Monday, October 31, 2011

Dawgs Prep For Aggies

FOOTBALL

The Dawgs began preparations on Monday for Saturday’s game in Athens against New Mexico State. Kick off at 12:30 p.m. and will be televised by CSS.

The Dawgs last played in Sanford Stadium on October 1st when they knocked off Mississippi State. Since then, they have played at Tennessee and Vanderbilt and in Jacksonville against Florida plus had an open date.

"It was a great night and a great victory in Jacksonville," coach Mark Richt said. "To get that one the way we did was special. It was a lot of fun to see our fans celebrate and to see our players and coaches celebrate. It was a great night all the way around."

"It will definitely be nice to get back home, and I'm sure our fans are going to be waiting and will blow the top off," defensive back Jordan Love said. "We're anxious to defend our home turf again. We've been doing all the little things right, and that's really helping us. We're also catching some breaks, and that's a tribute to all our hard work."

The Dawgs are 6-2 overall, including 5-1 in conference play. Georgia is now ranked 18th in the Associated Press poll and 20th in the USA Today coaches poll. New Mexico State, which plays in WAC, is 3-5 and has lost two straight.

"We're handling this game like any other game," Love said. "New Mexico State has talented players, and we have a tremendous amount of respect for them. In college football, anybody can beat anybody. We've got to come out ready to play on Saturday."

Richt said the captains for the New Mexico State game will be center Ben Jones, linebacker Jarvis Jones, end DeAngelo Tyson and running back Richard Samuel.

Saturday's game will be Georgia's Homecoming contest. Since 1922, Georgia is 70-17-2 in Homecoming games, including four straight victories.

In other news on Monday:

• CBS has elected to use a six-day selection for games of November 12th, including Georgia's contest against Auburn in Athens. The other games being held are Alabama at Mississippi State, Tennessee at Arkansas and Florida at South Carolina. The television windows for these games are noon on CBS, 3:30 p.m. on CBS, 6 p.m. on ESPN2 and 7:45 p.m. on ESPN.

Lady Dawgs 13th In Preseason AP Poll

BASKETBALL

The Georgia Lady Dawgs are No. 13 in the initial edition of the Associated Press top-25 women's basketball poll, which was released on Saturday.

Georgia compiled 432 points in balloting of 40 national media members, with 25 points awarded for a first-place vote descending through one point for a No. 25 vote. Baylor was the overwhelming No. 1, receiving 33 first-place votes.

The Lady Dawgs will play six games against top-25 teams. Georgia will face No. 3 Tennessee twice, No. 10 Georgetown, No. 18 Kentucky, No. 21 LSU and No. 23 Southern Cal. Four other opponents also received votes, Gonzaga, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt and Florida.

The Lady Dawgs have now been ranked by the AP to open 30 of the past 31 seasons, including 20 top-10 appearances. All told, Georgia has appeared in 461 editions of the rankings, the second-most of any women's basketball program in the nation.

Georgia's Lady Dawgs were predicted to finish second in the Southeastern Conference this season and junior Jasmine James was tabbed first-team preseason All-SEC in balloting of selected national and league media members.

Team predictions were compiled by awarding 12 points for a first-place vote descending to one point for a 12th-place ballot. Georgia accumulated 228 points and was picked to finish behind Tennessee, which garnered 264 points. Rounding out the league standings were Kentucky (212 points), LSU (189), Vanderbilt (172), Florida (151), Arkansas (142), South Carolina (107), Auburn (94), Alabama (55), Mississippi State (54) and Ole Miss (48).

James, a junior from Memphis, Tenn., led the Lady Dawgs in scoring, assists, assist-to-turnover ratio, steals and minutes played a year ago. She was joined on the first team by A'dia Mathies of Kentucky, LaSondra Barrett of LSU and Glory Johnson and Shekinna Stricklen of Tennessee.

Georgia unofficially opens the season on Tuesday when the Lady Dawgs host West Georgia at Stegeman Coliseum at 7 p.m. Georgia begins regular-season competition on Friday, Nov. 11 when it takes on TCU in Athens at 6 p.m., the first half of a doubleheader which also features the Georgia against Wofford.

Boykin Named Semifinalists For Thorpe Award

FOOTBALL

DSC_6269University of Georgia senior cornerback Brandon Boykin has been named 1-of-15 semifinalists for the 2011 Jim Thorpe Award, as announced by the Jim Thorpe Association on Monday.

Given to the top defensive back in college football, the Thorpe Award is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year after being established in 1986. The presentation of the Thorpe Award will be featured on The Home Depot College Football Awards show live on Thursday, December 8th, at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.

With seven of the semifinalists coming from the Southeastern Conference, the SEC holds the last two winners of the award (Eric Berry, Tennessee, 2009; Patrick Peterson, LSU, 2010). Georgia has never had a Thorpe winner.

The award is named after history’s greatest all-around athlete, Jim Thorpe. Thorpe excelled as a running back, passer and kicker on the offensive side of the ball, but also stood out as a defensive back.

Boykin, a native of Fayetteville, has started in 32 career games, including the last 16 for the Dawgs. For the year, Boykin has recorded 31 tackles and his seven pass break-ups, 5.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions are all second on the team. Boykin has also totaled two quarterback hurries and a forced fumble this year.

Like the award’s namesake Jim Thorpe, Boykin’s talent is used running the ball as well. In the 2011 season opener against No. 5 Boise State, Boykin tabbed an 80-yard rushing touchdown on his first career carry. He is the SEC active leader and fourth in conference history with 2,393 kickoff return yards (24.42 average) in his career and has returned four punts for 43 yards this year as well.

In his career, Boykin has four kickoff returns for touchdowns,including three 100 yarders making him the only player in SEC history to record three plays of 100 yards of any kind in his collegiate career.

The Jim Thorpe Award Banquet will be held on Tuesday, February 7th, 2012, in Oklahoma City, at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Ticket and sponsorship questions should be directed to the Jim Thorpe Association at 405.427.1400.

Jones & Glenn Honored

FOOTBALL

Georgia redshirt sophomore Jarvis Jones and senior Cordy Glenn received multiple weekly awards on Monday following their performances in the victory over Florida on Saturday in Jacksonville.

Jones, an outside linebacker, has been named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week, the Southeastern Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Week, Rivals.com SEC Player of the Week and the College Football Performance Awards National Player of the Week.

Glenn, who is the Dawgs’ left tackle, has been named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week after his team’s 24-20 win over the Gators.

A 6-3, 241-pound native of Columbus, Jones finished with four sacks for minus 27 yards and five total tackles to go along with a forced fumble during his team’s six consecutive win. His four sacks rank in a tie for second most in a game in school history, and the most since Charles Grant had four versus Auburn in 2001. Jones is only the fifth Dawg in school history to record at least four sacks in a contest.

Jones leads the SEC with eight sacks in eight games and is ranked fifth nationally. He helped anchor a defense that held the Gators to minus 19 yards rushing and only a single offensive touchdown. In fact, Georgia’s defense has allowed just six touchdowns in the past 24 quarters.

A 6-5, 348-pound native of Riverdale, Glenn graded out at a team-best 82 percent with three intimidation blocks while starting his 41st consecutive game. A captain for the third straight contest, Glenn was a part of an offense that racked up 185 yards on the ground and 354 total yards as the Dawgs have now scored 20 or more points in every game this season.

