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UGA Sports

    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 DawgNation experts as they break down the latest Georgia football recruiting news and discuss coach Kirby Smart's quest to return the Bulldogs to the top of the SEC. On episode No. 1,093 (Dec. 12, 2019) of the podcast, Georgia fans can hear a discussion about what former Georgia quarterback Justin Fields said about UGA's offense Wednesday night. Georgia football podcast: Justin Fields addresses UGA's offensive woes Beginning of the show: Former Georgia quarterback Justin Fields was in Atlanta Wednesday as part of preparations for the College Football Awards Banquet. I'll share on today's show what Fields told reporters about the Bulldogs' offensive struggles this season. Five-minute mark: I'll share some news on UGA defensive coordinator Dan Lanning, and some audio of Lanning telling an extraordinary story as part of the recent Broyles Award banquet. I'll also discuss UGA offensive coordinator James Coley's role in the recruitment of some of the Bulldogs' top targets including 4-star wide receiver Marcus Rosemy. 10-minute mark: I discuss UGA linebacker Robert Beal's reported decision to enter the transfer portal. 15-minute mark: The Sporting News' Bill Bender joins the show. Some of the topics covered include Reaction to UGA's loss to LSU An early preview of the matchup with Baylor in the Sugar Bowl Some thoughts on how other bowl games might play out And a look at how Herschel Walker emerged as Sporting News' greatest player of the last 150 years 30-minute mark: I take a look at other SEC headlines including Florida coach Dan Mullen responding to NFL rumors, LSU coach Ed Orgeron's case to be national Coach of the Year, and two high-profile de-commitments from four-star safeties. 35-minute mark: I discuss four-star offensive lineman Josh Braun's de-commitment from UGA. End of show: I share the Gator Hater Updater. The post Georgia football podcast: Justin Fields addresses UGA's offensive woes appeared first on DawgNation.
  • During his time in Athens, Rodrigo Blankenship grew to become a fan favorite thanks to his off-field personality and his kicking ability. And he was recognized for that ability on Thursday night when the senior was awarded the Lou Groza Award, which is given to the top kicker in the country. . @RodTheKicker3 wins the 2019 Lou Groza Award pic.twitter.com/AqvHgE3IEJ Southeastern Conference (@SEC) December 13, 2019 As a senior, Blankenship connected on 25 of his 31 field goal attempts, while also making all 44 of his extra points. Blankenship has not missed a single extra point in his Georgia career. In addition to placekicking duties, Blankenship has also handled kickoff duties for Georgia. He finished ninth in the country in touchback percentage this year, as 60 of his 79 kickoff attempts were not returned. This is the latest in a long list of accolades for Blankenship this season, as he was named the SEC's Scholar-Athlete of the Year as well as First Team All-SEC for his position. Related: Andrew Thomas, Rodrigo Blankenship earn SEC Player of the Year honors Blankenship is the first Georgia kicker to win the award and the third SEC kicker to do so, with the last coming in 2003. Randy Bullock of Texas A&M won it in 2003, but the Aggies were still Big 12 members at that point in time. All season, Georgia coach Kirby Smart has spoken at length about what Blankenship has meant to the Georgia program. 'What Rodrigo has done, and overcome, is just a story for the ages,' Smart said after the Texas A&M game. 'To be a walk-on, to not get a scholarship, to continue to work, get a scholarship, and continue to grind, and be as consistent as he has been in some of the toughest conditions this year that could ask a kicker to kick in. He's just been tremendous. And he's really become a weapon for us. Thank goodness. He's really become a weapon for us. He's done a great job.' Thanks to his rec specs, Blankenship is one of the most recognizable kickers in the country. He has already graduated from the University of Georgia and it seems like there's a very good chance he will be kicking in the NFL next season. To this point in his Georgia career, he's made 78 of his 95 field goal attempts and has the school record for points scored. 418 Career Points 190 Consecutive PATs 220 Career Touchbacks Career-long 55-yd FG in the Rose Bowl Five-time SEC Special Teams Player of the Week in 2019 Help Rodrigo win the Lou Groza Award by voting once a day, every day until December 5. Vote Now: https://t.co/BI16NQUNnD pic.twitter.com/RalrStzcCJ Georgia Bulldogs (@UGAAthletics) November 28, 2019 Blankenship will play his final collegiate game on Jan. 1, when the Bulldogs take on the Baylor Bears in the Sugar Bowl. More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation Report: UGA's Kirby Smart tried to hire Mike Bobo Marcus Rosemy: Georgia's top WR recruit sees great opportunity' in Athens Two Bulldogs make SEC All-Freshman Team Georgia outside linebacker Robert Beal enters the transfer portal UGA star knew early in season what type of offense Bulldogs had 5 questions about Georgia OL coach Matt Luke with Ole Miss beat writer Neal McCready Georgia safeties Richard LeCounte, J.R. Reed both say they're playing in Sugar Bowl Tate Ratledge: Kirby Smart and Matt Luke drop in to check on a priority O-line target Georgia football podcast: Matt Luke hire a major win for UGA The post Rodrigo Blankenship wins Lou Groza Award, named nation's top kicker appeared first on DawgNation.
