Breaking News:

Real-Time School and Business Closings

ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

heavy-rain-night
41°
Drizzle
H -° L 31°
  • heavy-rain-night
    41°
    Current Conditions
    Drizzle. H -° L 31°
  • heavy-rain-day
    Today
    Drizzle. H -° L 31°
  • clear-day
    50°
    Tomorrow
    Clear. H 50° L 30°
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

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 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 episode No. 842 (Dec. 10, 2018) of the podcast, Georgia fans can hear a discussion about 5-star offensive lineman Clay Webb’s commitment decision. Georgia football podcast: UGA gets a little revenge against Alabama in recruiting Beginning of the show: Today’s show was recorded just before 5-star offensive lineman Clay Webb committed to Georgia. I share my thoughts on Webb at the beginning of the show — including my explanation of why I thought he was bound to pick UGA and why winning this head-to-head recruiting battle vs. Alabama matters for the Bulldogs. 10-minute mark: I discuss SEC Network analyst Tim Tebow’s concern about UGA’s excitement about playing in the Sugar Bowl. 15-minute mark: DawgNation’s Chip Towers joins the show. Some of the topics covered include… Chip’s thoughts on the Sugar Bowl Reaction to UGA cornerback Deandre Baker winning the Jim Thorpe Award And a look at what UGA will be missing with former defensive coordinator Mel Tucker heading to Colorado 30-minute mark: I take a look at some other SEC headlines including Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa missing out on the Heisman trophy, a new Auburn offensive coordinator, anxiety from Tennessee fans because the Vols haven’t hired an offensive coordinator and a couple other recruiting notes from around the league. 35-minute mark: I’ll address 5-star running back Trey Sanders’ UGA visit this past weekend. End of show: I’ll share the Gator Hater Updater. The post Georgia football podcast: UGA gets a little revenge against Alabama in recruiting appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia landed one of the biggest commitment of the 2019 recruiting cycle on Monday, as 5-star offensive lineman Clay Webb announced that he would be playing his college football for the Georgia Bulldogs. Webb is the No. 1 center in the country and the No. 22 player overall in the 247Sports Composite ranking. He is also the No. 1 overall player in the state of Alabama, making it the first time that Georgia has landed the No. 1 player from the state. Webb is listed at 6-foot-4, 290 pounds. Alabama, Auburn and Clemson were also among the finalists for Webb’s services. With Webb now in tow, Georgia has the No. 2 overall class in the 2019 recruiting cycle, only behind Alabama. Last year Georgia finished with the No. 1 overall class in the 2018 recruiting cycle. The Bulldogs still have a number of high ranking targets on the board, such as 5-star wide receiver Jadon Haselwood, 5-star linebacker Nakobe Dean and 5-star running back Trey Sanders. Related: Georgia football fans react to commitment of 5-star prospect Clay Webb This is the third consecutive class where Georgia has landed a 5-star offensive lineman. Georgia landed Isaiah Wilson in the 2017 recruiting cycle and Cade Mays and Jamaree Salyer in the 2018 class. Prospects in the 2019 recruiting cycle can begin to sign on Dec. 19. Webb has indicated that he hopes to begin practicing with Georgia as soon as possible and will be a mid-year in enrollee. In the video above, you can hear Webb tell DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell why he picked Georgia over Alabama and how important Georgia offensive line coach Sam Pittman was in his recruitment. Best stories from around DawgNation Determining Georgia’s defensive MVP for the 2018 season SEC Network analysts: Georgia quarterbacks’ playing time in Sugar Bowl hot topic Tim Tebow: Georgia football challenged to find motivation for Texas Georgia Tech’s new football coach vows not to use red ink again Some Dawgs fans don’t mind saying it: ‘Wait till next year!’ Jake Fromm listed as a top candidate for 2019 Heisman Trophy By the Numbers: Plenty of reasons for UGA fans to be excited about the Sugar Bowl   The post WATCH: 5-star Clay Webb shares why he picked Georgia over Alabama appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS – Woodruff Practice Fields sit empty and wet. The Butts-Mehre Complex is unusually quiet and inactive. Georgia players are busy preparing for and taking exams. On Friday, several of them will walk in fall semester graduation ceremonies. All the while, another football challenge is looming. Three weeks from now, the No. 5 Bulldogs (11-2) will be teeing it up against No. 15 Texas (9-4) in the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Meanwhile, the anguish of another excruciatingly close loss to No. 1 Alabama still lingers. The question on everybody’s mind is whether the Bulldogs can shake the grief and misery of that disappointment and refocus on the challenge of defeating a storied opponent in the rather lofty consolation of a New Year’s Six bowl game. To that, the Georgia players offer a resounding, “hell, yes.” “For sure,” junior wideout Mecole Hardman said. “We’re not going to go out there and just let anybody beat us. We’re definitely going to have motivation to play because we’ve got to get taste out of our mouths somehow. So, somebody’s got to feel us, and they will.” Added Riley Ridley: “Most definitely. This is Georgia football. No matter what happens, we never give up. We love football. That’s what we’re here for. We play for each other.” Undoubtedly, the Bulldogs will head to New Orleans with good intentions. That the Sugar Bowl has become a consolation prize for speaks to the heights of which Kirby Smart has raised the standard of expectation for Georgia football in three short years. But it’d understandable if the Bulldogs’ found their focus was a bit clouded considering the depth of their disappointment not 10 days ago. After building an impressive lead against a team called one of the best in Alabama football history and having an opportunity to expand it three scores in the third quarter, Georgia was outscored 21-0 over the final 18 minutes of play on the way to a 35-28 loss. Central to the outcome was a controversial decision to attempt a fake punt with the game tied with three minutes remaining. So, there was the added pang of how the Bulldogs lost on top of playing toe-to-toe with the nation’s No. 1 team. Then there were the postseason implications. Georgia played Alabama so well for so long, it proved to any remaining doubters there might’ve been that it was among the top four teams in college football. That should have been enough for the selection committee to include the Bulldogs in the College Football Playoff for the second straight year. But, ultimately they chose Oklahoma, a one-loss Big 12 champion, over the two-loss SEC runners-up. That added a layer of disappointment