Glenn also helped give quarterback Aaron Murray time to direct a comeback from a 17-3 early deficit. Georgia finished 3-for-3 on fourth down conversions in the game, scoring touchdowns on a pair of them.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dawgs Attention Turns To New Mexico State

FOOTBALL

The Dawgs look to continue their 6-game win streak when they host New Mexico State this Saturday in Athens.

“I have seen just a tad of their defense and they are very aggressive,” coach Mark Richt said on Sunday. “You can see them making big hits and making plays. I think our guys will see a very talented team on film and a team that can make big plays on both sides of the ball.”

The Dawgs (6-2, 5-1) are fresh from a victory over Florida, while the Aggies (3-5, 1-3) are coming off a loss to Nevada. Georgia is 3-0 all time against New Mexico State and has not faced them since 2002.

Georgia’s defense will look to continue to improve under second year defensive coordinator, Todd Grantham.

“When we hired Todd, we were wanting to see a championship defense built and I think we’re well on our way to doing that,” continued Richt. “They played exceptionally well Saturday. I think the guys have caught on well. I think they’re believing, they’re playing really hard, they’re playing fast and they’ve made very few mistakes. They’ve made very few penalties all year long. They’ve done a great job.”

The Dawgs will work on improving the kickoff coverage this week, after allowing two kickoffs to be returned for touchdowns in the past two weeks.

“There’s no question that Blair’s capable of kicking the type of ball that will give our guys the ability to get down there, be in position and make the play,” said Richt. “We started out pretty darn good and then all of a sudden, I don’t know if we lost some confidence or what, but once we got exposed a little bit it just kind of festered and we’ve got to stop it.”

Coach Richt also talked about Richard Samuel’s productive game against Florida. Samuel had 17 carries for 58 yards.

“It was great,” said Richt. “He’s a great young man; he just loves Georgia and loves his team. Reading his comments, that’s exactly the way he feels; he just wants to help us win. When he made the position change, he said ‘If it will help Georgia win, that’s what I want to do.’ To make that move and then have a game like that where there’s a significant contribution in his mind and in everybody else mind, and maybe more so in his mind than any other game he’s played at Georgia, it made him feel good.”

Georgia and New Mexico State will play Saturday at 12:30 p.m. The game will be televised on CSS.

Top 25–Week 10

FOOTBALL

 

Team

Record

Opponent

1.

Alabama

8 - 0

LSU

2.

LSU

8 - 0

Alabama

3.

Oklahoma State

8 - 0

Kansas State

4.

Stanford

8 - 0

Oregon State

5.

Houston

8 - 0

UAB

6.

Boise State

7 - 0

UNLV

7.

Penn State

8 - 1

Off

8.

Clemson

8 - 1

Off

9.

Virginia Tech

8 - 1

Off

10.

Arkansas

7 - 1

South Carolina

11.

Oregon

7 - 1

Washington

12.

Oklahoma

7 - 1

Texas A&M

13.

Nebraska

7 - 1

Northwestern

14.

Michigan

7 - 1

Iowa

15.

South Carolina

7 - 1

Arkansas

16.

Kansas State

7 - 1

Oklahoma State

17.

Southern Miss

7 - 1

East Carolina

18.

Cincinnati

6 - 1

Pittsburgh

19.

Georgia Tech

7 - 2

Off

20.

Georgia

6 - 2

New Mexico State

21.

West Virginia

6 - 2

Louisville

22.

Arizona State

6 - 2

UCLA

23.

USC

6 - 2

Colorado

24.

Wisconsin

6 - 2

Purdue

25.

TCU

6 - 2

Wyoming

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dawgs Win!

FOOTBALL

Ac-ET30CEAAfKfnThe Dawgs extended their winning streak to six by defeating Florida 24-20 in Jacksonville Saturday behind the tough fourth quarter running of Richard Samuel IV. This is the first six-game streak since winning its last seven during the 2007 season including beating Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl to finish 11-2.

Also, Georgia now leads the Florida series 48-40-2 including 41-38-1 in Jacksonville. Today marked Georgia’s first win here since 2007. The Dawgs are now 13-4 under Mark Richt following an open date and 2-1 when it comes before Florida. Overall, Georgia is 4-3 all-time against the Gators coming off a bye.

This is the first time since 1988 that the Dawgs have beaten Tennessee and Florida in the same season. It has been 30 years (1981) since the Dawgs have beaten Tennessee, Florida and Auburn in the same season.

!cid_D731685F6F9F43D28DC79E310AF39455@JuliePCThe Gators are now eliminated from the east race with four losses.

Today marked the third time Georgia has trailed at the half in 2011 (17-10) and the first time the Dawgs came back to win after trailing at that point. Against #12 South Carolina on Sept. 10, USC led 14-13 at half. The Dawgs also trailed #5 Boise State in the season opener at half (14-7).

Samuel finished with 58 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown. His score came in the final period and gave Georgia a 24-20 edge with 13:18 remaining. It marked Georgia’s first lead against Florida since the 2007 victory 42-30. Samuel had 23 yards on that scoring drive and finished the game at the Gator 1 as time expired. Today was the 19th comeback win for the Dawgs under Mark Richt when it tied or trailed going to the 4th quarter. It was the first since beating #25 Auburn in 2009.

Sophomore OLB and Butkus Award semifinalist Jarvis Jones finished with four sacks for -27 yards and five total tackles. His sacks ranks in a tie for second most in a game in school history, and the most since 2001 when Charles Grant had four versus Auburn. Jones is the fifth Dawg in school history with at least four sacks in a contest. Jones entered the game ranked fifth in the SEC with four sacks. The SEC leader coming into the weekend was Auburn’s Corey Lemonier with six. Georgia had six sacks tonight for -43 yards. Junior ILB Mike Gilliard led the Dawgs with six tackles.

The Dawgs held Florida to minus 19 rushing yards. This marks the lowest output for an opponent since Tennessee finished with -20 yards earlier this year.

The Dawgs scored a pair of touchdowns on fourth down plays against the Gators. They have now scored four TDs on fourth down plays this year. With a fourth-and-five situation late in the second quarter on the Florida 20-yard line, sophomore quarterback Aaron Murray (15-for-34 for 169 yards, 2 TDs, I INT) hit redshirt freshman receiver Michael Bennett for a touchdown to make the score 17-10 Florida. This is Bennett’s second career touchdown grab. In the third quarter, Murray connected with flanker Tavarres King for a 14-yard score on fourth-and-sixth to tie the game at 17-all.

Georgia is 8-for-18 on fourth down conversions this season including 3-for-3 today. Georgia’s other two fourth down conversions for TDs were when Murray hit Orson Charles for a 36-yard score versus #5 Boise State and FLK Tavarres King for a 32-yard TD against #12 South Carolina. Today, King had 3 receptions for 44 yards.
True freshman Chris Conley also had a career-high two catches for 20 yards. Also of note, sophomore Rhett McGowan had his second career catch in the third quarter for a first down. McGowan also had a 12 yarder versus Idaho State in 2010.

