captured additional Gold Medals in 1988, 1996 and 2000, as well as a Bronze Medal in 1992.

In 2000, Edwards co-captained the United States team to the Gold Medal in Sydney, giving her the unique distinction of being both the youngest and the oldest women's basketball player to earn Olympic Gold.

Edwards enjoyed an extremely successful professional career overseas in Italy, Japan, Spain, France and Russia. She also played a formative role in the development of professional women's basketball in the U.S. Edwards was on the board of directors of the ABL, the first league to form after the Atlanta Olympics, and served as player/coach of the league's Atlanta Glory.

She wrapped up her playing days in the U.S. with the WNBA's Lynx in 2003 and 2004.

Edwards has been inducted into six halls of fame. She was a member of the inaugural class for the UGA's all-sports "Circle of Honor" in 1995 and was inducted to the State of Georgia's Sports Hall of Fame in 2001, the National High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2002, the Grady County (Ga.) Sports Hall of Fame in 2009, the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Bowl Practice Begins

FOOTBALL

On Saturday, the Dawgs donned full pads for a 90-minute workout, the first for the team since their latest triumph over Georgia Tech to close out the regular season.

The Dawgs (6-6) will not practice again until Wednesday evening when final exams are complete. Georgia will have a total of eight practice days here before taking off for the holidays in preparation for its Liberty Bowl contest against the 24th-ranked Central Florida Knights (10-3). The team will reconvene in Memphis for final preparations starting on Dec. 26th.

“Practice was short and sweet, and it was just good to get the body going again,” said redshirt freshman quarterback Aaron Murray.

Murray and UCF quarterback Jeff Godfrey are the two highest rated freshmen nationally in passing efficiency. Also, Murray has tied the school record for touchdown responsibility in a season with 28, passing for 24 and running for four. Godfrey has accounted for 23 touchdowns, running for 10 and passing for 13.

Georgia is making its 14th consecutive bowl appearance, and it ranks as one of the top five bowl teams of all-time in wins and appearances. Georgia is 26-16-3 all-time in bowl games including 7-2 under head coach Mark Richt.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Houston & Green All-Americans

FOOTBALL

Georgia juniors Justin Houston and A.J. Green were both named Walter Camp Football Foundation Second Team All-Americans, according to an announcement Thursday night.

The pair were two of seven players from the Southeastern Conference named to the Second Team. Five SEC players were picked to be on the First Team.

Houston, a 6-3, 258-pound outside linebacker from Statesboro, finished as the SEC regular season leader in sacks with 10.0 and is second in the league in tackles for loss (18.5). He has the most sacks and tackles for loss of any active SEC player and has had at least one tackle for loss in all 12 games this year.

Against Georgia Tech, Houston exploded for seven tackles, including one tackle for loss, returned a fumble 18 yards for a touchdown and preserved the win with an interception late in the fourth quarter.

Houston was a finalist for the Butkus Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and was a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award. He was also an All-SEC First Team selection by the Associated Press and the SEC Coaches.

In only eight games, Green, a 6-4, 212-pound flanker from Summerville, S.C., snagged 49 passes for 771 yards (96.4 avg./game) and nine touchdowns. Tallying three 100-yard games in 2010, Green is second in UGA history with 23 touchdown catches (nine in 2010) and is currently third in the Georgia record books with 2,542 yards receiving.

Thanks in part to Green’s return to the lineup, the Dawgs have scored more than 30 points in a record-setting seven consecutive contests, including five SEC games.

Green was a semifinalist for the Fred Biletnikoff Award. In addition, Green was a Second Team All-SEC selection by both the AP and the SEC Coaches.

3 Dawgs Make All Freshman Team

FOOTBALL

University of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, strong safety Alec Ogletree and nose tackle Kwame Geathers made the Southeastern Conference Coaches’ All-Freshman Team, the league announced Thursday.

Murray has the second highest passing efficiency rating for a freshman in the nation and ninth overall at 162.7. He holds the Dawg freshman record and ranks second in the SEC for total offense by a freshman (3,014) and passing yards (2,851). Murray is tied with former Dawg standout D.J. Shockley for the Georgia record for touchdown responsibility in a season with 28.

