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Georgia Bulldogs coverage on the Home of the Dawgs - News/Talk WSB

  • Kirby Smart wants Georgia's 18 returning starters on offense and defense to feel the heat of competition this spring. That includes quarterback Jacob Eason. Smart opened his second spring practice as coach on Tuesday. Familiarity in Smart's system can make players more confident about their assignments, but the coach doesn't want that feeling of comfort to go too far. 'As spring goes along, a lot of guys can get complacent,' Smart said. 'You worry about guys saying 'OK, well I had my job last year so I'll have my job again this year.' That's not the way it's going to be for us. We're going to challenge them to compete every day.' As a freshman, Eason started the last 12 games as Georgia finished 8-5, a disappointing debut for Smart. Georgia's strength will be its running game led by senior tailbacks Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, who combined to run for almost 2,000 yards last season. Chubb has 3,424 yards rushing for his career, second to Herschel Walker on Georgia's all-time list. Georgia has only two scholarship players at quarterback, as Brice Ramsey will transfer for his final year of eligibility after spring semester. Smart said Ramsey agreed to serve as a student coach this spring, giving the Bulldogs an extra arm for passing drills. The coach explained that Ramsey won't actually run practice plays but will stay sharp while looking for another school to play as a graduate transfer. 'He's loyal to this program,' Smart said. 'He's been very appreciative and has handled everything in a first-class manner. We asked him to help and he said 'Absolutely, I'll come out there.'' Freshman Jake Fromm of Houston County High School in Warner Robins, Georgia, will compete with Eason. Georgia's only other quarterback is walk-on Sam Vaughn. Smart said there are 'some really good preferred-type walk-on guys coming in in the fall' to help at quarterback, but the position must be bolstered in the 2018 signing class. Smart insists Fromm, who enrolled early for spring drills, is legitimate competition for Eason. 'He has a really good understanding,' Smart said of Fromm. 'He was really coached well in high school and played in a system that was complicated from a scheme standpoint and a coverage standpoint. He comes in ahead of your normal, average freshman. He's going out there with the intent of winning over that job and winning over the team. That's what we expect him to come out and compete and do.' It would be a surprise for Fromm to pass Eason on the depth chart. Eason threw for 2,430 yards and 16 touchdowns with eight interceptions as a freshman. Senior tight end Jeb Blazevich said Eason has shown growth as a leader this offseason, including in the players' voluntary workouts without coaches. 'He's always had a lot of great things to say but he's finally getting us on the same page as him, leading,' Blazevich said. '... He's not afraid to bark at guys when he needs to. It's great seeing him come out of his shell and really start to emerge as more of a vocal leader.' Eason was not made available for interviews on Tuesday. NOTES: Georgia WR Riley Ridley, arrested on misdemeanor marijuana charges earlier this month, faces internal discipline, according to Smart. 'We do not condone that behavior,' Smart said, adding he expects Ridley 'is going to learn a valuable lesson from this mistake.' ... After using a remote location for its 2016 practices due to the ongoing construction of its indoor facility, Georgia was back on its practice fields on Tuesday. Blazevich said having to take buses to practice last season 'was miserable. ... Thankfully, we're over that hurdle.' ___ More AP college football at www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

The Dawg Blog

Jay Black

