ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
56°
Partly Cloudy
H 59° L 41°
  • cloudy-day
    56°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 59° L 41°
  • cloudy-day
    59°
    Today
    Partly Cloudy. H 59° L 41°
  • rain-day
    45°
    Tomorrow
    Showers. H 45° L 39°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Georgia Tech Sports

    ATHENS — Fantastic. Bravo. Job well done. Georgia coach Kirby Smart finally promoted James Coley to offensive coordinator on Friday. Or, more accurately, he simply dropped the “co-” from Coley’s title, which already was co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. It’s important to not here that it does not mean that somebody else might come in and commandeer that “co-” in their title. You can bet that Smart is going to do whatever it takes to make his staff as strong to make his staff as strong it can be. If that means having to name somebody co-offensive coordinator, so be it. But make no bones about it, like it was when Jim Chaney was in charge of the offense last year alongside Coley, the one without the “co” in his title was calling the shots. So, to be clear, it’s Coley that will be calling the shots. What’s that mean for Georgia’s offense? The most important thing it means is there will be continuity from the last two years to the next one. Quarterback Jake Fromm will be back at the helm for a third consecutive season and, with his level of expertise in this offense, that effectively gives the Bulldogs another offensive coordinator. Maybe that’s the way Georgia needs to go. Name Fromm starting quarterback/co-offensive coordinator? Kidding aside, Fromm is one major part of an offense that returns mostly intact. The Bulldogs will be looking at a bit of a rebuild at wideout, where leading receivers Riley Ridley, Mecole Hardman and Terry Godwin have moved on. And that’s the case to a lesser degree at tight end, where Georgia will be looking to fill the void of Issac Nauta turning pro and Luke Ford transferring. But the most important aspect of the Bulldogs’ offense is it returns four-fifths of the starting offensive line, plus a plethora of other former blue-chippers to compete and mix in across the front. Then there remains D’Andre Swift, Brian Herrien and James Cook in the backfield, where they will be joined by newcomers Zamir “Zeus” White and Kenny McIntosh. That’s a lot of talent for Coley to work with, and he knows what do with it. This is no young rookie coordinator on whom Smart is taking a chance. This is a 45-year-old man who has coordinated offenses for 11 of 19 seasons going back to his three-year stint at Miami Norland High School. Over the span, Coley has developed a reputation for being a bit a gun-slinging coordinator. That is, he likes his offenses to throw the football downfield. When he was coordinator and play-caller at Miami, the Hurricanes led the nation in “explosive plays”  all three years. Coley coached freshman quarterback Brad Kaaya who earned Freshman All-America honors and broke the single season record for passing yards at Miami.  Wide receiver Allen Hurns, currently with the Dallas Cowboys, broke the single season receiving record with 1,162 yards in 2013. In the midst of that, Miami produced two 1,000 yards rushers in Duke Johnson (1,652 yards in 2014) and Joe Yearly (1,002 in 2015). So Coley knows the value of running the football. And, lest we forget, Coley has been around for every step of success Georgia has enjoyed under Smart. He was one of Smart’s early hires when he took over before the 2016 season, joining the staff close behind Chaney and offensive line coach Sam Pittman. So Coley knows exactly what Smart is looking for. Keep in mind, no matter who’s calling the shots on Georgia’s offense, it still remains under Smart’s ownership. And Smart, a defensive coordinator by trade, has always been one who ascribes to the “complementary” football approach. That is, your offense works in tandem to achieve victory, so one doesn’t conduct itself to the possible detriment of the other. That means the offense doesn’t go hurry-up, spread-’em-out and score as fast as possible all the time and the defense doesn’t sell out with 72 exotic blitz packages in order to create its own big plays. No, Georgia is still mainly about playing the percentages to win, which means to run the football, control the clock, limit opponents’ big plays and win field position and special teams. So those will be Coley’s marching orders, they were for Chaney. Meanwhile, he’s going to be speaking the same offensive terminology and will be working out of the same playbook the Bulldogs assembled the last three years under Chaney and company. That’s nothing but a good thing for Fromm, who can already recite that stuff chapter and verse. That’s not to say Coley won’t add his wrinkles. You can be certain as he sat beside Chaney in Georgia’s coaching box for those 14 games last season, there are a lot of things he might’ve done different. An offensive assistant for the Miami Dolphins and the Florida State Seminoles with a year as a coordinator and play-caller at Florida International, you can be sure that Coley has some of his own stuff he’s been dying to put in. How long has Smart known Coley was going to be his guy? I’d say right from the outset. But two things likely withheld him from making it official until now: One, the opening period for recruiting cranks back up this weekend, so Coley can jet out on the road carry this new title in his brief case. That certainly couldn’t hurt somebody already considered one of the top recruiters in the game. Two, Smart has continued to hold his cards close to his vest. He’s trying to assemble the absolute best coaching staff he can for 2019, and he’ll need it for what promises to be the most anticipated season in Smart’s tenure. So does Smart do something with another “co” title? Possibly. At the least, it would befit Pittman, who has no rival in the country when it comes to his ability to recruit elite offensive linemen and coach them up as well. As we all know, Alabama has an opening for an offensive line coach since Brent Keys was jettisoned to Georgia Tech. There’s absolutely know doubt that the Crimson Tide would look Pittman’s way, themselves of a victim of his recruiting acumen, not to mentioned up-close witnesses to his good work on the field. Word is, Georgia has done what it needs to rebuke that threat, at least for now. Perhaps it will be with a co-title but it will certainly come with new stacks of money. The same will be the case for Coley, of course, and he’s deserving of whatever raises Friday’s promotion comes with. More than anything, though, this development was the result of Smart and his coaching staff seeking one thing, and that’s those rich championship bonuses UGA offers them for winning SEC and national titles. Coley’s appointment puts them closer to doing that than any OC who’d be coming in with a shiny new playbook.   