Friday, August 31, 2012

Game Day Enhancements


In an effort to upgrade the in-game experience for fans attending games at Sanford Stadium, the UGA Athletic Association will provide enhanced video coverage and interactive capabilities with spectators during the 2012 football season.

The stadium's 36-foot by 73-foot scoreboard in the West end zone will be utilized to provide expanded replay capabilities, with more angles including plays that are being officially reviewed. The changes are part of a Southeastern Conference-wide decision that was approved by the league's Athletics Directors earlier this month following a recommendation prepared by the conference’s Working Group on Fan Experience.

During official reviews, the video board will be able to show multiple replays from the television network that is broadcasting the game. In previous years, the SEC had a standard one real-time replay policy for all plays in a game for all sports.

“The change in policy will allow our fans to see more of the action, including great plays and close calls,” SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said. “Fans in the stadium now can see many of the same views of a play seen by fans watching on television. This should add to the overall game experience for fans inside our stadiums.”

The scoreboard also will feature a "split screen" option during timeouts to show other games live or highlights from other contests.

From an interactive perspective, polls will be conducted via Twitter with real time updates, and selected tweets from spectators will be displayed on the video board.

"It is our goal to create the best possible in-game experience and game day experience for our loyal fans," said Alan Thomas, UGA's Associate Athletic Director for External Operations. "We will continue work towards that goal in both a game-by-game and season-long basis."

Another alteration to enhance the atmosphere outside Sanford Stadium is the moving of the Tailgate Show radio broadcast from under the Sanford Drive bridge to the Tate Student Center Plaza adjacent to the UGA Bookstore. The Tailgate show airs three hours prior to kickoff on the Georgia Dawg Sports Network from IMG, which features more than 50 radio stations in Georgia, Florida and South Carolina.

"This space is a great gathering area and a highly visible location," Thomas said.

The complete rundown of the radio network's football-related broadcasts, including a new location for the pre- and post-game Game Day Live show for home games, is outlined below.

Dawgs Game Day with hosts Jeff Dantzler and Charlie McAlexander airs from the Georgia Center for Continuing Education for an hour, beginning four hours prior to kickoff. The show will air at the same time from Fuzzy's Taco Shop in downtown Athens prior to road games.

AT&T Tailgate Show with hosts Neil Williamson, Eric Zeier, Loran Smith and Scott Howard airs from Tate Center Plaza for two and a half hours, starting three hours prior to kickoff. The show originates from the visiting team stadium for road games.

Countdown to Kickoff with hosts Scott Howard and Eric Zeier airs from the press box for the 30 minutes prior to kickoff.

Regions Bank Locker Room Report with host Chuck Dowdle in the Georgia locker room with head coach Mark Richt and Neil Williamson in the press box broadcast booth airs immediately following the game.

BB&T Dawg Talk with hosts Jeff Dantzler and Kevin Butler airs from the Georgia Center for Continuing Education for 1:45 beginning 30 minutes after the game concludes. The show will air at the same time from Fuzzy's Taco Shop in downtown Athens following road games.

Dawg Brunch with hosts Jeff Dantzler airs live from the Hilltop Grille in Athens Sunday mornings from 10-noon.

AT&T Dawg Hotline with host Scott Howard and coach Mark Richt airs from 8-9 p.m. every Monday during the football season.

Hondo and the Dawg All Stars with host Neil "Hondo" Williamson and former lettermen Kevin Butler, Jeff Lewis and DJ Jones airs from 9-10 p.m. every Monday during the football season.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Conley Named SEC Representative To Division I National SAAC


University of Georgia sophomore flanker Chris Conley has been selected to represent the Southeastern Conference as a member of the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). Conley’s two-year appointment begins immediately.

The Division I SAAC consists of one student-athlete from each of the 31 Division I conferences and reports directly to the Leadership Council. The mission of the DI SAAC is to enhance the total student-athlete experience by promoting opportunity, protecting student-athlete well-being, and fostering a positive student-athlete image. Service on the DI SAAC involves attending three in-person meetings a year (July, November and January), as well as participating on a number of conference calls throughout the year. The January meeting is held in conjunction with the NCAA National Convention, giving the SAAC an opportunity to interact directly with college athletics leaders.

“It is a great honor, and I feel like it’s a big opportunity for me to not only affect my teammates but also student-athletes nationally, and give them a voice,” said Conley. “This is an opportunity for me to lead and to be a servant. I want to learn as much as I can so that I can be as helpful as I can.”

Conley, a native of Dallas, Georgia, played in 11 games last season and registered 16 catches for 288 yards and two touchdowns. Conley is a pre-journalism major who was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll and the UGA Athletic Director’s Honor Roll last year.

Russ Is Uga IX


DSC_7803“Russ,” the half-brother of Uga VII who has served two terms as interim mascot for the Dawgs, has received a “battlefield promotion” and will assume the title of “Uga IX,” according to an announcement by UGA Director of Athletics Greg McGarity.

Official ceremonies will be conducted prior to the Georgia-Florida Atlantic home football game in historic Sanford Stadium, Saturday, September 15th. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. and will be carried live on CSS.

"Like many great and memorable Dawgs, Russ has earned the opportunity to serve in this capacity,” said UGA president Dr. Michael F. Adams. “I am confident that he will represent the Dawg Nation very well and continue the grand tradition of Ugas."

“Russ has endeared himself to the Georgia people over the last three years,” said UGA Director of Athletics Greg McGarity. “His dedication to duty when called upon has been exemplary and it’s fitting that he takes his place in the official line of Georgia mascots.”

Russ has served as interim mascot for a total of 23 games. Following the unexpected death of Uga VII on November 19th, 2009, Russ served as interim mascot the final two games of the 2009 season and the first six games of 2010. Uga VIII was introduced on October 16th, 2010 prior to the Georgia-Vanderbilt game. Russ was pressed back into duty prior to the 2010 Liberty Bowl and stayed on following the untimely death of Uga VIII in February, 2011.

DSC_8118Russ roamed the sidelines at all 14 games during the 2011 season. While serving in the interim role, Russ has posted a record of 14-9 including the 2011 SEC Eastern Division championship.

The continuous line of Georgia mascots has been owned by the Seiler family for 56 years.

Tuesday Press Conference – Defense


Georgia head coach Mark Richt and a delegation of players met with the media Tuesday during the Bulldogs’ weekly press luncheon. They offered the following comments:

Head Coach Mark Richt

On different teams recruiting players from the state of Georgia…

“Georgia is not a secret anymore. Atlanta with the airport and the accessibility for people to come just about anywhere in the United States to have a direct flight from Atlanta and go recruit and get out of there. It just makes sense for time and for what it might cost to do that. Everybody is in the state. Everybody is in Atlanta, and everybody is trying to find some Georgia boys to help them win, so it’s not a shock to see them all the way in Buffalo.”

On Ramik Wilson and the outside linebacker position…

“It’s our Sam linebacker, basically, and he’ll play a lot of they are in base personnel. If they are spread out, that guy is usually out of the ball game. If they are in certain personnel groups he plays a good bit, and if they are spread out a bunch he might not play as much in that position anyway. Ramik, we think he is a very talented guy. He can play outside linebacker. We believe he can play inside linebacker as well. It’s his second year in the system, and we just expect that we’ll have a lot more productivity out of him. We like what he’s done. He’s been really good for Georgia.”

On Marshall Morgan’s readiness to kick in front of 92,000 people…

“I don’t know how ready Marshall is. He’s a talented guy, there is no doubt about that. We wouldn’t have brought him in if we didn’t think that he had the talent base to do it. He has a strong enough leg and he’s had enough success in his high school career to do well. I think in time he’s gong to do extremely well. What will he do in his first game and his first kick? I don’t know. It will be interesting to see. “Of course Collin Barber is kind of in the same boat as a true freshman punter as well. We have had some good competition with Jamie Lindley in practice, and I’m not sure if Jamie will get in there or not, but we’ve also had some good competition with Adam Erickson at the punting position too. I wouldn’t be shocked to see those guys in there as well.”

On whether Georgia has had a policy change on addressing personnel or disciplinary decisions…

“I don’t know if there is anything etched in stone, but we are handling it a little bit different this year. I don’t know if I can say why, but we are definitely handling it just a little bit different.”

Senior Defensive Tackle John Jenkins

On how the team’s anticipation for Saturday…

“We want to get the show on the road. We’re just excited, I don’t really know any other way to say it but we’re just overly excited. We’re on a mission for great things to come from this season.

On his individual, and team goals for the upcoming season…

“Individually I just want to do everything I can to help this team win. I tell everyone else that as long as we win the game as a team, then everything else individually that I have set for my goals will come true. From a personal standpoint, I want to get better fundamentally and then be able to apply those fundamentals better in a game time situation. As long as we are able to get the win, that’s all I care about.”

On the importance of the new strength coaches…

“They have been very important to us throughout the preseason. All of these guys have their own kind of area of expertise. Coach Herman Armstrong has done a great job of stretching us out and maximizing our quickness. Coach Justin Lovett came here from the Denver Broncos and I have been working with him a lot personally doing some MMA training to work on my hand eye coordination and help my feet movement more precise for pass rushing. I’m that much greater than I was last year because of all of the work these guys have put us through.”

Senior Linebacker Christian Robinson

On how the depth of the linebacker position…

“Last year after Alec Ogletree and I went down I think everyone was kind of worried about what we were going to do at inside linebacker, but look how great these guys did. Mike Gilliard and Amarlo Herrera came up huge for us and now we have four or five guys that can play for us at that position and no one would question it. It’s all about going out and getting reps and even though some guys are out, we have enough players to back them up. Then when they come back we’ll have even more depth and we’ll be cheering for the younger guys to get more reps too.”