the day after the conference championship loss. But Georgia players insist there will no lingering grief. “We’re not hanging our heads,” freshman cornerback Tyson Campbell said. “We know we played our best and we’re just ready to move forward. We’ve got to focus on what’s ahead of us now.” Said junior tight end Isaac Nauta: “It’s definitely not a lost season for us. We have another game to play and we’re looking forward to it. We’re looking forward to getting better throughout the month of December and winning the next one.” Georgia is already getting cmparisons to Alabama’s 2008 team, which entered the SEC Championship Game undefeated and ranked No. 1 only to lose to No. 2 Florida 31-20. The Gators went on to play for the BCS title and the No. 4-ranked Crimson Tide then lost to Utah 31-17 in the Sugar Bowl. Lack of motivation was considered Alabama’s primary undoing that New Year’s Day in New Orleans. Georgia coach Kirby Smart, who was defensive coordinator for that 2008 Alabama team, admitted that the Tide “didn’t play as well as we probably should have.” But he also said this year’s Georgia team is very different that one. “This is a much younger team than any of those Bama teams,” Smart said of the Bulldogs, whose roster is comprised 68 percent of freshmen and sophomores. “A lot of these kids, this will be their first or second time in a big-time bowl environment. We’re still getting accustomed to that.” No, this appears to be a Georgia team that still feels it has much to prove to the rest of the college football world. The same chip the Bulldogs carried on their collective shoulders into the SEC Championship Game will be making the trip to New Orleans. While a national championship is not in the cards this year, Georgia very much wants to validate its distinction as one the best teams in the country in 2018. “We can’t hang our head about (losing to Bama),” Hardman said. “We know we had the game; we know we played great. It just didn’t go our way. But I think everybody knows we’re one of the best four teams.” One more decisive win surely would remove any doubt. DawgNation’s Sugar Bowl Coverage Kirby Smart and Tom Herman clash again in Sugar Bowl, now as head coaches Georgia football coach Kirby Smart believes Bulldogs will bounceback Some interesting Sugar Bowl numbers via Brandon Adams Thorpe Award winner Deandre Baker will play in Sugar Bowl Mel Tucker ready for a new challenge as Colorado head coach Georgia football double-digit favorite over Texas in Sugar Bowl Texas named Georgia football opponent in 2019 Sugar Bowl CFP Chairman explains why Georgia football was left out of CFB Playoffs 3 Georgia football players get Senior Bowl invites Mel Tucker will be hard to replace when he leaves Georgia football       The post No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs have something to prove vs. Texas in Sugar Bowl appeared first on DawgNation.
  • OXFORD, Ala. — Clay Webb pulled a very big decision out of his purple bag Monday morning from the Oxford High School gymnasium. When he chose Georgia, it was a significant event for recruiting in the Southeastern Conference. The Bulldogs might have a hard time beating one specific SEC rival on the field, but they are beginning to win more and more of those battles on the recruiting trail. Clay Webb is the fourth 5-star OL recruit that assistant coach Sam Pittman has recruited to UGA. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation) The nation’s No. 1 center prospect (per the 247Sports composite rankings) is the first time that the Bulldogs have gone into the state of Alabama and beaten both the Alabama and Auburn for a highly-contested recruit. Webb was the No. 1 player in Alabama for the 2019 cycle. That feat is another impressive line item in the UGA recruiting resume for Sam Pittman. The third-year OL coach has now earned a commitment from a 5-star OL recruit for the third consecutive recruiting cycles. It was 5-star tackle Isaiah Wilson in 2017. The Bulldogs then picked up a pair of 5-stars in Cade Mays and Jamaree Salyer in 2018. Webb becomes the 19th current commitment for the Bulldogs in the class of 2019. He is now the second-highest rated recruit for the Bulldogs in this class. Georgia now pushes past Texas A&M to claim the No. 2 spot in the 247Sports Team composite rankings for this cycle. The Bulldogs still trail just Alabama in that race. Webb aims to start practicing with the Bulldogs as soon as possible. He hopes that can be as early as this Friday. pic.twitter.com/awbwBR5QvK — Coach Sam Pittman (@CoachSamPittman) December 10, 2018 What DawgNation needs to know about Clay Webb Cast aside the notion that Webb is rated as a center. At least until 2020 or so. While Webb is rated as the nation’s No. 1 center, he does not intend to play that spot immediately at the next level. That’s because he is aware of how mentally taxing that position on Saturday. Clay Webb was also in Athens earlier this year for the Tennessee game. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation) With the many pre-snap responsibilities that go along with that decision, he feels that he would better be suited to start out at guard at the college level. Once he gets his feet wet, then he would then consider anchoring the middle of the line. That’s the way Pittman and Georgia recruited him from the jump. It was one of many reasons why the Bulldogs grew on a player who made sure to attend the last two spring games in Athens. The biggest of those was still Pittman. “He’s a lot like me,” Webb said late last month. “I see a lot of myself in him and I guess that’s a good thing. We are alike in a lot of ways.” Webb was a standout interior line recruit once he emerged on the college level at the Nike Opening camp at Buford High School in the spring of 2016. When nobody else wanted to play center, he volunteered to do so. He was just a freshman recruit at that time but reached the final 5 of that elite competition. Webb anchored down his massive thighs and held back high-level senior recruits in the class of 2017. The Oxford High senior has spent the last few weeks competing for the Oxford High wrestling team. That was after lining up at both the guard and tackle spots for the Yellow Jackets this fall. Webb plans to enroll early and major in criminal justice. There were many factors in the decision, but one of those was the notion that Webb and his family intends to move away from Alabama once he enrolls in college. The 5-star recruit basically just has his immediate family with him in Alabama, but he has a lot of relatives in Metro Atlanta and Northeast Georgia. Webb said his mother, Dana, plans to retire as a teacher in Alabama and also take a similar job outside the state. The post BREAKING: 5-star OL Clay Webb has made his college decision appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia football sophomore Jake Fromm is playing as well as any quarterback in the nation, but the Bulldogs’ rotation at that position remains a hot topic of discussion. How