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    Georgia and Ole Miss played an exciting, down-to-the-wire SEC basketball game Saturday, but it was what took part before the game that sent a ripple across the nation. Six of the Rebels basketball players kneeled during the national anthem before the game on Saturday in Oxford.   Several Players from @OleMissMBB kneeling for the national anthem. pic.twitter.com/3fLNXoiFm1 — NewsWatch Ole Miss (@NewsWatch_UM) February 23, 2019   The Mississippi Clarion Ledger reported that as the Ole Miss players were preparing for the game, “almost 100 pro-Confederate supporters gathered in town to protest the University of Mississippi’s past actions to remove Confederate emblems and songs, as well as the discontinuation of mascot Colonel Reb.”   The march has begun with a “God Bless Dixie” chant pic.twitter.com/nmu2gq3qv1 — Nick Suss (@nicksuss) February 23, 2019   The Rebels beat the Bulldogs, 72-71, when UGA guard Tyree Crump missed a last-second shot attempt.     The post WATCH: Ole Miss basketball players kneeled during national anthem appeared first on DawgNation.
  • It was another gut-wrenching loss for what’s become a gritty Georgia basketball team on Saturday at Ole Miss, a 72-71 defeat. The Bulldogs (10-17, 1-13) had a chance to win in the final seconds in a game that saw 10 lead changes, but Tyree Crump’s 3-point attempt as time expired was off the mark. The Rebels (19-8, 9-5 SEC) held off a furious UGA rally after leading by as many as 13 points, protecting their NCAA Tournament resume. Ole Miss led 69-62 with 2:53 left when Georgia made its final run, fueled by 7 consecutive Jordan Harris points, including a pair of free throws with 1:36 left that tied the game. Harris scored a career-high 15 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the floor and 5-of-5 from the free-throw line along with five assists. The Rebels answered Harris’ run with a Devontae Shuler 3-pointer to go up 72-69, before a Nicolas Claxton jumper closed the gap to 72-71. Ole Miss star Breein Tyree missed the front end of a one-and-one situation at the free-throw line with 10.9 seconds left, and Georgia had the ball with a chance to win on the final possession. Coach Tom Crean called for a timeout with just under 6 seconds left and designed the inbounds pass to go to Claxton, who in turn dished the ball out to Crump for the ill-fated shot attempt. “They didn’t get a great look, but they got it to the best player, Claxton, and he didn’t panic when he got double teamed, and he found the open player,” SEC Network analyst Dane Bradshaw said. “It looked like it was going in off the glass.” Georgia was down 10 at halftime but opened the second half on an 8-0 run, cutting the Ole Miss lead to 39-37. The Rebels halftime lead came on the strength of a 13-0 run midway through the first half that made it 28-18.. The Rebels pressure created Georgia through the first 20 minutes, leading to 12 first-half UGA turnovers that sparked Ole Miss to 11 points in transition. Georgia returns to action at 9 p.m. on Wednesday at home against Auburn (TV: ESPNU). The post Georgia basketball misses last-second shot at Ole Miss, falls 72-71 appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm doesn’t expect Georgia’s offense to change much under the direction of first-year offensive coordinator James Coley. But the 2019 Heisman Trophy candidate indicated it could evolve. When one considers the returning personnel, it’s not hard to understand why and how. The Bulldogs ranked 18th in the nation in total offense last season and return a veteran offensive line, a 1,000-yard back and a third-year starter in Fromm. RELATED: Kirby Smart makes his pick on offense “There’s just going to be more added to it,” Fromm, who ranked fifth in the nation in passing efficiency last season, told WSB. “We’re super excited in what we have going on.” Receiver Tyler Simmons, who played part of last season limited by a shoulder brace, told WSB-2 he’s expecting a different feeling in the huddles. “A little bit more energetic,” Simmons said. “Coley brings a lot of energy to the offense, we we’re all excited.” Simmons suggested the Georgia pass attack won’t drop off despite the Bulldogs losing four of their top five receivers last season in Riley Ridley, Mecole Hardman, Isaac Nauta and Terry Godwin. “We may have the ball in the air a little more,” Simmons said. “A little bit more passing, a little bit more balance offensively.” That may be true, but it won’t come at the expense of a dominant run game, if Coach Kirby Smart stays true to form. “We’ve got a set of plays, our core belief that we always have which is balance, being powerful, being able to run the ball at our will, not somebody else breaking our will,” Smart said last fall. “That’s always going to be the identity we have.” Further, Smart’s philosophy on building an offense is that the talent will dictate the play calls. “The building of the package is really based on what we have,” Smart said last fall. “What are our strengths? Are we stronger at receiver than running back or are our backs going to be as good and explosive as they were last year?” Georgia is expected to start spring football practice on March 18, with the G-Day spring football game scheduled for April 20. The post Georgia football QB Jake Fromm predicts offensive expansion under James Coley appeared first on DawgNation.