On what he is most excited to see come Saturday…

“I want to see these young running backs. Keith Marshall put a move on somebody the other day that I hadn’t seen in a while. He shook two people and they both fell down. I haven’t seen anyone since I’ve been here that could do something like that. Maybe AJ Green had that kind of juking ability. That’s pretty special to me. I haven’t seen someone just blatantly fall down because some one juked them, so I want them to be turned loose so they can stop hitting us. I think we have a lot of good running backs, they all have their own style and they’re each unique in their own aspects so I think we have a good group. I think this group is way farther ahead than a lot of other groups in recent past.”

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday Practice Report


Sixth-ranked Georgia moved one day closer to its season opener as the team conducted a 90-minute practice in jerseys, shorts and helmets Wednesday.

“We’re ready to go; let’s play some football,” said coach Mark Richt. “We’re about done, we’ve got one more day of practice.”

Throughout the preseason, Richt has been asked about various personnel on offense, defense and special teams, and Wednesday the question was posed about who he would be watching closely during Saturday’s season opener with Buffalo.

“The punter and kickers, I’m interested to see how that goes,” Richt said. “Also, it will be fun to watch our backs. Those are the top two right now for me.”

Specifically, Richt was asked about who would handle kickoff duties, and he said it’s between freshman Marshall Morgan and senior Jamie Lindley.

“Both have done well and have done enough to do it,” said Richt. “I wouldn’t be shocked if both get an opportunity.”

Georgia’s projected starting punter is freshman Collin Barber. Redshirt sophomore Ken Malcome is listed as the starting tailback and behind him, the Dawgs have a pair of freshmen in Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall plus senior Richard Samuel.

On the injury front, Richt indicated that senior defensive end Cornelius Washington and junior nose Kwame Geathers will play Saturday and that sophomore guard Hunter Long (left foot fracture) is the only scholarship player that he would rule out at this time. When asked about redshirt freshman tight end Jay Rome (hamstring strain), Richt said there’s still a bit of time before game day, and they will see how he’s doing.

Tuesday Press Conference – Offense


Georgia head coach Mark Richt and a delegation of players met with the media Tuesday during the Bulldogs’ weekly press luncheon. They offered the following comments:

Head Coach Mark Richt

On the importance of Richard Samuel’s play this season…

“There haven’t been a lot of guys that have been able to cross-train, but having Richard able to do that is good for Richard and good for Georgia. The thing that makes it easier than maybe a Malcolm Mitchell trying to play receiver and defensive back is that everything he needs to learn is being done in the same meeting room, whether it’s fullback or tailback. So that helps him really know what to do in both areas. I think throughout the year we’ll see Richard at both positions, and we might even see him at both positions this ballgame. It’s possible.”

On the development of Ken Malcome…

“I’m really proud of him. He got to a point in his career where he thought he should leave Georgia because he didn’t think he’d get to play much. He thought the answer was to leave, so I did try to talk him out of it when he first came in. I asked him if we had really seen the best Ken Malcome and he ought to show himself his best and then decide what to do. But he felt like he should go a day or two later, and once he was living that decision out, he realized that it wasn’t the right one. He didn’t want to quit, and he wanted a chance to come back. I told him that if he wanted to come back, I wanted to see his best and not only in the field but also in the classroom and everywhere else. He began to work, and he didn’t complain or look around at the competition, but he started to work. He became the best he could be in the classroom and on the field, and then good things started happening for him. He knows what to do and how to do it, and he’s been practicing his tail off. Good things have been happening to Ken, and hopefully this will continue when he steps on the field.”

On Ken Malcome’s career to this point…

“The book on his career hasn’t been fully written, but at the rate he’s going if he continues to progress like he has it’s going to be a wonderful story. He still has a ways to go to finish strong and make it a story worth writing, but he certainly has come a long way. There are so many of our guys who have had to overcome things. I think everybody in life - we all have our stories, we all have our issues that we need to overcome. Some things seem more drastic than others, but it’s real to everybody. Ken is doing well. I’m happy for him right now. I’m proud for him.”

On whether Christian LeMay could get some snaps on Saturday…

“Our plan is to line up with Aaron Murray as quarterback and try to win the game. We don’t have a plan with Christian like we might have had with D.J. Shockley back in the day where we knew we were going to play him in the first half. We’ll just see how the game goes and sub if possible.”

On Mark Beard…

“I’m not 100 percent sure he’d be the first guy to come in if something happened to Kenarious Gates, but the more he practices there and the more comfortable he gets there, the better chance he’ll have. We did have Austin Long there, but then we decided to move Austin inside, so I don’t know if he would go in first or if Mark would. Austin was at left tackle at the beginning, but now he’s moving around a little bit. We’ll see if it’s Mark or not.”

On whether he is more inclined to open up with a fullback so Merritt Hall can get the start…

“I guess if you don’t play the first play you aren’t considered the starter, but he’s the starter in our base unit. I’m happy for him and I’m happy for Georgia. Sometimes you look at a depth chart and a position and wonder how we are going to do. For him to come out of the blue and play the way he did in the spring and the fall and solidify the job and create competition, it’s good. It’s good for us, good for Georgia and good for him. Will we start in base? I don’t know. That means some other guy doesn’t get to start. We’ll see. I’ll let Mike Bobo decide that.”

Senior Wide Receiver Tavarres King

On young receivers like Justin Scott-Wesley and Blake Tibbs…
“They’ve come a long way. The big part is understanding the offense and what we’re doing; understanding the concepts. Tibbs has come a long way and has done really well – those young guys have done a good job learning the playbook and what we need them to do.”

On Marlon Brown…
“He’s been really consistent. He’s done everything that’s been asked of him – in the running game, the passing game, everything. He’s attacking the ball when it’s in the air, and looks like a really well-rounded receiver right now. He’s going to continue to progress and get better. It’s crazy the steps he’s taken and the strides he’s made.”

On expectations for Saturday…
“I just want to see our guys do what we’ve been doing in practice – guys having fun, enjoying themselves, fighting hard and playing for their teammates. That’s what we do in practice and hopefully that incorporates itself on Saturday.”

On the progress of the offense compared to this time last year…
“We’re absolutely further along. I tell my guys [the wide receivers] it starts with us. If we’re there when we need to be there, things will go right. I’m sure the O-line says the same thing. Everybody needs to believe the team success starts with them.”

Junior Quarterback Aaron Murray

On the offense…
“I think we look great right now. The biggest thing is the no-huddle, I think it’s been moving more rapidly and the guys are able to get lined up faster. We’re getting the plays in faster and things are smooth. When the guys don’t have to think too much, you can get lined up and execute. Credit goes to guys like Merritt Hall – they’ve learned the playbook and they’ve worked hard this offseason.”

On a freshman kicker and punter making their debuts…
“I’m excited to see what all the freshmen can do, every position. I know they’ll be ready. I don’t watch much kicking and punting in practice but I’ve heard good things. Hopefully we won’t need to use them too much for punts. Just kickoffs. That’s always the goal of the quarterback.”

On freshmen handling their first game…
“I think they have different reactions and it depends. Kickers, when your numbers is called and you have to make one play with all eyes on you, it’s nerve-wracking. Wide receivers might have some more time to get into it, then you might get hit and then your adrenaline starts going. I’m interested to see how they do. We try to simulate game situations in practice so everyone can get used to things.”

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tuesday Practice Report


A heavy rain at the onset of practice on Tuesday drove the No. 6-ranked Dawgs to their Field Turf practice fields for the first time this fall. However, when the meat of the workout arrived, the precipitation had ended and the Dawgs conducted the majority of their two-hour session under cloudy, spring-like conditions.

"I was hoping by practicing in the rain we would be able to handle the wet ball and all that kind of thing," head coach Mark Richt said. "It might rain on Saturday so we better get ready. The reality was we fumbled more and dropped more balls than normal even though the rain stopped."

The Dawgs practiced in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts on Tuesday, a traditional Wednesday game-week workout that was pushed up a day since this weekend's contest is the season opener.

"This was the last day with any kind pads on other than helmets the next two days so we're getting close," Richt said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Richt took part in the Dawgs' initial pre-game press conference of the season. He said he saw much improvement from Buffalo from the 2010 to 2011 seasons and expects much of the same this year.

"Coach Jeff Quinn is in his third season," Richt said. "He’s doing an outstanding job there, no doubt about it. I was looking at their offense and one of the things that I saw from their first to their second year was that they were really adding their yards per game and doing much better in points per game. Their turnover ratio has improved dramatically from year one to year two and now they’re going into year three with a lot of veteran players. It’s a little bit similar with what’s going on with our defense in that everybody knows what they’re doing. I’m sure they’re in the same situation in that regard. They are a big bunch, and they have three guys that started all 12 games last year on the offensive line, so we’re looking forward to that challenge. With our line against theirs, it will be interesting to see how that goes. I figure they’ll be wanting to run the ball a lot, and it will be a challenge for us to stop it.”

Tuesday Press Conference


DSC_0014Coach Mark Richt and a delegation of players met with the media Tuesday during the Dawgs’ weekly press luncheon. They offered the following comments:

Head Coach Mark Richt

Opening Statement

“Good to see everybody, and I’m glad that it’s finally game week. We’ve been waiting a long time, and we’re getting tired, quite frankly, of running into each other. I’m sure every coach in America is saying this, but it’s true. We just can’t wait to play. I guess we’re going to get out there today to practice. The weather is a little bit rough, but I think we’ll be fine unless lightning strikes. We’ll be in our shoulder pads and helmets, which is normally what we do on Wednesday but we’re a day ahead of schedule. The next couple of days will just be in shorts and hats, so I think that will go well, even if we have to go inside a day. We’re far enough along so we’ll be okay.