Sophomore ILB Alec Ogletree forced a fumble at the Florida 25-yard line and junior FS Bacarri Rambo recovered it with just more than two minutes left in the half. Murray hit Bennett for a 20-yard score in the next series. Sophomore OLB Jarvis Jones forced a fumble at the 7:46 mark in the third period that junior SS Shawn Williams recovered. The Dawgs then scored another touchdown on their next possession. Georgia has forced 17 turnovers and converted them into 48 points.

The Dawgs avoided disaster after turning the ball over at their own 13-yard line after a Murray interception in the opening period. The Georgia defense stalled the Gators’ next drive thanks in part to two sacks and a Florida false start and the Gators were forced to punt. Opponents have scored 35 points off 11 Dawg miscues.

Starting left guard Dallas Lee suffered a broken leg in the third quarter, he will likely miss the remainder of the season.

Sophomore ILB Alec Ogletree started for the first time since injuring his foot in the first quarter of the season opener versus #5 Boise State.

Georgia’s captains on Saturday were senior C Ben Jones, senior RT Cordy Glenn, junior DE Abry Jones and senior DE DeAngelo Tyson.

The Dawgs return to Athens next week to face New Mexico State in Sanford Stadium at 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 5. CSS will televise the game.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I Gave Up….You Did Too

FOOTBALL

Those words from Dawg legend Larry Munson perfectly described the moment before Buck Belue scrambled out of trouble to find Lindsey Scott open at the 25 yard line.

Third and twelve on the eight, less than two minutes left in the game, trailing 21 to 19, a perfect season hanging on a prayer. Belue dropped back into his own endzone, rolled to his right, stepped up and released the ball at the five.

The next 75 yards were a blur that will last a lifetime.

The play still resonates in the hearts of fans 31 years later. For Dawg fans it is the greatest play in UGA football history, the one identifying moment that will forever be looked at as responsible for winning the national championship that season. For Gator fans, it was just another stake in the heart during an era that was dominated by the Dawgs.

Many of those involved take a look back at “The Play.”

1980Dawgs.com

As coach Russell said….”That was something else.”

Video courtesy of Mike Moss, producer of 1980 Dawgs.

For more visit: www.1980Dawgs.com

Tuesday Press Conference–Part 3

FOOTBALL

Coach Mark Richt

On if preparing for Florida has evolved through the years…

We've tried different things. I know one year or two years, and one year in particular that I can remember we had a team meeting every day in the off week bringing in somebody that played for Georgia or coached for Georgia that had success and let them talk to the group. I can't remember when we did that. I think we might have done that a couple years and one year we won and one year lost.

I think we are much better off focusing on the things that really truly matter, and that's what is your job, what is your assignments, what are you going to do if this happens, what are you going to do if that happens. When we get there, I don't think we are going to have any problems emotions. I don't think we are going to have any problem with guys being excited to play that game. We practice crowd noise, practice schemes, try to get better fundamentally and get after it.

On how Georgia addressed its special teams during the bye week…

We looked at our scheme again, we looked at our personnel again. Let’s say you make a mistake in any phase of the game, you can go and correct that mistake, but if you go and correct that mistake based on what happened last week, it may not be what you see this week. So if you spend too much time correcting the mistake from a week ago, you really aren’t preparing for that’s going to happen this week. We didn’t try to go too crazy about it, but we know we have to get better. I think a lot of it has to do with challenging those units to do exactly what the coaches tell them to do. That’s been at least 50 percent of the issue.

On Georgia’s special teams personnel…

Every time guys get healthy, that does give you more depth in your special teams. Not to say Alec Ogletree couldn’t run down and cover a kick too. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of that. Even Shawn Williams, as that Vanderbilt game was going on and he knew what was at stake every time the ball was being kicked, he was personally taking younger guys off the team and putting himself on the team to help us win, so I wouldn’t be shocked to see that.

On the effect Blair Walsh's season has had on him…

As a head coach, it really hasn't phased me. I'm sad for him that he has struggled and maybe didn't have the type of season statistically that he had hoped he'd have at this point. But I really do have full confidence in him. I'm not going to go into this game saying I'm not going to attempt that 52-yarder or 47-yarder. I’ll have the same mindset with him that I had in game one in regard to that. I know how hard he has prepared, and I know how good he is. When it's your senior year and you're wanting great things to happen and he knows it is a team sport, but he also knew he had a really good shot at some national awards at that position. Those things are not very likely now but he still wants to help Georgia win and finish strong, and I believe he will.

On going week-to-week knowing that a loss would be set back after getting on a winning streak…

Our focus is the Eastern Division. That's all we really have been thinking about, talking about and aspiring to win. We know this game could set us back but it wouldn't bury us. With the way things are happening in our league it doesn't count us out. We know if we win it, it doesn't count us in. It's important and it's huge and we know we are in much better shape if we win the game, but there's no guarantees either way win or lose.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wednesday Practice Report

FOOTBALL

The 22nd-ranked Dawgs are nearing completion of their preparation for the upcoming SEC showdown with Florida.

On Wednesday, Georgia (5-2, 4-1 SEC) held a 90-minute workout, and coach Mark Richt said he feels like the Dawgs are preparing well and executing better in practice each day.

“We’re getting close to the game, and we’re getting there with finishing our preparation,” said Richt. “There’s nothing wrong with guys getting bored with the game plan in a sense that they know what to do. You go over things and they’re like ‘we got it.’ ”

Freshman wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who has a team-high 25 catches for 438 yards and three touchdowns this season, did not practice Wednesday. He has been limited with a hamstring injury.

“He’s doubtful, and I’m hopeful,” said Richt on whether Mitchell will be able to play Saturday. “We travel 70 and 69 spots have been decided. We’ve got some other receivers who have played well for us like Marlon Brown, Michael Bennett and Tavarres King. We haven’t had a game where all of them have been able to go, and the more you have, it helps.”

The Gators (4-3, 2-3 SEC) have a question mark at quarterback with fifth-year senior John Brantley possibly returning to action against the Dawgs. He was injured in the Alabama game on October 1st, and Florida has used true freshmen Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett in his absence.

“We’re preparing for their offense not the quarterback,” said Richt. “It’s important to know who is in the game, but it’s not like they’re designing quarterback runs for each one. One guy may run more or they may run a wildcat play. When you see Brantley in there, you know you’ll see more of their offense.”

Both teams enjoyed an open date last Saturday and enter the game with different streaks. After beginning the season dropping games to No. 5 Boise State and No. 12 South Carolina, Georgia has won five in a row. Meanwhile, the Gators cruised to a 4-0 start in September before losing their last three contests this month to No. 1 LSU, No. 3 Alabama and No. 24 Auburn.

The Gators have won the past three meetings in the series including 34-31 in overtime last year. Georgia’s last victory came in 2007 when the 20th-ranked Dawgs upset ninth-ranked Florida 42-30. The series has been played in Jacksonville annually since 1993 with the exception of two years (1994-95 when it moved on campus while the Gator Bowl transformed into the home of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars).

The Dawgs will face Florida Saturday at EverBank Field in Jacksonville. Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m., and the game will be televised nationally on CBS.