The post Georgia Bulldogs didn’t have to go far to find the ideal offensive coordinator appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Dabo Swinney’s statement to ESPN in the immediate aftermath of last night’s National Championship Game said it all: “If we can do it, anybody can do it!” In fact, Clemson has done it three times now. Twice in the last three years and once a long while back in 1981. Interestingly, all three of the Tigers’ national titles have come with quarterbacks from Georgia under center — Trevor Lawrence of Cartersville, Deshaun Watson of Gainesville and Homer Jordan of Athens. So, yes, Georgia can certainly win another national championship, too — and soon. They’re already posting odds for winning next year’s title out in Las Vegas, and the Bulldogs came out with the third-best odds at 12 to 1, tied with Ohio State. National champion Clemson was first at 9 to 5 and Alabama, its vanquished opponent from last night, was next at 5 to 2. But I don’t think anybody who has watched Georgia closely these last few seasons needs Vegas odds to tell us that the Bulldogs should be in contention for the national championship the next couple of years. And 2019 has long looked like the year in which they should be poised for a big run. In fact, I’ve long said Georgia was ahead of schedule these last two seasons under coach Kirby Smart. The run to the finals in 2017 was an unexpected and premature phenomena born from the decisions of a large group of NFL-caliber juniors to come back for their senior seasons. And 2018 always stood as a transition year for the Bulldogs, who entered it with a roster consisting of 68.2 percent freshman and sophomores. Now that roster is laden with sophomores and juniors, many of whom had to be thrown into the fire this past season. The Bulldogs had seven first-time starters in 2018, and every one of those players will be back to man those positions this coming season. Provided they don’t get beat out. Georgia’s 2019 recruiting class currently sits ranked No. 2 in the nation, and a dozen of those prospects already are on campus as early enrollees. The competition this spring and late-summer promises to be fast and furious, just like the last two years. The Bulldogs’ strength should again be its offense. No team in America will have a more experienced quarterback than Georgia’s Jake Fromm, with 29 games under his belt. And he’ll be playing behind a line than returns four of its five starters and should be able to replace center Lamont Gaillard quite nicely with Trey Hill or Jamaree Salyer, among a number of the candidates. Certainly losing leading receiver Riley Ridley, kick returner Mecole Hardman and tight end Isaac Nauta from the receiving corps will hurt. But, again, the Bulldogs have many capable replacements who have been waiting their turn. Not the least of them is controversial transfer Demetris Robertson, who might’ve disappointed in his first year from Cal but remains one of the team’s fastest players. And reinforcements such as 5-star signee Dominick Blaylock already are in the fold. I’m among those who believe Elijah Holyfield’s departure may be more hurtful than many predict. One thousand-yard rushers are hard to come by. But in addition to the return of D’Andre Swift and James Cook comes the much-anticipated debut of former No. 1 player Zamir “Zeus” White. I remain skeptical about how effective a running back can be coming off back-to-back reconstructions of each ACL. But I’ve also seen many a back make complete recoveries without losing a step. That will be a storyline to follow closely heading into next season. Where Georgia has to make the greatest strides is on defense. Let’s face it, that’s where the Bulldogs were let down in their last two meetings with Alabama. They were unable to protect two-score leads in the second half. Seven starters are back on that side of the ball, with a host of highly-recruited, rising sophomores poised to challenge for snaps. Watching Clemson compete last night, it is evident that it’s in the trenches on the D-line where the Bulldogs have to show significant improvement. Whether they have the “hosses” to do so right away remains the biggest question I have for the squad that will take the field for Georgia in 2019. The Dogs are set everywhere else. And they have the type of schedule that’s going bring both the challenge and attention that a national champion run will require. Highly-ranked teams from Notre Dame and Texas A&M come to town, along with road trips to Tennessee and Auburn and finishing at Georgia Tech under a new coach. I don’t think Alabama’s lopsided loss signals an end to its run. As always, whoever plays in the SEC is ultimately going to have to get through the Crimson Tide, who will be reloading next year as well. But having led those guys for 119 of 120 minutes the last two seasons, Georgia knows it can compete with Nick Saban’s best teams. Meanwhile, Clemson’s coach surely wasn’t referring to Georgia when he said what he said after that impressive 44-16 victory. But the Bulldogs should take his words to heart. If Clemson can do it, the Georgia Bulldogs definitely can. And they should, very soon.   The post Clemson’s second national title in three years proves Georgia can do the same, and should appeared first on DawgNation.