  • UGA tried to hire Mike Bobo, according to Andy Staples , the longtime Sports Illustrated reporter who now works for The Athletic. After Bobo was terminated last weekend as Colorado State's head coach, there was rampant speculation that UGA might like to bring back Bobo as the team's offensive coordinator. Bobo, who was a player or assistant coach for the Bulldogs for 22 years, was officially hired by South Carolina on Tuesday. There weren't any media reports about Bobo actually being offered a job by UGA coach Kirby Smart, until Staples mentioned it as part of an article on Thursday: 'I think Smart will try to change the offense. The question is how far he'll be willing to go. (Smart) tried to hire (Bobo) but South Carolina coach Will Muschamp won the tug-of-war between former Georgia teammates to hire their former teammate Bobo. Bobo would have opened up the offense ' To read the rest of The Athletic's story, please go HERE. There's a lot to analyze from Staples' article. For background information, Smart and Bobo remain best of friends after rooming together as UGA football teammates in the early 1990s. Flash forward to now: UGA has a first-year offensive coordinator James Coley, who was promoted from the team's quarterbacks coach. Coley has been highly-visible this week while out on the road recruiting for the Bulldogs. Staples did not outright say that UGA specifically offered Bobo as offensive coordinator, although it appears that Bobo would've been in charge by saying 'Bobo would have opened up the offense.' If so, would Coley have been moved back to QBs coach? Thoughts on the Bobo report? Please post below. New #DearAndy: Will Kirby Smart be willing to adapt on offense? Also, which program has the best chance to join the Playoff club next season? And thanks to @AuburnElvis, I rank which Nic Cage characters would beat up other Nic Cage characters. https://t.co/Tb3JRY8sb2 pic.twitter.com/nQT05p9t4z Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) December 12, 2019 The post Report: UGA's Kirby Smart tried to hire Mike Bobo this week appeared first on DawgNation.
  • When Marcus Rosemy watched the LSU game last Saturday night, he had a different reaction than recruiters at rival schools might have been wishing for. Georgia's top receiver recruit for this cycle broke it down into a simple formula: Hard work + talent + An opening = An early opportunity. That 27-point loss on a very big stage did notgive him pause about his commitment, but more of a cause to prepare himself for. 'The game last night was an eye-opener for me cause I saw first hand that the receiver corps is not where it's supposed to be at the moment,' he said on Sunday. 'But that it is a great opportunity for me to come in during June and win a starting job.' He didn't reach for any negativity with that. He just processed what his eyes saw. The same word kept showing up in his thoughts: Opportunity. Rosemy sees a way he can help the Bulldogs get more out of its offense in the next big game like that one. 'It does because when I look at the receiver spots I see a wide-open slot waiting for me but I just have to go in with a business mentality,' he told DawgNation. That 37-10 loss showed him how quickly he might be able to play for Georgia.When Georgia lost to South Carolina earlier this year, it stoked up more of the same reaction. He learned something from that. The lesson: Bring your best every Saturday in the SEC. 'It's definitely a learning lesson for me so when I get there I know to not perform to the level they played like,' he said back in October. Rosemy took his official visit to Georgia for the Kentucky game. It was raining that day, but he couldn't stop smiling. The Twitter activity here certainly backs all of those words up. Check out his Dec. 8th tweet. A couple of his most recent tweets also follow. I'm Still All Dawg!!! Marcus Rosemy (@rosemy_marcus) December 8, 2019 I Will Be Signing On December 18th Marcus Rosemy (@rosemy_marcus) December 10, 2019 Rosemy welcomed Georgia offensive coordinator James Coley and wide receivers coach Cortez Hankton for his in-home visit on Wednesday. Check out the size and frame here for a future playmaker at WR. Great In-Home Visit @CoachColey @Coach_Hankton @gogetityft @MrsGoGetIt2 pic.twitter.com/Q8CDrpvifS Marcus Rosemy (@rosemy_marcus) December 12, 2019 Rosemy now rates as the nation's No. 7 WR and No. 41 overall prospect for 2020 on the 247Sports Composite rankings. Justin Robinson is Georgia's other WR commit for this cycle. He's already 6 feet, 4 inches tall and right at 206 pounds. Robinson picked up his fourth star during his senior season. He has not yet even begun to scratch the surface of what he can be. This is just his second season of varsity football for Eagles Landing Christian Academy. His