  • FOURTH QUARTER 3:22 — FINAL SCORE: Georgia 31, TCU 23 3:18 — D’Andre Baker breaks up the pass on fourth down and UGA gets the ball back with 1:14 to go. 3:09 — TOUCHDOWN GEORGIA: Nick Chubb with a 13 yard run. Georgia leads 31-23 with 2:48 left. 3:08 — 5th 100 yard rushing game for Nick Chubb this year and 18th of his career. 3:02 — Trenton Thompson 3 sacks and 3.5 TFLs. A huge one on third down pushing TCU out of easy field goal range and Horned Frogs miss a 47 yarder. 2:43 — FIELD GOAL GEORGIA: Blankenship with a 30 yard field goal. UGA leads 24-23 with 13:27 left. 2:42–TCU sacks Eason on third down, Georgia will have to settle for a field goal attempt. THIRD QUARTER 2:36 — END OF THIRD QUARTER: TCU 23, Georgia 21. Instant analysis: Well Georgia is starting to move the ball a little bit now. The Dawgs had 119 yards in the third quarter, and finally got the run game going with a 48 yard run by Nick Chubb that has the Dawgs on the verge of taking the lead. Georgia scored a TD on its other drive of the quarter, but needed a fake field goal to do it. The Dawgs got the ball thanks to a big forced fumble by Lorenzo Carter who has two of the day. Georgia is still having trouble containing QB Kenny Hill who has rushed for 70 yards on 14 carries while throwing for 94. Third quarter was much more entertaining than the first two. 2:36 — Chubb with a 48 yard run, goal to go now for Georgia. 2:30 — Touchdown TCU: John Diarse with a terrific catch on a nine yard pass. TCU leads 23-21 with 2:07 left in the third quarter. 2:14 — TOUCHDOWN GEORGIA: Eason hits Javon Wims on a four yard pass. Wims first TD as a Bulldog. UGA leads 21-16 with 7:08 left in third. 2:11 — Brice Ramsey picks up the first down on a fake field goal with an 11 yard run. Eason is usually the holder. 2:07 — Great awareness by Eason to keep that play alive and run for the first down. 2:05 p.m. —  Dominick Sanders recovers a fumble after a long TCU run. Carter forced his second fumble. UGA ball at its 48. SECOND QUARTER 1:39– END OF FIRST HALF: TCU 16, Georgia 14: Instant analysis — Trenton Thompson and Lorenzo Carter have made two of the biggest plays so far for Georgia to keep the Dawgs in this Liberty Bowl. Following Kenny Hill’s longest run of the season, Thompson sacked Hill two plays later which derailed a drive that had to could have put the Dawgs in a 16 point hole. UGA answered with its best offensive drive of the day, ending with a Sony Michel 33 yard TD catch. On the following drive, a big kickoff return on the other side of mid field gave TCU another opportunity to get points, but Lorenzo Carter forced a fumble on a Kenny Hill scramble, keeping the score at 16-14. It feels like UGA’s defense is hanging on for dear life, but Georgia is actually out gaining the Horned Frogs 204-175. The Dawgs offense finally got something going in the second quarter, but it is still struggling to run the football. Nick Chubb has 13 yards on six carries, while Michel has 29 yards on seven carries. Eason is 9 of 16 for 155 yards. McKenzie is over 100 yards  for the first time since the Missouri game. “We have to run the ball, loosen things  up and get our play makers the ball,” Kirby Smart told the UGA radio network. TCU’s Hill is the game’s leading rusher with 55 yards on 11 carries. It’s been a feast or famine day for Georgia’s offense so far, with five 3-and-outs and a turnover. But the Dawgs are only down two and are keeping this fast-paced TCU offense in check. UGA might be fortunate to still be in the game, but it is still in the game. 1:39 — Blankenship misses a 53 yard field goal to end the half and it wasn’t even close. 1:36 — Carter with a big forced fumble on a Hill scramble. UGA ball at its 45 with 30 seconds left. 1:33 — Michel’s first TD catch of season. 1:32 p.m. — TOUCHDOWN GEORGIA: Michel with a 33 yd catch. Big juke and big hit for Sony to get into the end zone. TCU leads 16-14 with 1:13 in half. 1:21 — TCU misses a 41 yard field goal. UGA hanging around, down 16-7 with 5:25 left in half. Big stop for Dawgs D. 1:18 — Guess what, another 3 and out for Georgia. They got close though, but an Eason scramble came up a half yard short. TCU ball at its 35. 1:14 — UGA with 103 total yards. 75 percent of it on the 77 yard pass from Eason to McKenzie. 1:13– Touchdown TCU: John Diarse with a 10 yard catch from Hill. Frogs lead 16-7 with 9:15 left in 2nd quarter. 1:08 — Georgia burns its last time out challenging an incomplete pass by TCU. Dawgs thought it was a lateral. 1:04 — UGA drives: Four 3-and-outs, a lost fumble and a TD. TCU has three 3-and-outs. 1:01 — Fourth 3 and out for UGA. Short Ramsey punt gives TCU ball at the UGA 45. 1:00 — Chubb six yards on five carries. Long of 2. 12:57 — UGA’s defense steps up and forces a 3 and out. Dawgs ball at its 10. 