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  • ATHENS — The No. 5-ranked Georgia baseball team goes for a sweep of No. 21 Missouri today at noon at Foley Field (Online: SEC Network-Plus). The Bulldogs (32-8 12-5 SEC) beat the Tigers on Saturday 5-2, erupting for four runs in the first inning   off Missouri starter Art Joven (3-1). Georgia’s highlight of the night, however, was the triple play it turned in the first inning against the Tigers (26-14-1, 7-9-1). Riley King made a leaping catch at the wall to trigger the play, firing the ball in to first baseman Patrick Sullivan. The Bulldogs appealed the runner leaving third base early, and the runner was called out, constituting Georgia’s first triple play since 1963. “Off the bat, I thought it going to be a grand slam, and Riley King makes a great catch against the wall,” UGA coach Scott Stricklin said in a release. “We throw it in and double up Misner getting back to first base, and then all of the sudden everyone in our dugout was yelling that he left early from third. I didn’t see it. We throw over and get a triple play. “It was the first one in 56 years that we’ve had here at Georgia.”   Georgia opened the series with a 3-0 win over the Tigers on Thursday, and current boast the top league mark in the SEC. RELATED: Emerson Hancock shuts down Missouri in series opener On Friday, C.J. Smith got the start and went four innings, allowing both of the Tigers’ runs, before Cole Wilcox pitched the next four scoreless innings in relief. Wilcox, who fanned five while allowing two hits and surrendering a walk, was credit with the win — his first decision of the season. Georgia baseball notes • Georgia baseball has scored four or more runs in an inning 24 times this season. • UGA center fielder Tucker Maxwell hit his 8th home run of the season. • Prior to Friday’s game, Georgia’s most recent triple play came in 1963, against Florida. • Wilcox’s five strikeouts were a career high. Georgia baseball stories Slap-happy Georgia outlasts Clemson in 20-inning marathon Miraculous recoveries spark Bulldogs baseball program Bulldogs sting Yellow Jackets in 12-2 blowout at Foley Field   The post No. 5 Georgia goes for sweep after triple play in Saturday Missouri win 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 Ad680 Tams and the DawgNation experts as they break down the latest Georgia football recruiting news and discuss coach Kirby Smart’s quest to keep the Bulldogs on top of the SEC. On episode No. 928 (April 19, 2019) of the podcast, Georgia fans can hear a discussion about UGA coach Kirby Smart’s response to Florida’s apparent trolling of UGA with its announced spring game attendance figure. Georgia football podcast: Kirby Smart has terse response to Florida trolling Beginning of the show: Georgia coach Kirby Smart wasn’t in a mood to discuss Florida coach Dan Mullen’s recent comments about how he enjoys using spring games to tweak his rivals on Friday when he appeared on The Front Row on Atlanta sports radio station, 680 The Fan. I’ll also spend time during this portion of the show highlighting some recent comments from UGA recruiting targets on social media about attending G-Day. 10-minute mark: I’ll share audio from UGA safety Richard LeCounte about his desire to improve his tackling skills. 15-minute mark: DawgNation’s recruiting insider Jeff Sentell joins the show. Some of the topics covered include… Jeff’s thoughts on 5-star running back Kendall Milton A preview of 5-star defensive back Kelee Ringo’s upcoming visit Analysis of 5-star linebacker Mekhail Sherman’s outspoken feelings regarding UGA A look at 5-star defensive end Jordan Burch And a preview of Jeff’s article examining UGA linebacker Nolan Smith 35-minute mark: I take a look at other SEC headlines including the potential soap opera around former Texas A&M athletic director Scott Woodward’s move to LSU. 40-minute mark: I preview a busy weekend for UGA athletics beyond G-Day. End of show: I share the Gator Hater Updater and preview DawgNation’s G-Day coverage. The post Georgia football podcast: Kirby Smart has terse response to Florida trolling appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart has made it clear there are plenty of questions to be answered this spring. The Bulldogs’ annual G-Day Game will provide an opportunity for the viewing public to have a look for themselves and come to their own opinions. RELATED: G-Day Game, Time, TV, Radio information “I think we’ve got a really good football team coming back,” Smart said. “I think we’ve got an exciting team.” Georgia brings back one of the deepest, most talented teams in the nation and is among the favorites to contend for the SEC Championship in addition to a national championship. Here are 5 things to watch for in the G-Day Scrimmage on Saturday at Sanford Stadium The quarterbacks Football is a game that demands we follow the ball, and it all starts in the quarterbacks’ hands, hence their place as the most visible player on the team. Georgia’s situation is clear-cut with Jake Fromm returning as a third-year starter and Heisman Trophy contender. Fromm has been mentoring early enrollee D’Wan Mathis, a 6-foot-6, athlete who has run a 10.8-second time in the 100 meters and can throw a football 70 yards, by Fromm’s account. UGA also has Stetson Bennett, a former walk-on in the program who knows the offense, went away from college for a year, and has returned as a signee intent on winning