Charges face Wesleyan at 10 a.m. tomorrow in the GHSA Class A Private state championship game at Georgia State Stadium. He rates as the nation's No. 48 WR for 2020 per the 247Sports Composite ratings, but the feeling here is Robinson will wake a lot of people up on Saturdays. I can't wait to see @jay_robi22 suit up and play for @KirbySmartUGA. The ref called this potential touchdown out of bounce but clearly his feet was in. One more game and off to UGA for Justin. #TEwracademy pic.twitter.com/TuCSQDeIA1 TE Wr Academy (@TEwracademy) December 8, 2019 Marcus Rosemy: All the tools to make an early impact DawgNation wrote earlier this week why not having more talents like Rosemy was a glaring head-to-head gap for the Bulldogs in the SEC championship . This is the time of year when even more members of a school's fan base start to pay closer attention to the recruiting efforts. Folks have the recent season fresh in their minds. They know what the team might be missing or an area that will need reinforcements coming in after NFL early entries or graduation. For Georgia, that is at the receiver position. Rosemy puts a big checkmark next to that nee for the 2020 roster.There's a lot to like in his scouting profile given his ability, frame and skill set. He looks to be part of a surge in the 2019 and 2020 classes for UGA to do more with its receiver recruiting, too. Don't think recruiting rankings matter?Let's take a quick eyeball test with the 6-foot-2, 195-pounder from South Florida. To do so, let's toss all of his rankings and Under Armour All-American status aside. Just take a look at these clips. It is really only necessary to watch the first clip from each of these embedded tweets. These hands are Georgia-Ready!! @rosemy_marcus @STA_Football @GeorgiaFootball #CommitToTheG #GoDawgs #ATD pic.twitter.com/6c6KNmhzfu Who's Next (@WhosNextHS) August 24, 2019 'Im still a Dawg' @rosemy_marcus @STA_Football @CoachHarriott pic.twitter.com/emgkh2FUBt Pressure Athletics (@pressure_athl) December 8, 2019 When doing so, there's the easy conclusion: Georgia doesn't have enough guys on the team who can do what Rosemy can right now. He has a diverse set of skills. He even threw a touchdown pass on a reverse earlier this season. It was called back, but it was another example of what he can do. He is still a quarterback at heart. The young bucks won't appreciate this player parallel, but his frame and ability to make plays, be it the spectacular or just the hard-nosed variety, reminds of what Michael Irvin used to do back in college with the Miami Hurricanes. This 4-star seems to check every box like that. The tough balls over the middle. The sideline routes. Contested catches along the route tree. Slipping tackles and then winning on the home run ball. Rosemy might find himself celebrating in the end zone a lot on Saturdays like Irvin did, too. Marcus Rosemy tosses a touchdown on a reverse but it comes back on a penalty. pic.twitter.com/mkCTfr0zAs Adam Lichtenstein (@ABLichtenstein) November 30, 2019 He will play at 200 pounds in Athens. At least. And it going to be hard to get him on the ground once he catches it in the secondary. Another viral catch by @rosemy_marcus Holding him for 20 yards @STA_Football @CoachHarriott #And1 pic.twitter.com/pt6cOeyT7Q Pressure Athletics (@pressure_athl) November 18, 2019 No penalty this time. Marcus Rosemy breaks a few tackles and gets into the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown. @STA_Football leads Venice 14-0 with 8:49 left in the first half. @SSHighSchools @FlaHSFootball pic.twitter.com/RLJCPIyND7 Adam Lichtenstein (@ABLichtenstein) November 30, 2019 The post Marcus Rosemy: Georgia's top WR recruit sees great opportunity' in Athens appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia saw a number of freshmen make significant contributions during the 2019 season. And two of them were recognized for their efforts, as George Pickens and Travon Walker were each named to the Freshman All-SEC team. Pickens was Georgia's leading receiver this season, as he caught 37 passes for 552 yards and seven touchdowns, all of which were team highs. The freshman from Hoover, Ala., also had a tendency to make ridiculous catches, such as his touchdown catch against the Missouri Tigers. W H A T A C A T C H !!!!!!!! WR George Pickens ( @geo_Thagoat) #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/IHXwLQQ5wr GEORGIA HEROES (@GeorgiaHeroes) November 10, 2019 It wasn't all great this year though for Pickens, as he had to sit out the first of the SEC championship game after he was ejected from the Georgia Tech game due to fighting. Georgia coach Kirby Smart said he is committed to helping Pickens improve as both a person and player. Related: George Pickens shows his importance to Georgia football 'We're going to help George,' Smart said after the Georgia Tech game. 