does Coach Kirby Smart divide time in the Sugar Bowl between the red-hot Fromm and promising freshman Justin Fields. SEC Network analysts Jordan Rodgers, Gene Chizik and Marcus Spears weighed in on whether and how much Fields should play. The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) play No. 15 Texas (9-4) looking to win a bowl game for a fifth straight season on the heels of a heartbreaking 35-28 loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 1. Fromm was 25-of-39 passing for 301 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions and was sacked only twice by the Tide’s impressive defense. Fields’ playing time was limited against Alabama, as he attempted just one pass the was incomplete and most notably failed to execute a fake punt in the fourth quarter. RELATED: Fields put on spot in SEC title game “If anything, I would love to see  a better plan for Justin Fields,” Rodgers said. “The first time he comes in the (SEC title) game, I don’t feel like the plan was right. The first time you pass with him, it’s not a play-action, there’s not a quarterback threat to run, you just do a straight drop back. “If we see him, I want to see him for a drive, that’s very calculated for a reason, and then get him back out … Jake Fromm is the better quarterback.” Smart has said all season that there is no plan going into games, and that Georgia plays the quarterback that gives the team the best chance to win. From game to game, situations change, and that dictates when and how much Fields plays. RELATED: Kirby Smart has plan to avoid QB controversy Marcus Spears said it’s important that Fields does indeed earn the snaps instead of there being any perception he’s being handed playing time. “When you get into the mindset as a coach that I’ve got to coddle this guy to make sure he’s not going to leave, you start setting yourself up for disaster,” Spears said. “And I’m going to show you how it works on the field. (Against Alabama) when Justin Fields came in the play went for 1 yard, it was second-and-9 when Jake Fromm ran back on the field. And guess what they did, they went 0-for-6 in the second half on third downs. “So when you look at how they tried to keep (Fields) involved, I think it hurt them at times during the season.” Smart knows how important it is to have a capable backup quarterback in the SEC. Fromm came off the bench last season to replace an injured Jacob Eason and led the Bulldogs to an SEC title and College Football Playoff Championship Game appearance. Fields has been a work in progress this season, completing 27 of 39 passes for 328 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. Fields has also rushed for 266 yards on 42 carries, proving to be a valuable weapon in short-yardage situations after the Bulldogs’ midseason struggles in that area. Former Auburn national championship coach Gene Chizik says the Bulldogs should play to win, plain and simple. “My quick take is you’re going to play the guy that gives you the best chance to win, and if it’s not him, then he doesn’t play, you’re not playing to keep him on your roster, you’re playing to win,” Chizik said. “I’m protecting wins and our program, that’s what I want, (and) right now I’ve got maybe the hottest quarterback in the country,” Chizik said, explaining what he would be thinking if he was in Smart’s shoes. “(Fromm) threw for 3 touchdowns (versus Alabama), he threw for 300 yards, he was on point again, he’s playing as good as anybody, and he’s playing against a Texas secondary that’s struggling. “I’m playing the guy that gives us the best chance to win, and it’s not Justin Fields right now, that’s just the way it is.” DawgNation Georgia football Sugar Bowl Tim Tebow : Georgia will be challenged to be motivated for Texas Kirby Smart and Tom Herman clash again in Sugar Bowl, now as head coaches Georgia football coach Kirby Smart believes Bulldogs will bounceback Some interesting Sugar Bowl numbers via Brandon Adams Thorpe Award winner Deandre Baker will play in Sugar Bowl   Georgia football double-digit favorite over Texas in Sugar Bowl Texas named Georgia football opponent in 2019 Sugar Bowl CFP Chairman explains why Georgia football was left out of CFB Playoffs 3 Georgia football players get Senior Bowl invites Mel Tucker will be hard to replace, when or if he leaves Georgia football   The post SEC Network analysts: Georgia quarterbacks’ playing time in Sugar Bowl hot topic appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — SEC legend Tim Tebow has been right about Georgia football most of the season, and that’s why his concerns about the Bulldogs having an Alabama hangover in the Sugar Bowl are alarming. After all, Tebow predicted Georgia QB Jake Fromm would bounce back after the LSU loss, and T ebow said freshman Justin Fields could ultimately be an answer for the Bulldogs in short-yardage situations. And now Tebow says Georgia coach Kirby Smart will be challenged to get his No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) motivated to play No. 15-ranked Texas (9-4) in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 in New Orleans. Tebow said allowing the SEC Championship Game to ‘slip through their fingers’ in the 35-28 loss could damage morale. “Now for the time leading up to the game, where’s your motivation? Where is your edge? Where is that fire?” Tebow said in a 247Sports story. “That is something that the leaders of Georgia really have to lock in and say, ‘Hey you know what? We’re playing for pride. We’re playing a big program in Texas.’ “But a lot of these guys are going to say, ‘Listen, we don’t care about Texas. We care about Bama. We let that one get away. Now we’re going to play the 15th-ranked team in the country?’ “ Tebow said. “It’s like the motivation isn’t there, so I’m a little bit nervous about this game. And Kirby Smart has to do a really good job of disciplining his players, locking in, focusing.” Smart has been in a similar situation before and seen championship caliber teams at Alabama fall flat in the postseason, most notably, in the Tide’s 2009 Sugar Bowl loss to Utah. Smart, however, said he doesn’t feel this Georgia team is apt to allow the disappointment of losing to Alabama to break its will to play up to the program’s standard. “This is a much younger team than any of those Bama teams,” Smart said. “A lot of those kids, this will be their first or second time in a big-time bowl environment, which we’re still getting accustomed to that. “ Indeed, 68 percent of Georgia’s roster is freshmen and sophomore. “So these guys aren’t quite as experienced at that kind of bowl environment as maybe those Alabama teams that didn’t play as well as we probably should have,” Smart said. Tebow also added his list to the many who believed Georgia should have been granted a spot in the four-team College Football Playoffs. “ I thought Georgia was one of the top few best teams in the country,” Tebow said, ”should have been in the College Football Playoff.” Smart said lessons will be