12:49 — UGA only gets two yards on its first drive of the quarter. Another punt. TCU ball at its 45 FIRST QUARTER 12:44 — END OF FIRST QUARTER: TCU 9, Georgia 7: Instant analysis: Well that escalated pretty quickly. TCU went 3 and out on its first two drives with only six total yards. Then Georgia chose to punt on fourth and 1 at its own 45 and then the TCU offense clicked into  high gear. QB runs, short passes, option runs. UGA was fortunate to hold the Frogs to a field goal on a 14 play drive. However, TCU hit pay dirt two plays after an Eason fumble. The Dawgs need the offense to put together a long drive to get a breather. Outside of a 77 yard pass to McKenize, UGA’s offense hasn’t  done much. UGA has 17 yards on 9 carries. 12:42 — Touchdown TCU: Kenny Hill runs it in from the 10 yard line on a QB draw. XP hits the post, so it’s 9-7 TCU with 2 seconds left in first 12:40 — Call stands so TCU ball at UGA 21 12:39 — Eason is hit as he throws and loses the fumble. But its under review. 12:38 — TCU’s offense had UGA on skates but Dawgs bow up in red zone. Thompson had pressure on Hill to force grounding on third down. 12:37 — Field goal TCU: Hatfield hits a 40 yard FG. Dawgs lead 7-3 with 44 seconds left in first quarter. 12:25 — Dawgs cant do much with decent field pos and go 3-and-out. TCU ball at its 12 after punt, 12:22– TCU goes 3 and out again. UGA ball at its 35. 12:16 – Drive was set  up by 77 yard pass from Eason to McKenzie. Longest pass of the season for UGA and a career long catch by McKenzie. 12:17 — TOUCHDOWN GEORGIA. Four yard run by Michel. UGA leads 7-0 with 9:32 left in first. 12:14 — Chubb passes Todd Gurley to become the 2nd all time leading rusher in UGA history. Still a ways to go to catch you know who for No. 1 12:09 — TCU also goes 3 and out on its first drive. McKenzie hit after the punt on the UGA 13. 0-0 with 12:27 left in 1st quarter. 12:06 — Dawgs throw it on 3rd-and-1 and fails. 3-and-out for UGA. Ramsey’s punt out at TCU 35. 31 yard punt. 12:01 p.m. — TCU wins the toss and defers. Georgia ball

More UGA Headlines

  • ATHENS – When it comes to the subject of football spending and facilities, Jon Stinchcomb is in a unique position. As a former Georgia player, he knows what the team needs and wants. As a current member of Georgia’s athletic board, he has a vote and a say in how and what money is spent. Over the past month, Stinchbomb has cast a vote agreeing to a project that will cost the school and donors $63 million. He’s also had numerous conversations with friends and donors about what more needs to be done. UGA says it will address fans’ stadium concerns And what the plan is. And if there isn’t one, what it should be. “Even for your big-money donors, it’s not: We don’t want to spend the money. It’s: Let’s make sure we’re spending it in the right places, and that it’s part of an over-arching, big picture approach that keeps us competitive,” Stinchcomb said. “And included in that is: Help me understand what we’re doing with the reserve (funds), and what’s our approach to that. Based on conversations with several donors, most of whom did not want to be named, there is a concern over whether Georgia has an institution is spending enough to keep up in the SEC and national facilities arms race. But the overarching concern is whether there is a master plan, or whether the school simply playing whack-a-mole, moving deliberately from one project to the next. “There’s a lot of frustration with the current administration and the athletic department and their use of capital, that has so enthusiastically been donated,” said Ryan Scates, a corporate attorney in Atlanta who as a student was on UGA’s athletic board during the 2012-13 school year. “UGA isn’t known for being a reactionary, second-rate institution. It’s one of the best schools in the South. So to see us get out-paced by Clemson, and Alabama and Auburn, in terms of (athletics facilities.) It’s not because we’re at a disadvantage because of resources.” Georgia’s administration, with athletics director Greg McGarity as the point man, have defended themselves by pointing to what they are spending now in facilities: • Three major projects since 2010 centered on football, totaling around $121 million. That began with a $31 million renovation to the Butts-Mehre building, then the $30.2 million just-completed indoor facility, and now $63 million committed to the Sanford Stadium renovation, which will build the team new locker rooms and a recruiting area.  • Just over $21 million committed this year alone for other projects, including Stegeman Coliseum getting a long-awaited center-hanging scoreboard. So it seems inarguable that spending has increased in recent years, and not just on facilities. (Football staff salaries went up significantly, for instance.) Sanford Stadium field gets an overhaul But the concern is that the school was only playing catch-up with these latest projects, and that more work is needed: Georgia’s weight room (built in 2011) quickly became among the smallest in the SEC. Programs like Florida and South Carolina are putting together master plans to build new facilities. Tennessee, Arkansas and others have executed strong facilities plans the past few years. “This may not be in line with other sentiments. But the indoor facility, we were playing catch up,” said Stinchcomb, an offensive tackle at Georgia from 1998-2002, who went on to play in the NFL. “We were the last in our conference (building an indoor facility) with something that can be deemed a necessity. Not just recruiting, this isn’t for looks, this is functionality. My personal feel is we should never be in that situation again. The University of Georgia has too good of a fan base, too good of an athletic department and we’re in too good of a financial situation to be last in areas of need – not just want, but in need. “That was catch-up. Now you look at the improvements for the stadium, some of those fall in line with where we were at with the indoor facility. We haven’t had a true locker room at Sanford Stadium, ever. It was an open room with no lockers. It was that way when I played there, when my brother (Matt) played there in the ‘90s. Those are not racing ahead and blazing new trails. That’s playing catch up.” UGA officials have confirmed that the athletics department has just over $77 million in reserve funds, including about $45 million listed in the most recent treasurer’s book, and $32 million invested in the UGA foundation set aside for “general support” of athletics. School officials defend that, saying there needs to be protection in case the seeming deluge of money stops. That’s also why the school is fundraising for the major projects: After donors answered the call for the indoor facility, the school is seeking $53 million from donors for the $63 million Sanford Stadium project. So how will that go? Stinchcomb said fans want to give and they support the school. They just want a “clarification and understanding as they write these sizable checks” what previous donations have gone to and “how this fits in a much bigger picture.” “When people ask me, because I’m a board member, the approach is not: We don’t want to give,” Stinchcomb said. “It’s, Help me understand where we are with the reserve, what our plan is with the reserve, and how that coincides with the raising for this project specifically of $53 million.” The stadium project announcement set off many fans who were concerned about the state of the bathrooms and concourses at the stadium. McGarity attempted to answer that by “expediting” work on those in time for next season, at a cost of $950,000. Scott Mooney, who now lives in Greenville, S.C., said he and his family have been season-ticket holders for five years. They had complained in the past about the concessions and bathrooms, and while the “expedited” work on the bathrooms was good to hear, his greater concern was the concessions area, which he found too bottled up. Mooney said he worried that the administration takes the fans for granted, “given all the money that is pouring into UGA athletics.” He said he’s reconsidering his season-ticket purchase, especially given the (slight) increase in ticket prices and the required donation to secure them. “And they are sitting on $30-million plus in rainy day funds? I just don’t get it,” Mooney said.Scates, the former athletic board member, said he donates to the Hartman Fund and has season tickets. He said he and fellow donors he’s spoken to want to see a master plan develop, or they’ll reconsider their donating. “UGA has no reason not to be the premier athletic department in the southeast. We have the donor support necessary, we have the population necessary in the state, we have the athletic talent in the state,” Scates said. “And it seems to be increasingly clear that the one thing we’re lacking is groundbreaking thinking.” The desire, according to donors, is not to go willy-nilly into the arms race and waste money. And ultimately, according to Stinchcomb, everyone wants the same thing. “What we want to do is put our football team in the best position to compete and provide the facilities and resources that they need to be champions,” Stinchcomb said.