'We're going to help him grow up. We're going to help him make better decisions do he can help our team.' In the second half against LSU, Pickens did catch four passes for 54 yards and a touchdown, flashing his potential once again. Walker finished the season with 12 tackles and 1.5 sacks on the season. He consistently earned Smart's praise during the course of the season, as the Georgia head coach continued to say Georgia had to find a way to get him on the field. The biggest play of Walker's freshman season came against Auburn, when he had the game-ending sack of Auburn quarterback Bo Nix. Travon Walker ( @D1Figure_) with the SAAAAAACCCCCKKKKKK!!!!!! GEORGIA WINS!!!!!!!!! #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/jDPFswHWeA GEORGIA HEROES (@GeorgiaHeroes) November 17, 2019 Related: Extremely athletic' Travon Walker churns freshman potential into performance Other true freshmen who had strong seasons include the likes of Nolan Smith, Dominick Blaylock and Tyrqiue Stevenson. The Bulldogs the nation's No. 2 signing class in 2019, and are poised to bring in another talented group of recruits in 2020, highlighted by 5-star prospects such as Mekhail Sherman, Kendall Milton and Broderick Jones. The Bulldogs return to action on Jan. 1 when they take on the Baylor Bears in the Sugar Bowl. To see the full 2019 All-Freshman SEC team, see below. Nix was named the SEC Freshman of the Year earlier in the week 2019 SEC All-Freshman Team TE Jalen Wydermeyer, Texas A&M OL Wanya Morris, Tennessee Darnell Wright, Tennessee Kenyon Green, Texas A&M Evan Neal, Alabama WR George Pickens, Georgia Treylon Burks, Arkansas QB Bo Nix, Auburn RB Isaiah Spiller, Texas A&M Jerrion Ealy, Ole Miss AP Jerrion Ealy, Ole Miss DEFENSE DL Christian Barmore, Alabama Zacch Pickens, South Carolina Nathan Pickering, Mississippi State Travon Walker, Georgia LB Shane Lee, Alabama Christian Harris, Alabama Henry To'o To'o, Tennessee DB Derek Stingley, LSU Demani Richardson, Texas A&M Kaiir Elam, Florida Jammie Robinson, South Carolina SPECIAL TEAMS PK Cade York, LSU P Ty Perine, Alabama RS Jerrion Ealy, Ole Miss More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation Georgia outside linebacker Robert Beal enters the transfer portal UGA star knew early in season what type of offense Bulldogs had 5 questions about Georgia OL coach Matt Luke with Ole Miss beat writer Neal McCready Georgia safeties Richard LeCounte, J.R. Reed both say they're playing in Sugar Bowl Tate Ratledge: Kirby Smart and Matt Luke drop in to check on a priority O-line target Georgia football podcast: Matt Luke hire a major win for UGA The post Two Bulldogs make SEC All-Freshman Team appeared first on DawgNation.
  • In the past two signing classes, Georgia has brought in a number of talented outside linebackers prospects, such as Azeez Ojulari, Adam Anderson and Nolan Smith. Because of that, Robert Beal saw his playing time dwindle. Beal made the decision on Thursday to reportedly enter the transfer portal, according to AL.com's Matt Zenitz. The outside linebacker signed as a member of Georgia's 2017 class. He played for IMG Academy before graduating from Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee, Ga. Beal registered stats in only four games this past season, but he redshirted his first year at Georgia in 2017. His most productive year came in 2018, when he appeared in 11 games and registered 15 tackles and 1.0 sack. Georgia is set to bring in 5-star outside linebacker Mekhail Sherman, who is Georgia's highest-rated commitment at the moment. Ojulari, Anderson, Smith, Jermaine Johnson and Walter Grant are all set to return to the team as well for the 2020 season. This is the second outside linebacker that entered the transfer portal in 2019 for Georgia, as Brenton Cox did so back in August. Cox ended up at Florida, but he sat out the season. The Beal news comes a day after walk-on running back Prather Hudson entered the transfer portal, according to a report from 247Sports' Jake Rowe. Hudson is not a scholarship player but was a key member on Georgia's special teams' units. The Bulldogs return to action on Jan. 1 when they take on the Baylor Bears. More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation UGA star knew early in season what type of offense Bulldogs had 5 questions about Georgia OL coach Matt Luke with Ole Miss beat writer Neal McCready Georgia safeties Richard LeCounte, J.R. Reed both say they're playing in Sugar Bowl Tate Ratledge: Kirby Smart and Matt Luke drop in to check on a priority O-line target Georgia football podcast: Matt Luke hire a major win for UGA The post Report: Georgia outside linebacker Robert Beal enters the transfer portal appeared first on DawgNation.