“To talk about our first opponent, Buffalo, Coach Jeff Quinn is in his third season. He’s doing an outstanding job there, no doubt about it. I was looking at their offense and one of the things that I saw from their first to their second year was that they were really adding their yards per game and doing much better in points per game. Their turnover ratio has improved dramatically from year one to year two and now they’re going into year three with a lot of veteran players. It’s a little bit similar with what’s going on with our defense in that everybody knows what they’re doing. I’m sure they’re in the same situation in that regard. They are a big bunch, and they have three guys that started all 12 games last year on the offensive line, so we’re looking forward to that challenge. With our line against theirs, it will be interesting to see how that goes. I figure they’ll be wanting to run the ball a lot, and it will be a challenge for us to stop it.”

On entering his 12th season at Georgia and the expectations entering his first year…

“I didn’t know for sure what was going to happen being a first year head coach. When I left Florida State I left a great place. I left a great job working for a great man. My family was happy. There was no burning desire to leave Tallahassee, but I knew that this head coaching thing was going to happen if I wanted to take advantage of it. I always felt like from the very beginning if we ever left there we were only going to leave for a place we thought could be our home for a long time, because I enjoyed the stability of being with Coach Bobby Bowden for 15 out of 16 years. It was great for my family. When you’re at a school long enough you get to see the guys come in as freshmen and leave as seniors. You even get to see a guy come back five, six years later after graduation and come back with his wife and kids and just really enjoy coming back what feels like home to him. There is something to that that I was very attracted to. The types of things that Coach Bowden was building in Tallahassee were the types of things that I wanted to build here at Georgia. It’s not shocking to me that I’m still here in that I know in my heart this is where I want to be, but we know that it’s a rough business too.”

On the difference between this year’s season opener and last year’s season opener…

“I think it’s just the media attention. When we played Boise State, it was hyped a whole lot more than this game is. I think because we are a preseason top-10 team, the media will cover this game. Most sports channels talk about what happened in the top-10, so I’m sure we’ll get some attention for that reason. The biggest thing was having two pretty highly-ranked teams or at least two top-25 teams playing against each other outside of the normal area. I think that’s what made it a bigger story.”

On being a top-10 team despite new faces at tailback, punter and kicker…

“The year we were preseason No. 1 (in 2008), that was the year Cordy Glenn and Ben Jones started as freshmen, and it’s hard to think you’re the preseason No. 1 team when you have a lot of freshman linemen starting for you. We have a brand new punter, kicker, tailbacks. There are a lot of question marks, no doubt, but I think everybody in the country have some kind of issue. Sometimes teams look more glamorous when they are far away. You don’t see all the warts.”

On the 2009 and 2010 seasons…

“It’s just a very fine line between winning and losing. There are so many close games that we didn’t win during that stretch. If you go back farther and some of the years that people are saying were more successful or seasons we had more wins, there were a lot of close games we won. It’s really a fine line between success and failure in this business – winning and losing. You have to understand that and know that sometimes when you are winning there are some things that need to be fixed. Sometimes when you are losing there are some things that you probably don’t need to abort. You need to stay with them because you are not that far away from having that success again. If you make too many changes in philosophy or personnel or whatever it might be, then you might be setting yourself up for failure because you forgot what got you there too.”

On Georgia’s depth…

“When you travel in an SEC game you are only allowed to bring 70. I think historically we’ve had a handful of walk-ons that are either walk-ons that earned scholarships or that are just still walk-ons that have been a part of our special teams. We’ve had a great tradition of walk-ons playing big on special teams for us. We’ve probably been averaging about 65 guys on scholarship when we travel to an SEC game. Even all of those don’t get in the game. An NFL team is running around with a 53-man roster and they seem to do okay. The difference is they can make trades and they can do things if guys get hurt. I think right now we have enough guys to go play football and play well. We have been very blessed to get through camp with very few injuries. Hunter Long’s foot injury, which is about a four to six week thing, has been the biggest one to any scholarship player that I can think of.”

On the offensive line…

“It would have been nice to have Kolton Houston as well ready to go. Hunter was making some strides at center and guard before he broke his foot. I don’t know if we would’ve had a situation with two full lines and the one unit leaves and the two unit comes in. There’s been only a couple of seasons that I can remember that I’ve been coaching that we had that type of a line. Mostly it’s one, two or three guys who can go in there and play. Right now it’s good to have those two feeling like they are ready to go. Beard is kind of working his way into that mode, so we’ll see.”

On Georgia’s freshmen…

“You hope when you sign them they are going to come in and help you, and then you start practicing and see these kids need to play. They need to help us on special teams and get as much experience as possible this year because we are pretty senior-heavy on defense right now. It’s good to get those guys as much work as possible.”

On the SEC…

“Our teams have been able to have one make it to the national championship game every year for the last six years and win it. If we were in that game six years in a row and won three out of six, I don’t think people would be talking about the SEC as being a dominant conference. The reality is we’ve won the last six in a row, and with teams that might have had a loss here or loss there. One year there were two losses with LSU having two losses. People are saying a one-loss SEC team may still be the best team in America, or at least still has the right to play for it. Of course Alabama had one loss and they didn’t win the league, but they played for the national championship and won it. I think it’s a tribute to the programs as a whole. When you take the fan bases, the administration, coaches, the players, the talent base that everybody has and the competition level in all areas – that’s what make us better. We compete so hard against each other, and there is a bunch of us that are good enough to beat each other too. Some people think it’s top heavy, but there are some pretty strong teams all the way across the board I think.”

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Practice Report


The sixth-ranked Georgia football team finally reached game week on Monday, spending approximately two hours working on Saturday's season-opening opponent.

The Dawgs will entertain Buffalo on Saturday at 12:21 p.m. at Sanford Stadium, and the game will be televised on the SEC Network.

"It feels good," cornerback Branden Smith said. "I wish the game was tomorrow, to tell you the truth, but we've got to keep getting ready. We've got to come out on Tuesday and pick it up and get better. We need to play fast on Saturday."

"It's nice knowing at the end of the week there will be a game," safety Connor Norman said. "You're not waking up Saturday for another practice; you're waking up Saturday to play. Getting to play, that's why we're all here. It will be nice to compete against other people, instead of having guys like Richard Samuel pounding on you. It means something now. It's exciting."

The captains for Saturday's game will be quarterback Aaron Murray, end Abry Jones, safety Shawn Williams and snapper Ty Frix.

Monday's injury report included receiver Taylor Bradberry (thumb sprain), nose Kwame Geathers (shoulder contusion), tight end Jay Rome (hamstring) and end/outside linebacker Cornelius Washington (cervical strain). Bradberry was the only one held out of Monday's practice. Geathers, Rome and Washington were limited.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Captains For Season Opener Named


The sixth-ranked Dawgs practiced in helmets, shoulder pads and shorts for approximately two hours on Saturday morning, a workout that resembled their traditional Monday session for a game week.

"The defense seemed to be much more interested in winning today than the offense," coach Mark Richt said afterward.

Richt also announced the captains for the season opener next weekend against Buffalo. Quarterback Aaron Murray will serve as offensive captain, end Abry Jones and safety Shawn Williams will be defensive captains and snapper Ty Frix will captain the special teams.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Diving Dawgs


The Georgia football team took a break from practice on Friday and spent an hour in the diving well at Gabrielsen Natatorium inside the Ramsey Center.

After a full scrimmage on Wednesday and a situational scrimmage on Thursday, the Dawgs were able to work on their techniques from the 10-meter platform on Friday. The leap from the tower has become something of a rite of passage for the Dawgs' newcomers, and those who can't swim well have teammates willing to paddle out and help them to the side.

"It's awesome, and it's something we always look forward to," receiver Tavarres King said. "It's nice to get a break like that. We've been banging on each other for a couple of weeks now, and it was good to get a day where we could relax and enjoy each other and have fun."

“We had fun today,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “It was a team-building day and we made a lot of memories.” Richt told the Dawgs shortly before what was scheduled to be a “physical, fundamental day.” He said the pool day is most effective when they don’t know it’s coming.

“It was a good day to do it,” Richt said. “We try to do it on a day that they know is going to be tough and they say, ‘Here we go again.’ Getting out of a day like that gets them excited.”

Richt set the tone for the outing as he made his traditional backflip off the tower, which is 33 feet high. “The older you get, the higher it gets,” Richt said. “If you land wrong, something is going to get hurt. I see our guys land awkwardly and if that was me, I would have dislocated my shoulder. Thankfully I hit it pretty good.”

Friday's injury report included receiver Michael Bennett (left quadriceps contusion), guard Hunter Long (foot fracture) and tight end Jay Rome (hamstring strain). Richt said he expects Rome back at practice on Monday.

The Dawgs will return to the Woodruff Practice Fields on Saturday morning.

Preseason Broadcast Announced


A pair of University of Georgia preseason football shows are scheduled to air on Sunday.

The Inside Georgia Football Presented by Georgia’s Own Credit Union Preseason Special – No Regrets: The 2012 Dawgs will air Sunday at 3:30 p.m. on CSS. The show will feature exclusive interviews leading up the 2012 season and an inside look at the Dawgs’ preseason camp. It can also be seen again at midnight on WSB.