Tuesday Press Conference–Part 2

FOOTBALL

Coach Mark Richt

On Georgia’s defense…

The first role of everybody is to still play stout against the run. We’ve got to not let the run game get away from us. If we do we are in trouble in any ballgame, so we have to play strong against that. If we do get into some situations that look like passing downs situations, we’d love to have pressure without blitzing. If you can rush four and squeeze the pocket a little bit or cause the quarterback to thrown it sooner that he wants to, it helps you coverage a lot. That’s what Cornelius Washington was doing there, especially in the last couple of games before his suspension. I hope he comes back with the same kind of energy. He was playing harder and faster than I’ve seen him his whole career. I’m very proud of that and I hope he gets back to doing that.

On Georgia’s defense preparing for three different quarterbacks…

We’re trying to study what each guy does when he’s in the game. There is not a huge difference among the three guys. They might be doing a little bit less without John Brantley. Jeff Driskel seems to be the guy who is more apt to run, although I don’t think they are building a quarterback run game with Driskel. If anybody else is back there we’ll consider that a wildcat look, and we have to look at the tendencies of what they do when somebody else besides a traditional quarterback is back there like we do most games. Most everybody has a package like that. I don’t think they are drastically different in style. They are certainly different in experience, but we do have film of every one of them. We have a rough idea of what to expect from each guy. Now you have two weeks. Who knows who you’ll see or what you’ll see?

On Alec Ogletree…

I think Alec, just in yesterday’s practice, looked fast, looked quick. He didn’t look very rusty to me. I’m sure there will be some rust on him once we get in the game, but he looked good. I think he has total confidence in the healing of his foot.

On if there is any awkwardness preparing for Florida with two players out the first half…

With Kwame Geathers and Shawn Williams being out the first half as far as nose guard goes we know we got big John Jenkins and we also play enough nickel stuff where those guys might not even be in there. I think that's the easier personnel thing to handle. With Shawn it's a little trickier. How are you going to play it the first half? Are you going to double train some guys? How are you going to fill that spot? I know how we are going to do it. I'm not going to say how we are going to do it, but that one a little bit more tricky to find the answer for on how to handle that first half.

On if it is harder knowing those players will be back in the second half instead of out for the whole game…

We are glad we are getting them both back in the second half I can tell you that. I think the challenge to the players would be that whoever plays in their place to step up and take care of business. That way when those guys get back we are still in position to win the football game. As coaches when you know a guy is out the entire game I think it simplifies the decisions that you have to make, but I wouldn't trade it for getting them back in the second half.

On how he feels about the defense playing well…

When the defense plays good it helps everybody. I know when I was a play caller when the defense played good it was the offensive coordinator's best friend. Even if you were having a rough day it wasn't as noticeable. Field position, turnovers, points off defense – all those things help your team in general. If you make mistakes offensively with a turnover or a special teams mistake and your defensive can bow their neck and turn it into three points or no points that's huge. I like the fact that our defense is really beginning to become a championship defense. I wouldn't say we are there, but we are getting there.

On if he draws experience for the Georgia-Florida series from going through the Florida State-Miami and Florida State-Florida series…

Early on when I first came to Florida State there was the Florida issue too. I don't know how many years in a row Florida beat Florida State. We had to get over that hump and then Miami was kind of a nemesis for some stretches three, four and maybe five games. So I've kind of been through it at Florida State trying to get over the hump against Florida and Miami. Usually it takes a game -- rarely to you usually just line up and whip them – usually you have some type of dramatic moment in a game where it turns the tide for you, some type of defining moment that will probably have to happen for us to win this game.

We got to play good solid offense, defense and special teams, but there will be a moment of truth or two in there where somebody has got to make a play. Most big plays are relatively ordinary plays that are done at a spectacular time so to speak or a time where it has got to be made. If you throw and catch a slant and take it to the house on the first play of the game, it's a good play. If you are down by four and there's only 15 seconds on the clock and you hit that same play all of a sudden it's a spectacular play. It's a play that defines the game that most people will point to. You have to make those kinds of plays all game long, but you definitely need to make them in the fourth quarter or overtime.

Cornerback Sanders Commings

On the preparation for this week…

We have been paying a lot of attention to details this week. We are focusing on the little things because this game is a little more physical. We don’t like them and they don’t like us. It’s a different type of environment in Jacksonville. You look up at the stands and it’s half red and half blue. We need to focus on getting the job done and making plays. If we do that we will be successful.

On the teams focus this week…

We are paying more attention to this game this year because of the way the SEC East race is shaping up. We’re tied for first in the East and we feel like we really have a chance to win the East as long as we do our part. This game is more about that than just the fact that we are playing Florida.

On playing Florida…

We need to look at this game as we do any other game on the schedule. Last year we had a chance to win but a couple of plays changed the outcome. If everyone stays within themselves and we play the way we are capable of playing, everything else will take care of itself.

Inside Linebacker Mike Gilliard

On Florida’s Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey…

Those guys (UF’s Jeff and Chris Rainey) have blazing speed. You have to respect that. We have to take proper angles to get those guys down. We need to make sure we get to the ball and wrap up and make sure those guys are definitely down on the ground.

On playing through injuries on the team…

Injuries and things like that are part of football. Hopefully the back ups will go in there and make plays when they have the opportunity. I’m always excited to see some other players step up when they have the chance.

On learning different positions…

I never know what’s going to happen in the game and where the coaches will need me. I just go out everyday and practice at different positions to make sure that I am ready if they need me to play. My main objective is making plays that will help the team win.

On being a Bulldog…

At first it was hard to adjust coming to college and playing with guys that are really talented. It was a mental thing that I had to get through. As soon as I learned the defense, everything slowed down and I was able to make plays. Every freshman goes through a phase where they question whether this is the place for them. I’m happy to be at Georgia and happy to be a part of this team.

On the role of inside linebacker against Florida…

Rainey and Demps are speedsters. When they see a hole they can get through it. It’s up the our linebackers to get to the ball carrier and take good angles and make sure those guys are down.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Georgia Graduation Success Rate Improves To 79 % for All Student-Athletes

University of Georgia student-athletes graduated at a rate of 79% in the latest NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) survey period according to figures released Tuesday by the NCAA. That’s up from 77% a year ago and is the highest score for the Dawgs since the GSR was implemented in 2005.

In the GSR four-year average rate, University of Georgia athletic teams improved in ten sports including baseball, men’s basketball, men’s cross country/track and field, men’s tennis, women’s cross country/track and field, soccer, softball, women’s swimming and diving, volleyball, and equestrian. Four sports remained the same and three experienced small declines. Women’s gymnastics and women’s tennis both repeated their 2010 scores of 100 percent.

The four-year average rate includes not only freshmen but transfers in and out of the institution. The current report tracks the freshman classes of 2001-2002-2003-2004.

“We’re glad to see our trend upward in most every sport continue and especially the dramatic improvement in our sports over the last five year period,” said Director of Athletics Greg McGarity. “It’s obvious our coaches and academic counseling staff over the last several years have been diligent in their support of our student-athletes and their success. It’s extremely gratifying to have 13 of our 17 sports improve or remain the same from last year and the decline in the other four was minimal. While most of the report is encouraging in the big picture, we still have plenty of room to continue improving and will remain totally committed to working hard with our student-athletes in all academic areas.”