  • UGA's offense gets a lot of the blame for the downfall of this year's championship hopes. On the other hand, the Bulldogs' defense was considered one of the college football's best, and was largely responsible for keeping the team into playoff contention until last week. UGA safety JR Reed is a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award for the nation's best defensive back, and he spoke to reporters about the offense on Wednesday night, per 11alive Sports: Reed: 'You get to Week 5, and you know what type of offense you have. So you take it upon yourselves and it what it is. You can't really be mad at them, or have frustrations on defense because we're a defense-heavy team. We know that. It's Week 12, and we're going into the SEC Championship, (the offense) is nothing new to us. So we've got to go there and execute.' Reporter: 'You said you knew by Week 5, what was it? Was is a lack of execution or a lack of trying? Reed: 'It's nothing like that. You know this is the type of offense you're going to have this year. Sometimes you might have a defense that gives up a whole bunch of points, and that's what happens. This year we had a defense that was very stout, and offense aside, they didn't put up as much points as we would've liked. Or as they would've liked either. We just know that's the type of team we've got to have. On defense, we've got to go out there and do our job.' Reed was very diplomatic with his comments, but there's a lot of finger-pointing about the team's woeful offense by UGA fans and the national media. The two catching most of the heat fairly or unfairly are Bulldogs offensive coordinator James Coley and quarterback Jake Fromm. Coley was in his first year as the team's play-caller, after previously serving as Georgia's quarterbacks coach. Fromm, who earned national recognition for his passing accuracy as a freshman and sophomore, struggled down the stretch with accuracy this year, completing less than 50 percent of his passes in the season's last five game. UGA's offense also had to deal the growing pains of a young, but talented group of receivers, among other issues. As good as the UGA defense was, it could've put up better numbers if it wasn't on the field for so long at times. For example, against Auburn, the defense posted a shut out for three quarters against a same Auburn offense that later dropped nearly 50 points against Alabama. In the fourth quarter of the UGA-Auburn game, the Bulldogs collapsed with only two total yards offense with zero first downs. Fortunately, UGA held on to win 21-14. Thoughts on Reed's comments? Please post below. The post UGA star knew early in the season what type of offense the Bulldogs had appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Kirby Smart's hire of Matt Luke as Georgia football associate head coach and offensive line coach provided a prompt and strong answer to Sam Pittman's departure to become the Arkansas head coach. It was a statement hire if ever there was one for the No. 5-ranked Bulldogs, serving notice Georgia remains a top choice for elite coaches as well as the best players in the country. Luke, with his three years of SEC head coaching experience and the countless NFL contacts that brings, is sure to continue Georgia's trend of recruiting and developing the top offensive linemen in the country. Beyond that, it gives Smart one more dynamic football mind in the meeting rooms. Luke has several years of co-offensive coordinator experience under noted offensive gurus David Cutclifffe (Duke) and Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss) that led up to his appointment as the Rebels head coach. Ole Miss beat writer Neal McCready, who has covered the program 13 years and writes for RebelGrove.com, the school's Rivals.com-affiliated, took some time out for DawgNation. McCready, who also covered Houston Nutt and Freeze in Oxford, provided valuable insight into Luke, who has hit the ground running recruiting at Smart's side this week. Here are five questions with Neal McCready: Q: What kind of offensive line coach is Georgia getting in Matt Luke, in terms of what sort of players he has produced and what his Ole Miss offensive lines looked like? McCready: Luke is an excellent offensive line coach. He's worked for David Cutcliffe and Hugh Freeze in that capacity two coaches with very different offensive styles. At Georgia, I think he'll thrive in the Bulldogs' pro-style offense and he'll obviously enjoy working with the elite talent in Athens. Luke did a phenomenal job with Laremy Tunsil at Ole Miss, but in fairness, Tunsil is the best offensive lineman I've ever seen in person. More impressively than his work with Tunsil, take a look at the job he did with guys like Sean Rawlings, Fahn Cooper, Justin Bell, Aaron Morris, Robert Conyers, Rod Taylor and Javon Patterson. Those aren't household names and they weren't/aren't elite talents, but Luke developed them into very effective SEC offensive linemen. 2. How effective is Matt Luke as a recruiter? You know his personality as well as anyone, what is he like? McCready:Luke is as nice a guy as you'll ever meet. He's remarkably humble, down to earth and congenial. He's a man's man fair, gentlemanly and a great husband and father to his family. Kids like him. Players love playing for him. He's honest with recruits. He's good at building relationships. I suspect he'll do very well on the recruiting trail working for Georgia. 3. Matt has been a co-offensive coordinator and obviously had control of the Ole Miss offense, ultimately. What are some staples of his philosophy? McCready:I think his ideal offense is a run-oriented, smash-mouth, physical brand of football. He's a former offensive lineman who blocked for Deuce McAllister in college, and he's worked for Phillip Fulmer and David Cutcliffe. He's coached under Freeze, who utilizes more zone-blocking and spread schemes. So while he's seen it all, he's a guy who loves the physical aspect of offense. 