  • SAN JOSE, Calif. — College Football Playoff talk grew heated leading up to Clemson’s championship game win over Alabama on Monday night. The College Football Playoff is five years into its 12-year contract with ESPN, no change is in sight, and CFP executive director Bill Hancock makes no apologies for the system. “Go play a good schedule and win your games, you’re going to be in the discussion,” Hancock said. “Four has been very good for college football. “People didn’t like the BCS; people really like the College Football Playoff.” Certainly, the college presidents on the CFP board of managers made it clear they approve of the system after convening in San Jose on Monday. Georgia football fans, however, had their questions after the Bulldogs were left out in favor of Oklahoma. RELATED: Kirby Smart seeking clarity on CFP selection process DawgNation asked Hancock if more transparency was needed on the CFP Selection Committee with athletic directors from Florida and Georgia Tech affecting decisions behind closed doors that involve their rival, Georgia. “That’s not a factor, they check their hats at the door, and when they go in that room they represent the game as a whole,” Hancock said. “The issue with the committee is maintaining candor inside the room. You want the committee members to be candid and share their thoughts with each other. So I wouldn’t anticipate that element changing.” ESPN analyst Chris Fowler said there’s room to speculate on the CFP Committee makeup and transparency. “There’s always potential, people will never believe that any committee can check it’s bias at the door,” Fowler said. (But) I do give them the benefit of the doubt, and I think what they’ve produced in the first five   years are pretty sound brackets that for me don’t speak of bias. “Transparency is an interesting idea, I don’t know how much it would change the process to say, ‘Hey, this guy voted these four in this order, this guy voted this way,’ “ he said. “Like any process, they would find the secret ballot to be valuable, because it gets so personal. Say a given committee member voted Oklahoma 5, not 4, now they become a public target. “I understand where you could say that’s part of the job, but I don’t know the nature of the narrative these days, it doesn’t help me to know which guy voted which way. The bottom line is 13 people put together their minds and they came up with this list.” Many, most notably Fowler’s ESPN broadcasting partner Kirk Herbstreit, charged that the CFP Selection Committee allowed the process to become political. RELATED: Kirk Herbstreit challenges CFP Selection Committee SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey told DawgNation that while he may not necessarily agree with the results, he respects the process and the committee. “The selection committee has to speak for its decision making, and I respect that, and we may all have different views, but when the four-team playoff, and the College Football Playoff Selection committee was established, there was a clear expectation that people would have different views,” Sankey said. “When we look at basketball, and you finish with 68 teams, there’s a different view over who was 69, and 68, so the fact that there’s different views over four and five is not at all a surprise,” Sankey said. “My view is the selection committee has fulfilled it’s charge, and that is to find the four best teams based on the information. “Does everyone agree with that? No. Might I have different views year to year? Sure, but I respect the selection committee has probably fulfilled it’s role, and I think they’ve done that on a consistent basis even though people may have different views of those outcomes.” Georgia’s argument that it belonged in the College Football Playoff took a blow when the Bulldogs lost to Texas 28-21 in the Sugar Bowl. Georgia, however, was missing its best defensive back (Deandre Baker), pass rusher (OLB D’Andre Walker) and a key defensive lineman (Freshman All-American nose guard Jordan Davis). Indeed, SEC legend Tim Tebow had correctly predicted the Bulldogs would have a hard time finding motivation for the Sugar Bowl. “You can talk about the inconsistency of the messaging or the criteria, I don’t necessarily agree with that,” Fowler said. “But I understand the criticism of it, especially if your team’s getting left out, that’s never going to change, even with eight teams, the ninth and 10th teams are going to get pissed off.”       The post CFP director Bill Hancock defends 4-team playoff, selection committee appeared first on DawgNation.
  • SAN JOSE, Calif. — Georgia high school produced the two top quarterbacks in the nation in the 2018 class in Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields. Both Lawrence and Fields made national headlines their freshman years of college, but in very different ways. Lawrence has led Clemson to the CFP National Championship Game against Alabama on Monday, while news of Fields’ transfer from Georgia to Ohio State has been almost as talked about. Even Lawrence, who has been focused on the Tigers’ 8 p.m. game against the Tide (TV: ESPN), has taken note of Fields’ situation. RELATED: Fields’ inability to beat out established starter keys transfer “I knew (Fields) since my junior year probably, and he was 45 minutes away from me, right there in Kennesaw,” Lawrence said. “We worked out a few times together, and we had a good relationship. “Obviously I saw and hard about the kind of stuff that happened with him going to Ohio State and all that,” Lawrence told DawgNation at the CFP National Championship Media Day on Saturday. “But definitely, wish him the best of luck whatever he decides to do. I feel that way about a lot of guys.” RELATED: Dabo Swinney explains college football QB transfer dynamics Lawrence reiterated that he probably would have gone to Georgia if not Clemson. Kirby Smart made the then-6-foot-6, 210-pound Lawrence his priority after being hired as Georgia’s head coach following the 2015 season. Lawrence led Cartersville to the Class 4A state championship twice, passing for 13,908 yards and 161 touchdowns with 21 interceptions against good competition. “There’s great players, obviously, all around the state of Georgia,” said Lawrence, who left high school as the nation’s No. 1-ranked prospect. “Just being there and playing some great teams throughout my four years of high school, I think it helped me a lot.” Lawrence was 52-2 as a starter and his yardage and touchdown numbers eclipsed the previous state records held by former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson. Once Lawrence committed to Clemson, Smart moved on to Fields, who was committed to Penn State at that time. RELATED: Jeff Sentell report on Lawrence choosing Clemson over Georgia “Georgia and Clemson were my last schools,” said Lawrence, who had made unofficial visits to Georgia in May, June and July of 2016 before playing his junior season and committing in Dec. of 2016. The Bulldogs, of course, were 7-5 at that time in Smart’s first season leading the program, having just lost to Georgia Tech. Dabo Swinney’s Tigers were 12-1 en route to a national championship when Lawrence chose them over Georgia. Clemson, no doubt, was the better-looking program at that time, and he also said he felt closer to that staff. “Just felt like I had a better relationship with everyone involved in the program,” Lawrence said Saturday, “and it was a place where I felt like I could grow the most, just personally and football-wise, too.” It proved to be the right choice for Lawrence, as he beat out incumbent Kelly Bryant in September while Fields was unable to win the starting job away from Jake Fromm and has left Athens. Georgia, meanwhile, has signed another 6-foot-6, 210-pound prospect in quarterback Dwan Mathis, who reported to the Bulldogs’ campus on Saturday. RELATED: Georgia’s newest quarterback arrives in Georgia Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence   DawgNation Justin Fields coverage Georgia QB Justin Fields expected to transfer to Ohio State  Social media reacts to news of Justin Fields transfer Georgia QB Jake Fromm not swayed by pending attrition  Justin Fields MIA in Georgia locker room following Sugar Bowl Kirby Smart explains why Justin Fields didn’t play vs. Florida How does Tua Tagovailoa’s freshman year compare to Justin Fields’? Kirby Smart says Justin Fields still growing as a player SEC legend Tim Tebow has advice for Justin Fields, Georgia           The post WATCH Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence: Thoughts on Georgia football, Justin Fields appeared first on DawgNation.
  • KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — When it comes to getting an idea what SEC basketball might taste like this season, the Georgia Bulldogs will get a big orange mouthful on Saturday when they venture into Thompson-Boling Arena to sample the No. 3-ranked Tennessee Volunteers. Might as well start at the Rocky Top, right? “We have to play them at some point, so it’s fine,” Georgia coach Tom Crean said before his team left Athens on Friday. “They are playing really well and they are an outstanding team. They are very good at every facet of the game and are extremely well coached, so it will be a tough challenge.” That might be an understatement. So far, the Vols (11-1) are looking like the class of the league. That includes the high-and-mighty Big Blue of Kentucky. Riding the talents of forwards Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield, Tennessee has already vanquished the likes of Memphis, Gonzaga, Wake Forest and Louisville. So far the only setback came at the hands of Kansas, and that was 87-81 in overtime in New York. The Vols are definitely battle tested and excited to begin defense of last year’s unexpected SEC championship at home. But Tennessee also stands as a reminder to Georgia about what can happen in any given season. The Vols were picked 13th in the SEC before last season, same as the Bulldogs (8-4) were this season. “We are going to a hostile environment, of course, but we played them last year in their last SEC game,” Georgia sophomore Nicolas Claxton said. “We want to prove that we can win. We don’t want to just play them close, we want to win.” The Bulldogs gave Tennessee fits the last time they were up that way. They went ahead by double digits and scored 42 points in the first half before finally falling 66-61 in the last game of the regular season. That has been a theme for Georgia again this season. The Bulldogs blew an 18-point lead to then 20th-ranked Arizona State on the way to a 76-74 loss last month. But Georgia rebounded nicely and has since won three in a row over Oakland, Georgia Tech and UMass and five of six since a trip to the Cayman Islands in late November. Claxton has been a big part of that improvement. The 6-foot-11 sophomore is coming off a final week of December in which he earned SEC play of the week honors after a 20-point, 11-rebound performance against UMass. Georgia’s front-line play will be a key for the team and certainly a focus for Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. broadcasts (TV: SEC Network; radio: WSB 750 AM & 95.5 FM). Georgia’s other up-and-coming forward Rayshaun Hammonds (14.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg)  and Claxton should match a formidable matchup for Tennessee’s Williams (20.1, 8-3) and Schofield (18.2, 6.0). Georgia certainly has the Vols’ respect and full attention. “We have yet to out-play Georgia’s team,” associate head coach Rob Lanier said on the SEC’s weekly coaches’ conference call. “So Saturday represents an opportunity for us to do a better job against a team that in a lot of ways has kind of had our number.” Crean, who has never played at Thompson-Boling and is making his SEC coaching debut, is going in with his eyes wide open. “I don’t know; it is what it is,” Crean said. “They are a really good team. … I haven’t played them yet, we haven’t coached against them. We just have to go in there and be ready to compete.” Whatever the Bulldogs discover, they can certainly put to good use for their next SEC road trip. It will be next Saturday at Auburn, which shared the SEC title with Tennessee. A home game against Vanderbilt sits in between.   The post Georgia basketball gets huge SEC test from the jump on road at No. 3 Tennessee appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Welcome to the big time, Georgia football fans. Reporting for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution I called July 16, 2004 “Bloody Friday in UGA Athletics” in the news story I filed that day. Why? Because that was the day, many months after he’d been designated Vince Dooley’s successor as athletic director, that Damon Evans fired nearly every person in the Bulldogs’ senior athletic administration. That is NOT what we witnessed on Jan. 4, 2019. It might feel that way for the most fervent of Georgia football fans. What took place this Friday is not helpful to the Bulldogs’ bottom-line cause for the 2019 season, it is not necessarily a negative development. This is not good, hard-working people losing their jobs for the sake of change like we saw in 2004. It is, however, the price of doing business at the current altitude Georgia is flying. At last count — and if you were following this Friday, you know what a flurry this was — we have six front-line players leaving the football program. In chronological order the Bulldogs on Friday lost quarterback Justin Fields (transferring to Ohio State), tight end Isaac Nauta (entering NFL draft), split end Riley Ridley (NFL), flanker/kick returner Mecole Hardman (NFL), tight end Luke Ford (transferring to Illinois) and running back Elijah Holyfield (NFL). If you’re into recruiting, that’s 28 stars of talent leaving Georgia’s locker room. That’s a blow, folks, no matter who might be “the next man up.” Head coach Kirby Smart put his best spin on it with the release of a statement early Friday evening. “We wish the best to Mecole Hardman, Elijah Holyfield, Isaac Nauta and Riley Ridley as they pursue their careers at the next level,” Smart said through UGA Sports Communications. “All four of these juniors contributed significantly to our success during the last two seasons and we look forward to them making the best out of their shot at the NFL. As with all our players, we also will encourage them to complete their degrees to get prepared for the next chapter of their lives.” The movement we witnessed Friday might not be limited to players. Don’t be surprised if we see some coaches leave is all over as well. Tennessee, which has gone well over a month now without filling its offensive coordinator vacancy, is said to be eying Georgia’s Jim Chaney. Chaney’s three-year contract is due to expire at the end of the academic year. He had to share coordinating duties with James Coley this past season, as well as move from coaching quarterbacks to tight ends, and I;m told still has property on a lake up in East Tennessee. Also, Georgia clearly has one of the best offensive line coaches in the nation in Sam Pittman. With Alabama’s offensive line coach Brent Key recently leaving to join Geoff Collins at Georgia Tech, don’t be surprised if the Crimson Tide turns their eyes toward Pittman. No way that Georgia would give up Pittman without a vicious fight, but it’s awfully hard to out-compensate Bama. All this activity at Georgia on Friday underscores two things: One, it shows how special it was what happened when”the Big Four” — Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy — decided to come back to play with the Bulldogs in 2017; and, two, what a tremendous job Nick Saban has done keeping Alabama atop college football’s loftiest peak for so long with players and coaches always coming and going. There once was a time when transfers, draft early-entry, and coaching movement were a rarity. But such ingress and egress is increasingly commonplace, especially around successful programs. Everybody’s seeking their own slice of the pie, players included. Can’t blame them for that. For years college football student-athletes were a trapped and exploited labor pool constricted by the NCAA’s archaic rules regarding amateurism and