Jones Named Butkus Finalist

FOOTBALL

University of Georgia outside linebacker Jarvis Jones has been named 1-of-12 semifinalists for the Butkus Award.

The Butkus Award, in its 27th year, honors the nation's top football linebackers. The finalists will be announced on November 22nd and the winner will be announced by December 7th.

Jones, a redshirt sophomore from Columbus has started all seven games for the Dawgs recording 39 tackles, and he leads the team in tackles for loss (10.0), sacks (4.0) and quarterback hurries (16). Jones' 1.43 tackles for loss per game ranks second in the Southeastern Conference. Additionally, Jones' efforts through the first seven games have also earned him Phil Steele Midseason All-American Third Team and All-SEC First Team honors.

The Butkus Award is selected by a 51-person panel comprised of scouts, coaches and journalists. Selectors follow all rules of their leagues, including limitations on contact with players, and individual votes remain completely confidential. The panel is coordinated by Hub Arkush of Pro Football Weekly.

Last season’s collegiate Butkus Award winner Von Miller of Texas A&M University, who was the No. 2 overall NFL draft pick and is now a member of the Denver Broncos.

Considered one of the greatest football players in history, Dick Butkus was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979, following an illustrious career with the Chicago Bears, University of Illinois and Chicago Vocational School.

The Butkus Award, www.thebutkusaward.com or www.facebook.com/51.butkus, is presented by the Butkus Foundation. It is part of the National College Football Awards Association, a coalition of the major collegiate awards. More information is available at www.NCFAA.org.

The Award was expanded in 2008 to honor linebackers at three levels (high school, collegiate and professional) while helping spread the word about Butkus’ I Play Clean™ initiative, which encourages teens to eat well, train hard, and play with attitude, instead of resorting to steroids and related drugs. More information is available at www.iplayclean.org or at www.facebook.com/i.play.clean.

2011 Butkus Award Semifinalists:

Zach Brown

University of North Carolina

Vontaze Burfict

Arizona State University

Audie Cole

North Carolina State University

Lavonte David

University of Nebraska

Dont’a Hightower

University of Alabama

Jarvis Jones

University of Georgia

Luke Kuechly

Boston College

Travis Lewis

University of Oklahoma

Keenan Robinson

University of Texas

Sean Spence

University of Miami (Fla.)

Manti Te’o

University of Notre Dame

Courtney Upshaw

University of Alabama

Tuesday Press Conference–Part 1

FOOTBALL

Coach Mark Richt

Opening Statement…

Coach Will Muschamp has a very outstanding team in my opinion. I know they’ve lost the last three, but they’ve played three ranked teams, and two of them are dominating everybody that they play. I think there is a perception that Georgia is on a roll and Florida is struggling, but if you flip those schedules I’m not sure it wouldn’t be a whole different story for us and for them as far as winning. They are a very talented team as always, very fast team. That’s the one thing that sticks out more than anything is just the team speed, offense, defense, special teams. We have issues to deal with in that regard.

On if he believes that to former Georgia player and now Florida head coach Will Muschamp that this game does not mean more to him than any other games…

He won't know until the game is played in my opinion. He has experience coaching against Georgia, so he's used to that. He's just not done it as a head coach, so I'm sure there might be some different emotions as maybe a coordinator, I don't know. The first time I did it I was just a couple years out of leaving Miami. I was a young graduate assistant coach, and I still had teammates that I played with and most of the staff that coached me was still there. It was very emotional. When I came to Georgia and coached against Florida State I knew at least 50-percent of the players and just about 90-percent of the staff. Now, it is far removed for him. He hasn't really coached or played with hardly anybody on our staff, so I think I can buy into what he is saying.

On whether Aaron Murray’s emotions affected his performance against Florida in 2010…

I think it has a lot more to do with the fact that they played well. That first pick of the game, the guy breaks on the ball and makes the play. I don’t think it had anything to do with emotions. I think Murray threw the ball to the right guy on time, and he jumped it. He did a great job. I think it’s more of an execution issue, really.

On what he will say to Aaron Murray about last year’s game against Florida…

I think the less said the better. We’re trying to focus real hard not on the fact that it’s in Jacksonville, nor the fact that it’s even Florida. We’re looking at the team we’re playing as far as their personnel, their scheme. If you are a quarterback, what’s really important? It’s not important if it’s your hometown, it’s not important if it’s in Jacksonville. It’s important to know if there is enough crowd noise that you are going to have to deal with that. It’s important to know what jersey numbers they wear and what positions they play and what types of tendencies they have in the red zone or third down. Those are the things we are focusing on, not so much that it’s Florida, not so much that it’s his home state team. I want him to focus on what’s going to help him win when the ball is snapped. That’s where our conversations are going.

On the status of WR Malcolm Mitchell…

He didn’t do well yesterday. He practiced for about five minutes.

On how the off week has helped Isaiah Crowell…

I think Isaiah is healthy right now. Until you get in the game and start taking shots I don't know if that wrist injury is 100-percent healed, but I'm hoping by the time we get there it will be like game one for him in regard to that injury.

On how much of Crowell's battle with the injury is a mental thing…

I think it is part of the learning process. In our league, anywhere in college or in the NFL, there's time where you'll run the ball and there's some space and you can do great things on those plays. But there's a lot of plays where the blocking is in place but you're not getting a tremendous amount of movement where everybody is stood upright and maybe all you need is one guy to hit the pile and push it through and all of a sudden break out of there or get two or three yards after contact. Sometimes it just flat out stinks and you get hit in the backfield. That's not much fun either, but you got to get used to that. I think all young backs, especially high school backs, could dominate people who could hardly tackle them and they could start one way and turn around and go the other way and no one could pursue them and chase them down. It just doesn't happen anymore in their careers and they got to learn to deal with that. I think Isaiah as well as all young backs are learning that.

On if he is considering a redshirt year for Rantavious Wooten…

I suppose Wooten could be redshirted at this point. We've been hoping that things would turn. He's still on the injury report. I ask every day how he's doing. I'm asking about symptoms. When you hear 'not much of a change,' 'not much of a change' long enough you realize that this thing was a little more serious than we thought. It's still week-to-week in my mind though. There's still a lot of football to be played, a lot of very meaningful games to be played, so I'm not counting him out right now.

Quarterback Aaron Murray

On treating the Florida game like just another game…

I don’t know if it’s because I’m from Florida or if it’s just a big game, but it’s a big game. It’s one that you circle on your calendar every year. When we’re working out in the off-season, we’ve got the first game, Florida and Georgia Tech circled. There are other games on the calendar, but those are the games that get us motivated and pumped up when we’re conditioning. It’s a great rivalry. I love the atmosphere in the stadium and just being a part of it.

On last year’s game…

I was definitely very excited. Growing up, I wasn’t a big Florida fan, but obviously living in Florida means you are going to watch the Georgia-Florida game. Going from seeing it on TV and then getting in the stadium and being a part of it, I definitely had some jitters. I didn’t start off the way I wanted to offensively, but we pushed through and had an unbelievable second half. I’ve definitely matured and I understand what the environment is going to be like; I think I’ll be able to handle it better this year.