Ogletree has appeared in 11 games with four starts. He has tallied 29 tackles including a career-high 10 against second-ranked Auburn.

Geathers has played in eight games with seven tackles and one tackle for a loss.

Georgia, LSU and Vanderbilt each had three representatives on the team. Florida led the way with five selections, while Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee had four each. South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore earned a spot on the team after he was named SEC Freshman of the Year and first team All-SEC earlier this week.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lady Dawgs Defeat Mercer

BASKETBALL

The 25th-ranked Georgia women’s basketball team shot 54 percent and had five players in double figures in a 92-45 win over in-state rival Mercer Tuesday evening in historic Stegeman Coliseum.

Freshman Khaalidah Miller notched a career-high 16 points to lead the Lady Dawg brigade, adding five assists and two steals in 26 minutes off the bench. Miller was backed by 13 points each from Meredith Mitchell and Porsha Phillips, 11 from Tamika Willis, and 10 from Anne Marie Armstrong.

Mitchell’s output was a season-high effort for junior.

In her first career start, freshman Ronika Ransford logged a career-high in rebounds (11), steals (7), and assists (6) in a career night. Ransford became the 66th freshman to start for Andy Landers during his 32 seasons in Athens.

The Lady Dawgs (7-2) out rebounded the Bears by a count of 49-27. Mercer’s Kendra Grant (14) and Briana Williams (10) found double digits for the visitors, who fall to 1-7 on the year.

“There is some improvement in the defense,” said head coach Andy Landers. “You have to be careful. What can take place is like an electrical surge. It brightens the lights and flashes, but then it goes away. The play has to be consistent and at the same level every time we take the floor.

“Our bench played reasonably well. The two freshmen held up and played a lot of minutes at the guard position. I thought Arieal Johnson came in and played well and was effective. You would expect them to. We’ve been going three deep on that bench. Ebony Jones continues to improve.”

The Lady Dawgs were already up double-digits, an 11-point margin, at 15-4 with 12:14 to go when Ransford stepped up for a jumper off a pass from Jasmine James. Following a Mercer bucket with 10:55 to go in the opener, Georgia kicked off a 12-0 run that established the lead at 23, 29-6, with 8:38 left. A three for James with 2:52 left put the home team up by the half’s largest margin of 26, at 42-16, and Miller closed out a strong first-half effort with a jumper with 32 seconds left to put Georgia up 23, 47-24 heading into the break.

Willis led Georgia with nine points in just five minutes of action through the first 20:00, followed by Ransford and Jasmine Hassell each with eight.

The Lady Dawgs continued to show off solid fundamentals after halftime, pushing it to a 30-point lead, 58-28, on a Miller jump shot following the freshman’s steal down the other end. Georgia strung together another run of 7-0 to take a 39-point lead, 78-39, with 7:41 on the clock as Mitchell capped it with a free throw. During that stretch Mitchell put in two layups and Georgia forced Mercer into a pair of turnovers.

Miller closed the game strong, sinking a three with 32 seconds left and adding a layup after a steal from her classmate Ransford that closed out the contest with the Lady Dawgs owning their largest lead of the game at 47, 92-45, with 18 ticks remaining.

Georgia finished the day leading 54-8 on points in the paint and getting 50 from its bench. The 92-point output was its highest of the season, the next closest the 84 points scored vs. Indiana on Nov. 21. Incidentally, it is Georgia’s highest point total since dropping 93 on Presbyterian on Jan. 2, 2008. The 45 points conceded to the Bears is the second fewest this season behind only the 43 put up by Georgia Southern in the season opener on Nov. 14.

The Lady Dawgs improve to 16-12 all-time vs. Mercer, including 9-5 when playing at home, and have won 15 of the last 16 dates. Tonight was just the second meeting between these teams in the last 15 years.

Tonight’s game completed a busy couple of weeks as Georgia closed out a run of nine games in 23 days. The Lady Dawgs will now head for a 12-day break from action as the team takes final exams.