  • UGA stars help celebrate Ric Flair’s 70th birthday You know you’re “big-time” when you get invited with a bunch of A-listers to the surprise 70th birthday party of wrestling legend Ric Flair. The event was Friday night in the Atlanta suburb of Duluth. Who repped UGA at the star-studded event? The first was former Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley, who plays running back for NFL’s Los Angeles Ram. No surprise here, as Gurley is one of the top 10 most recognizable players in pro football. The other UGA attendee? None other the UGA kicker Rodriqo Blankenship. Never underestimate the popularity of Blankenship, who often gets the loudest cheers from the fans when the Bulldogs are introduced before games. The A-listers? Charles Barkley, Dennis Rodman, and Evander Holyfield, along with a host of wrestling stars that include Triple H and Chris Jericho. Maybe “Hot Rod” and Gurley are A-listers, too? What’s the connection between Ric Flair and UGA football? Flair lives in Atlanta, and he’s one of the team’s celebrity fans. He’s attends games, and he even taped a pep talk for the Bulldogs before they played Alabama  in last year’s national championship game. Flair, who evidentially has a daughter-in-law on UGA’s track team, has been known to get on the field to hype up the crowd. The post UGA football stars help celebrate Ric Flair’s 70th birthday appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — The unintended consequences on the Georgia football 2020 schedule have yet to shake out, as it relates to the pending Auburn-Tennessee October-November flip. But the fact Alabama rotates on Bulldogs regular-season schedule in 2020 has some UGA fans losing sleep. Could the Bulldogs play the Tide and Tigers in back-to-back weeks? Extremely unlikely, to the point it would be shocking, and a deeper dive explains why. About the flip On the surface, Georgia’s Auburn-Tennessee schedule flip provides mutual benefits for UGA and the Tigers, to the extent Kirby Smart obviously believes it’s in the best interest of his program. RELATED: Vince Dooley says schedule change benefits Auburn Smart said last May at the SEC Spring Meetings that he was open to changing things up so UGA wasn’t playing road games at Georgia Tech and Auburn in November. WATCH: What Kirby Smart said about Auburn schedule twist But surely, Smart and athletic director Greg McGarity played out the scenario and have some assurances from the SEC office that the Auburn and Alabama games in 2020 won’t occur in back-to-back weeks. “I’d just make the statement that if there are any issues that our staff has, we’d voice that,” UGA athletic director  Greg McGarity told DawgNation. “But I think Kirby will be very comfortable with the schedule that you’ll see in 2020.” Historic trend Still, the relatively limited series history between Georgia and Alabama has led some alarmists to speculate the Bulldogs could be in another scheduling bind. The past two meetings between the Bulldogs and the Tide have been in Atlanta, with the SEC Championship on the line last December, and the national championship at stake in January of 2018. But prior to that, the teams most recent regular season meetings were Oct. 3,   2015 (Athens) and then a 2007-2008 home-and-home in Tuscaloosa (Sept. 27) and Athens (Sept. 27). The good news for Georgia fans is the Bulldogs already have a contracted home game with Louisiana-Monroe for the last Saturday in September, the 26th. More good news is DawgNation sources said earlier this week the 2020 Auburn game will be in October — not September. Circle Sept. 19 The educated guess here is that the 2020 Georgia-Alabama game will be played on Sept. 19 — a week before the contracted non-conference game with Louisiana-Monroe — with the Auburn game played on Oct. 3. It’s worth noting Alabama plays Georgia State on Sept. 12, 2020 and Kent State Sept. 26, 2020 — leaving that Sept. 19 date a prime target for a marquee early-season SEC showdown in Tuscaloosa. But until the schedule comes out, more will speculate and wonder when Georgia will play Alabama in 2020. Regardless of where or when the game is played, the most noteworthy trend that must be reversed is the outcome. The Tide has won five straight against Georgia to snap what had been a three-game Bulldogs win streak in the series dating back to the Bulldogs’ 26-23 overtime win in Tuscaloosa in 2007.     The post Evaluating Georgia football possibility of playing Auburn-Alabama in consecutive 2020 weeks appeared first on DawgNation.