the backup job. The offense Like most spring scrimmages, G-Day is set up for the offense to win with no-contact jerseys on the quarterbacks, and defenders taking extra care not tackle as aggressively as they might in regular-season games. Still, the personality of a team can show through, and many will be tuned in just to see how the offense looks under new coordinator James Coley. The run-pass balance shouldn’t be scrutinized as much as new formations, the amount of tempo UGA players with and how different players are used. Georgia’s not going to give away the 2019 game plan, by any means, but there could be some new base plays introduced. The newcomers Georgia has 14 early enrollees, most of whom will be playing in the G-Day Game. The outside linebacker position is filled with competition after the additions of Nolan Smith and Jermaine Johnson. Smith was the No. 1 overall recruit in the 2019 signing class, while Johnson was the No. 1 junior college recruit. Both are explosive playmakers, to the extent that Smart made a “superman” reference to their ability to stand out. There are other rising stars to look for, such as inside linebacker Nakobe Dean and defensive backs Tyrique Stevenson, D.J. Daniel and Lewis Cine. The receivers Again, Georgia is not going to reveal the game plan, but there’s a good chance Fromm will look for some of his favorite targets early in the scrimmage. The Bulldogs lost four of their top five pass catchers from a season ago, and work is in progress to ensure there’s no drop-off. Receiver J.J. Holloman is the leading returning receiver on the team and has made spectacular catches in earlier scrimmages as shown on released UGA highlight footage. Fellow receivers Tyler Simmons and Demetris Robertson will factor in heavily, and Smart has been impressed with Matt Landers. It wouldn’t be surprising to see tight ends Charlie Woerner and John FitzPatrick targeted often, as UGA looks to replace Isaac Nauta and transfer Luke Ford. The crowd Georgia fans could be challenged by the threat of weather, but most don’t need much of an excuse to make a trip to Athens. One of the top college towns in the nation, The Classic City has several great places to eat and visit. Thus, even with the possibility of rain, the Bulldogs should draw the largest spring   game crowd among the SEC schools this season. Alabama currently has drawn the most, with 62,000 at its “A-Day Game.” The post 5 Georgia football things to watch at G-Day Game appeared first on DawgNation.
  • If you’re going to G-Day Game on Saturday, you might want to prepare for a light rain — although the forecast is looking much better than it was earlier. The annual spring scrimmage for Georgia’s football team is scheduled to kick off at 2 p.m. Per WSB-TV’s weather forecast , it will be a cloudy day with a 40% chance of rain, along with temperatures ranging from 56 to 42 degrees. It looks the rain will finish before kickoff. Everything is on schedule for Saturday. “We have same weather plan in place for G-Day as we do for all regular season games — mostly that relates to lightning,” a Georgia spokesperson told DawgNation. “Basically there are procedures for lightning strikes that his within 25 miles, 15 miles and 8 miles. The 8-mile procedure is stadium evacuation and play is suspended. Play cannot resume for at least 30 minutes after any lightning strike.” Not only is G-Day a good chance for UGA fans to get a preview of this season’s team, it’s also a big recruiting opportunity for the Bulldogs. Several of the nation’s top high school players are scheduled to be in attendance, per DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell. The scrimmage will also be televised by ESPN’s SEC Network. Gates will open for G-Day at 11 a.m., with an alumni flag football game scheduled for 11:20 a.m. The G-Day kickoff is 2:03 p.m. For an updated weather forecast, please check back on DawgNation. The post UPDATED: Weather forecast for G-Day appeared first on DawgNation.
  • In case you missed it, the Bulldogs signed the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect in the class of 2019. Georgia native Nolan Smith enrolled in January with 13 other members of the #NewBreed19 and #K19 class. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound OLB turned 18 that month, too. He is set to suit up for Georgia for the first time this Saturday in front of a welcoming Sanford Stadium crowd for G-Day. There have been a lot of impressive things said about Smith this spring. There was what coach Kirby Smart said early on in spring drills, what promising sophomore OL Jamaree Salyer said at the median of those workouts and even what Smart said last week. “Nolan plays hard all the time,” Smart said this week. “He doesn’t always play smart but he plays with great effort and does a good job.” Nolan Smith has never been seen as the strong and silent type coming up as a high school prospect. He’s always a ball of energy. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation) When Smart said just that, he said a lot. Those words, when filtered through years of listening to coaches cut block the hype train for promising young players, did mean something. The “Georgia Way” means not too much. Not too soon. Earn it first. Especially for highly-regarded players who have yet to do anything at all in the Southeastern Conference. Smith is not going to leap tall buildings in single bound or take down The Night King in Week 1 at Vanderbilt, but he is going to help Georgia in 2019. Of that, it seems fairly certain. Getting to know this Nolan Smith fella from Savannah  To mark his first game (ahem: scrimmage) week, we thought it would be a good time to share a sliver of the reporting that will be part of a larger profile DawgNation is planning for a large number of the 2019 signees this spring. The former 5-star recruit from IMG Academy ( by way of his native Savannah) certainly does leave an impression on anyone who comes into contact with him. That’s been true since this reporter first came into contact with him in his sophomore year. Here’s the simple premise: We asked 12 people who have grown to know Smith fairly well to come up with the five best words they would use to describe him. They all fit somewhere into the Smith story. Most were able to come up with five words to describe the former 5-star recruit. Some needed a few more. They stuck to five words or five phrases. It was fun, but it also fits the time span. Those few seconds it takes to describe Smith in one of those five words will very likely mirror the amount of time he will make his mark snap-by-snap at Georgia. RELATED: Check out the DawgNation conversation with 5-star UGA signee Nolan Smith Getting to know Nolan Smith: The 5-words (mostly) edition Nolan Smith grew up in the state of Georgia. He feels that the state of Georgia helped make him what he is today. The Georgia boy suits up and plays inside Sanford Stadium for the first time in front of DawgNation on Saturday. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation) Let’s say this just once: Smith inspires very clear opinions in those who meet him for the first time. Not to mention those who have been a big part of their life and seen him become a supporting character in their own lives. Former IMG Academy teammate (and Penn State freshman) Noah Cain: “ Energetic. Worker. Pusher. Physical. Bright bright future.”   Former IMG Academy teammate and rising senior Lejond Cavazos: “Crazy. Loud. Atrocious. Beast. Superhuman. Different.”   IMG Academy Media Relations Manager Johnny Esfeller: “Determined. Observant. Discerning. Ambitious. Intelligent.”   Auburn freshman OL Keiondre Jones: “ Outgoing. Different. Well-spoken. Freak. Wow. Special.”   IMG Academy defensive line coach Ernie Logan: “Competitor. Compassionate. ‘Dawg. Intense. Opinionated.”    Former IMG teammate (and FSU freshman) Jaleel McRae: “Brother for life. Leader on and off a field. Different. First rounder or first overall pick. Joker. Character.”   Former IMG teammate (and Alabama freshman) Evan Neal: “Annoying. Aggravating. Little brother. Joker. My guy. Cool people.”   Auburn freshman LB Owen Pappoe: “Animal. Athletic. Huge playmaker. Goofy. Good dude.”   4-star former IMG teammate Michael Redding III: “Crazy. Very crazy. Energetic. Cocky. Loud.”   His mother Chakeima Thompson:  “Lovable. Caring. Leader. Smart. Talkative.”   5-star UGA signee Travon Walker: “ Charismatic. Gregarious. Upbeat. Outgoing. Positive.”   IMG Academy football coach Kevin Wright: “Competitive. Charismatic. Talented. Intelligent. Bursting with opinions on everything.”   Check all of those qualities? See anything repetitive? It sure seems like Smith has always had that ‘Dawg in him. The post Who is this Nolan Smith? Those who know him best break him down in five words appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Nakobe Dean is looking forward to Saturday’s G-Day Game. The freshman linebacker from Mississippi always looks forward to football. It’s the most relaxed and stress-free part of his existence. Academics are a different story. It’s not that he struggles academically. Dean quite famously is an honors student who had his pick of college destinations whether or not he was rated the No. 1 inside linebacker in America. It’s that Dean is an academic perfectionist. That can be problematic when one graduates from high school early and chooses to major in engineering while also earning snaps with the No. 1 defense for a Top 5 football team. The combination therein tends drive up the stress factor just a bit. “The biggest issue he’s got right now is he is stressed beyond all measure with the academics,” said Brad Boyette, Dean’s coach at Horn Lake High School in Mississippi. “He’s got a B in a class and he’s never made a B before.” Well, that last statement is not entirely true. Dean has, in fact, made a B before. It came in a seventh-grade typing class. Otherwise, it’s been straight A’s all the way through. Dean came to Georgia with the same intention, to make all A’s all the way through college. But this goal-oriented student-athlete already is experiencing some push-back on that front. First of all, he chose arguably the most rigorous major available at UGA, or any university, for that matter. Secondly, this would-be high school senior is transitioning through that while also experiencing his first college spring practice with a what’s expected to be a Top 5 team. Meanwhile, Dean’s doing all that while also trying figure out how quickest to get from Ag Hill to Driftmier Hall with 10 minutes to spare between classes. But Dean is not one one to shrug off challenges. That, Boyette said, is what that B grade represents to his former pupil. And that’s something Dean simply doesn’t shy away from. This has created some more than a little uneasiness for Georgia’s young linebacker. For Dean, there is but a