  • Brice Ramsey is leaving Georgia. The rising senior quarterback has decided to transfer following his graduation in May to a program where he could compete for the starting quarterback job and potentially play this season. That’s according to a statement Ramsey provided to Dawgs247.com on Tuesday morning. His statement in part reads: “I have enjoyed my years at UGA, the bonds I have made with the coaching staffs as well as the numerous friendships with my teammates will last a lifetime and will continue to help guide me with decisions and future endeavors. I will never look back on my time at UGA with regrets, I have loved every minute of my time here.” That brings Georgia down to just two scholarship quarterbacks for this season: Sophomore Jacob Eason and freshman Jake Fromm.

Georgia Football Photos

More College Football News

  • Athens, GA - The familiar sounds of coach’s whistles and stampeding linemen can be heard around the Butts-Mehre athletic complex in Five Points this afternoon. That’s because football, the lifeblood of the University of Georgia and Athens is back for 2017 Spring Practice.  Year two of head coach Kirby Smart will officially begin today with the first of a series of practices leading up to the April 22nd G-Day game to be held in Sanford Stadium, with no shortage of storylines to watch.  The progression of sophomore quarterback Jacob Eason will likely take the forefront of attention - again - as the heralded signal caller from Washington state will look to show maturity coming on the heels of a successful but otherwise not spectacular freshman season in the Southeastern Conference. And new this year comes legit competition from another five-star quarterback recruit from Houston County, Georgia, Jake Fromm. How the two will complement and push one another through the rigors of practice this spring and into fall will clearly define the success of the 2017 version of the Georgia Bulldogs.  Not to be outdone, plenty of attention will be given to the beloved pair of senior running backs who surprised many by announcing they would indeed spend their senior seasons between the hedges. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel both could have declared for the NFL Draft, but instead decided they would rather wash the sour taste of an 8-5 season and a home loss to Georgia Teach in 2016 out their mouths the best way they know how, with the possibility of exacting revenge. Their return not only will cause headaches for opposing defensive coordinators throughout the SEC, but will provide invaluable leadership for a young corps of running backs in line behind them preparing to be the future of a program often tabbed “Running Back U.” Smart’s defense will also be under a microscope as the boys practice under the shadows of bloomed dogwood trees these next few weeks. What was considered the weakness of the program this time last year - an ultra thin and young defensive line - proved to be one of the strongest units in 2016. How they progress and grow together will be examined closely.  And the biggest mystery of them all, the offensive line, will likely not shake out until the leaves start changing this fall, rather than under the fragrance of pollen this spring. What was clearly the most-handicapping aspect of an underwhelming offense last season is now missing a few starters, but also has a lion’s share of top recruits scheduled to arrive on campus this summer. So any observations of struggles in protecting the quarterbacks or opening up holes for the running backs may require an asterisks until we make the same observations five months from now.  It’s a happy time of year for many in this part of the world. It’s often referred to as “stress-free football,” with all the nostalgia of SEC football on the practice field, without the worry of losing to a hated rival on Saturday. And when tens of thousands file into Sanford Stadium for G-Day, there’s a guaranteed Bulldog victory to be seen. And no matter how you view it, or how you want to examine and analyze it, there’s one thing everybody will agree on: football is back. And the Classic City is simply more fun with it. 