transfers. But as money has come pouring into the game from lucrative television contracts and coaches’ salaries continue to escalate at a breakneck pace, it has become increasingly hypocritical to tell the persons responsible for providing all the actual entertainment that they’re not permitted to go somewhere they believe might suit them better. That goes double after that we witnessed last week. Manny Diaz abandoned his just-secured head coaching job at Temple to take a better one at Miami, and right after the early-signing period. That’s why all players need now is a reason enough to check one of the boxes on the NCAA’s transfer form and they’re good to go. Like it or not, Fields and Ford both were able to check a box. As for the Georgia players with professional aspirations, who can fault them of that? There’s nothing more American than being able to seek a good wage doing what you do best. It comes with risks both ways, staying or going, and as Nauta so eloquently explained, nothing’s guaranteed. But when the game you play can reap millions and the ability to play it comes with a limited shelf life, who’s to say these guys shouldn’t be leaving now or could have benefited later? And we can never be sure of what’s going on back home or in the classroom. Sometime needs and circumstances trump logic. Some people in chatrooms Friday were calling it “The Fields Effect,” as if it was the unexpected reaction of some high-profile players to the newly-departed quarterback not getting a fair shot at Georgia. I don’t buy that. Friday definitely was not a good day for Georgia as far as the football program’s selfish pursuits go. But players have selfish pursuits, too, and they don’t always run lockstep with those of the university or the head coach. Yes, this whirlwind of postseason activity has come with a cost for Georgia. I’d say about one New Year’s Six bowl game so far. That said, I believe Smart has handled all the developments about as well as he could. I felt like he bent over backward — almost to a detrimental degree — to keep Fields happy and try to keep him in Athens. And, in the end, sending lots of underclassmen to the league is a positive thing for your program. So you can bet Smart will be out there in the next couple of weeks trying to talk more 5-stars into coming to UGA to fulfill their NFL dreams. And this time next year, we can probably expect more of the same. The post Georgia coach Kirby Smart now dealing with toughest part of managing a top-tier program appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia saw three of its major pass-catchers and a key running back from the 2018 team declare for the NFL draft Friday. Wide receivers Mecole Hardman and Riley Ridley, tight end Isaac Nauta and running back Elijah Holyfield all announced their early exits. Georgia also saw freshman tight end Luke Ford reveal his intentions to transfer from the program to Illinois. All this came on the day when news broke of Justin Fields’ decision to transfer to Ohio State. Underclassmen have until Jan. 14 to declare for the draft, which takes place April 25-27 in Nashville. The NFL combine scheduled for Feb. 26-March 4 in Indianapolis. “We wish the best to Mecole Hardman, Elijah Holyfield, Isaac Nauta and Riley Ridley as they pursue their careers at the next level,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said in a news release. “All four of these juniors contributed significantly to our success during the last two seasons and we look forward to them making the best out of their shot at the NFL. As with all our players, we also will encourage them to complete their degrees to get prepared for the next chapter of their lives.” Hardman opened this season on fire. He scored at least one touchdown in each of the first four games of the season, including a two-touchdown performance against Middle Tennessee that featured a punt return for a touchdown. The speedy 5-foot-11, 183-pounder is widely considered one of the fastest players on Georgia’s football team. Texas kept the ball away from Hardman in the Sugar Bowl, as he had just one catch for 3 yards and one kick return for 28 yards in the 28-21 loss to the Longhorns on Tuesday night. Hardman finished this season with 34 catches for 532 yards and seven touchdowns — but he had only 10 catches for 174 yards over the final seven games of the 2018 campaign. If Hardman had enough punt returns to qualify this season, his 20.06 average on 16 returns would have ranked second in the nation to New Mexico’s Marcus Hayes (21.2). Hardman also had 14 kick returns for 353 yards, an average of 25.21 yards. Ridley led the Bulldogs with 44 catches for 570 yards and nine touchdowns this season. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder had five catches in the Sugar Bowl for a team-high 61 yards. Ridley came on the national radar with his 6-catch, 82-yard performance in the College Football Playoff Championship game in Atlanta last season. Ridley’s season-high receiving yardage in 2018 came against Missouri when he had 87 yards on five catches. Against Georgia Tech, Ridley had a career-high two touchdown catches. “I am thankful that I chose the University of Georgia and was a part of an outstanding program. I could not imagine any other program preparing me for the next the way this one has,” Ridley wrote in a Twitter post. “Thank you to coach Smart and the entire phenomenal coaching staff for molding me into the athlete I am today. My experience here has been nothing less than absolutely amazing.” Holyfield, one of four team captains selected for the Sugar Bowl, joined D’Andre Swift in rushing for more than 1,000 yards this season, marking the second consecutive season in which Georgia has had dual 1,000-yard rushers. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel each had more than 1,000 yards rushing last season. Holyfield, the son of former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield, led the Bulldogs with 62 yards on 12 carries in the Sugar Bowl, giving him 1,018 on the season, 31 behind Swift. The 5-foot-11, 215-pounder averaged 6.4 yards per carry — the same as Swift — and his seven touchdowns tied for third on the team behind Swift (13) and receiver Riley Ridley (9). A three-year starter for the Bulldogs, Nauta finishes his college career with 68 catches for 902 yards and eight touchdowns. He might have been under-utilized as a receiver, following a freshman year of 29 catches with a sophomore season of nine. But he had 30 this past season and finished with a career-best 430 yards. He caught just one pass for three yards in Tuesday night’s loss to Texas. Heading into the Sugar Bowl, Nauta hinted that it wasn’t going to be production or even money for him when it came to making his NFL decision. It was all about opportunity and timing.  “How’s your body feel? How long can you do it? Is graduating and getting your degree important to you? Winning the national championship,” Nauta told DawgNation two days before the game. “There’s so much stuff that goes into it and I think that’s what makes the decision so hard. I’ve definitely felt the weight of those questions, no doubt.”  Ford came to Georgia as the nation’s No. 3 tight end in the 2018 recruiting class out of Carterville, Illinois. Ford appeared in 9 games this season and recorded just 1 catch for 4 yards. With Ford leaving, that leaves Georgia with only Charlie Woerner and John Fitzpatrick as the only scholarship tight ends. Georgia has signed 4-star tight end Ryland Goede as a member of the 2019 class. He will be an early enrollee, but he is recovering from an ACL injury. 