Georgia will get back to it on Sun., Dec. 19, hosting High Point for a 2 p.m. showdown in Stegeman Coliseum.

Notes
•       Georgia has now won 14 straight games in the series with Mercer.
•       Mercer’s head coach, Susie Gardner, was a four-year letter winner on Lady Dawgs teams in the mid-80s that won the 1983, 1984 and 1986 SEC titles, reached the 1983 Final Four and finished as NCAA runner-up in 1985.
•       Georgia’s tally of 92 points was the most by the Lady Dawgs since a 93-49 victory over Presbyterian on Jan. 2, 2008.
•       With a win tonight, the Lady Dawgs improve to a staggering 423-7 when scoring 80 or more points during Andy Landers’ 32 seasons as Georgia’s head coach.
•       The Lady Dawgs are now six wins shy of 800 all-time victories in intercollegiate play.
•       With the win tonight, Andy Landers is 11 wins shy of his 850th career victory as a collegiate head coach.
•       With tonight’s game, Porsha Phillips has now surpassed No. 9 Wanda Holloway (104) among UGA’s career leaders in blocks. Phillips had two blocks in the game and now has 105 in two-plus seasons at Georgia. She is 14 shy of the No. 8 tally of Tasha Humphrey (219).
•       Ronika Ransford became the 66th freshman to start for Landers at Georgia. That ledger also includes current Lady Dawgs Meredith Mitchell, Anne Marie Armstrong, Jasmine Hassell and Jasmine James.
•       Khaalidah Miller ended tonight’s game with a season- and career-high five assists.
•       Ronika Ransford ended tonight’s game with a season- and career-highs for rebounds (11), steals (six) and assists (five).

Double-Digit Lady Bulldogs
•       Meredith Mitchell scored double digits tonight with 13 points; her second of the season and 15th of her career.
•       Porsha Phillips scored double digits tonight with 13 points; her seventh of the season and 44th of her career.
•       Khaalidah Miller scored double digits tonight with 16 points; her second of the season and second of her career.
•       Anne Marie Armstrong scored double digits tonight with 10 points; her third of the season and ninth of her career.
•       Tamika Willis scored double digits tonight with 11 points; her second of the season and second of her career.
•       Ronika Ransford earned double digits in rebounds tonight with 11; her first of the season and first of her career.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dawgs In Liberty Bowl

FOOTBALL

libertyThe Dawgs have accepted an invitation to play in the Liberty Bowl on New Year’s Eve in Memphis.

The opponent will be the Conference USA Champion University of Central Florida (UCF 10-3). UCF is coached by former Georgia Tech coach George O’Leary, who is in his seventh season there.

The Dawgs have made two previous trips to the Memphis bowl. They lost to N.C. State, 14-7, in the 1967 contest and defeated Arkansas, 20-17, on John Kasay’s 39-yard field goal on the final play of the game in 1987.

This will mark the second meeting between Georgia and Central Florida. The Dawgs defeated UCF, 24-23, in a 1999 regular season game in Athens. Georgia has faced Central Florida coach George O’Leary on seven occasions during his tenure as head coach at Georgia Tech. Mark Richt has faced O’Leary on only one occasion―2001.

The elbow injury suffered by senior defensive end Demarcus Dobbs against Georgia Tech will not keep him out of the bowl game. Three players, nose tackle Justin Anderson, linebackers Dexter Morant and T.J. Stripling have missed the majority of the season due to injuries and will not play in the bowl game. Everyone else on the roster should be healthy and any academic casualties will not be known for at least another week.

This will be Georgia’s 46th bowl game―sixth most of any team in the country. The Dawgs’ bowl record is 26-16-3.

 

Record

Rushing

Rank

Passing

Rank

Scoring

Rank

Defense

Rank

UCF

10-3

196.5

25

193.8

80

35.2

19

18.9

17

Georgia

6-6

147.7

71

246.1

38

34.3

24

23.1

49

Kickoff for the Liberty Bowl is set for 3:30 pm EST and the game will be televised by ESPN.