thin red line between challenge and obsession. Boyette said one of UGA’s academic advisers recently met with Georgia linebackers coach Glenn Schumann to discuss the situation. “They said they had a professor who was getting two or three emails a week from (Dean), sometimes at 3 o’clock in the morning,” Boyette said with a laugh. “He’s asking if he can do this and wondering about doing that, worrying the guy to death. They told the professor, ‘Ah, that’s just Nakobe. He just wants to do good work.'” Dean definitely is doing good work on the football field. For him, Georgia football has been a relative crip course. Though the Bulldogs already are well represented at the inside linebacker position, Dean has managed to show enough and earn enough trust to get occasional reps with the No. 1 defense. Not that’s not an insignificant development considering Georgia effectively has returning starters back in Tae Crowder and Monty Rice and experienced backups in Channing Tindall, Quay Walker and several others. But between Dean’s quickness, which has been compared to Roquan Smith, and his ability to absorb the playbook, the coaches have wanted to give Dean some looks with the 1s for comparison’s sake. According to Boyette, they’ve liked what they have seen. It’s to the point now that any notion of a redshirt, a stretch though it might’ve been anyway, has all but been eliminated even before G-Day. Dean’s reaction to competition is another one of the interesting traits of his psyche. Boyette spoke of a conversation he had with Dean during the height of his recruitment back in Horn Lake, Miss., last year. He said Dean asked him why so many of the coaches coming through kept telling him they didn’t have any depth at linebacker. “I said, ‘well, they’re telling you that you’d have the opportunity to come in and play right away without a lot of competition,” Boyette recounted. “He said, ‘Coach, that’s the opposite of what I’m looking for. I want to go to a place where there’s an All-American at my position. I want to learn from that guy and practice every day until I can beat him out.” Kirby Smart must’ve thought he’d died and gone to heaven. Fun watching @KobeDean2 repping with the 1s today !!!! Keep grinding ! pic.twitter.com/vI2jht3NXF — Brad Boyette (@BradBoyette1) April 13, 2019 Boyette made the 7-hour drive from Horn Lake to Athens last Saturday and brought along with his wife Lee and teen-aged children Asa and Gabi. They came so they could watch Dean practice and spend a little time with him afterward. They hoped to ease Dean’s anxiety to whatever extent possible. “We just wanted to show him a little love and support from home,” Boyette said. “Despite all the expectations, his and other people’s, he’s still a kid away from home. He’s always trying to be just short of Superman, but being away from home and all that transition he’s going through, I know that’s tough on him.” After watching the Bulldogs scrimmage at Sanford Stadium last Saturday, the Boyettes took Dean downtown for dinner at Five Bar. Then they went back to his dorm room and just hung out and talked for a good long while. “It was nice,” Boyette said. “My wife told him, ‘Nakobe, sometimes in college you’re going to run into professors who just aren’t going to give an A to anybody, no matter how hard they work and how much they know. Just relax and do your best. And B’s are OK sometimes.'” Dean is having to make adjustments on the football field as well. Boyette said the most eye-catching thing about what he witnessed at Georgia’s scrimmage last Saturday was the size of the offensive line and “the physicality” they played with. “That just jumped out at me, how talented they are there,” Boyette said. “The SEC is a physical league, but it looks to me like they can out-physical anybody.” Dean can vouch for that. Listed at 6-foot, 220 pounds on Georgia’s roster, he often has to tangle with the Bulldogs’ offensive linemen, who average 6-5, 330. Like Smith did so well, Dean utilizes his quickness and agility to avoid locking up with the behemoths as much as possible. Sometimes, though, hand-to-hand combat is inevitable. “He had two real good collisions Saturday where he had to fit up on an offensive lineman,” Boyette said. “One, he got the better end of the deal; the other one didn’t work out so well for him. Out there with Georgia, he looks like a runt sometimes. But he plays with such leverage and he’s so explosive, I don’t think it’ll be an issue.” Boyette said he expects Dean to similarly overcome his academic challenges, such as they are. So serious did Dean take his academics as a recruiting prospect that he refused to take official visits in the fall because it would disrupt his academic routine. As soon as he can establish somewhat of a regimen on that front, Boyette believes things should smooth out considerably. In the meantime, Dean can get away from it all on the football field. The hope is that might benefit both him and the Bulldogs. “His escape right now is when he’s on the practice field,” Boyette said. “The rest of his day is just so spoken for, as far as time and assignments and studying and treatment. … He said practice is the only time during the day he feels relaxed and is not worried about three other things he ought to be doing.” Once Dean gets it all figured out, look out. The post Football remains the great escape for Georgia’s serious-minded linebacker Nakobe Dean appeared first on DawgNation.