  • ATHENS — Georgia wide receiver Riley Ridley emerged as a key threat for Georgia this year. And that emergence enabled him to declare for the 2019 NFL Draft after his junior year, which he did on Friday afternoon. Thank you dawg Nation !!! pic.twitter.com/OkUGwrWkbN — R2 (@RidleyCa) January 4, 2019 Ridley joins Georgia tight end Isaac Nauta, who declared earlier in the day. Like Nauta, Ridley thanked Georgia fans with a message he posted on his Twitter account. I am thankful that I chose the University of Georgia and was a part of an outstanding program. I could not imagine any other program preparing me for the next the way this one has,” Ridley wrote. ” Thank you to coach Smart and the entire phenomenal coaching staff for molding me into the athlete I am today. My experience here has been nothing less than absolutely amazing. “I am declaring for the 2019 NFL Draft and I’ll forever be a Damn Good Dawg! Go Dawgs!” Underclassmen have until Jan. 14 to declare for the upcoming NFL Draft, which takes place April 25-27 in Nashville. The NFL combine is Feb. 26 through March 4 in Indianapolis. Junior Isaac Nauta declared himself eligible for the NFL draft on Friday. Riley, a junior from Coconut Creek, Fla., led the Bulldogs with 44 catches for 570 yards and nine touchdowns this season. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder had five catches in the Sugar Bowl for a team-high 61 yards in Georgia’s 28-21 loss to Texas on Jan. 1. Ridley came on the national radar with his 6-catch, 82-yard performance in the College Football Playoff Championship Game in Atlanta. Riley’s season-high receiving yardage in 2018 came against Missouri when he had 87 yards on five catches. Against Georgia Tech, Riley had a career-high two touchdown catches. Best stories from around DawgNation Justin Fields’ inability to immediately overcome proven Georgia QB keys transfer With Justin Fields gone, what’s behind Jake Fromm in UGA quarterback room? Social media reacts to news of Justin Fields transferring to Ohio State How the Justin Fields storyline affects UGA recruiting right now Bonus podcast: Reaction to Justin Fields transfer news Former UGA great Tim Worley doubles down on Sugar Bowl criticism Is Jake Fromm elite or just a good quarterback with the occasional bad game? The post Georgia receiver Riley Ridley declares for 2019 NFL Draft appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia football is the No. 1 topic every day on DawgNation Daily — the daily podcast for Georgia Bulldogs fans. Catch up on everything happening with UGA athletics with host Brandon Adams and the cast of DawgNation experts as they break down the latest Georgia football recruiting news and discuss UGA coach Kirby Smart’s quest to keep the Bulldogs on top of the SEC. On episodes No. 859 (Jan. 4, 2019) of the podcast, Georgia fans can hear a discussion about Georgia’s chances of adding 4-star defensive back Tyrique Stevenson to its 2019 class. Georgia football podcast: UGA could make major addition to 2019 class this weekend Beginning of the show: Saturday is decision day for 4-star defensive back Tyrique Stevenson. I’ll discuss on today’s show why UGA fans are seemingly confident about good news from Stevenson, and why many feel the opposite about 5-star wide receiver Jadon Haselwood — who’ll also announce his college choice Saturday at the high school football all-star game in San Antonio, Tex. 10-minute mark: I’ll discuss the arrival of what is likely the first way-too-early top 25 for 2019 and where UGA is ranked in it. 15-minute mark: DawgNation’s recruiting insider Jeff Sentell joins the show. Some of the topics covered include… DawgNation’s return to the Marlow’s in Dunwoody Tuesday night. The latest on Stevenson and Haselwood An update on 4-star offensive lineman Doug Nester And reaction to 4-star wide reciver Arjei Henderson’s surprising commitment to Florida 30-minute mark: I take a look at other SEC headlines including other SEC teams ranked in Athlon’s way-too-early top 25, NFL prospects’ who’ve decided to move on from the SEC and enter the upcoming draft, and Georgia Tech reportedly being set to hire Alabama offensive line coach Brent Key. 35-minute mark: Former UGA running back Tim Worley joins the show to discuss his disatisfaction with the Bulldogs’ Sugar Bowl performance. End of show: I share the Gator Hater Updater. The post Georgia football podcast: UGA could make major addition to 2019 class this weekend appeared first on DawgNation.

News

  • A marriage proposal in a room filled with swine may not seem ideal, but a Texas man was perfectly willing to hog the attention away from the pigs Sunday morning. >> Read more trending news  Will Hussey made his “pig-posal” to Kate Jimerson at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, KSAT reported. Hussey’s marriage proposal came four years after they met at the show’s swine barn, the television station reported. Jimerson thought her family was at the Stock Show to watch her younger sister compete in the barrow show, but Hussey surprised her. 'He got down on one knee and said, 'This is where I met you four years ago. I knew then I wanted to marry you.'” Jimerson told KSAT. “So then he asked me and I started crying.” 'The Stock Show already holds a special place for both of us, so why not make it something we can tell our kids about someday,' Hussey told the television station. The couple has not set a wedding date, but they already have next year’s Stock Show on their calendar, KSAT reported.