A UGA preseason radio special with hosts Scott Howard, Neil Williamson, Eric Zeier, DJ Jones and Kevin Butler will also air Sunday from 1-3 p.m. on WSB 750 AM and 95.5 FM.

Georgia will play host to Buffalo in its season opener Sept. 1 at 12:21 p.m., and the game will be televised live by the SEC Network.

Tickets to the home football games against Buffalo and Florida Atlantic (Sept. 15) are on sale to the general public and can be purchased online at or by calling the UGA Athletic Association ticket office at 1-877-542-1231.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thursday Practice Report


Sixth-ranked Georgia conducted a situational scrimmage Thursday at Sanford Stadium in preparation for its season opener.

On Wednesday, the Dawgs held a “practice game” in full pads at the stadium featuring two quarters of play against their scout team. Thursday’s two-hour session addressed any scenarios that were not covered during Wednesday’s action as the team worked out in jerseys, shoulders pads, helmets and shorts. Afterwards, assistant coaches met with the media on an array of topics.

Associate head coach/defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was asked about the potential impact of the freshmen class.

“The lifeblood of a program is recruiting and when you do your evaluations, you look for guys that can make plays and are core guys; guys that are solid and do things the way you want them done,” said Grantham. “I do think this class has these core guys.”

Grantham commented on a couple of seniors in Cornelius Washington and returning All-American Jarvis Jones.

“Jarvis is working harder this year, not to say that he didn’t work hard last year, but when you lead the SEC in sacks, we’ve got good coaches in this league, and we know they are figuring on how to take him out of the game plan,” Grantham added. “We’re aware of that; it’s like with Demarcus Ware when I was in Dallas. Jarvis is working on specific things to develop his craft and allow him to make plays. Cornelius should have a big year; he’s going to play both end and outside linebacker. He can put his hand in the dirt, and he’s got the body type and ability to play outside linebacker too and get a pass rush.”

Assistant coach Bryan McClendon provided an update on the running backs and said the newcomers are very anxious and excited to contribute.

“I see them staying focused, that’s one of the reasons we’ve practiced at the stadium some, to get them used to that, to playing Between the Hedges,” said McClendon.

McClendon said that redshirt sophomore tailback Ken Malcome likely will be the starter in the opener, but there are still a few more practices and the evaluation continues for the pecking order at that spot. At fullback, McClendon said redshirt freshman Merritt Hall and senior Richard Samuel are “1A and 1B,” and that Hall likely will start. Samuel has split time at fullback and tailback.

Also of note at Thursday’s practice, actor Samuel L. Jackson was in attendance, and he spoke briefly to the team before their workout.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wednesday Practice Report


Sixth-ranked Georgia conducted its third scrimmage of the preseason Wednesday at Sanford Stadium, and the Dawgs rallied past “Buffalo” in overtime.

“It was a barn burner; a 49-48 overtime victory for Georgia,” said coach Mark Richt. “We were down late in the fourth quarter and scored to put it to overtime. Actually, we had a 57-yard field goal miss in regulation. Buffalo won the toss in overtime, went on defense and Georgia scored. Then, Buffalo scored and went for two. That was a good strategy, but thankfully we got the stop on the two-point conversion.”

The Dawgs started the scrimmage in the third quarter with Buffalo leading 35-0, and Richt jokingly credited himself for a rousing halftime speech in rallying the Dawgs.

Junior quarterback Aaron Murray enjoyed a productive day, completing 20-of-25 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns. Meanwhile freshman Faton Bauta directed Buffalo’s attack and completed a touchdown pass in regulation to freshman Kenneth Towns and then another one to sophomore Michael Erdman in overtime. Freshman Todd Gurley led all running backs with 54 yards on six carries with one touchdown while sophomore Ken Malcome tallied 50 yards on six carries. Senior Marlon Brown was the leading receiver with seven catches for 98 yards. Sophomore Michael Bennett, junior Rhett McGowan and freshman Keith Marshall collected touchdown receptions.

Sophomore inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera provided a highlight for the defense with a 23-yard interception return for a touchdown. Senior linebacker Michael Gilliard registered a team-high four tackles.

Overall, Richt praised the graduate assistants for getting the “Buffalo” team ready Wednesday.

“I have to give a hand to the graduate assistants because they did an outstanding job with Buffalo,” said Richt. “We had very few issues.”

On Thursday, Georgia has planned a “situational scrimmage” to include any scenarios that were not covered during Wednesday’s action.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday Practice Report


The No. 6-ranked Dawgs practiced for just over an hour in jerseys and shorts on Tuesday afternoon in Athens with an eye on Wednesday's scrimmage at Sanford Stadium. The third scrimmage of the preseason will serve as a "practice game" for the season opener against Buffalo, which is a week from this Saturday.

"Today's practice was fine," coach Mark Richt said. "We got accomplished what we meant to get accomplished which was getting our scouts teams for Buffalo ready to play the 'game' tomorrow. We were in shorts and it was only 12 periods which wasn't too physically taxing. It was mostly mental preparation for our getting ready for Buffalo and our scout teams getting ready to be Buffalo."

Senior nose tackle John Jenkins, who was included on preseason watch lists for both the Nagurski Trophy, Lombardi Award and the Outland Trophy, is excited about the transition from pre-season camp to game preparation.

"It ramps up because we're not worried about ourselves, we're preparing for an opponent for once," Jenkins said. "We're not hitting each other. I'm pretty sure it's the same way for Buffalo. They're tired of hitting one another and they want to hit somebody else. I'm sure we're both ready. It's kinda nice to get to this point."

Three Dawgs – punter Cody Johnson, offensive lineman Hunter Long and tight end Cole Trolinger – missed Tuesday's workout due to injuries. In addition, offensive lineman Mark Beard, receivers Chris Conley and Tavarres King and tight end Jay Rome practiced on a limited basis.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Practice Report


The sixth-ranked Georgia football team returned to the Woodruff Practice Fields on Monday, logging a two-hour session in full pads.

“It was another fundamentals practice, and I thought we got some what we needed to get down,” Coach Mark Richt said. “Tuesday will be mostly on scout team work getting prepared for Buffalo and getting the scouts ready to give us a good look Wednesday for our practice game. Thursday will be a situational scrimmage, so we have a lot of work on Buffalo this week starting tomorrow.”

Richt was asked for an update on Malcolm Mitchell, who spent the spring and preseason camp in the secondary after standing out at receiver last year.

“He’s been working after practice with Coach Tony Ball on his wide receiver fundamentals,” Richt said. “Some days, a quarterback will stick around and throw some routes with him. I’m actually going to start talking with Coach Ball on what the plan should be game one. I think he’ll get some offensive snaps, but how many and how much we want to try to practice with him, I don’t know yet.”

Richt said tailbacks Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley and fullback Quayvon Hicks, all of whom are freshmen, are continuing to develop.

“They’ve been diligent guys,” Richt said. “I’ve seen some good signs of maturing. We are capable as a coaching staff to get freshmen ready to play in the first game. Will they be perfect? No. But I’m not afraid to play them.”

Monday's injury report included center David Andrews (illness) and receiver Tavarres King (left leg strain). Andrews was out and King was limited.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday Practice Report


With the annual Fans Picture Days slated for this afternoon, sixth-ranked Georgia held a 90-minute workout Saturday morning in full pads.

Afterwards, coach Mark Richt said he has been pleased with the recent practice sessions after being concerned about how the team looked last week. Saturday marked the 18th out of 29 preseason practices for the Dawgs.

“The last two days, they have responded; I shortened practice a bit today as we’ve got picture day,” said Richt. “We had a lot of family members out there so that probably helped how they practiced. With people watching, practice is usually better. It’s a great day for the Dawg nation with picture day, the fans get to meet not just football players but all the sports are involved and Russ too.”

The Associated Press (AP) Top 25 was released Saturday, and like the coaches poll which was released August 2nd, the Dawgs debut at No. 6. USC starts off at No. 1 followed by Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma and Oregon in the AP preseason top five.

“It’s good that people feel that way about us but we’ve got a long way to go and a lot to prove,” Richt said. “The reality of college football is that there’s a vote who decides who goes where so it’s important.”

Cross-training at different positions continues at practice as the Dawgs aim to develop depth. For example on the offensive line Saturday, junior guard Mark Beard got some work at tackle while junior tackle Austin Long saw action at guard.

“It’s something that Coach Will Friend wanted to take a look at; he wanted to see Beard on the edge because he’s athletic and then give Long a chance to see what he could do inside,” said Richt. “From what I saw, Mark showed the ability to handle it, and we’ll check the film and evaluate how they did.”

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Practice Report


After wrapping up the first week of fall semester classes, the Georgia football team held a 90-minute practice in full pads Friday as the Dawgs continue to close in on the season opener against Buffalo on September 1st.

“We had a very good practice today,” coach Mark Richt said. “We shortened it up a little bit and I thought the guys responded well. We did some live tackling as we felt like we needed to tackle a little more out in space. There was a lot of good energy today and a lot of good things happened. There were four interceptions and at least two others that should have been picked, so that’s a good sign for the defense when they are putting enough pressure on the quarterback to cause those types of throws.”

When asked after practice who has been a surprise during preseason camp, Richt said he has been impressed with sophomore center David Andrews.

“I think Andrews has had a good camp, and to me he has solidified that job,” Richt said. “We were trying to find the best combination of five offensive linemen, and we went into camp hoping he would be the guy. I think it’s the best combination for him to be the center, and he came through. I think he’s done a good job.”

Richt also added that he has been pleased with the Dawgs’ freshman class since the start of fall camp.