On the offensive struggles in the Red Zone…

We just have to execute when we’re down there. We’ve had plenty of opportunities to get the ball in the end zone, but we just haven’t connected in either the running or the passing game. We’ve been working on that; just watching a lot of film and figuring out what we need to do in there. It was a great bye week in order to go back and figure out the things we need to work on. That was definitely one of them and I think we figured it out and we’re ready to go out there and put more points on the board.

Offensive Guard Chris Burnette

On where the Florida rivalry ranks for him…

I guess you could say Florida and Georgia Tech are 1A and 1B. I guess which one is a bigger deal depends on who you are. For me, Florida is the biggest rivalry. It’s been so one-sided these past 12 years, so hopefully we can go out there and prove ourselves and do well this year.

On really being able to contribute to the O-Line this year…

It’s been encouraging; especially since I didn’t really have the opportunity to contribute and do what I came here to do my first two years. Those first two years really gave me patience and the opportunity to grow as a person and as a player. I feel like having the opportunity to help this year is great. We’ve been doing well the past few weeks and I just pray that we continue to do that and continue to get better.

On Florida’s defensive speed…

It’s definitely going to be a challenge. They have plenty of speed, not only in their secondary but in their defensive front. Those guys are very athletic. I guess people are saying there are a lot of five stars on their defense. They’re also young, so hopefully we can take advantage of the lack of experience. Most of the time when you play guys with a lot of speed, you have to get them before they get started. So, if we can catch those guys and block them before they can get a lot of speed going side-to-side I think we’ll be able to do well.

Brantley & Saye Into G-F Hall Of Fame

FOOTBALL

Former University of Georgia football players John Brantley and Bill Saye will be inducted into the Georgia-Florida Hall of Fame Friday. The induction ceremony will take place at 12:30 p.m. in the Pepsi Plaza outside Everbank Field’s south endzone.

John Brantley 13495A four year letter winner for Georgia, Brantley was a standout linebacker during the mid-1980s. He recorded two of the top four single-season tackle totals in Georgia history with 160 in 1986 and 154 in 1987. His 415 career tackles stills stands as the fourth-best total for any Dawg.

A native of Wildwood, Florida, Brantley was named All-SEC and Georgia's Most Outstanding Defensive Player following both the 1986 and 1987 campaigns. He also was elected by his teammates as the Dawgs' defensive captain in 1987, the same season he was named the Defensive MVP of the Liberty Bowl after leading Georgia in a 20-17 victory over Arkansas.

Brantley played some of his best football when the Dawgs returned to his home state. Most notably, he recorded a team-high seven tackles and notched both a tackle-for-loss and a sack when the Dawgs upset the top-ranked Gators 24-3 in 1985. He also helped Georgia to a 23-10 win in Jacksonville as a senior in 1987.

Brantley was selected by the Houston Oilers in the 1988 NFL Draft and also played with the Washington Redskins and the Cincinnati Bengals during a four-year NFL career. After retiring from football, Brantley returned to the Athens area. He remains an active supporter of the program and helped spearhead the Dawgs' initial involvement to build a home through Habitat for Humanity in 2002.

Saye.BillSaye was born in Athens, played in the culvert which runs underneath Sanford Stadium and later played on the field for eight years – four as a Trojan at Athens High School and four as a Dawg. At Athens High, he made All-State and played in the 1952 Georgia High School All-Star Game.

Saye's lifelong goal was to play between the hedges for Georgia. However, he reserved his greatest performance in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville in 1954 against favored Florida. Saye intercepted two passes from his linebacker position, recovered a fumble and broke up an extra-point attempt, which was the difference in the game as Georgia won 14-13.

Herman Hickman, columnist for Sports Illustrated, covered the game and wrote: "The Gators' hopes of gaining a conference title and bowl bid turned dark. A Georgia center named Bill Saye turned out the lights." Saye was the difference in the game, playing every snap on defense and serving as the long snapper.

After lettering three years for the Dawgs, Saye coached high school football and enjoyed a successful business career with General Wholesale in Atlanta. He retired to his hometown of Athens in 2006.

In recognition of the nation's premier collegiate rivalry, the Jacksonville Sports and Entertainment Board created the Georgia-Florida Hall of Fame to acknowledge the many great records, performances, career highlights and outstanding memories that have made the Georgia-Florida game one of college football's great traditions.

The inductees from Florida are Kevin Carter and Nat Moore.

General admission is free. For information on tickets, call the Jacksonville Sports and Entertainment Board (904) 630-3600.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Monday Practice Report

FOOTBALL

Fresh off an open date and riding a five-game winning streak, the Dawgs began preparations on Monday for Saturday’s game in Jacksonville against Florida.

The Dawgs worked out for two hours in full pads at the Woodruff Practice Fields.

“After the open date, we get far enough ahead where we can practice as if it is a Tuesday, so we were in full pads today and we’ll be in shells tomorrow like we would be on a normal Wednesday,” coach Mark Richt said. “Then we’ll basically have two dress rehearsals, one on Wednesday and one on Thursday. Those two practices will look a lot like Thursday practices for us.

“That will be good to get all the physical work out of the way on the front end and hopefully get them nice and fresh and ready to hit by the time we get there Saturday.”

Saturday’s game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and will be televised by CBS.

The Dawgs are 5-2 overall and 4-1 in conference play, Georgia is now ranked 21st in the USA Today coaches poll and 22nd in the Associated Press poll. Florida is 4-3 overall and 2-3 in the conference.

Richt was asked what advice he has given to the Pups making their first trip to Jacksonville.

“I haven’t given them any advice yet other than just focus on your assignment, focus on your job,” Richt said. “All that talking that this game’s any different than any other one’s really not true. You’ve got to take care of your business, you’ve got to focus on your job and not worry about all the outside stuff.”

Richt said the captains for the Florida game will be offensive tackle Cordy Glenn, center Ben Jones, defensive end Abry Jones and defensive end DeAngelo Tyson.

UGA announced that the November 5th Homecoming contest against New Mexico State will kick off at 12:30 p.m. and will be televised by CSS.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Press Conference

FOOTBALL

Looking to build off the momentum of a five-game win streak, the Dawgs will begin preparations for their contest against the Florida Gators in Jacksonville on Saturday.

“We know it’s a big game,” coach Mark Richt said Sunday. “We know it’s big for a lot of reasons for us this year. A lot of our fans will ask me in the offseason if we are going to beat Florida. That’s the goal, but what I hope more than anything is when we get to that game that it is meaningful in the SEC Eastern Division race, which it is right now. That is what we are thrilled about, but we know we haven’t had a lot of success in Jacksonville lately, so we have our work cut out for us.”

Standing at 5-2 overall and 4-1 in conference play, Georgia is now ranked 21st in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll and 22nd in the AP Poll.

“I think it is a good thing,” Richt said. “Once you get in the polls you try to stay there. It’s hard to see progress unless you are in there, although I knew we were making progress. When it comes to media coverage, especially on the networks that cover college football, they tend to spend a lot of time on the top 25 teams, so hopefully we can stay there for a while.”

The Dawgs will welcome the return of inside linebacker Alec Ogletree for the Florida game, as Richt said that he plans to have him in the starting lineup but unsure who the other starting inside linebacker will be at this time. Wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell and free safety Baccari Rambo are also expected to play, but unsure if junior Rantavious Wooten will return from a concussion.

