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Georgia Football 2018 Opponent Preview: How worried should Georgia be about South Carolina?

Georgia Football 2018 Opponent Preview: How worried should Georgia be about South Carolina?

Welcome to  Good Day, UGA, your one-stop shop for Georgia football news and takes. Check us out every weekday morning for everything you need to know about Georgia football, recruiting, basketball and more. Georgia Football 2018 Opponent Preview: South Carolina Gamecocks I have spoken with an awful lot of Georgia fans this offseason who are worried about the week two trip to Columbia to face South Carolina. It’s understandable. With the Dawgs opening the season against overmatched and outgunned Austin Peay, the Sept. 8 game against the Gamecocks is the first big game of the years, so it’s at the front of a lot of minds as the season looms. An away game against an SEC East foe in the second weak of the season — which typically means South Carolina — is always something to fret over in the long days of the offseason. And by all accounts, Will Muschamp has made tremendous strides with the Gamecocks in his first two seasons. (Not as much as Kirby Smart, but I digress.) By my and most pundits figuring, South Carolina is the greatest threat to Georgia in the East. But are Georgia fans right to be as worried about this game as they are? Talk to anyone who knows anything and they’ll tell you the Gamecocks will be one of the most dangerous opponents on Georgia’s 2018 schedule. I don’t necessarily think that’s incorrect, I just think “most dangerous” has to be quantified relative to how dangerous other opponents are. And on a weak Georgia schedule, there isn’t a whole lot of danger. I think a lot of fans have overinflated the danger South Carolina poses because, frankly, there aren’t a ton of other opponents to worry about. Offense One thing you can always count on from Muschamp is turnover at offensive coordinator. Bryan McClendon will head the South Carolina offense this year, making him Muschamp’s fourth offensive coordinator in seven years as a head coach. And the change was warranted. South Carolina’s stodgy attack finished 12th in the SEC in scoring and 88th nationally in offensive S&P+. McClendon planning on going up-tempo to bring the excitement back to the offense, and he’s got a few weapons to do it with. I’m not totally sold on junior QB Jake Bentley — who passed for 2,1794 yards, 18 TDs and 12 INTs last season — but he has the potential to break down any defense on days he’s clicking. Aiding Bentley in his attempt to turn a corner is returning WR Deebo Samuel, who had 474 all-purpose yards and 6 TDs in 11 quarters before missing the final 10 games with a broken leg. Samuel’s return alone should make the offense significantly more dangerous. Defense Muschamp’s calling card has always been and will always be defense, but South Carolina still has a lot to improve upon on that side of the ball. The Gamecocks returns six starters and a gaggle of strong role players from a defense that was generally average on a play-to-play basis but excelled at taking the ball away, recovering 14 fumbles and snagging 14 interceptions as a team. Their greatest weakness was the pass rush. The Gamecocks finished 11th in the league with 26.0 sacks to their name last season. To be an elite SEC defense, you simply have to get to the quarterback more often. The player to watch for the Gamecock defense is DT Javon Kinlaw. The 6-foot-6, 300-pound JuCo transfer finished last season with 20 tackles working in backup duty for South Carolina, and he appears poised for a breakout campaign. He has the kind of size Muschamp needs in the middle of his defense to draw attention from offensive linemen and open lanes for other rushers. Kinlaw could single-handedly create more opportunities for this defense if he lives up to his hype. What to expect on Sept. 8 I made it a point to say Georgia fans shouldn’t be as worried about South Carolina as many I’ve spoken with are, but that’s not to say don’t worry about the Gamecocks at all. It’s an early season game and Georgia will be working out some kinks and breaking in a lot of new names in front of a hostile crowd at Williams-Brice. But there’s a really good reason the Dawgs are favored over South Carolina by two touchdowns: They’re better. FPI Projection: Georgia has a 79.1 percent chance of winning Opponent Previews: Austin Peay MORE: Want this roundup in your inbox every morning?  Sign up here! 4-star in-state OT commits to Georgia Georgia football added its 12th commitment to its recruiting class of 2019 with a pledge from Brunswick, Ga. 4-star OT Warren McClendon Jr. on Monday. McClendon is the eighth player from the state of Georgia and second offensive lineman Georgia has landed in this class. Along with fellow class of 2019 players Zion Logue and Cal transfer Demetris Robertson, McClendon is the third player to sign on to be a Bulldog since Saturday. “First, I would like to thank God for blessing me with the opportunity to play on the next level,”  McClendon wrote in a tweet. “I would like to thank my parents for supporting me during the recruiting process. Also, I would like to thank all my coaches and teammates. With that being said I’m 100% committed to … THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA.” ❗️C O M M I T T E D❗️ pic.twitter.com/B1KN6UUa40 — Warren McClendon Jr (@wcmcclendonjr) July 16, 2018 ICYMI: SEC Media Days Here’s a roundup of DawgNation coverage from the first day of SEC Media Days. Stay tuned for plenty more as Kirby Smart takes the podium in Atlanta Tuesday at 9 a.m. SEC Football Media Days not going to be in Atlanta long Texas A&M football coach Jimbo Fisher at SEC Media Days: ‘timetable is now’ Kentucky’s Mark Stoops sees Georgia as SEC measuring stick Dawgs on Twitter ICYMI: We took an inside look at the on-going construction inside Sanford Stadium, which will be ready for the @FootballUGA season-opener on September 1! #GoDawgs #ATD pic.twitter.com/eGNLavq2Hp — Bulldogs Game Day (@WSBbulldogs) July 16, 2018 One week from today is the @UGAAthletics SEC Network takeover! Tune in to @SECNetwork at 10:00am on the 23rd and re-live our big win over Mizzou last season! #GoDawgs | #CommitToTheG pic.twitter.com/MekphjXf8y — Georgia Basketball (@UGA_WBB) July 16, 2018 Good dog There’s only one option today. Another Great day to be a Dawg!! #yessirrrr #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/AdyuZcNqXl — Coach Sam Pittman (@CoachSamPittman) July 16, 2018 Miss a previous edition of Good Day, UGA? Get caught up  here . The post Georgia Football 2018 Opponent Preview: How worried should Georgia be about South Carolina? appeared first on DawgNation.