“I think the freshmen in general have done a nice job of competing,” Richt said. “They’ve competed well, and they seem to really care about their role on special teams. I think our veterans have done a good job of treating them like a little brother, helping them along and encouraging them. A lot of them have responded to the point where they are going to get some playing time.”

Lady Dawgs Schedule Released


The 2012-13 schedule for the Georgia Lady Dawgs features a dozen contests versus teams that competed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Coach Andy Landers, who enters his 34th season at UGA just five victories shy of his 800th win with the Lady Dawgs, announced the schedule on Friday.

Georgia will open the campaign with a matchup against perennial national power Rutgers at Stegeman Coliseum on Sunday, November 11th at 2 p.m. The game will pit Landers against C. Vivian Stringer. Stringer and Landers rank No. 1 and No. 3 in career victories among active Division I women's basketball coaches with 885 and 877 wins, respectively.

Following four additional home dates, the Lady Dawgs will travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico, for the University of New Mexico Thanksgiving Tournament. Georgia will face Saint Bonaventure in the opening round on November 23rd. The Lady Dawgs' remaining non-conference slate includes trips to three BCS opponents – Georgia Tech of the ACC on Sunday, December 2nd, TCU of the Big 12 on Wednesday, December 19th and Illinois of the Big Ten on Friday, December 28th.

Just as the Georgia football team will this fall, the Lady Dawgs open league competition in the expanded 14-member Southeastern Conference by facing Missouri in its first-ever conference outing. The Tigers will visit Stegeman Coliseum on Thursday, January 3rd, in the SEC opener for both teams.

All told, Georgia will have 10 league dates versus 2012 NCAA Tournament participants, including home-and-home matchups with Arkansas and Florida. The Lady Dawgs travel to Tennessee on January 6th, host South Carolina on January 13th, face Arkansas in Fayetteville on January 17th and host the Razorbacks on February 21st, host Texas A&M on January 20th, host Florida on January 27th and trek to Gainesville on February 17th, visit Kentucky on February 3rd, travel to LSU on February 10th and host Vanderbilt on March 3rd in the regular-season finale.

Game times for all SEC contests will be announced once the league's television package is set.

The 2013 SEC Tournament will be contested at the Arena at Gwinnett in Duluth, Georgia, from March 6th-10th. Georgia will look to extend its streak of 18 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances when "March Madness" tips off on the weekend of March 23rd at 16 sites nationwide. The Lady Dawgs' tally of 29 NCAA bids ranks second nationally.

Landers, the first and still only full-time women's basketball head coach in UGA history, begins his 34th season in Athens just five victories shy of his 800th win at Georgia and 23 victories away from his 900th win as a collegiate head coach.

The Lady Dawgs have been a top-10 pick in early projections for the 2012-13 campaign. Georgia returns four starters – seniors Anne Marie Armstrong, Jasmine Hassell and Jasmine James and junior Khaalidah Miller – and five additional letter winners from last year's team, which finished 22-9 overall and ranked No. 20 in the final editions of the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN polls. In addition, Landers will welcome five freshmen to the 2012-13 roster.

Friday, August 10, 2012

2012-13 Basketball Schedule Released


The Dawgs in 2012-13 could play as many as 19 games against teams that participated in the 2012 postseason, according to their complete schedule that was officially announced today by head coach Mark Fox.

In addition, Georgia is slated for at least eight national television appearances on the ESPN family of channels. That includes a Nov. 19 matchup against Indiana – a favorite of many early pollsters for the pre-season No. 1 spot – in the Legends Classic at Brooklyn, N.Y. Further TV dates will follow upon completion of the non-conference broadcast schedule.

“I believe this schedule could possibly be the hardest this program has ever had,” Fox said. “There’s lots of teeth in the non-league schedule. Combined with what the league has given us, it’s an extremely challenging schedule.”

As part of the new 18-game Southeastern Conference schedule, Georgia will face defending NCAA champion Kentucky just once, on March 7 in Athens. Additionally, the Dawgs will face Vanderbilt once (Feb. 27 in Nashville) and pick up home-and-home series with new member Texas A&M, as well as Alabama. It will be the first time since 1964 that Georgia has played both Kentucky and Vanderbilt a single time apiece.

In addition to Indiana, Georgia is also slated to pick up 2012 NCAA Tournament entries Southern Miss (25-9 record) and Iona (25-7), both in Athens. The Dawgs will also play at South Florida (22-13, NCAA 3rd Round) in the annual SEC/Big East Challenge on Nov. 30.

Now in its sixth year, the Legends Classic has featured seven teams that went on to advance to at least the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, including N.C. State last season. The Legends Classic is produced by the Gazelle Group in Princeton, N.J.

The Legends Classic will also be played at the brand-new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.

“We’re very excited to be playing in the Legends Classic,” Fox said. “It’s a first-class tournament against some top-flight competition and it will give us great national exposure.”

Season tickets are now available for purchase online at the following website:

Basketball Tickets

Fans can also order by calling 1-877-542-1231

Season Ticket Prices:

Reserved seat season ticket: $255

Faculty/Staff season ticket: $127.50

University of Georgia

2012-13 Basketball Schedule

N2 Exhibition (Opponent TBA)
N9 Jacksonville (Time TBA)
N12 Youngstown State (7:00)*
N15 Southern Miss (Time TBA)*
N19 Indiana (@Brooklyn, N.Y.) (5:30)*
N20 UCLA/Georgetown (@Brooklyn, N.Y.)
N23 East Tennessee State (Time TBA)
N30 at South Florida (7:00p.m.)%
D4 at Georgia Tech (Time TBA)
D15 Iona (Time TBA)
D18 Mercer (Time TBA)
D22 Southern Cal (Time TBA)
D29 Florida A&M (Time TBA)
J4 George Washington (Time TBA)
J9 at Florida (7:00 p.m.)
J12 Mississippi State (1:45 p.m.)
J16 at Missouri (8:00 p.m.)
J19 LSU (8:00 p.m.)
J23 Florida (8:00 p.m.)
J26 at Texas A&M (6:00 p.m.)
J30 Auburn (7:00 p.m.)
F2 at South Carolina (1:45 p.m.)
F6 at Tennessee (8:00 p.m.)
F9 Texas A&M (5:00 p.m.)
F12 Alabama (9:00 p.m.)
F16 at Ole Miss (8:00 p.m.)
F21 at Arkansas (7:00 p.m.)
F23 South Carolina (2:00 p.m.)
F27 at Vanderbilt (9:00 p.m.)
M2 Tennessee (1:45 p.m.)
M7 Kentucky (7:00 p.m.)
M9 at Alabama (4:00 p.m.)
M13-17 SEC Tournament @Nashville, Tenn.
All Times Eastern
*Legends Classic
%SEC / Big East Challenge

Friday Practice Report


Sixth-ranked Georgia conducted its 10th workout of the preseason Friday, and the cooler conditions helped the Dawgs finish their two-hour practice in full pads.

“We’re making progress, but they looked a little tired today, and they tried to push through it,” said coach Mark Richt. “The energy level was a bit down, and they had to dig deeper, like in the fourth quarter when you’re fatigued and you’ve got to make a play.”

On Thursday, freshmen defensive players were made available to the media for the first time during camp, and on Friday the freshmen offensive players took their first turn. Specifically, Richt was asked Friday about how 6-6, 309-pound freshman offensive lineman John Theus was performing in camp.

“John is lining up with the first unit at right tackle, but I’m not naming him a starter yet,” said Richt. “He has a ways to go, but he’s getting better.”

Richt said he liked how the freshmen in the backfield (tailbacks Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley along with fullback Quayvon Hicks) recognized blitzes in practice Friday.

“They got the assignment, stuck their hat in there and gave the quarterback enough time to complete a pass, and that’s a good sign,” said Richt. “They know enough to function. Whoever is the most productive, we’re going to get them in a game. We’re not afraid to play any of them.”

Overall, Richt said that the freshmen class was doing well and a majority of them have an excellent chance to contribute this season.

In related football news Friday, junior outside linebacker Jarvis Jones has been named to the Sports Illustrated 2012 Preseason All-America First Team. The 6-3, 241-pound native of Columbus led the Southeastern Conference in both sacks (13.5) and tackles for loss (19.5) last season. Jones was a finalist for the Butkus Award and was a unanimous First Team All-American following the 2011 season. He is one of nine SEC players on the publication's First Team.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Thursday Practice Report


The Georgia football team returned to the Woodruff practice fields on Thursday morning,holding its ninth practice of the preseason camp.

The Dawgs had their first full scrimmage on Wednesday before returning to their regular practice schedule on Thursday.

“Normally after a scrimmage, things tend to be a little anti-climatic at practice the next day,” said coach Mark Richt. “The guys weren’t at their highest level all day today, but they finished well in pretty hot conditions. They finished better than they started and that’s what I was looking for after the scrimmage.”

Richt singled out senior cornerback Branden Smith for his play throughout camp thus far.

“Branden had another pick today, he’s making plays every day out there,” Richt said. “I can just see his intensity. He is truly a senior trying to lead. Branden doesn’t say much, he just leads by example and I am pleased with his development.”

Smith was one of the team’s punt and kickoff returners in 2011 along with last year’s Paul Hornung Award winner Brandon Boykin, who now plays for the Philadelphia Eagles. Richt said this year’s returner spots are yet to be determined.

“We haven’t gone live in punt or kickoff return yet so it’s hard to say that this guy is better than this guy right now,” said Richt.