At 4-3 overall and 2-3 in the SEC, Florida is coming off of a three-game slide after losing to Auburn 6-17 on October 15th. Georgia will have to face the challenge of not knowing what quarterback will start for the Gators, as John Brantley, Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett have all seen time at the position.

“It is difficult no doubt,” Richt said of the preparations. “The only thing I guess is good is that we will have video on all three of the quarterbacks who have played. We don’t know really who is going to play or who is going to start, so we are just going to have a plan for whoever is in there and try to get as much information as we can going into the game.”

Saturday’s match-up is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. and will be televised on CBS.

Top 25–Week 9

FOOTBALL

 

Team

Record

Opponent

1.

Alabama

8 - 0

Off

2.

LSU

8 - 0

Off

3.

Clemson

8 - 0

Georgia Tech

4.

Boise State

7 - 0

Off

5.

Oklahoma State

7 - 0

Baylor

6.

Stanford

7 - 0

USC

7.

Kansas State

7 - 0

Oklahoma

8.

Houston

7 - 0

Rice

9.

Penn State

7 - 1

Illinois

10.

Virginia Tech

7 - 1

Duke

11.

Oregon

6 - 1

Washington State

12.

Arkansas

6 - 1

Vanderbilt

13.

USC

6 - 1

Stanford

14.

Michigan State

6 - 1

Nebraska

15.

Oklahoma

6 - 1

Kansas State

16.

Wisconsin

6 - 1

Ohio State

17.

Nebraska

6 - 1

Michigan State

18.

Michigan

6 - 1

Purdue

19.

South Carolina

6 - 1

Tennessee

20.

Cincinnati

6 - 1

Off

21.

Southern Miss

6 - 1

UTEP

22.

Georgia Tech

6 - 2

Clemson

23.

Illinois

6 - 2

Penn State

24.

BYU

6 - 2

TCU

25.

Georgia

5 - 2

Florida

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Wednesday Practice Report

FOOTBALL

Cool, blustery conditions greeted the 24th-ranked Dawgs Wednesday as they held a 90-minute workout.

The Dawgs welcomed back a couple of defensive starters to practice this week in sophomore linebacker Alec Ogletree and junior linebacker Cornelius Washington. Ogletree has been out since the first quarter of the season opener with a foot injury while Washington missed the past two games.

“It’s a big deal for Alec to be back out there, he’s excited to be practicing and playing again,” said coach Mark Richt. “Cornelius is too because he knows he’s practicing and preparing to play in a game too. Our system is designed for the linebackers to make a lot of plays, and they were playing well in the preseason and earlier this year. We expect them to continue to play well. They have all the tools.”

Meanwhile, senior cornerback Brandon Boykin and junior safety Bacarri Rambo did not practice Wednesday. Rambo missed the session due to a toe injury while Boykin had a dental appointment stemming from an injury from the Mississippi State game earlier this month.

On Tuesday, the Dawgs (5-2, 4-1 SEC) were drenched during a one-hour practice that was cut short 25 minutes due to the constant, heavy rain. They followed that up Wednesday with a session that began in the 50s and finished in the low 40s with winds ranging from 15 to 20 miles per hour. Wednesday marked the second of three scheduled workouts for Georgia this week. They are slated to practice Thursday before taking a few days off with an open date on Saturday.

“We’re glad to have a bye week because we needed it,” Richt added. “We’ve had preseason camp and played seven straight games, so it’s good to have a break both mentally and physically.”

Also of note, former standout A.J. Green, a first round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, attended practice Wednesday. Through six games, Green, who was the fourth overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft, has 29 catches for 453 yards and four touchdowns. Like the Dawgs, the Bengals are off this week.

“It was great to see A.J., I said hello to him,” said Richt. “At first, I saw him from a distance and wasn’t sure if it was him, I was thinking, ‘is that a recruit, and if so, who is it?’ It would be nice to recruit him again.”

Monday, October 17, 2011

Drew And Boykin Honored

FOOTBALL

Georgia outside linebacker Ray Drew and cornerback Brandon Boykin have been awarded weekly honors following their performances during the 33-28 win at Vanderbilt.

Drew was named the Southeastern Conference Co-Freshman Player of the Week for the first time in his career while Boykin was included on the Paul Hornung Award Weekly Honor Roll for the fifth time this year for being one of the nation’s most versatile players.

Fans can vote for the Paul Hornung Award as often as once a day by visiting www.votepaulhornung.com.

Drew, a 6-5, 263-pound native of Thomasville finished with a career-high three tackles, including a sack for -8 yards and 2.5 tackles for loss for -13 yards. Drew also forced a fumble and recovered it as the Commodores were driving in Georgia territory in the final minute of the first half.

Coming off the bench in just his fourth collegiate game, Drew helped fill in for junior starter Cornelius Washington who missed the game. The Dawgs managed to force Vanderbilt into four turnovers and have now won five straight games.

Boykin, a 5-10, 183-pound native of Fayetteville had five tackles, including one for loss, recorded his second interception of the season and had a pass breakup against the Commodores. His pick in Georgia’s end zone helped keep the game scoreless in the opening quarter.

Boykin also finished with four kickoff returns for 72 yards (18.0 average). He is the active SEC career leader in kickoff return yardage (2,319) and fourth all-time with the best average return (24.67). In addition, Boykin also had another carry on offense and is averaging 19.0 yards a carry.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dawgs Head Into Off Week

FOOTBALL

Riding a five-game win streak, the 24th-ranked Dawgs will have the week off before facing Florida on October 29th in Jacksonville. The game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. and will be televised on CBS.

Speaking on his weekly teleconference Sunday, coach Mark Richt noted that there are no significant injuries for the Dawgs right now and everyone should be healthy for the game against the Gators.

The Dawgs, coming off a 33-28 win over Vanderbilt, own a 5-2 record on the year and a 4-1 mark in the Southeastern Conference. Georgia is currently tied with South Carolina for first in the Eastern Division.

“We have to keep winning and someone has to beat South Carolina and no one has done that yet,” Richt said. “I don’t know what is going to happen in the East race. All we can do is keep pace and keep winning so that if someone can beat South Carolina, we can be in a position to compete for the division and SEC title.”

Richt also noted that the bye week has come at a good time for the Dawgs. Georgia will practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before taking the weekend off for some needed rest.

“I think we need some time to rest and relax,” added Richt. “We are not going to go too hard in practice this week. We’re going to begin coming up with a game plan for Florida this week without wearing out guys out. I don’t want too much hitting going on or to set anyone back. We should have the game plan finished by the end of the week so that we can go hard next week and have guys 100 percent ready.”

Looking ahead to Florida, who is 4-3 and on a three-game slide, including a 17-6 loss to Auburn on Saturday, Richt knows the challenges that await the Dawgs as they plan for the Gators. After losing its starter, Florida has rotated two freshmen under center this year and has the option to bring in a fourth quarterback John Brantley against the Dawgs.

“It is more problematic to not know who the quarterback is going to be,” Richt said. “All we can do is see what has been done in the past and prepare as best we can. We have film on each of the Florida quarterbacks. We will have to see the difference in tendencies that the team has with each quarterback and play to those tendencies. Hopefully we will have success.”