4. How do you see Matt blending in with Kirby Smart and the insanely high expectations at Georgia, where there figures to be immediate pressure on him to produce one of the top lines in the nation? McCready:Don't forget he was part of two very good Ole Miss teams as an offensive line coach. Those 2014 and 2015 teams were contenders. He's worked for Fulmer. Pressure won't faze him. That won't be an issue. He'll fit right in with Smart, by the way. There are a lot of similarities between the two men. Both were underdogs as players. Both are players' coaches. Again, I think he's a great fit replacing Sam Pittman at Georgia. 5. What is the best way to characterize Matt's relationship with the Ole Miss fans, and how they will remember him and his tenure? Just how difficult of a situation did he take over and did he leave it in a better place? McCready:Ole Miss fans will also be grateful to Luke. He is a former player who has poured his heart and soul into the school. He and his wife, Ashley, are beloved in Oxford. He took over a train wreck in July 2016 and stabilized it. He got the permanent job after a 6-6 season in a way that was, frankly, unfair to him. The school said it was conducting a national search and then hired the former coach's offensive line coach. Fans never completely bought in because of that. Luke was loyal to Freeze's coordinators, Wesley McGriff and Phil Longo, and when 2018 went sideways, fans blamed him. Last season, with Mike MacIntyre and Rich Rodriguez as coordinators, Ole Miss showed marked improvement, but this is a scoreboard business. Close losses to Memphis, California, Missouri, Texas A&M, Auburn and Mississippi State just led to apathy. He left the program far better than he inherited it. I suspect there was, deep down, a sense of relief to move on. I know he felt he was close, and he likely was, but 2020 was going to be challenging, and it was going to be difficult to survive. He'll be well-paid in Athens, and I think a change of scenery and a chance to reboot his career will be revitalizing for Luke. The post 5 questions about Georgia OL coach Matt Luke with Ole Miss beat writer Neal McCready 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 DawgNation experts as they break down the latest Georgia football recruiting news and discuss coach Kirby Smart's quest to return the Bulldogs to the top of the SEC. On episode No. 1,092 (Dec. 11, 2019) of the podcast, Georgia fans can hear a discussion about Georgia's new offensive line coach Matt Luke. Georgia football podcast: Matt Luke hire a major win for UGA Beginning of the show: Georgia acted quickly to replace former offensive line coach Sam Pittman by announcing former Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke as Pittman's predecessor. I'll explain on today's show why a respected name such as Luke will bring value to the Bulldogs. I'll also discuss the challenge Luke faces in convincing some of UGA's top offensive line recruits to remain with the program. 10-minute mark: I address 4-star wide receiver Arian Smith's decision to sign during the early period which begins Wednesday. 15-minute mark: The Jackson Clarion-Ledger's Nick Suss joins the show to discuss Luke's hire. Some of the topics covered include Luke's prowess as a relationship builder How Ole Miss players reacted to his dismissal Whether Luke deserves blame for wide receiver Eljiah Moore's controversial celebration after a touchdown against Mississippi State And an evaluation of Luke as a recruiter and developer of talent 30-minute mark: I take a look at other SEC headlines including Auburn announcing former Arkansas coach Chad Morris as its new offensive coordinator, 5-star running back 'Tank' Bigsby shutting down his recruitment and sticking with Auburn and 4-star quarterback Robbie Ashford de-committing from Ole Miss. 35-minute mark: I discuss UGA safety Richard LeCounte's plans to play in the Sugar Bowl despite not yet being sure of his NFL future. End of show: I share the Gator Hater Updater. NOTE: If you missed Tuesday's edition of DawgNation Daily, please find it linked below. The post Georgia football podcast: Matt Luke hire a major win for UGA appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Tate Ratledge got to meet the new offensive line coach at the University of Georgia on Wednesday. The impressive young man from Darlington School has been nothing but a steadfast commitment to Georgia. The Sam Pittman to Arkansas transition has been something to monitor. Ratledge has asked for the chance to internalize what Pittman's decision has ultimately meant to his eventual college decision. At least until he figures out what his reaction will be to it. I will not be answering questions on my current situation. This will stay between me and my family for now. Thank you Tate Ratledge (@tateratledge22) December 9, 2019 He grew up a Tennessee fan, became a big Sam Pittman fan but also became a big fan of what Georgia was building with his potential teammates in the 2020 class. Will that still stick? Luke and Ratledge and Smart are working on that. While Ratledge has decided to privately sort through his thoughts now regarding the matter in the short term, the UGA staff made a public display of how much he still matters to this class. Luke and Smart showed up at Darlington School in Rome on Wednesday. They had a good visit and did hope to visit again with Ratledge and his family come suppertime. Ratledge is essential to the Bulldogs being able to retain a good chunk of their current O-line commitments which were so entrenched in the class to play for Pittman. Georgia already suffered the firs de-commitment of the 2020 class beyond Pittman on Wednesday. Darlington coach Tommy Atha was able to share a few minutes of his time on Wednesday to recap what he saw from that first visit. Did Luke present himself as a good recruiter with that first impression? 