Richt did mention that all of the tailbacks “are rolling like they are co-No. 1s” and that freshman placekicker Marshal Morgan is the No. 1 guy on extra points and field goals at this point in the preseason.

On the injury front, sophomore defensive end Ray Drew remained out of practice with a concussion.

Sixth-ranked Georgia will play host to Buffalo in the season opener September 1st at 12:21 p.m., and the game will be televised on the SEC Network.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wednesday Practice Report


Sixth-ranked Georgia held its first scrimmage of the 2012 preseason camp Wednesday morning at Sanford Stadium.

Coach Mark Richt said he was pleased with the performance of his number one units on offense and defense. The number ones go against the number two units.

“The number one offense scored three touchdowns on their first three drives, and the number one defense gave up only one first down on the first three drives,” Richt said.

"We did what we we’re supposed to do in stopping the run, and we're becoming the defense everybody knows we can be,” said senior nose John Jenkins. “We've still got a lot to work on, though. We're striving for perfection."

Richt provided the statistical leaders from the scrimmage: senior split end Marlon Brown (6 receptions, 103 yards, 2 TDs), freshman running back Todd Gurley (6 rushes, 58 yards, 1 TD), junior quarterback Aaron Murray (12-for-17, 170 yards, 1 TD), senior defensive end Cornelius Washington (6 tackles, 3 sacks) and redshirt sophomore free safety Connor Norman (6 tackles).

"I had a pretty good day today, had a couple touchdowns,” said Brown. “I would say overall the offense had a pretty good day. Everybody was flying around making plays; it was good to see. We're just trying to take it one day at a time to get where we want to be."

“Marlon had the most opportunities today, and he took advantage of it,” Richt added. “He’s been hot all camp, and I hope he stays healthy. Our pass protection is improving with the number one and two units. Also as a head coach, I can be happy about our defense doing a good job like getting sacks from our number one unit.”

Fall semester classes begin at UGA Monday, August 13th, and the annual Fans Picture Day will be held Saturday, August 18th, in the Reed Plaza area of Sanford Stadium. Georgia football players will be on hand for photos and autographs from 3-5 p.m. between Gates 2 and 4. Richt will also be available from 3-5 p.m. for those with ticket coupons.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tuesday Practice Report


The sixth-ranked Georgia football team conducted the first of two two-a-days slated for the 2012 preseason camp with a pair of 90-minute sessions on Tuesday.

The Dawgs concentrated mostly on special teams in the morning practice at Sanford Stadium, then returned to the Woodruff Practice Fields for the second session in shorts and helmets.

“We had two practices today, and I thought they went well,” said coach Mark Richt. “We are still working a lot of people and getting a lot of guys reps to create as much depth as possible and also to evaluate in certain spots. It was a good morning.

“This afternoon we installed our one-minute offense. I thought we had a good day. Everybody has been doing well. We already have seven practices under our belt pretty quickly, and I’ve been pleased so far. I think we’re on track and I think we’re working hard.”

Tuesday’s special teams practice allowed Richt and his staff to assess the group of kickers and punters that includes true freshmen Marshall Morgan and Colin Barber.

“I thought our extra points and field goals were not what they need to be yet,” Richt said. “When they hit it really good it looked great, but there was a little inconsistency and not as deadly accurate as you want. A lot of it is getting used to going full speed with the live rushers and new holder and just being in Sanford Stadium.

“As far as the punting, I thought Colin had some balls with some outstanding hang time. I think he understands that part. His operation time was pretty good.”

The team will return to full pads Wednesday morning for the first scrimmage of the preseason.

“It’s very big for a lot of reasons,” Richt said of Wednesday’s scrimmage. “You want to gain confidence in your unit. That’s a big part of it. There will be a lot of individuals who will be trying to earn playing time. Everybody is going to get a chance to get something on film that the coaches can evaluate.”

Fall semester classes begin at UGA next Monday, August 13th, and the annual Fans Picture Day will be held Saturday, August 18th, in the Reed Plaza area of Sanford Stadium. Georgia football players will be on hand for photos and autographs from 3-5 p.m. between Gates 2 and 4. Richt will also be available from 3-5 p.m. for those with ticket coupons.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday Practice Report


The Georgia football team held its fifth practice of preseason camp on Monday, putting on full pads for the first time during a morning session that lasted approximately two hours.

"This was Day 5 of acclimation and we'll start two-a-days Tuesday," coach Mark Richt said. "My impression of the team is that I have no complaints at all about the effort. That part has been outstanding."

In Monday's 3-on-3 drill, the offense topped the defense 5-4. Senior Richard Samuel scored the touchdown that put the offense ahead.

Richt was asked about Samuel, who is working at both tailback and fullback during camp. "We talked about it, and I told him we need him to be ready to play at either spot," Richt said. "Getting reps at tailback will not keep him from starting at fullback. When he's in the meeting room, he's involved with both. And he's in good enough condition to get reps at both."

Richt said the Dawgs will have two practices on Tuesday -- a morning special teams session, followed by a workout in shorts and helmets in the afternoon. The Dawgs will scrimmage for the first time on Wednesday.

Regarding special teams, Richt was asked about punter Collin Barber and kicker Marshall Morgan, both of whom are true freshmen.

"Collin has tremendous hang time or he can kick it for distance," Richt said. "He can kick it so that we can get gunners underneath and keep guys from getting going. Marshall, on extra points and field goals, can get the ball up very quickly. He's strong and he doesn't need a lot of effort to get the short- and mid-range kicks. He's very accurate."

Offensive guard Chris Burnette missed Monday's practice due to illness, while defensive back Marc Deas was sidelined with a hamstring strain, defensive end Ray Drew sat out due to a concussion and defensive end Abry Jones missed with a knee contusion.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sunday Practice Report


The Georgia football team held its fourth preseason workout Sunday in jerseys, shoulder pads and shorts at the Woodruff Practice Fields.

Following a two-hour workout, several members of the Dawgs coaching staff provided updates on how the team is doing, and they said they were looking forward to seeing the squad in full pads. Monday will mark the first time of preseason camp that they will practice in full pads.

“I like the energy out there, and the willingness to learn that I’ve seen from the team, that’s the number one thing for me,” said offensive coordinator Mike Bobo. “I like our freshmen class; they will get a chance to play this year.”

Specifically, Bobo was asked about 6-6, 309-pound freshman offensive tackle John Theus, and he mentioned that he saw some time with the number one unit Sunday.

“He’s (Theus) not afraid to put his hat in there; he’s doing a nice job,” said Bobo.

Bobo added that’s he’s been impressed with several freshmen including tailbacks Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley, fullback Quayvon Hicks, wide receiver BlakeTibbs and tight end Ty Flournoy-Smith.

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said plenty of Dawgs are competing for playing time with the idea of developing depth.

“You want the ability to rotate guys up front, and when you have a lead, you want to be able to rush the passer and that takes a lot of energy, said Grantham. “You have to keep everybody fresh.”

When asked about the competition between senior John Jenkins and junior Kwame Geathers at the nose position, Grantham said, “they are battling and both will play, maybe at the same time.”

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Saturday Practice Report


With a light drizzle falling throughout most of the morning, the Georgia football team held its third preseason workout Saturday at the Woodruff Practice Fields.

The Dawgs put on shoulder pads for the first time, and held the walkthrough and flex portions of the practice in the indoor multi-purpose facility before going outdoors for the final two hours.

“Today I thought they did a really good job,” Richt said. “It started out with a little bit of rain and actually had a strike of lightning, so we were able go indoors for our walkthrough. With the rain we were dealing with quarterbacks having to throw a wet ball and receivers having to catch it and centers having to snap it. That’s usually an issue with the wet ball, and it didn’t affect them too badly.

“The fact that we’ve been practicing in the evenings because of exams and you turn around and do one in the morning there isn’t a lot of recovery time, so I think they were a little more tired and a little more fatigued, but they pushed through very well. The coaches did a great job of staying on them and the leadership of the team did a great job of keeping the tempo up.”

Richt also noted that the No. 1 units on both sides of the ball have been impressive in Georgia’s first three practices.

“There are so many things going on in practice and there are lot of reps and a lot of guys making plays on both sides of the ball,” Richt said. “The majority of the plays that the No. 1 defense is in on, they are really doing a great job, and the plays that the No. 1 offense is on the field, they are doing very well. You can see a big difference between the No. 2 units trying to get something accomplished. It’s great effort and so far I’m pleased with what’s going on.”

Richt also added that after a review of the incident involving Branden Smith in March, the senior cornerback will not serve a one-game suspension.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday Practice Report


The Georgia football team held its second practice of preseason camp Friday afternoon, working out for approximately two and a half hours in shorts and helmets. The Dawgs will practice in shoulder pads on Saturday and Sunday before donning full pads for the first time Monday.

“Yesterday I thought everybody was really willing to put in a hard day’s work and started off well, and right at the very end I think the heat got to them a little bit,” Richt said. “We didn’t finish as strong as we should. Today was much better all the way around. We did get some cloud cover that helped, but I thought we had tremendous energy all the way around and it was a good second day. Everything went like clockwork.”

Richt noted that he and his staff have been able to get a feel for the Dawgs’ true freshmen after two practices.

“We are pleased with the talent base and the attitude and willingness to be learned and coached,” Richt said of the freshmen. “Their skill sets are outstanding, and the athleticism is outstanding. I heard a lot of coaches talk about the explosive ability of the defensive players that play on or near the line of scrimmage.

“I think we did a good job of bringing in some outstanding freshmen. We felt like every one of them have a very good chance of contributing this season. Time will tell if all of them will play, but we feel like they are all in the running to help us win this year.”

