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Georgia football coach Kirby Smart: Pass protection needs work, Andrew Thomas banged up

Georgia football coach Kirby Smart: Pass protection needs work, Andrew Thomas banged up

ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart said the Bulldogs’ celebrated offensive line had plenty to work on during the bye week coming off a rough outing at LSU. Quarterback Jake Fromm was sacked three times and hurried on at least two others in the 36-16 loss to LSU, the Tigers’ shifting fronts and bringing pressures other teams are sure to mimic. “I’m evaluating it every day because we’re always trying to get better at it, I don’t think you ever arrive,” Smart said when asked about the Bulldogs pass protection. “A lot of pass protection is based on situations,” he said. “There’s pass-pro in play-action, there’s pass-pro in third downs when it’s obvious pass situations, there’s pass-pro in base protection when you have running backs and tight ends helping, so there’s a lot of variance when you talk about just pass-pro.” There’s been a lot of variance on the Georgia offensive line, too, as far as different lineups and the health of the players. The line will be key when the No. 8-ranked Bulldogs (6-1, 4-1 SEC) play No. 11-ranked Florida (6-1, 4-1) at 3:30 p.m. next Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla. The Gators ranked 21st in the nation with 3 sacks per game entering the bye week. Smart revealed on the SEC teleconference that left tackle Andrew Thomas has not completely recovered from the ankle injury that sidelined him in games at South Carolina and Missouri. “The injury has been more of a concern, he has to push through,” Smart said. “He’s still not 100 percent over it. A lot of people assume he is, but he has to wear two braces, and he got rolled up early in the LSU game, it was bothering him after the second or third play of the game. “He pushes through it, he continues to be one of our leaders on our offensive front.” The Bulldogs have started three different offensive line combinations this season, right guard Ben Cleveland still sidelined by a broken bone in his leg suffered at Missouri on Sept. 22. Redshirt freshman right tackle Isaiah Wilson has had his struggles against edge rushers this season, and Smart indicated true freshman Cade Mays hasn’t been perfect, either. “We’ve got some guys that have done well, and we’ve got some guys who have struggled at times, we’ve got a couple of freshman out there playing who have struggled at times,” Smart said. “As a unit, we’ve picked things up, we’ve gotten beaten some one-on-one, and sometimes we have to do a good job getting the ball out when that happens or getting out of the pocket to advance the ball.” Smart said pass protection will always be a challenge in the SEC, because “defensive linemen are always ahead of offensive linemen.” Georgia football DawgNation stories Georgia football best SEC East matchup for Alabama Georgia football has work to do on bye week Georgia-LSU top-rated television game, Atlanta market shines Kirby Smart defends Jake Fromm at LSU Georgia football saw warning signs, couldn’t dodge Tigers’ trap Why didn’t Georgia use Justin Fields more? RECAP: Scoring, injuries, news from Georgia’s 36-16 loss to LSU       The post Georgia football coach Kirby Smart: Pass protection needs work, Andrew Thomas banged up appeared first on DawgNation.

Ethiopian marathoner who made Rio protest returns from exile

Ethiopian marathoner who made Rio protest returns from exile

The Ethiopian marathon runner who made global headlines with an anti-government gesture at the Rio Olympics finish line returned from exile on Sunday after sports officials assured him he will not face prosecution. Feyisa Lilesa's return from the United States came several months after a reformist prime minister took office and announced sweeping political reforms. He received a warm welcome at the airport from the foreign minister and other senior officials. Feyisa said the new government is 'a result of the struggle by the people' and he hopes it will address concerns after years of repression in Africa's second most populous nation. The silver medalist crossed his wrists at the finish line in 2016 in solidarity with protesters in his home region, Oromia, who like many across Ethiopia were demanding wider freedoms. Feyisa later said he feared he would be imprisoned or killed if he returned home. But he became a symbol of resistance for many youth until the pressure on the government led to a change of power, with 42-year-old Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed taking office in April. Abiy is the country's first leader from the Oromo ethnic group since the ruling coalition came to power 27 years ago. Ethiopia's government did not immediately comment Sunday on the runner's return. Asked by The Associated Press if he has any political ambitions, Feyisa said: 'I don't have any ambition in politics! Actually I didn't get close to politics, politics gets close to me.' Feyisa broke down in tears while speaking about youth who lost their lives during the years of protests. 'I will continue to remember those who lost their lives for the cause. Many people lost their lives for it.' Turning his attention to running, he said his next race will be the Dubai Marathon in January. 'My training while I was in exile was not good, so it has affected my performance,' Feyisa said. He missed two races in recent weeks as he prepared to return to Ethiopia. 'I will resume my regular training after a week.' ___ This version corrects to say Abiy is first leader from the Oromo ethnic group since the ruling coalition came to power 27 years ago. ___ Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_Africa