learned and the Bulldogs will be ready to step into the future. “There’s also the opportunity to move forward with really a young team,” Smart said. “and a chance to go on a national stage where our fans, I know, follow us to play in a New Year’s Six bowl game.” DawgNation Georgia football Sugar Bowl Kirby Smart and Tom Herman clash again in Sugar Bowl, now as head coaches Georgia football coach Kirby Smart believes Bulldogs will bounceback Some interesting Sugar Bowl numbers via Brandon Adams Georgia football double-digit favorite over Texas in Sugar Bowl Texas named Georgia football opponent in 2019 Sugar Bowl CFP Chairman explains why Georgia football was left out of CFB Playoffs 3 Georgia football players get Senior Bowl invites Mel Tucker will be hard to replace, when or if he leaves Georgia football     The post Tim Tebow: Georgia football challenged to find motivation for Texas appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia Tech’s new football coach, Geoff Collins, appeared charismatic and confident in his introductory press conference. Collins also said a couple of things that caught the attention of some UGA fans. The first happened after Collins pulled out a piece of paper from his sports jacket with red ink on it during the Friday press conference. While smiling, Collins said, “This is the last time I will ever write anything in red, just so we’re on the same page … There will be no more red that will ever be written again in this organization.” The second moment, which garnered far more attention, was towards the end of meeting with reporters. What did Collins say? One national college website described it as “Georgia Tech (coach) takes academic shot at Georgia,” while another media outlet’s headline was “New Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins takes a swipe at Georgia’s academics.” In fairness to the new Georgia Tech coach, he never mentioned UGA or any specific school in his comments that generated those headlines. Here’s what happened: Collins was asked to discuss the challenges of recruiting at Georgia Tech verses other places he has coached at – “given the academic situation at (Tech).” Towards the end of his long-winded answer, Collins said, “A lot of programs that we are going to recruit against don’t have the advantage of having the ability of having a meaningful degree … to come to place where education matters.” So was Collins taking a subtle jab at UGA? Who knows? Maybe, maybe not. It must be pointed out that Georgia Tech and UGA, despite being in-state rivals, have rarely gone head to head on any recruits in recent years. However, that could eventually change since Collins is promising offensive (and defensive) schemes that will prepare future Georgia Tech players for the NFL. Collins replaced Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson, who announced his retirement after losing to UGA 45-21. The Bulldogs have dominated the series, winning 15 of the last 18 meetings. There’s no doubt that one of Collins’ top missions will be turning around Georgia Tech’s fortunes against UGA on both the football field and recruiting trail. Collins was Temple’s head coach the past two seasons, and previously served as defensive coordinator at Florida and Mississippi State, among other numerous stops as an assistant coach. How do you think Georgia Tech’s coaching change will affect the rivalry with UGA that is described as “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate?” Please post below. The post Georgia Tech’s new football coach vows not to use red ink again appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Bulldog Nation was not a happy place this past week. The reaction from Georgia fans to Alabama’s comeback win over the Dawgs in the SEC Championship basically has broken down into four broad categories. Loudest, perhaps, were Georgia fans who blamed the officiating, along with those who blamed the UGA coaching staff, and Kirby Smart in particular. Then, there were those forlorn fans who see jinxes and other unseen forces at work; some have given up all hope of another national championship for the Dawgs. The fan base may be down now, but come next season they should be UGA strong. (University of Georgia) Finally, there were the more pragmatic fans, who saw a Georgia program that lost a lot of key talent from last year and was supposed to be in a “bridge” year, but somehow managed to take what was essentially a playoff play-in game down to the wire against what many had touted as Nick Saban’s best ever team. Yeah, the proverbial “wait till next year!” Perhaps the worst thing about the Dawgs’ second loss to Bama in just this calendar year was that Georgia should have been a defending national champion winning another conference title. As my buddy Scott put it, these “may be the most infuriating stats I’ve seen in my 50-plus years as a UGA fan.” He was talking about the fact that the Bulldogs have led or been tied with Alabama 118 minutes and 54 seconds of 120 minutes and 281 of 290 plays of the past two meetings in the national championship game and SEC title game. That points to a team that has trouble finishing the drill, as someone used to say. The coaches’ fault? That’s what some fans believe. Let’s explore those and other reactions … Junkyard Mail: Dawgs fans speak out Should everyone else in the SEC just give up on ever getting an even playing field with the officiating, and figure that the home office in Birmingham has made it clear which program it wants to be the perennial conference champ? Or is it just college football officiating in general? After all, it was Big 10 refs who stole the game from us back in January! — Sarah Peters Even at their best, SEC officiating crews tend to be maddeningly inconsistent and, at their worst, seem barely conversant with the rule book. However, this game was about average in officiating. I think most of the flags thrown — three against Bama for 10 yards and six against Georgia for 50 yards, plus one against Bama that was declined and a pair of offsetting penalties that produced a no-play — were fair. The primary officiating problem, as many Dawgs fans have pointed out (often with video clips and screengrabs to back them up) was the flags they chose not to throw against the Tide in key situations, including blatant holding on a Bama touchdown pass (among many other uncalled instances of holding on both sides), an uncalled Bama hand to Jake Fromm’s facemask, and, most egregious of all, the no-call on pass interference on Georgia’s final drive in which a Bama defender had the receiver in a bear hug before the ball arrived. Still, while the officiating certainly wasn’t great, it wasn’t as bad as with that awful Big 10 crew back in January’s natty. Frankly, though, I think mistakes by the UGA coaches were a bigger factor. Which brings us to … I am frustrated and mad. … [The fake punt against Bama] was a high-risk call and it was botched from the start. … They were not fooled. Anyway, I hope that all of this, plus losing Mel Tucker, will not hurt recruiting and we can move on from this setback. Plus, maybe Kirby will improve as a game manager. —  GSU 1972 I’d say the strong showing Georgia gave in college football’s most-watched regular-season game in seven years — and the fact that many of ESPN’s experts were flatly stating Georgia was among the four best teams in the country, even after the loss, should keep recruits all over the country interested in coming to Athens. Now, the Dawgs just need to shake off the Bama loss and take care of business in the Sugar Bowl. I have a feeling Smart will have them ready to show they really are one of the nation’s four best teams. This one was all about coaching and bad decisions.  