Beginning Saturday, Georgia will practice in the mornings until classes start on Monday, August 13th. The Dawgs are slated to practice 10 straight days to start camp before an off day August 12th.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Media Day Press Conference


Coach Mark Richt and a delegation of football players met with the media Thursday during the Dawgs’ annual preseason media day. They offered the following comments:

Coach Mark Richt

Opening statement…

“It’s good to be here. We are getting ready to start our practices. We start today - practice No. 1 of five days of acclimation. The first couple of days are in shorts and helmets, then we put some shells on for a couple of days, then put pads on day five. Then we are allowed to go two-a-days, then we have to go back to one, then two. I think we might have three two-a-days this year. We are excited about camp starting and excited about having the time of year where we can focus solely on the game of football and our team and the team building exercises we do. We are really looking forward to that. It’s supposed to be pretty hot today. Obviously it’s been hot all summer. I think the guys had a good summer, and I think they’ll be ready for that. I probably won’t do a whole lot of injury talk this year, but I will say that this may be the first practice since I’ve been at Georgia that everybody can practice and no one is in a green jersey. You guys would have figured that out because you are good at that kind of thing, but that’s a good thing for Georgia.”

On the status of Kolton Houston…

“Obviously Kolton hasn’t been playing. Kolton had an eligibility issue. Basically, prior to coming to Georgia, he had a shoulder surgery and unknowingly was given a substance that is banned by the NCAA. He ended up testing positive for that substance, and it wasn’t a recreational drug or anything like that. He ended up testing positive for this substance, so the NCAA has a protocol that if you test positive for that type of thing you miss a year of competition. Basically his first year he missed a year of competition for that reason. Over time you assume that this substance would leave your body to the point where the NCAA says you can go back and play. We’ve been waiting for that moment and it hasn’t come. It’s been two and a half years and this thing has not gotten out of there. The bottom line is he’s been tested probably more times that anybody in the history of college football, and we’re 100 percent certain that he has not continued to take this thing. It’s just never gotten far enough out of his system for him to be declared eligible to play. That’s about as much as I can explain in layman’s terms.

It’s been a very difficult situation for Kolton and his family and for us as coaches. You continue to assume it’s eventually going to get out of there, but it just hasn’t. You’ve been asking me questions for a while and I’ve always been saying that we’re hopeful he’ll be ready to go, but he’s still not ready to go. It could happen any time, really that he continues to get tested. What does that do for us as a football team? We have to prepare as if he won’t be able to play and hope that he can. We had Kolton at right tackle, and we’ll have Watts Dantzler there. We’ll have John Theus backing him up at the right tackle position. I guess that what it means as far as what our depth chart looks like right now.”

On whether Kolton Houston is committed to staying on the team until his situation is resolved…

“Yes. He is eligible to practice, obviously. He’s been practicing. He will practice with us and we’ll continue to work with him and hope he gets to the point where he’s allowed to play again. We have not lost hope on that.”

On why he hasn’t lost hope with the Kolton Houston situation…

“It could get to the point where the substance that’s in his body that’s having trouble getting out of there can get the point where he will be able to play. When you do a test and there is something in your system, little by little it gets lower and lower, it gets to the point where it meets the guidelines of the NCAA, then he can play. It just hasn’t done that. For whatever reason it’s been stubborn to get out of there.”

On whether Kolton Houston will wait as long as he can…

“He’s here now, so I don’t think he has any plans of doing anything different. I haven’t really had that conversation with him.”

On the cohesiveness of the offensive line…

“One of our bigger challenges in camp is to put together our starting five, and anybody else who we think is capable of playing SEC football up front, we have to find out who they are. The two things are to get the starting lineup as soon as we possibly can and let them work together. They need to be a cohesive unit, they need to be a unit that works together in tandem and understands each other’s calls and the communication is just so crucial up front. We’re going to find five that can do it as far as a starting five, and we’re hoping to find two, three, four more that we think can play. It will be a big challenge for us, but the thing about the offensive line that I’ve seen over the years is that if you do have guys who understand what they are doing and they do a great job with their assignments of knowing who to block, you put your hat on the right guy and you fight for 60 minutes, you can function pretty well offensively. I’ve got no doubt in my mind that we’ll be able to find that group of guys. It’s just a matter of who it’s going to be and how quickly can we put it together to where that group can have some time working together to where we’re comfortable to open the season.”

On Georgia’s running game…

“We have Richard Samuel working back at tailback, we have Ken Malcome, who was the No. 1 back going into the spring game, and we have two other scholarship players. As we all know they are both true freshmen – Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley. Keith was here in the spring and Todd arrived this summer. We have a couple of walk-ons who have done a good job. Of course Brandon Harton was put on scholarship a year ago, but Harton and Kyle Karempelis were playing some pretty valuable snaps in the Kentucky game as we were trying to win the Eastern Division. We do have a lot of guys with experience and guys who can play well.

The thing that kills a running play is when you turn somebody loose. It’s not just the offensive line; it’s the tight end, it’s the fullback and an offensive line. Those are the guys who are mainly going to get you to the line of scrimmage or past it. If we do a good job as coaches of getting our guys in the best possible play, and that’s the beauty of having Aaron Murray. Aaron is going to know how to get us in the right play. You can just call a running play and run it no matter what and you may run into a good look or run into a bad look, but if you have a quarterback who really understands what he’s doing he can get you in the best look. Now if we get in the best look and get guys who will not have those missed assignments, you will create some running room for backs. Are they going to be giant, gaping holes? We’ll find out. I’m sure at times there will, and I’m sure at times there won’t be. If you watch NFL games and SEC games, every once in a while there’s a pretty big crease and a lot of times the road is closed. Sometimes your best runs are one or two yard runs that you get what you can or if you get hit in the backfield and don’t fumble it sometimes that’s the best play of the game.

Do I think that we can provide enough space for our backs to make plays? I really do and I think we have a talent base at the tailback position that will be able to take advantage of when they are in space and when there’s not I think they can create on their own. It will be a little bit of a learning curve for the two true freshmen, although Keith has had a little bit more time in the system, which will be helpful, but they are two very conscientious young men. Historically, true freshman have been able to play big, so I’m thinking that there’s a chance those kids could possibly play big, but they have to beat out Richard and Ken first.”

On replacing a player with Isaiah Crowell’s talent level…

“These guys are pretty talented too. There are a lot of talented running backs. Just look across America. There are a lot of great running backs out there. We have some outstanding ones right here that we are very excited about. There are some really good backs out there. The thing about the running back position, like any other position, a lot of it is just a matter of knowing what to do and having a willingness to do it with a lot of effort and doing it every snap. We don’t expect one back to carry the load. I don’t think anyone expects one back to carry the load anymore. This will be a situation where our backs will get it done by committee. Is it going to be predominately two or three? LSU was playing four at a time, and they are very talented guys. We feel like we have a good group of guys who can make plays for us.”

On how physical Georgia’s preseason practices will be…

“Every year one of the hardest things to do is you want to get your guys to the first game healthy, but you also want them to be game ready. You have to have a good combination of doing the teaching, but you also have to have some physicality in your camp or you probably won’t be able to tackle as well as you should or block as well as you should. We have a plan to be so many days in shorts, so many days in shells and so many days in full pads. The days we are in full pads we’ll tackle to the ground and do a lot of scrimmaging. Will it be too much or not enough? You have to keep an eye on things and see how you’re doing. As camp goes on, unfortunately you get pulled muscles from time-to-time, you get guys who get nicked up and you lose some playing time because of it or practice time because of it.

What happens sometimes is you may have a position where you think you have a lot of depth, but if two guys get banged up and all of a sudden there might be five guys in that position group and two get hurt and the other three have to get more reps than they normally would. Before you know it they are at risk. You just have to keep an eye on it, but we’ll have enough of a physical practice in my mind that we’ll be ready to tackle like we should be able to and block like we should be able to when the season starts.”

On how much Jarvis Jones returning for his junior season affected his teammates also coming back…

“I think Jarvis had a big effect on the number of guys who decided to come back. A majority of the guys were defensive players. As you mentioned, Jarvis didn’t even put his name in the NFL committee to take a look and talk about draft status. He just said I have a ways to go, I can get better, I love Georgia and my teammates and I want to see how good we can be. I think that resonated with those guys. I’m sure that was one of the factors that they put in the bin there to decide what they were going to do. I think if Jarvis came out and said I’m going to the NFL, I’ll see y’all later, I don’t know if the results would have been the same.”

On the new kickoff rules and whether it’s a disadvantage that other teams might have gotten a head start in spring practice…

“I don’t think it’s an advantage for the other teams or a disadvantage to us. If our kickers can knock it out of the end zone, I’m all for them knocking it out of the end zone. The bottom line is there will be days when it’s windy and sometimes it’s going to be at your back and sometimes it’s going to be in your face. When it’s in your face you probably won’t be able to knock it out of the end zone, so you better have a plan to place the ball where it needs to be placed and allow your cover team to get there. Not only place it where you want it, but give the type of hang time you need for your coverage team to get down there. We can’t just say he’s going to knock it out every time and just kick a line drive and knock it out, because if you kick a line drive and it doesn’t go out, then you have some of the best return men in country in our league running back the kickoff with a bunch of space, and that’s a dangerous thing. We will be hoping for our guys to be able to do that, and there will be plenty of time. They’ve both been here all summer, really working on those types of skills.