  • ATHENS — It was a fitting epitaph for a season that began with big hopes. Once again, Georgia entered Sunday night hoping to pull off the upset, and once again it only ended with disappointment. The NCAA Tournament selection committee left the Bulldogs out of the 68-team field, dealing an expected but still harsh blow to a team that began the season with big hopes. Instead of the desired NCAA trip, Georgia heads back to the NIT, where a possible rematch with Georgia Tech awaits, if both teams reach the second round. Georgia was given a No. 2 seed and will host Belmont in the first round on Wednesday at 7 p.m. If Georgia wins that game, it could get a re-match with Georgia Tech, which will be facing Indiana in the first round, in Atlanta on Tuesday night. It’s intriguing, but not the tournament the Bulldogs were hoping to be in. Georgia (19-14) was hoping that its schedule strength (14th in the nation) and many close losses would sway the selection committee. But the message seemed clear: Scheduling is great, but a team must win its share of those games too. Georgia finished 1-9 against teams in the RPI top 50, the only win coming at home over Vanderbilt. While the achingly close losses in SEC play — twice to Kentucky and South Carolina, and also at Florida and Texas A&M — will be talked about, it may have been the nonconference portion of the season that was more costly. Georgia went 10-4, with an acceptable loss to Kansas, but also lost at Oakland and Clemson, which didn’t make the field, and at home to Marquette, which made the NCAAs. “You can’t go back and play the games again,” Georgia junior forward Juwan Parker said after Friday’s SEC Tournament loss to Kentucky. “Did we make some mistakes in close games and could have won, should have won, yeah. But you can’t look back on them now, the results are the results.” The last at-large team to make the NCAA field was Kansas State, which had an RPI rank of 57 and schedule strength rank of 39. Its nonconference schedule ranked 230th. Georgia’s RPI rank was 52, its schedule strength 14th, and nonconference schedule strength was 21st. But Kansas State had four wins against teams in the RPI top 50, including two over Baylor. Then there’s Southern California, the second-to-last at-large team selected: The Trojans had a better RPI rank (41) than Georgia, but its schedule strength was 73 and nonconference schedule ranked 139th. The Trojans did have two wins over top 50 teams, both in the top 20. And as it turns out, Georgia wasn’t even among the first four teams left out of the field. The NCAA committee revealed that to be California, Syracuse, Illinois State and Iowa, and subsequently those four will be the four No. 1 seeds in the NIT. It will be Georgia’s third NIT appearance in four years. The team last made the NCAA Tournament in 2015. The only upshot will be a chance to get a 20th win for a fourth straight season — unprecedented in program history — and for Georgia fans to see senior guard J.J. Frazier one more time at Stegeman. When Frazier led Georgia to a senior-night win over Auburn two weeks ago, he smiled afterwards and said “hopefully it’s our last home game.” As he and others feared, it wasn’t. But last Friday when asked about playing in the NIT, Frazier said the team would put forth its best effort. “Basketball’s fun, man,” Frazier said. “When you put your heart and soul out there and you come up short, it’s disappointing. But you’ve got to live with it.”
Due to SEC TV contracts, no SEC school or radio station can stream live football games on their website. There is a subscription service called GTV which replaces GXtra.

News

  • An off-duty Fulton County police officer shot a man after a chase in Atlanta Wednesday morning, the GBI says. The officer, whose name has not been released, was in his personal vehicle about 11 a.m., when he responded to a theft at a T-Mobile store on Mount Zion Parkway in Morrow, GBI spokesman Rich Bahan said.  The officer followed the suspect’s car into the city limits of Atlanta while reporting the incident to 911, Bahan said. At some point near Alyson Court, the two cars collided and when the driver got out of his car the off-duty officer shot him with his service weapon, Bahan said.   MORE:  Sheriff: Man out on bond for murder arrested after fighting victim’s family Ex-NFL player jailed after allegedly attacking woman in front of kids Police: Men brought ‘bag of bullets’ to shootout with alleged gang members Witness Jay Mitchell told Channel 2 Action News he thinks the man was shot in the stomach area after the police officer chased him and tried to pull him over. The suspect kept driving even after he was shot, Bahan said, and Atlanta police stopped him in the 1700 block of Lakewood Avenue. Whether the off-duty Fulton County officer stayed on the scene was not released, but his car was found parked at a store on Cleveland Avenue, Channel 2 reported. The man who was shot was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital, Bahan said. The shooting is the fourth in less than a week involving a Georgia officer. A Georgia State Patrol trooper fatally shot a man after a chase early Saturday in Polk County. Jason Dennis Watkins, 36, was taken to Polk County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. RELATED: GSP trooper fatally shoots man after chase Willie Ivy III, 29, of Atlanta, died after a Fulton County police officer and an armed security guard shot him early Saturday in College Park, the GBI said.  RELATED: Man dead in police-involved shooting incident in College Park A Pickens County sheriff’s sergeant on Tuesday shot and critically injured Gary Lee Castle after he “moved aggressively” toward the official “with a large metal pipe in his hand,” the sheriff’s office said. RELATED: Sergeant shoots, critically injures man, Pickens County sheriff says In January and February, the GBI conducted 17 officer-involved shooting investigations, agency spokeswoman Nelly Miles said. RELATED: OVER THE LINE: Police shootings in Georgia The GBI investigated 78 police shootings in the state last year. In other news:
  • A middle school bus driver in the Valdosta area is accused of driving under the influence of alcohol while students were on her bus, according to the Lowndes County sheriff. Amanda Mullinax, 41, registered more than twice the legal limit, Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk said. A school resource officer at Hahira Middle School smelled alcohol on Mullinax, and a student said she had been drinking, the Macon Telegraph reported. The night before, deputies were called to a domestic dispute at Mullinax’s home and found she had been drinking heavily, Paulk said. RELATED: School bus driver charged in accident that injured child She could face multiple counts of child endangerment since there were about 44 students on the bus, the newspaper reported. Read more of the story here. In other news:
  • U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch vowed to uphold the law if confirmed to the nation’s highest court, not tipping his hand as he sidestepped controversial political subjects, as Gorsuch directly pushed back against President Donald Trump’s criticism of federal judges. “When anyone criticizes the honesty or integrity, the motives of a federal judge, I find that disheartening; I find that demoralizing,” Gorsuch said in response to questions from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). “Anyone including the President of the United States?” Blumenthal pressed. “Anyone is anyone,” Gorsuch replied. In a day of testimony that stretched for almost twelve hours, Gorsuch parried most questions from Democrats, who tried in vain to get him to reveal his views on issues like abortion, and items that might come before the Supreme Court, like President Trump’s travel ban. Gorsuch repeatedly refused to take the bait. “I can’t get involved in politics, and I think it would be very imprudent of judges to start commenting on political disputes,” Gorsuch said. Under questioning from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Gorsuch was asked what he had discussed with President Trump on the issue of abortion. “In that interview did he ever ask you to overrule Roe v Wade?” Graham asked. “No, Senator,” Gorsuch replied, adding that if the President had asked that question, “I would have walked out the door.” Gorsuch was pressed about the President in a number of different ways, telling Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) that, “nobody is above the law in this country, and that includes the President of the United States.” With Republicans strongly in support of Gorsuch, there was already maneuvering behind the scenes over the expected floor fight in the Senate, as Democrats have made clear they think the GOP should be forced to get 60 votes for his nomination. That has prompted GOP leaders to criticize the threat of a filibuster. “If there aren’t 60 votes for a nominee like Neil Gorsuch it’s appropriate to ask the question is there any nominee any Republican president could make that Democrats would approve,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Gorsuch’s lengthy day of testimony ended on a light note, as Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) suggested to Gorsuch that he have a cocktail before bed. “Just don’t drink vodka,” Kennedy said to chuckles from the audience. Kennedy then drew even more laughter by adding in one more surprise. “You never been to Russia, have you?” “I’ve never been to Russia,” a smiling Gorsuch said.
  • Donald Trump Jr. is facing criticism for tweeting in the hours after Wednesday's London attack a months-old comment from London Mayor Sadiq Khan that terror attacks are part of living in a big city. Trump Jr. tweeted : 'You have to be kidding me?!: Terror attacks are part of living in big city, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan.' The tweet included a link to a Sept. 22 story from Britain's Independent newspaper that includes the quote from Khan, who was asking Londoners to be vigilant following a bombing in New York City. British Member of Parliament Wes Streeting was among numerous Britons who responded to the tweet with criticism. He called Trump Jr. 'a disgrace' and accused him of using a terrorist attack for 'political gain.' When asked about Trump Jr. on Thursday, Khan told CNN: 'I'm not going to respond to a tweet from Donald Trump Jr. I've been doing far more important things over the past 24 hours.' He added that 'terrorists hate the fact' that cities including London, New York and Paris have 'diverse communities living together peacefully.