The fake punt, going away from the run, which was effective in the first three quarters. … Why get away from [the run] late in the biggest game of the year? I’ll never understand. …  Coaching staff lost that game. Not Fields. Not Hot Rod. Not any single player on the field. — Patrick Fisher Last year, [Smart] didn’t plan for Tua [ Tagovailoa ]. This year he didn’t plan for [Jalen] Hurts. I’m thinking the coaching staff dropped the ball … again. — John C. Allen Fair criticisms. Yes, Bama’s run defense was fearsome, but Georgia had plenty of success against it earlier in the game. Instead of trying to get cute, I would have preferred to see a steady diet of D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield, along with a few more throws to Isaac Nauta, in the fourth quarter. And, you would have thought, considering what happened in January, that the Dawgs defense might have been better prepared for a change of QBs. Still, perhaps it was just Hurt’s night. There also were some fans who are growing impatient. The next couple of letters sum up what quite a few were saying … The clock is ticking for Smart. This is now two huge opportunities we’ve blown. We can debate which was worse, this one or last year all day long, but regardless, Smart needs to learn from this. The way I see it, barring disastrous injuries, he’s got two years to bring home a natty. If these inexplicable, and now inexcusable losses continue, we’ll have little choice but to jettison him for the same reasons we finally got rid of Richt. We are not content with getting close. — Zach Hare Kirby Smart definitely is a great recruiter, and he seems to do a decent job game-planning, but he’s hopeless on the sideline. I’m now wondering if he’s really capable of getting this program over the hump that stymied Mark Richt. — Barrett Jones I had a conversation about Smart’s readiness with a friend on Facebook. I told him that I think Smart is indeed head coach material, but he’s relatively young, and has room for improvement. My friend asked: “You think he’s in the league with Saban, Urban [Meyer] and Dabo [Swinney]? My reply: I think he likely will be as good as, or better, than them eventually. He already can outrecruit them, and he seems to know how to motivate his teams (unlike Mark Richt). So far, he’s also done a good job of hiring assistants. But, he needs to master the in-game decisions and get better at clock management. And, then there’s this from an Alabama fan: Be patient, [Smart] is only in his 40s, he will eventually get better and make fewer mistakes on game day. In the meantime, he will see to it that you have enough talent that you will rarely need game day coaching to win. — Bret Rudeseal The subject of how freshman backup quarterback Justin Fields was used in the Bama game also concerned several fans I heard from, including this one: The way Jake Fromm was playing against Alabama, many fans thought it unwise to take him out of the game, even for one play. (Scott Cunningham/Gett Images) The way Jake Fromm was playing, why would you take him out? But I wonder if the coaching staff is worried about [Fields] transferring and was just throwing him a bone. What’s your thought on that? — Kenneth Meeks That idea occurred to me, too, but I’m skeptical that the Georgia coaching staff would put a championship at risk to keep one player happy. I think it’s more likely Smart was trying to play head games with the Bama defense and thought maybe he could catch them napping. Since he spent so many years there, though, he should have known better. Speaking of things he should know better about … Someone please take that Les Miles playbook away from Kirby before we play Texas. — Tony Tyson Yeah, no more fake kicks. Please. And then there are fans who are having a hard time remaining hopeful … I’m 59 years old and have either listened on the radio or watched every game as far back as I can remember. That was the most heartbreaking game of all time. I felt like we had Alabama beat. I never felt that way in the national championship game. When Kirby called the fake punt, I think that’s the maddest I’ve ever been watching a Georgia Bulldog football game. I know we are going to be really good next year, but I want a national championship before I leave this Earth. — Randy Sharpe I love my Dawgs, always have (45 years) and always will, but I’m not sure how much more I can take. These loses, including ‘12, are defining and will stand the test of time. We have missed our chances and it’s not going to get easier. Next year I expect to see the same two teams in the SECCG. If we don’t seize on that opportunity, I see our chances at future championships diminish and we’ll be right back where we’ve been. — John Randolph Have faith, guys. I think they’re very close. And then there are those fans who take a more pessimistic view … The matching of Georgia and Texas in the Sugar Bowl is the next best thing to a playoff berth. (Sugar Bowl) Only 364 more days till we lose again to Alabama. And the Sugar Bowl tastes salty, not sweet. — Gary Gill Actually, I think the Sugar Bowl against Texas is about as awesome a spot as Georgia could have expected, considering two losses made it nigh on impossible for them to crack the final four. As for future Georgia-Alabama matchups, the odds are that the Tide can’t continue to squeeze out a win every time these two programs meet for a championship. Take heart from the fact that the Dawgs obviously were Bama’s equal last week . Like I said earlier, that’s not going to hurt recruiting at all. And, remember, that close game against Bama happened in a year when many of us figured winning the SEC East was about all we could hope for, considering all the NFL talent that departed Athens after last season. The fact that Georgia gave Saban another good scare with the youngest starting lineup in the conference should fill Bulldog Nation with hope, not despair. I like the way Blawg reader Gary Cody put it: “ On the positive side we went toe to toe with what I feel is probably the best team in college football. When you consider how young Georgia is, you can’t help but get excited about the future.” Yeah, like maybe next year? The post Some Dawgs fans don’t mind saying it: ‘Wait till next year!’ appeared first on DawgNation.