  • When he made the announcement he was declaring a national emergency, President Donald Trump said he expected to be sued over the move. So far, a handful of activists and even state attorneys general have said they are looking at taking the president to court or have filed a lawsuit already.  Take a look at the lawsuits that are currently pending or will soon be filed. Public Citizen Public Citizen is an advocacy group that filed a suit Friday after the president’s Rose Garden announcement. The group is filing on behalf of three Texas landowners and an environmental group to block the emergency decree. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., The Washington Post reported. >>Read: Can Congress repeal the national emergency declaration? Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington hasn’t filed suit directly on Trump but instead is suing the Justice Department, claiming documents were not provided, including legal opinions and communications, related to Trump’s decision, USA Today reported. The group is using a Freedom of Information Act request submitted concerning the proposed border barrier. Center for Biological Diversity Center for Biological Diversity is an environmental group. It claims the president did not identify a legal authority to declare the emergency. The group said the wall will block wildlife from its natural habitat “and could result in the extirpation of jaguars, ocelots and other endangered species within the United States,” according to the Post. >>Read: Trump signs funding bill to avoid government shutdown, declares emergency to build border wall American Civil Liberties Union The ACLU has not yet filed but is preparing a suit that says that Trump can’t redirect the money paid by taxpayers unless it is for construction that directly supports the military, the Post reported. ACLU officials said the suit will be filed early this week, saying, “There is no emergency. Members of Congress from both parties, security experts, and Americans who live at the border have all said so. What the president is doing is yet another illegal and dangerous power grab in the service of his anti-immigrant agenda.” The group called the declaration an “abuse of power” and says it “violates the constitutional checks and balances that protect us.” >>Read the latest from our Washington Insider Jamie Dupree The ACLU is using the president’s own words against him from when he said, “I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster.” >> Read more trending news  California attorney general Xavier Becerra, the attorney general of California, will be joined by New Mexico, Oregon, Minnesota, New Jersey, Hawaii and Connecticut in trying to stop the emergency declaration from proceeding. >>Read: National emergency likely to be blocked by courts, DOJ tells White House: reports “We’re confident there are at least 8 billion ways that we can prove harm. And once we are all clear, all the different states are clear, what pots of money that taxpayers sent to D.C. he’s going to raid, which Congress dedicated to different types of services -- whether it’s emergency response services or whether it’s fires or mudslides in California or maybe tornadoes and floods in other parts of the country or whether it’s our military men and women and their families who live on military installations that might -- that might have money taken away from them, or whether it’s money taken away from drug interdiction efforts in places like California, a number of states, and certainly Americans, will be harmed. And we’re all going to be prepared,” Becerra said on ABC News’ “This Week.”  >>Read: Trump's border wall: What is a national emergency? A spokesperson for the attorney general of Colorado, Phil Weiser, said his state will also be joining the suit, KDVR reported. The spokesperson said Weiser decided that the state will be hurt if money is transferred from military installations to the wall, according to KDVR.
  • From a court watcher’s perspective it’s apparent to most that the upcoming trial of Ryan Duke, charged with the 2005 murder of South Georgia high school teacher Tara Grinstead is sure to be nothing short of a spectacle of epic proportions. We got a preview of things to come during - of all things - a bond hearing where Duke asked, for the first time in two years, to be released on bond. It wasn’t the denial of bond, nor the fact that Duke asked for bond that is particularly noteworthy. It’s what the bond hearing devolved into that raised eyebrows. Despite losing the motion, the defense unexpectedly was able to depose the lead GBI investigator on a wide range of topics in a dress rehearsal for what promises to be a most controversial trial.  To start, let’s have a look at what a bond hearing is supposed to be.  It’s uncommon for bond to be set in murder cases but it’s not unheard of. Courts are supposed to consider the following factors in making bond decisions and the burden of proof is on the defendant to show that he:  Poses no significant risk of fleeing from the jurisdiction of the court or failing to appear in court when required;  Poses no significant threat or danger to any person, to the community, or to any property in the community;  Poses no significant risk of committing any felony pending trial; and  Poses no significant risk of intimidating witnesses or otherwise obstructing the administration of justice.  Probable cause is not an issue and of course neither is guilt or innocence. A bond hearing is not a trial.  The Duke bond hearing started out as most bond hearings do. The defense called Duke’s brother to testify regarding each of the factors set out above. But then it started a downward spiral into the surreal when the prosecutor called the lead GBI case agent as a witness - presumably as a rebuttal to the defense. A state’s witness, such as an investigator, can occasionally testify - to a point - about “what happened” because that’s relevant - to a point - for the court to determine whether the person poses a danger to the community. But in this case, the testimony was literally all over the place and went into minute detail about many things that have never been heard before. The “bond hearing” was effectively transformed into a deposition - a legal luxury not normally available to a criminal defendant in Georgia.  So just what did we learn from this “bond” hearing? We learned that DNA from the bodily fluid of a police officer was mixed with the victim’s blood on some bedding and that “touch DNA” from Grinstead and Duke (along with DNA from at least two other people) was on a latex glove found outside her residence. “Touch DNA” has its own share of problems in terms of reliability and we can safely expect the defense to explore those problems at trial. Some of that other unidentified DNA from the glove could have come from Bo Dukes - the person accused of helping cover up the murder - and who the defense claims is the actual killer.  We learned there were many investigative steps that could have been taken to verify statements made by both Duke and Dukes. The defense will argue that these follow up steps point to a biased investigation. This could have a huge impact in a trial where the defense will claim that the defendants confession was a false confession.  We learned the GBI, in a breach of protocol and constitutional law, interviewed / talked with Duke twice after he had a lawyer. These interviews were undocumented in the GBI case file. They were not recorded. The DA apparently was unaware at the time that this tactic was being employed by the GBI until the defense raised it with them. The agent didn’t even sign in at the jail. We can only speculate as to why not.  On top of all this, an abundance of otherwise inadmissible evidence consisting of hearsay and innuendo managed to come out publicly at a bond hearing. Most of this wouldn’t have seen the light of day at a trial. As the prosecution correctly pointed out “hearsay” may be admissible at a bond hearing, but it still has to be reliable evidence - not a regurgitation of all the salacious rumors from 2005. And it must be relevant to the issue of bond. It may turn out that the DA made a great tactical mistake by calling their lead case agent to testify and turn this bond hearing into an evidentiary free-for-all with no apparent boundaries. At a minimum it was surely heartbreaking for friends and family of the victim to have to re-live all the pain of the last 13 years by having old wounds reopened in such painful detail.  I’ve previously written about why the venue for this trial really needs to be changed. Now more than ever the jury pool is really tainted - as if it weren’t already. Philip Holloway, WSB legal analyst, is a criminal lawyer who heads his own firm in Cobb County, Georgia. A former prosecutor and adjunct professor of criminal justice, he is former president of the Cobb County Bar Association's criminal law section. Follow him on Twitter: @PhilHollowayEsq The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 
  • Police in Kansas City, Kansas, arrested a man Sunday suspected of carjacking a vehicle, stealing the driver’s phone and taking off with two children in the car, the The Kansas City Star reported. >> Read more trending news  Police said a woman was making a delivery in the area when the suspect, armed with a rifle, took the vehicle, WDAF reported.  The woman ran to a store to call police, the Star reported. “It was as bad as you would think if someone had your kids,” the store manager, Robert Edwards, told the newspaper. “She was as stressed as you would imagine. I’m glad she got the kids back.” The two children, 4 and 7, had been taken out of the car and were found by a neighbor, who called police the Star reported. The children were not injured and were returned to their mother, the newspaper reported. According to Kansas City police, the suspect returned to the scene, leaving the original vehicle and then stole a second car at gunpoint, WDAF reported. Police were able to catch the suspect, who was driving a blue SUV, and returned it to its owner, the Star reported.
