Friday, April 10, 2009

G Day Game Tomorrow


University of Georgia football fans get their first look at the 2009 edition of the Dawgs tomorrow. The annual G-Day spring game will kick off at 1:00 p.m. and be televised live by ESPN.

Brad Nessler will handle the play-by-play duties, with Kirk Herbstreit providing the color analysis and Wendy Nix adding sideline reporting.

Admission to the game is free.

A lettermen's alumni game will precede the varsity game, the starting time is scheduled for 11:15 a.m.

"To have our spring game on national television is certainly great for our program," said UGA head coach Mark Richt. "I think it speaks to the interest in our program not only within the state and regionally, but also nationally. We are looking forward to it."

"The G-Day game in Athens will be special for a lot of reasons," said ESPN's Nessler. "Just like Dawg fans, I want to see who'll replace Matthew, Knowshon and all the other departed starters. Are Joe Cox and Caleb King ready for the 'big time'? And who will play a major role to help out Rennie Curran on defense? The questions are all there at spring practice, and April 11th, the answers start to emerge. For me, it's Easter weekend at home in Georgia....between the hedges again. A perfect way to spend a Saturday!"

The G-Day festivities will begin at 11:15 when approximately 80 Georgia football letter winners from six different decades will take part in a flag football game. That contest will now feature 14 former All-SEC performers.

"It's always enjoyable to have former players come back to show they're still very much a part of our program," Richt said. "It will be even more special to have so many return at once. I'm sure it will be an entertaining contest."

The current Dawgs will then take center stage. Georgia returns 49 lettermen and 14 of 25 starters off the 2009 Capital One Bowl Championship team that finished 10-3 and ranked No. 10 and No. 13 in the final USA Today/ESPN and Associate Press polls, respectively.

The Dawgs have now posted double-digit win tallies in six of the last seven seasons and also recorded six top-10 finishes during that span.

Seven offensive starters, including All-SEC lineman Clint Boling and receiver A.J. Green, the 2008 SEC Freshman of the Year, are back.

On defense, six starters are returning, headlined by All-SEC performers Geno Atkins (DT), Rennie Curran (WLB) and Reshad Jones (FS).

Sanford Stadium gates will open at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. Gates utilized for the public will be the main gate under the Sanford Drive bridge as well as gates 2, 4, 6, 7 and 9.

In lieu of an admission fee, fans are encouraged to bring food donations to benefit the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia. Among the items most needed are soups, peanut butter, canned fruits and vegetables, cereal, rice, pasta and pop-top canned goods.

"I would like to encourage the fans not only to participate in the food drive but also just be there at G-Day to show the rest of the country what the Dawg Nation is all about," Richt said.

Spring Awards Announced

Best All-Around Offensive Player: Clint Boling, OT, Alpharetta

True Grit Award: Ben Jones, C, Centreville, Ala.

Most Improved Offensive Lineman: Casey Nickels, OT, Tignall

Most Improved Player: Marquise Brown, WR, Lanham, Md.

Most Improved Running Back: Carlton Thomas, RB, Frostproof, Fla.

Biggest Surprise of Spring (Offense): Logan Gray, QB, Columbia, Mo.

Outstanding Walk On (Offense): Casey Nickels, OT, Tignall

Most Consistent Running Back: Shaun Chapas, RB, St. Augustine, Fla.

Most Improved Defensive Tackle: DeAngelo Tyson, DL, Statesboro

Most Improved Defensive End: Justin Houston, DE, Statesboro

Most Improved Linebacker: Christian Robinson, LB, Norcross

Most Improved Defensive Back: Brandon Boykin, DB, Fayetteville

Outstanding Walk On (Defense): Brandon Wheeling, DL, Dallas

Coffee County Hustle Award: Joe Cox, QB, Charlotte, N.C.; Michael Moore, WR, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Nick Williams, LB, Bainbridge; Demarcus Dobbs, DE, Savannah; Bryan Evans, DB, Jacksonville, Fla.

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