Lakers, Trail Blazers to meet for Summer League title again

Lakers, Trail Blazers to meet for Summer League title again

Wash. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. The Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers will meet in the NBA Summer League championship for a second straight season. Last year Kyle Kuzma dropped a game-high 30 points to lead the Lakers to a 110-98 victory over Portland. This year it'll be MVP-candidate Josh Hart — one of two returning players from last year's team — looking to earn a second straight title for the Lakers (6-0). Alex Caruso is also back for Los Angeles. But for Hart, who didn't play in the 2017 title game, he is not looking at it as a two-peat, given the complexion of this year's squad is different. 'Our identity is totally different, the make-up is totally different, that team last year we had three first-rounders and a second rounder, so the make-up was totally different and how we played was totally different,' Hart said. 'This team is tough, is gutty and determined to win. I came here to win, I came here to dominate and that's what I want to do tomorrow.' While Hart is a leading candidate for MVP of the entire summer league, he said he's not worried about following in the footsteps of Lonzo Ball, who was awarded the honor last season. 'It's a testament to the hard work I put in this off season, but I don't go for individual accolades, that's never been a reason why I played this game — I play this game to win,' said Hart, who is averaging 24.1 through six games. 'If we win, that's the biggest thing.' It won't be easy, though, as Portland (6-0) has three players back from last year's squad, including Las Vegas-native Zach Collins, along with Caleb Swanigan and Jake Layman. 'We all want to win out here, we've gotten this far so why go home with a loss,' said Layman, who is averaging 14 points after the first six games. 'It's fun for us to play them again, we had a tough loss last year, didn't have our best game. So I think we're all excited to get back out there and get a win this year.' For Collins, he's looking for redemption personally, after struggling last summer in his hometown and getting injured before the championship, then enduring the rigors of a rugged rookie season. And nothing would mean more for him than to win a pro championship, albeit a summer league title, in front of friends and family. 'The team took care of business and got to the championship and I had to go back to Portland to get better so I wasn't a part of it; technically this is my first year,' said Collins, who won four high school state championship at Bishop Gorman and helped lead Gonzaga to the 2017 national championship game. 'I'm excited, we came all this way, we played this well to get this far and this is our goal. Our goal was to come in and win this thing and we're one win away from doing that.' LAKERS 112, CAVALIERS 109 Hart scored 37 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Lakers to a semifinal win. Svi Mykhailiuk scored 31 points for the Lakers, while Jeff Ayres added 20. Xavier Rathan-Mayes made the play of the game when he snatched a loose ball and fed Ayres with a pretty touch pass under the basket with 45 seconds left in the second overtime. Rathan-Mayes followed Ayres' lay-in with a slashing lay-up to put the Lakers up 110-106 with 22 seconds left. Cleveland's Billy Preston missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Collin Sexton led the Cavaliers (5-2) with 27 points, while Jamel Artis and John Holland each scored 17. TRAIL BLAZERS 97, GRIZZLIES 92 Swanigan and Collins both each had a double-double to lead Portland in the second semifinal. Swanigan scored 21 points and had 16 rebounds, while Collins had 13 and 12. Archie Goodwin added 22 points for the Trail Blazers. The Grizzlies (4-3) were led by Brandon Goodwin, who had 27 points, while Kobi Simmons scored 34 and Markel Crawford added 19.