  • At the same time President Donald Trump was making a Rose Garden announcement Friday declaring a national emergency to fund a wall along the country’s southern border, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced they would fight Trump’s declaration “using every remedy available.” >> Read more trending news Pelosi and Schumer did not lay out specific remedies they might employ to stop the president from diverting funds from other projects to use to construct a border wall, but several Democrats members of Congress have promised a joint resolution of disapproval aimed at repealing the declaration and stopping Trump’s plans. Would Congress be successful in passing a resolution that would hamper the president’s bid to fund border security by declaring a national emergency? It’s possible, but not likely. >>Trump's border wall: What is a national emergency? Here’s a look at what could happen. A resolution of disapprovalCongress could approve a resolution that contests the status of the national emergency Trump has declared. They can do so under the National Emergencies Act of 1976. The resolution, if passed, would stop the plan to divert money from other government programs to build the border wall. The resolution could pass with a simple majority vote in the House and Senate – 218 votes in the House and 51 in the Senate. There is a Democrat majority in the House where a resolution could easily pass. There are 48 Democrat members of the Senate. Democrats would need four Republicans to vote with them to pass a joint resolution. Reps. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, have said they will introduce a bill in the House to block the declaration. By Friday afternoon, Castro told The Washington Post he had gathered more than 60 co-sponsors for the resolution. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, told ABC's “This Week” that she believes the Senate has enough votes for such a resolution. 'I think we do,' she said. 'Now, whether we have enough for an override and veto, that's a different story. But frankly, I think there's enough people in the Senate who are concerned that what he's doing is robbing from the military and the DOD to go build this wall.' If a resolution should pass both chambers of Congress, it would go to the president’s desk for a signature. The president would almost certainly veto the resolution, marking the first time in his term he has used the veto power. If he does veto the resolution, it would go back to Congress where it would require a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate to override the veto. In the House, 290 votes would be needed. In the Senate, the number would be 67. A lawsuit – or several of them The president has broad powers under the National Emergencies Act, so until the provisions of Trump’s declaration are made public, it’s unclear what someone could sue him over concerning the declaration. But sued he will be -- some suits are already in the works  -- and here is where those suits could come from: Congress: It’s likely that House Democrats would sue on grounds that the president overreached his powers by bypassing the power Congress has to control funding for government programs and projects. However, Democrats in Congress would have to first establish that they have the right to sue the White House, and that can be difficult since the president was given the authority to declare a national emergency under the National Emergencies Act in 1976. The House could challenge Trump's definition of an emergency, but the definition in the National Emergency Act is vague, leaving what is a national emergency pretty much up to the president. Activist groups: The American Civil Liberties Union said on Friday it plans to sue the president over what they call his “unconstitutional power grab that hurts American communities.” Landowners: Those who own land along the area where the president has proposed a border wall could file suit over the seizure of their property if that happens. However, the government is generally allowed to buy up private property for public use – such as when privately-held land is taken to make room for a freeway. The practice is called eminent domain. It is often an uphill fight for landowners. States: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has promised that he will file a suit against the White House claiming that his state will be harmed if Trump diverts funds from other projects to build a wall. He said that four other states, New Mexico, Oregon, Hawaii and Minnesota will join his state in the pending lawsuit.Nevada’s attorney general has also threatened a suit.
  • A man has been targeting dessert shops in a Texas town, committing four robberies -- two in the same business, KHOU reported. >> Read more trending news  The Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt shop in Cypress was robbed Jan. 15, the television station reported. Surveillance cameras caught a bald man with a goatee, who walked up to the cash register, yanked it open and took the money, KHOU reported. 'I saw him and I saw what he was doing,' store manager Debra Santos told the television station. 'You just don't know people now a days. I didn't know if he had a gun or a weapon.' On Feb. 14, the bald bandit struck again, robbing a different Orange Leaf in Cypress, KHOU reported. Later that day, the man robbed Shipley’s Donuts in Cypress. The manager chased the thief, but the man sped away in a white car, the television station reported. On Feb. 16, the thief returned to the Orange Leaf he had robbed a month earlier, taking the store’s second cash register, according to KHOU.  'He said, ‘I'm sorry I have to do this,’ and he ripped the cables and took off again,' Santos told the television station. Santos said she hopes the thief’s robbery pattern will trip him up. 'I hope they catch him soon,' Santos told KHOU. 'He seems to be repetitive, so hopefully he'll have a break in his pattern and they'll catch him.