Brooks Koepka has golf's top ranking with win in South Korea

Brooks Koepka has golf's top ranking with win in South Korea

Brooks Koepka is golf's new No. 1 after winning the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges on Sunday by four strokes. Koepka, who displaced Dustin Johnson for the world's top ranking, shot a final-round 8-under 64 for a 21-under total of 267. Koepka, who had never held the top ranking, led by four strokes after three rounds. 'To be No. 1 is something I've dreamed of as a kid,' Koepka said. 'I don't think this one is going to sink in.' Gary Woodland certainly made it interesting. Woodland started the day five strokes behind Koepka, who was only 1-under after nine, but Woodland pulled level after making six birdies in seven holes on the front nine. The two dueled on the back nine, with Woodland birdieing 15 and 16 to again pull level. But Koepka did the same, and a bogey by Woodland on the par-3 17th gave Koepka the cushion he needed to close out the win despite a birdie on the 18th by Woodland. The biggest moment came on the 16th. Koepka went from a fairway bunker to just left of the green, about 70 feet away. Koepka hit a chip-and-run that was stopped by the pin and dropped for the birdie. Koepka finished in style with a 25-foot eagle putt on the 18th for a 29 on the back nine. 'I'm not somebody who's going to panic if things go the wrong way,' Koepka said of his slow start. 'I felt like the one at 15 was quite big with Gary making a charge.' Woodland finished second after a 63. Ryan Palmer birdied his last seven holes to shoot a course-record 62 and finish in a tie for third place with Rafa Cabrera Bello (65), four strokes behind Koepka. Woodland was happy with his final round, but looked back to a few missed birdie chances on Saturday. 'Brooks with the lead.not much fazes him,' Woodland said. 'So you knew you had to make a lot of birdies and I made a lot today. I was trying to put as much pressure as I could. But just shows I was too far back to start after not making too many putts yesterday. I gave myself a chance, I was tied for the lead there. Brooks obviously just made some clutch shots down the stretch.' Palmer said he became more confident with each of his seven straight birdies on the back nine. 'The more I made, the more free I felt in my swing and I was able to hit some close,' Palmer said. 'I made some long putts coming down the stretch. Actually on 17, I looked at my scorecard, I was like, 'oh, that's six in a row.' It is kind of back there, but you don't think about it. What a special day.' Defending champion Justin Thomas, who could have prevented Koepka from moving to No. 1 with a repeat win, finished at 5-under after a 68 Sunday. Koepka is the third player this year to reach No. 1 for the first time, joining Justin Rose and Thomas. The last time that happened was in 1997, when Ernie Els, Tom Lehman and Tiger Woods each rose to No. 1. It was Koepka's 12th victory worldwide, including four wins on the European Challenge Tour. He now has won in six countries - the U.S., South Korea, Spain, Italy, Turkey and Scotland. 'Everything I've done this year it's been working. So I don't want to change anything,' Koepka said. 'Just keep improving. 'I'm so excited right now, you have no idea. I can't wait to go play again.' He'll get his chance soon. Next week the PGA Tour heads to Shanghai for the final stop on its Asian swing, the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions. ___ For more AP golf coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/apf-Golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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