Hometown hero Harper wins thrilling HR Derby over Schwarber

Hometown hero Harper wins thrilling HR Derby over Schwarber

The ball cleared the center field wall, and the sellout crowd roared. Bryce Harper threw his bat in the air, thrust both index fingers skyward and yelled with delight as a shower of streamers rained upon the crowd of 43,698. It could have been a scene from a playoff game. That it was merely the All-Star Home Run Derby mattered not to Harper or the Washington Nationals fans, who were thrilled to see their hometown hero deliver the night's final longball Monday. In the midst of it all — and in the middle of trying season — Harper grabbed the microphone and said: 'This crowd: Wow! Washington Nationals, baby!' With an exceptional display of power and clutch hitting, Harper rallied in the final round, connecting on pitches from his father to beat Kyle Schwarber of the Chicago Cubs 19-18. Harper hit the contest-winning blast in extra time, the reward for hitting two homers at least 440 feet during the 4 minutes of regulation. After he connected with the game winner, the Nationals star immediately went into celebration mode. 'We have some of the best fans in all of baseball, and to be able to that with my family out there, that's an incredible moment, not only for me but for the organization and the Nationals fans,' Harper said. Harper's teammate, Max Scherzer, the NL starter on Tuesday night, also appreciated the moment. 'It's awesome. Hometown,' Scherzer said. 'The crowd is behind him. He found some rhythm, kept it simple and just continued to hit home run after home run.' Wearing a headband that resembled the District of Columbia flag and displaying a right sleeve with stars and stripes, Harper trailed 18-9 with 1:20 left before rallying. He homered on nine of his last 10 swings before entering extra time. The six-time All-Star arranged to have his dad, Ron, pitch to him in the annual contest on the eve of the All-Star Game. That made the victory even sweeter. 'I'm only as good as my BP guy,' Harper said with a grin. Hours before the session, Harper spoke excitedly about having his dad pitch to him in the contest. The 25-year-old said his father 'worked his tail off every single day to provide for me and my family' and 'now being able to have him throw to me in a big league ballpark is the cherry on top.' Afterward, Ron Harper said of his son: 'He did great. So I'm really proud of him. He's a great kid. You couldn't ask for anything better.' It's been a tough year for Harper, who's hitting only .214 for the disappointing Nationals. He won a contest that many sluggers avoid, fearful it might wear them out and throw them off. He can only hope this helps him get back into the swing. The 2015 NL MVP beat Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves and Max Muncy of the Dodgers before trumping the fifth-seeded Schwarber, who put the pressure on with a solid outing before Harper stepped to the plate. 'As soon as I got done with that round I told myself that (Harper) had it,' Schwarber said. 'I knew that he had the home crowd behind him.' Harper, who has 23 home runs this season, advanced to the final with an astonishing spree of longball hitting. He trailed Max Muncy of the Dodgers 12-4 with 2:20 left, then peeled off six homers in 47 seconds before calling a timeout. Harper returned to hit three more home runs in 22 seconds, the last of them inside the right-field foul pole. The semifinal matchup between Schwarber and Philadelphia's Rhys Hoskins went down to the final swing. After stunning top-seed Jesus Aguilar of Milwaukee in the opening round, the eighth-seeded Hoskins ripped 20 long balls to put the pressure on Schwarber. Using a late surge, Schwarber pulled one ball after another over the right field wall to squeeze out a 21-20 victory — by far the highest-scoring matchup of the night. The fans dutifully cheered most home runs during the first round, but they saved their loudest cheers for Harper, the last player to step to the plate. After Freeman hit 12 home runs over the 4-minute span, Harper unleashed six shots of at least 440 feet and secured the victory with a drive to center long before the clock expired. As the ball cleared the wall, the left-handed hitting Harper walked out of the batter's box and thrust both arms in the air. Milwaukee's Aguilar, the NL home run leader at the break, was eliminated in the opening round by Hoskins 17-12. Aguilar hit too many balls to straightaway center, where the wall stands over 400 feet from the plate. Hoskins pumped most of his drives into the left-field seats, where it's 336 feet down the line. The most thrilling first-round match featured a near buzzer-beater by Houston's Alex Bregman, who fell to Schwarber 16-15. The difference was the pair of homers that Schwarber hit during 30 seconds of extra time. Bregman — the lone AL representative — appeared defeated with a minute left, but he mounted a late surge and lost when his final swing produced a drive that landed at the base of the center-field wall. Muncy advanced by defeating No. 6 seed Javier Baez of the Cubs, 16-15. Baez hit the longest shot of the Derby, a 479-footer. ___ More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Bryce brings down the house with epic Home Run Derby comeback His time in Washington might be nearing its end, but on this night, Bryce Harper made Nationals fans forget their frustrations.