'I don't think there's any question about that,' Atha said. Atha believes there have only been four helicopters land on the football field at Darlington. Georgia has landed two of those with Kirby Smart, followed by Alabama and Florida with one flight apiece. Always get excited when @KirbySmartUGA visits the Lakeside. It was great meeting new OL Coach Matt Luke. Great hire for the Dawgs! @DarlingtonTiger @DarAthletics @UGAAthletics @GeorgiaFootball pic.twitter.com/jstP3PYqfw Tommy Atha (@CoachTommyAtha) December 11, 2019 It wasn't the only stop for Luke checking in on Ratledge on Wednesday. We want to welcome new University of Georgia OL coach Matt Luke to IAP this afternoon to watch @cade_brock_ and @tateratledge22 workout. His 1st day on the job and he is checking out Rome's finest recruits. Great meeting you coach! pic.twitter.com/L1w8UVW5lB Impact Athletic Performance (@ImpactAthPerf) December 11, 2019 The first meeting between Matt Luke and Tate Ratledge Atha said Georgia has been the only school that has been by Darlington this week to check on Ratledge. A sampling of his thoughts from the visit will follow below: 'When you get an SEC head coach and his offensive line coach here and especially when it is from your home state, it is always an exciting time for us.' 'I really enjoyed meeting Coach Luke. That's the first time I have ever met him and obviously his reputation speaks for itself. He's been doing this very successfully for a long time.' 'He's an easy guy to talk to. He's got a ton of stories and a lot of background stuff to talk about. He relates to the room very well and he's a dynamic guy.' 'I thought [that first meeting with Ratledge] went very well. I thought the conversation went well. I thought obviously they had a lot to talk about. You are talking to a new offensive line coach at the school where the kid is committed to playing and a guy that is excited about a young man and a young man that is excited about playing football at the highest level.' 'Then of course, if you know anything about Tate's background and the way he was brought up and Coach Luke's experience and his demeanor then they have a lot of common interests besides football. I thought the conversation went well.' 'I think [Luke'] reputation is tremendous. I think he's very well-respected in the coaching world and I think players certainly know who he is. I was only around him for a brief period of time but in that amount of time he was a very dynamic personality and the conversation goes well with him. It was a very positive experience for everybody that was there today.' 'I have truly respected how Tate and his father and his family for how they have handled this entire process. I've said before if you pull up Tate's Twitter feed you are not going to see a lot of self-promotion. You're not going to see an I'm blessed to receive my bazillionth offer' and what you see from Tate is just humility and some things he is interested in. I think Tate is keeping it between him and his family. I know nothing has given me the impression that he is any less excited about the Georgia Bulldogs. That's really about as far as I know.' 'Kirby was very excited. I think Kirby is very excited about his hire. I think he knows he has made a very good hire. I think he was very eager to get Coach Luke over here to introduce him to Tate and to introduce him to [his father] Dean. I don't think there isn't any question about that. When coach Pittman resigned to go take that job, I think one of the things coach Smart made very apparent was he had a guy and that he wanted to get that guy in place very quickly and did just that. I think that's the guy he wanted.' 'Of course Kirby was excited but I guess Kirby is always excited. If you have been around Kirby enough you know that. I've never seen that guy when he wasn't full of energy. Same ol' Kirby today and he was certainly excited to be here at Darlington today.' The post Tate Ratledge: Kirby Smart and Matt Luke drop in to check on a priority O-line target appeared first on DawgNation.

News

  • The remains of six victims of a deadly volcano eruption in New Zealand have been recovered. Sixteen people were killed on White Island when a volcano there unexpectedly erupted Monday, The Associated Press reported. Eight military specialists recovered six of the eight victims believed to be on the island, and the bodies will be taken to Auckland for identification, CNN reported. Due to toxic gases still being released from the volcano, the team had to wear protective suits and breathing gear to be on the island, the AP reported. The search had to end as air supplies ran low, the New York Times reported. An additional recovery mission is planned to find a tour guide and boat captain who had taken tourists to the island. At least one of them is expected to be in the water, but the other person’s location is unknown, the AP reported. Forty-seven tourists, many from a Royal Caribbean cruise, and guides were on the island when the volcano exploded. Many of the people who survived were burned. Fifteen tourists not from Australia are in burn units across the country with 11 listed as very critical. Thirteen Australians who were part of the tour have all returned to their home country, the AP reported. Skin banks are sending tissues to hospitals to help treat the burns, as medical teams from Australia, Britain and the U.S. travel to New Zealand to help treat patients, the AP reported.