News

  • A polygamous group based on the Utah-Arizona border is letting go of the sprawling building where its members worshipped, in the latest sign that the sect run by imprisoned leader Warren Jeffs is crumbling and losing control of the community it ruled for a century. The group known as the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or FLDS, now has nowhere to gather for worship services after the nearly 53,000 square-foot (4,900 square-meter) building was taken over last week as part of government-ordered evictions that have taken away about 200 homes and buildings from members who refuse to pay property taxes and $100-a-month occupancy fees. The meetinghouse with capacity for several thousand people is valued at $2.8 million and sits on about 7 acres (2.8 hectares) in the remote red rock community, on the Arizona side of the border. The building has a stage, a church-like setup for services and classrooms for religious education but has not been used for at least six months, Jeff Barlow said Monday. He is the executive director of a government-appointed organization that oversees a former church trust that has properties in the sister cities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Arizona. The FLDS doesn't have a spokesperson to comment about the development. The sect is experiencing a major leadership void with Warren Jeffs serving a life sentence for sexually assaulting underage girls he considered brides and his brother Lyle Jeffs serving nearly a five-year sentence for his role in carrying out an elaborate food stamp fraud scheme and for escaping home confinement while awaiting trial. Members have said they have been worshipping at home on their own. The lack of local leaders meant nobody stepped up to take responsibility for the building when Barlow's organization warned an eviction was imminent, said Christine Katas, who lives in the community and serves as an intermediary between Barlow's organization and the FLDS. Rank-and-file members don't believe they have the authority to do so, she said. 'It's very sad for the FLDS. I've seen people cry over it,' Katas said. 'Both sides are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Everybody wishes there was a different outcome.' The evictions have led many FLDS members to take refuge in trailers around town or move away, while former members have purchased the homes and buildings and moved back. Group members don't believe they should have to pay for what belonged to a communal church trust that the state of Utah took over more than a decade ago amid mismanagement. The evictions are part of the shifting demographics in the sister cities of about 7,700 people. Non-sect members last year won control of the mayor's office and town council in Hildale, Utah and nearly did the same in municipal elections in Colorado City. The town government and police are being watched closely by court-appointed monitors after a jury found past town and police leaders guilty of civil rights violations. Sprawling homes that used to belong to Warren Jeffs have been converted into beds and breakfast and sober living centers. Members of the group still consider their leader and prophet to be Warren Jeffs, even though he has been in jail in Utah or Texas continually since 2006. Polygamy is a legacy of the early teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but the mainstream church abandoned the practice in 1890 and now strictly prohibits it. The Salt Lake Tribune first reported the eviction of the meetinghouse. Barlow said the board of the organization he runs, called the United Effort Plan (UEP) Trust, will meet on Jan. 5 in a public meeting to discuss what to do with the building, constructed in 1986, Barlow said. One possibility is converting it to a civic center, though that would likely require seeking grant funds, he said. The UEP board will make the final decision.
  • The 2018 college football bowl season kicks off with the fourth annual Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl. The game will feature champions from the Mid-Eastern Athletic and Southwestern Athletic conferences. In a rematch of the first Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl, the North Carolina A&T Aggies will go head-to-head with the Alcorn State Braves.  Starting at 11 a.m., Channel 2 WSB-TV presents a live half-hour program, “The Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl Countdown.”  Channel 2 anchors Fred Blankenship and Carol Sbarge host the pregame show for this event. Channel 2 Sports Director Zach Klein will break down the strategies of both teams, the players, coaches and each team’s strengths and weaknesses.  Following the countdown will be a special edition of Channel 2 Action News at 11:30 a.m. with weather, game day traffic and news of the day. At noon, the battle for the championship begins. In addition to the game, organizers will host the first annual “A Celebration of Service.” The service project will bring together “The Divine 9” Greek letter organizations to collect food donations that benefit Hosea Helps. Other attractions include a special fan experience and the ultimate HBCU Greek homecoming tailgate. MATCHUP Alcorn State (9-3, 6-1 Southwestern Athletic Conference) vs. North Carolina A&T (9-2, 6-1 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference). TIME/LOCATION Saturday at noon at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Pregame coverage starts at 11 a.m., followed by the game at noon. TOP PLAYERS Alcorn State QB Noah Johnson has thrown for 2,079 yards and 15 touchdowns while also running for 960 yards and nine touchdowns. North Carolina A&T is led by veteran QB Lamar Raynard and a running game that's averaging close to 200 yards on the ground per game. NOTABLE The Braves are back in the Celebration Bowl for the first time since the inaugural game in 2015. Alcorn State is led by coach Fred McNair, the older brother of the late Steve McNair, who was a star quarterback for Alcorn State and in the NFL with the Tennessee Titans. The Aggies are back in the Celebration Bowl for the third time in four seasons. North Carolina A&T beat Grambling 21-14 last year to give the MEAC a 2-1 edge in the game over the SWAC. LAST TIME North Carolina A&T 41, Alcorn State 34 on Dec. 19, 2015. BOWL HISTORY The Braves are in the Celebration Bowl for the second time. The Aggies are in the Celebration Bowl for the third time.