Personally, if I knew we could knock it out of the end zone on any give attempt, that’s what I would love to see happen. We are going to allow them to have that freedom, but they are still going to have to kick in a certain direction with enough hang time to where if it doesn’t get out of there we can cover it. The thing about punting is height for me is exciting. The higher you kick it, the less chance a guy is going to be able to get started. You kick it high, you have a good chance of them not being able to get started. The two freshmen, they have big legs. How consistent will they be? It’s just like when we had Drew Butler early in his career he was about a five or six out of 10 guy. Then we he got consistent was when he became a great punter. That’s what we need is consistently for those guys to do their job. They’ll be competing with Adam Erickson and Jamie Lindley as well and some other guys on campus.”

On how Georgia’s defense would change his preparation as a head coach…

“We’re still going to have the same amount of practices, we’re still going to have the same amount of periods, we’re still going to work certain situations and do the same drills. I just think that the defense – because of its maturity up front and all the way around – if they do their part as far as preparing every day to be great, it’s going to help the offense get better. Just from me watching practice early spring to watching the end of spring, how the offensive line was coming around and the offense in general, quite frankly early on, I think the offense was getting whipped pretty good. Then about mid-spring there was one scrimmage where there was a break though drive and it seemed like they knew they could move the ball against this bunch. I think that created some momentum for the rest of the spring. When the spring was over, I wouldn’t say that the offense had taken it over, but they were competing so much better and had some victories along the way too. That’s just the way football is. Iron sharpens iron, and a mature side of the ball usually helps a younger side of the ball grow up. That’s what we’re hoping for.”

On Malcolm Mitchell playing on offense and defense…

“I think Coach Mike Bobo has been tongue-in-cheek with some of his comments. He knows that we need Malcolm to play corner. He understands that, but he also understands he’s a heck of a wide receiver, and he wants to make sure he sees him play a little bit of offense still, even early on. I think Malcolm is going to spend time on defense early on. I think as the season wears on he’ll see more offense. Does that mean he’ll play less defense? Not necessarily. He probably will play a little less defense when everybody comes back, but I also think that in September, my guess is if he’s able to play 70 plays or 60 plays and be able to handle the heat, whatever that number is, when it’s 60, I think when the weather cools a little I think he’ll be able to play 10 or 20 more plays a game. By virtue of that, then all of a sudden he may be playing more offense just because he’s able to play more plays, and maybe there is some more depth at the defensive backfield position. He’s a great competitor. He loves practice, he loves preparation. He loves to win the drill, no matter what it is. He loves the challenge of learning a defense. Last year he learned the offense and he didn’t show up until the summer. This year he spent the whole spring with the defense and he’s got a summer and fall. He’ll remember a large percentage of what he was doing offensively, so he won’t have any trouble there. He has great change of direction, he has good ball skills, he’s muscled up since he’s been here. He has a lot of great tools to be a great cornerback. He has the same type of tools that usually equates into being a great receiver as well.”

On being ranked sixth in the coaches’ poll and whether Georgia should be considered a national title contender…

“The bottom line is the last six years, whoever won the league got to play for it. Our goal is to win the East, go to Atlanta and win the game. If you win the SEC you have a pretty good chance. It’s not guaranteed, we know that, so our goal as always is to win the SEC, then get to Atlanta and win that thing. If at that point we’re allowed to play in the big game, then we would be.”

On QB Hutson Mason…

“If something happened to Aaron Murray today, Hutson is second team. Christian LeMay would be third team right now. Hutson has to be prepared to play if something happened to Aaron. The question is how long into the season do you say that Hutson won’t play if something happened. If you are midseason or beyond you probably have to have a good discussion and everybody be on the same page and have everybody’s heart where it belongs. The other factor is that there are still 29 practices before the first game. Christian will certainly get a lot of reps, and he made a lot of progress in the spring. We’ll see if he can continue to make progress to compete for that second team position. Of course Faton Bauta is competing as well. We haven’t factored in how much progress can those guys make, but today I would say that if something happened Hutson would be the guy.”

On Ray Drew…

“I thought Ray handled everything well last year. He’s always been a guy with a great spirit about him. He’s been a positive guy for us. He didn’t play a lot, but he’s working his way into that position and into that role, and I think he’s hovering somewhere around 290 pounds and he’s in great shape, and I think he understands much better what we are trying to get accomplished on defense. I don’t think there’s any doubt he’ll play better than he did a year ago.”

Junior Quarterback Aaron Murray

On the improvements he’s made in the offseason…

“My foot work is the biggest thing that I’ve worked towards improving this offseason. I’m working to be able to move around the pocket more fluidly; to be in a position at all times to make accurate throws; to make sure my eyes are looking down the field at all times and I’m not looking at the rush or getting haunted by guys, so that I can stay in a good base and making an accurate throw.”

On his decision making skills improving…

“I think it’s a lot of maturity, I think it’s a lot of repetition. I’ve got two seasons under my belt, I’ve had a lot of reps, I’ve watched a lot of film on myself and I think that’s helped out a lot. I know when to tuck and run, when to slide, when to throw it away, when to take a sack. It’s all repetition; it’s all about getting experience and learning those kinds of things. I think I’ve had a ton of experience, I’ve learned a lot in my first two seasons and I’m looking to build on that.”

On being ranked No. 6 in the preseason poll…

“We’re not worried about it. Last year we ignored the negativity and all the bad talk about Georgia and this year we’re going to ignore all the positive stuff. We’re just going to focus on what we need to do, and that’s work hard, show up to practice everyday with the right attitude, get in the film room, get in the weight room and do a lot of little things to make sure we have a successful season.”

Sophomore Cornerback/Receiver Malcolm Mitchell

On playing corner this year…

“At first it was something I wanted to do to expand, but it’s become a necessity. It’s something I look forward to doing to help the team until we can regroup and get everybody back here.”

On bouncing between positions…

“It’s difference because you have to go from being on the attack to waiting and adjusting to what others do. It’s fun and I like to do both of them. You just have to push yourself differently.”

Senior Tailback Richard Samuel

On his expectations for the tailbacks…

“I expect big things out of those guys, I expect that they’re going to work hard, they’re going to come and know what they’re doing. During the summer, they showed that they were in there to work; they would come ready to play and ready to work. They ask questions, they are quick to learn, they want to know everything they can and they want to soak up a lot of information.”

On his expectations for himself…

“I want to show them how to get it done. You can learn the plays, you can learn what to do, but it’s a different story when you have to get out there and get it done. I want to show them how to get it done and what it takes to get it done.”

On his development as a player…

“I feel like switching between running back and linebacker slowed down my development because I didn’t have much time to get used to the linebacker position. Switching between fullback and running back hasn’t slowed my down too much because it’s basically the same plays and I just have to learn the little differences.”

Junior Outside Linebacker Jarvis Jones

On the start of practice…

“It’s a blessing to have another opportunity to get here. We’ve been grinding and grinding so hard all summer long, and I can’t wait to see our team put it together and show each other what we’ve been working for.”

On the feelings of the team entering the season…

“We know what we’re capable of. We had a lot of hype last year, and we had a great run. This year, we know that people are expecting us to be way better. We’re just going to take it all in stride. We’re going to go out there everyday and make it our best, practice at our best, and then try to take it from there. Everything starts in practice so we’re just going to go through these days in camp and have fun doing it to try to get out everything we can before September 1.”

On personal expectations for the season…

“To win is first and foremost. We are coming here to win, and also I want to just play up to my standards. I want to have fun doing it and make plays. It’s not all about the stats. We have a lot of great players on our defense that are a year older now, so they understand the system we have and how we play. For me, I just want to play at the level that I did last year. If we win and play at a higher level than we did last year, that’s definitely an accomplishment for us. We expect to go out there everyday and get better.”

On his leadership style…

“I’m not an in-the-face kind of guy. A lot of guys look up to me, and I respect everybody just like they respect me. When it’s time to go, they know it’s time to go. Every time I step on the field, it’s 100 percent, and they see that. I do talk to players from time to time, but I’m not the type of guy to get in their face. I’ll just call them to the side or tell them how it is to better our team.”

Senior Strong Safety Shawn Williams

On impressive underclassmen during spring practice…

“I would say Malcolm Mitchell, Corey Moore, and Devin Bowman. They are guys that are going to be able to step up and help us out a whole lot this year. I know Malcolm is going to play a lot of offense and defense, and he’s going to make plays. Corey Moore will step in and play some, as well.”

On using the two losses at the end of last season for motivation this season…

“We haven’t really talked about it in the off season because last year is last year, and we can’t really do anything about it. We just have to go out and not make the mistakes that we made in those two games, and hopefully the outcome will be better this time.”

On lessons learned from Defensive Coordinator Todd Grantham…

“One thing that I’ve picked up from him is to be accountable and to know your stuff. That proves how valuable you are in the system that we run. Having him here is like a blessing to us, and his mindset that he brings to the table helps us a lot.”

Junior Offensive Guard Chris Burnette

On the team’s improvement during spring practice…

“I think we did a good job as a whole, and our goal during the spring was just to get better, regardless of how far along we were. We just wanted to get better in something. That’s our goal everyday, to get better in something. We tried to do that, and I definitely feel like we accomplished it.”

On Kolton Houston’s situation…

“It’s been tough because obviously it’s something that he didn’t want. It’s just tough having to see that and see how much talent and ability he has while he has to sit on the sideline and wait. Hopefully all of this can get resolved, and hopefully before the season starts because I would be ecstatic to see him out there finally.”

On the situation at right tackle if Houston is not able to play…

“I’m sure we’ll figure out somebody to put there and something to do. I feel confident that whoever we would wind up putting there, it would be someone who can get the job done.”