  • A Minnesota man was sentenced Wednesday to more than 24 years in prison in the death of his 13-day-old son. Michael Herkal, 33, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, nearly 16 months to the day after Apple Valley police responded to an Aug. 12, 2018, medical call for an infant not breathing, WCCO reported. The child died two days later, after doctors determined he had suffered a skull fracture and bleeding in his brain. Herkal was charged initially with felony assault and malicious punishment of a child, but three additional charges of murder were filed after authorities received the autopsy report, KARE11 reported. According to WCCO, Herkal initially told authorities his toddler pulled the newborn off the couch twice but later claimed the baby slipped from his hands and fell onto a coffee table during a diaper change. During his plea hearing, however, Herkal admitted he also shook the infant violently and slapped him, the TV station reported.
  • Major League Baseball announced substantial changes Thursday to its drug use and testing policy, multiple news outlets reported. In addition to removing marijuana from its “drugs of abuse” category – making it the first major US sports league to do so – the organization announced mandatory testing for the presence of opioids, cocaine, synthetic THC, LSD and fentanyl, ABC News reported. Per the policy revisions, players will still be tested for “natural cannabinoids” such as THC, CBD, and marijuana, but punishment for violations will now be treated similarly to those of the alcohol and violence policies, ABC News reported. 'Going forward, marijuana-related conduct will be treated the same as alcohol-related conduct under the Parties’ Joint Treatment Program for Alcohol-Related and Off-Field Violent Conduct, which provides mandatory evaluation, voluntary treatment and the possibility of discipline by a Player’s Club or the Commissioner’s Office in response to certain conduct involving Natural Cannabinoids,” the league, in association with its players union, stated. According to NPR, the policy changes will take effect during 2020 spring training.  “The opioid epidemic in our country is an issue of significant concern to Major League Baseball,” MLB Chief Legal Officer Dan Halem said in a prepared statement, adding, “It is our hope that this agreement - which is based on principles of prevention, treatment, awareness and education - will help protect the health and safety of our Players.” Read more here and here.
  • Seeking emergency mental health assistance could soon be as simple as dialing 988, federal regulators announced Thursday. The Federal Communications Commission formally began the process Thursday to designate 988 as a nationwide suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. “The three-digit number is really going to be a breakthrough in terms of reaching people in a crisis,” Dwight Holton, CEO of suicide prevention nonprofit Lines for Life, told USA Today. “No one is embarrassed to call 911 for a fire or an emergency. No one should be embarrassed to call 988 for a mental health emergency.' According to The Wall Street Journal, the new hotline is intended to simplify access to services available currently by dialing 1-800-273-TALK, the existing National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Once operational, dialing 988 would connect callers to the existing hotline and then route them to nearby crisis centers equipped to provide assistance. “We believe this historical and critical effort will turn the tide on reducing suicides and promote mental wellness in the United States,” said a statement from Kimberly Williams, chief executive of Vibrant Emotional Health, the nonprofit that administers the lifeline, The Journal reported. Read more here and here.
  • An emergency landing by a single-engine plane snarled traffic Thursday night on Interstate 5 in San Diego, multiple news outlets reported. Ian Gregor, public affairs manager for the Federal Aviation Administration, told KNSD the Cessna 182 made a hard landing on the southbound lanes around 7:15 p.m. Within 30 minutes authorities had re-opened two southbound lanes, KFMB reported. Carlsbad Fire Division Chief Mike Lopez told KNSD a man and a woman were on board traveling from the San Gabriel Airport in Los Angeles to McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad. According to KFMB, no injuries were reported, and the plane did not strike any motorists. “They did a pretty good job landing this thing,” Lopez told KNSD, adding, “The skill of that pilot, he did a stellar job.”
  • A Fort Gibson man recently showed off his blacksmith skills by taking first place in a competition television show. Nic Overton, 23, earned the top spot on the History Channel’s “Forged in Fire,” which is centered around blacksmith work. Along with bragging rights, Overton won a $10,000 prize. Overton told KOKI he’s been fascinated with blacksmithing since he was a child and crafted his first knife out of a railroad spike. He managed to turn his hobby into a career. He owns his own business called Nix Knives.