Top 25–Week 8

FOOTBALL

 

Team

Record

Opponent

1.

Alabama

7 - 0

Tennessee

2.

LSU

7 - 0

Auburn

3.

Clemson

7 - 0

North Carolina

4.

Oklahoma

6 - 0

Texas Tech

5.

Boise State

6 - 0

Air Force

6.

Oklahoma State

6 - 0

Missouri

7.

Stanford

6 - 0

Washington

8.

Wisconsin

6 - 0

Michigan State

9.

Kansas State

6 - 0

Kansas

10.

Houston

6 - 0

Marshall

11.

Penn State

6 - 1

Northwestern

12.

Virginia Tech

6 - 1

Boston College

13.

South Carolina

6 - 1

Off

14.

Michigan

6 - 1

Off

15.

Illinois

6 - 1

Purdue

16.

Georgia Tech

6 - 1

Miami (FL)

17.

Arkansas

5 - 1

Ole Miss

18.

Nebraska

5 - 1

Minnesota

19.

West Virginia

5 - 1

Syracuse

20.

Michigan State

5 - 1

Wisconsin

21.

Oregon

5 - 1

Colorado

22.

Washington

5 - 1

Stanford

23.

USC

5 - 1

Notre Dame

24.

Cincinnati

5 - 1

South Florida

25.

Rutgers

5 - 1

Louisville

Dawgs Win 33-28 In Nashville

FOOTBALL

Georgia won its fifth in a row tonight, beating Vanderbilt 33-28 to improve to 5-2  overall, 4-1 in the SEC. The Dawgs lead the all-time series 52-18-2 and have won 16 of the last 17 meetings. Before this year, the last time Georgia won five in a row during a season was 2007 as it finished that year on a seven-game winning streak and then won its first four contests of the 2008 season.

With leading receiver Malcolm Mitchell not making the trip with a hamstring injury, junior Marlon Brown and redshirt freshman Michael Bennett stepped up with career-high nights, combining for eight catches for 210 yards. Brown finished with four catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns, marking his first 100-yard game.

In fact, sophomore QB Aaron Murray set career-highs in attempts, completions and yards tonight, going 22-for-38 for 326 yards. Murray had 3 TD passes and one interception. Murray connected with junior Brown for a 27-yard touchdown with under a minute to play in the first half. Murray then hit Brown for a career-long 75-yard touchdown at the beginning of the fourth quarter. This was the longest receiving touchdown for the Dawgs since Matthew Stafford hit Mohamed Massaquoi for an 84-yard score versus Florida in 2007. Murray has 40 career scoring passes, which is fourth in school history.

Senior PK Blair Walsh booted a 53-yard field goal at the 13:48 mark in the second quarter. Walsh is 2-for-4 from 50+ and 10-for-16 from 50+ in his career. He hit a career-long 56 yarder against Coastal Carolina earlier this season. He also added a 28 yarder in the second quarter and a 36 yarder and a 44 yarder in the third quarter to go along with three PATs to set a career high with 15 points. Walsh is now second in career points scored with 365. However, Walsh missed a 50 yarder and a 42 yarder and is 12-for-20 on the year. He became the fourth Dawg in history to attempt a school record six FGs in a game.

Junior TE Orson Charles blocked a punt in the second quarter after the punter dropped the snap. This was the second blocked punt for the Dawgs this year after freshman Corey Moore had one against Coastal Carolina. One play later tonight, QB Aaron Murray connected with SE Tavarres King for a 20-yard touchdown to give UGA a 10-0 lead. Vanderbilt’s special teams also blocked a punt in the fourth quarter with seven seconds remaining, the first by an opponent since Kentucky in 2008, Brian Mimbs was the Dawg punter.

Vanderbilt’s Andre Hal had a 96-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with 9:51 left in the third quarter. This was the first kickoff return for a touchdown against the Dawgs since Auburn’s Demond Washington had a 99-yard score in 2009.

Senior CB Brandon Boykin snagged an interception in Georgia’s end zone at the 7:28 mark in the opening period. The Dawgs were forced to punt four plays later. This is Boykin’s second INT this year and the eighth of his career (ninth for the team in 2011). The Dawgs’ pick was also their first turnover forced in the Red Zone and only technically the second Red Zone stop of the season for Georgia. #5 Boise State took a knee in the final play of the season opener.

In the second quarter, junior SS Shawn Williams had his second INT of the season and of his career. The Dawgs were forced to try a field goal after the turnover but missed. The Dawgs have 10 INTs this season. Georgia has forced 14 turnovers and converted them into 34 points. Opponents have scored 35 points off 10 Dawg miscues.

Vanderbilt’s Casey Hayward got an INT with 2:30 left in the contest at their own 2 yard line. It led to an INT by safety Bacarri Rambo as the Dawgs punted with 15 seconds left. Tonight, Georgia had three picks, matching the most since 3 versus Idaho State and Louisiana Lafayette last year.

Rambo led the Dawgs with eight stops tonight with Sanders Commings and Jarvis Jones next with six apiece.

Junior ILB Christian Robinson returned to the starting lineup for the first time since the South Carolina game. Robinson injured his foot versus the Gamecocks.

Georgia’s captains on Saturday were senior C Ben Jones, senior RT Cordy Glenn, junior SS Shawn Williams and redshirt freshman ILB Kosta Vavlas.

The Dawgs have an off-week before traveling to Jacksonville to face Florida on Saturday, October 29th, and it will be televised by CBS with kickoff slated for 3:30 p.m.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Practice Report

FOOTBALL

Riding a four-game winning streak, the Georgia football team began preparations on Monday for Saturday’s game in Nashville against Vanderbilt with a one-hour practice.

Saturday’s game at Vanderbilt will kick off at 7 p.m. and will be televised by Fox Sports South.

The Dawgs are 4-2 overall and 3-1 in the SEC after their 20-12 victory against Tennessee last week in Knoxville. Vanderbilt is 3-2 overall, 1-2 in the conference, and the Commodores are coming off a 34-0 loss to Alabama.

“The more success you have and the more confidence you gain, you just feel better,” coach Mark Richt said of the win streak. “But you can’t feel like we’ve arrived anywhere. We really haven’t done much other than put ourselves in position to do some special things. We’ve just got to keep fighting and grinding. But it is good that everybody is beginning to gain more and more confidence in what we’re doing and in each other.”

Monday’s practice took place on the Dawgs’ artificial surface as a light rain fell during the session.

“It was wet enough where we felt like we should go on the FieldTurf and not rip up the grass,” Richt said. “Monday is not a high-tempo day. It’s all about cleaning up some things. Offensively and defensively, we do some corrections and then we just begin to install some things and begin to teach the scout team how to line up properly so that Tuesday, when we put the pads on, we can really get after it.
“We’re doing what we do against everybody: Study that film, try to put a plan together and implement it, try to execute the best we can and get after it on Saturday.”

Richt said the captains for the Vanderbilt game will be Ben Jones, Cordy Glenn, Brandon Boykin and Kosta Vavlas.

Saturday’s game will mark the second of three straight away from Athens. The Dawgs will visit Tennessee and Vanderbilt in back-to-back weeks, followed by the open date and the game against Florida in Jacksonville. The Georgia-Florida game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and will be televised by CBS.