  • Companies seeking tax credits from Wisconsin's troubled job-creation agency would face less scrutiny under a provision Republicans included in a package of lame-duck legislation designed to weaken newly elected Democrats. The measure awaiting GOP Gov. Scott Walker's signature would loosen the reins on an agency he created, which has marred by allegations of failing to recover loans from some companies and handing out $126 million without a formal review. Gov.-elect Tony Evers, who ousted Walker in last month's election, would be blocked from overseeing the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation for nine months under another provision in the lame-duck package. It's one of several components in the legislation that would reduce the powers of Evers and the incoming Democratic attorney general. Current law requires the WEDC to annually verify payroll and employment data from tax credit recipients to make sure they're creating enough jobs to qualify. State auditors found last year that the agency isn't living up to that requirement and was accepting information recipients submitted as accurate and complete. The lame-duck legislation would erase those annual verification requirements. The agency instead would be required to have a third party verify a sampling of the information. Recipients also would have to send a signed statement to WEDC attesting to the accuracy of the information they submit. WEDC's chief executive officer, Mark Hogan, told reporters Monday that the agency can't possibly verify information about the tens of thousands of employees that work for the 300 or so credit recipients. The agency has been verifying data samples for years and the lame-duck bill simply codifies that practice into law, he said. 'You're never going to be able to independently verify over 200,000 employees,' Hogan said. 'It's a process that cannot work. The only solution was to change the statutes to codify what we're doing.' Hogan said changing the law has been his 'top priority' for three years. He tried to get lawmakers to pass the changes before the Legislature adjourned its two-year session this past spring, but legislators told him then it was too late. WEDC is a quasi-governmental agency Walker created in 2011 that hands out grants, loans and tax credits to businesses and other organizations. A May 2017 audit found the agency didn't require recipients to supply enough detailed information to determine how many jobs were created or retained as a result of the agency's award. WEDC officials played a key role in persuading Foxconn Technology Group to build a huge flat-screen plant in Mount Pleasant. The agency administers an unprecedented $3 billion state incentives package that Walker and Republican lawmakers created for the manufacturer. Walker has promised that if Foxconn doesn't create jobs it won't receive state tax credits. 'Under Republican control, the WEDC has been plagued by scandals, mismanagement and under-performance,' Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling said in a statement. 'The last thing that agency needs is less accountability measures.' The WEDC provisions are tucked into a wide-ranging package of legislation that also restricts early in-person voting to the two weeks before an election, prevents Evers from withdrawing from a multistate lawsuit challenging federal health care reform laws and eliminates the state Justice Department's solicitor general office. Walker has signaled his general support. His spokesman, Tom Evenson, said Monday that the governor was still reviewing the measures. ___ Follow Todd Richmond on Twitter at https://twitter.com/trichmond1 ___ This story has been corrected to reflect that Shilling is the minority leader, not the majority leader.
  • Channel 2 Action News has learned that investigators say there are currently more than 70,000 gang members across the state of Georgia. Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne was on hand Monday for the second meeting of the Georgia Anti-Gang Network. Officials told Winne that not only are they battling against inmates who are in gangs, but also corrections officers.  “Across the state, how many investigations do you have going on involving the corruption of corrections officers by gangs?” Winne asked Georgia Department of Correction Director Clay Nix.  “Numerous,” Nix answered.  Nix said Georgia’s prison system is not only battling against inmates who are in gangs, but also corrections officers, who are recruited after hiring. TRENDING STORIES: State government will delay opening Tuesday due to weather LIVE UPDATES: Atlanta United's championship parade and rally Search for missing Colorado mother intensifies; FBI assisting with investigation “Also, they reach out to other gang members who have no criminal record and encourage them to come to work for us,” Nix said.   “That’s happened?” Winne asked Nix.  “It has. Several times in the past,” Nix said.  Nix showed Winne pictures of a haul of suspected gang-related contraband that consisted of 61 homemade weapons, cellphones, suspected cocaine, suspected meth and marijuana.  “They control the contraband trade, which is very lucrative,” Nix said. The items were seized at the Macon state prison just hours before a meeting of the Georgia Anti-gang Network at state corrections headquarters, headed by Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr. “Criminal street gangs represent America’s greatest public safety threat,” Cobb County District Attorney Mike Carlson said.  “And in Georgia?” Winne asked Carlson.  “Georgia as well,” Carlson said.  “And in metro Atlanta?” Winne asked.  “Absolutely,” Carlson said.  “The most frightening thing you've heard today?” Winne asked Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr.  “The use of social media, the recruitment of young local neighborhood gangs as young as 9 and 13 years old,” Carr said.  The commissioner of Georgia’s Department of Community Supervision said there are currently more than 13,000 gang members under active supervision across the state.  “We'll never be able to have parity in numbers with the 70,000-plus gang members in Georgia. But what we are able to do is finely tune the force packages we use to go after each one of these sets,” said Southern District of Georgia U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine.  Christine said a grand jury recently indicted dozens affiliated with the Ghostface Gangsters.  “It involves multiple jurisdictions and multiple counties,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Greg Gilluly said.  “You've got a great group of folks that are focused on this issue, that aren't putting their heads in the sand and saying, 'We're going to protect the people of Georgia,'” Carr said.  Nix told Winne that without going into too many specifics, gang-related corruption cases pending against current or former corrections officers across the state range from charges up to and including homicide.
  • A five-game losing streak has assured the Atlanta Falcons of their first losing season since 2014, and the usually upbeat coach Dan Quinn said he's alarmed by the ugly results and looking for fixes. Quinn said all players and coaches are in the spotlight after Sunday's 34-20 loss at Green Bay locked in the losing season for the Falcons (4-9). It is a bitter reality for an Atlanta team only two years removed from a Super Bowl appearance. The Falcons would have to win two of their last three just to match their last losing record, a 6-10 finish in 2014. Quinn has turned up the heat on his team as Atlanta prepares for a visit from Arizona on Sunday. 'Some of you may have questions regarding the program and staff and players,' Quinn said. 'As we're sitting here in week 15, we have four wins. So you better believe we're evaluating everything and doing anything to get it right.' Quinn complained about 'self-inflicted wounds,' including 13 penalties and two turnovers in the loss to the Packers. 'I thought our toughness was right but our focus is not,' he said. He said the errors and lack of focus are not new concerns. 'It hasn't been to the level that we needed to for a while,' he said. '... To have some of these inconsistencies show up over a period of time has definitely been something that has been at the forefront of my mind.' Quinn doesn't have an answer to why the focus has become an issue, saying, he 'can't tell you the amount of sleep' he has lost 'on that question alone.' Matt Ryan's second-quarter pass for Austin Hooper was intercepted by Bashaud Breeland and returned 22 yards for a touchdown. The Falcons also botched a shotgun snap in the red zone that was recovered by Green Bay. Quinn said those were among the mistakes 'that made me think lack of focus.' It was a mixed weekend for team owner Arthur Blank, who also owns the MLS Atlanta United. One day after watching Atlanta United win the MLS Cup at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Blank was in Green Bay for another Falcons loss. Blank gave Quinn a postgame hug one week after saying he still has confidence in the coach and general manager Thomas Dimitroff. Quinn is 36-30 in his fourth season in Atlanta, including a 3-2 postseason mark. For the second straight week, Quinn tweaked his starting offensive line, inserting Ty Sambrailo at right tackle ahead of Ryan Schraeder. Zane Beadles made his second straight start at right guard. 'I've been waiting for the opportunity to go out and show what I can do,' Sambrailo said Monday. 'The opportunity came and I felt I did all right.' The line helped produce a much-needed boost in the running game . Atlanta ran for 107 yards, only its third 100-yard game of the season. Rookie Ito Smith had 11 carries for 60 yards as he continued to have a more prominent role. Tevin Coleman ran for 45 yards on 10 carries. There were other personnel moves. Rookie Isaiah Oliver shared time with cornerback Robert Alford. Brian Hill played at running back and fullback while fullback Ricky Ortiz was inactive. Defensive end Steven Means also returned to the playing rotation. More changes could come. 'Nobody is OK with this record,' Quinn said. NOTES: Quinn second-guessed himself for allowing Matt Bryant to attempt a 53-yard field goal into the wind in the first quarter. Bryant's kick was short. 'That would be one I'd like to have over,' Quinn said. ... Quinn said TE Austin Hooper avoided serious injury when he left the game with an apparent knee injury. ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
  • The Latest on the effects of a wintry storm crossing the U.S. Southeast (all times local): 3:05 p.m. An overturned truck full of pigs is adding to traffic delays as western North Carolina digs out from a snow storm. The North Carolina Department of Transportation said the livestock truck overturned on Interstate 40 westbound near the Tennessee line. The westbound lanes were closed temporarily Monday so the pigs could be corralled, but at least one lane was reopened by midafternoon. Highway Patrol First Sgt. Mike Baker said that about 100 pigs were aboard the truck, and some died in the crash. Local farmers were helping to gather the rest. The Transportation Department posted a photo on Twitter of pigs wandering along a snowy shoulder next to a trooper's cruiser. Baker said it's not clear if weather played a role in the crash, and it may have had more to do with speed. He said the road was clear of snow and ice at the time. He said the driver suffered serious injuries. ___ 3:05 p.m. The North Carolina National Guard is out helping residents recover from a snowstorm, including relocating a baby from a snowed-in house. National Guard Lt. Col. Matthew DeVivo said the National Guard helped out a family Sunday after it lost power and couldn't drive due to heavy snowfall in Caldwell County. The National Guard posted a photo of a soldier carrying the baby down a snowy road swaddled in extra blankets. DeVivo said the baby is OK, and the family was taken to stay with relatives. Guard members also aided an ambulance stuck in the snow in Burke County, helping an elderly patient get to the hospital. The patient's condition Monday wasn't clear. ___ 1:30 p.m. Residents of southern West Virginia are digging out from a storm that dumped up to 18 inches (46 centimeters) of snow. Forecasters had been uncertain about the storm's track and many residents were caught off guard by the high snow amounts. Forecasts initially had the storm avoiding most of the state and moving across the Southeast. Instead, the National Weather Service says the state became part of the storm's northern edge. More than a foot (30 centimeters) of snow fell across the far southern areas of the state. Schools were closed in at least 10 counties Monday. In places about an hour to the north such as Charleston and Huntington, no snow fell. ___ 12:35 p.m. Authorities in North Carolina are reporting a third snowstorm-related death after a truck driver died while working to free his rig that got stuck on an interstate. Yadkin County Emergency Services Director Keith Vestal says the driver had gotten stuck along Interstate 77 during the height of the storm Sunday and was shoveling out. Vestal said that shortly after shoveling, the man experienced chest pains and was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead. Vestal said the death appears to be due to a heart attack and he considers it a storm-related death. The state emergency operations center attributes two other deaths to the storm. One man died Sunday when a tree fell on him in Mecklenburg County, while an ailing woman died in Haywood County when her oxygen was cut off due to power outages. ___ 11:45 a.m. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says the worst of the wintery storm has passed most of the state but residents — particularly motorists — should keep watch for dangerous conditions. Cooper said at a news conference Monday that snow and ice that fell since the weekend could result in slick road conditions Tuesday morning as temperatures fall and moisture refreezes. The state emergency operations center attributes two deaths to the storm. One man died Sunday when a tree fell on him in Mecklenburg County, while an ailing woman died in Haywood County when her oxygen was cut off due to power outages. The governor says 144,000 utilities customers were still without power. ____ 7:20 a.m. A lingering storm keeps dumping immobilizing snow, sleet or freezing rain across five southern states, leaving dangerously icy roads and hundreds of thousands of people without electricity. Authorities urged people to stay home on Monday in areas where driving is dangerous. Accidents on snow-covered interstates caused major delays on Sunday, hundreds of flights were canceled and drivers in North Carolina and Virginia got stuck in snow or lost control on icy patches. But the commuters' nightmare provided pre-winter thrills for kids and the young at heart, who were able to go sledding and build snowmen in places that don't often see so much of the white stuff. The National Weather Service said a 'prolonged period of snow' began late Saturday and would last until Monday in the region, with the heaviest snow in northwest North Carolina and southern Virginia. Some areas of North Carolina and Virginia saw more than a foot (30 centimeters) of snow by Sunday afternoon.