  • On Wednesday, it was announced that Georgia’s annual series against Auburn, better known as the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, would be breaking from tradition. The game will now be played in October instead of November, starting in 2020. And one of the key figures in the rivalry, legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley, has weighed in on the change. Dooley served as Georgia’s head football coach from 1964-88 and also worked as Georgia’s athletic director from 1979-2002. Dooley is also an Auburn graduate. He appeared on the   “The Opening Kickoff” on WNSP-FM 105.5, and made it clear that the schedule change benefits Auburn. “It benefits Auburn,” Dooley said. “You could imagine some of the Georgia people are not happy with it, because you get into a routine of when the game is scheduled. … No question, it’s very good for Auburn, and Georgia has evidently gone along with it.” Dooley also recounted when he was athletic director and changed Georgia’s schedule so that the Bulldogs no longer played Auburn and Florida in back-to-back games. “To me, the toughest thing I ever had to do at Georgia was play our two biggest rivals — Florida and Auburn — back to back. I vowed one day when I became athletic director, I was going to change that, which I’ve done,” Dooley said. Georgia had played Auburn in November every year dating back to 1937. With the move, Georgia will now play the Tigers in early October, and face the Tennessee Vols in November. Related:  Wednesday was a tough day for Georgia football and basketball Many had thought if Georgia moved the Auburn game, the Bulldogs would get an extra home game out of the deal. But that will not be the case unless there is an expansion to the SEC, per Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity. With the Auburn game now moving up to start the 2020 season, there is also the possibility that Georgia could face Auburn and Alabama in a short-time period during the 2020 season. Since the SEC expanded in 1992, Georgia and Alabama, when they’ve played in the regular season, have usually met in the last weekend in September or the first weekend in October. Georgia and Alabama also met in the 2018 SEC championship game and the 2018 national championship game, with Alabama winning both. The motivating factor for Auburn to move up the rivalry game with Georgia was to avoid having to play the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide in a three-week stretch to close the season. Georgia has dominated the rivalry with Auburn as of late, with the Bulldogs winning 11 of the last 14 games. Georgia travels to Auburn this season, as the two teams will play on Nov. 16. Best stories from around Georgia football D’Andre Walker speaks candidly on Kirby Smart, Sugar Bowl, Tech ‘rivalry’ and more The ‘positivity’ in Tom Crean’s program amid record losing streak is positively incredible Help wanted: Chef for UGA’s football team Georgia football podcast: National writer has interesting challenge for new UGA DC Dan Lanning Georgia football: Ranking the greatest hits for Kirby Smart on the recruiting trail Charting a Heisman Trophy path for Jake Fromm and D’Andre Swift in 2019   The post Vince Dooley on Georgia schedule change: ‘It benefits Auburn’ appeared first on DawgNation.
  • The Georgia gymnastics team had one of its best night of the season on Friday, as it scored a 197.450. That score was good enough to top the No. 3 Florida Gators by a margin of 197.450-197.375. With the win, No. 7 Georgia moves to 6-3 on the season and 4-2 in SEC play. The win at Florida was Georgia’s first win in Gainesville since 2008. “Everything finally came together for us in an away meet setting tonight. Wow. I am so proud,” Georgia head coach Courtney Kupets Carter said.  “Bars started off great. Megan Roberts was nervous to start off in her first away meet, but she set the rotation off the way she needed to. Marissa Oakley’s routine was beautiful. Vault was solid and that’s an event that we’ve been more consistent on.  Floor- there was a few mistakes, but Rachael Lukacs stood out and really gave it everything. There was so much noise going on during beam, but they kept their focus and handled that pressure.  Sabrina Vega nailed that dismount and really ended that rotation the way we needed to.” For the second week in a row, Georgia posted a score above 197, as it posted a 197.300 last week in a win over Kentucky. Georgia’s best performance of the season came against Arkansas, when it scored a 197.475. Georgia has now won four meets in a row. The win also gave Florida its first loss in SEC play this season. The GymDogs return to action on Friday, when they travel to take on No. 5 LSU. Georgia Gymnastics scores against Florida GEORGIA: 197.450 (VT- 49.350, UB- 49.300, BB- 49.475, FX-49.325) FLORIDA: 197.375 (VT- 49.275, UB- 49.400, BB- 49.175, FX-49.525) BARS- 49.300 Megan Roberts: 9.825 Emily Schild: 9.775 Sydney Snead: 9.875 Alexa Al-Hameed: 9.875 Rachel Dickson: 9.200 Marissa Oakley: 9.950 VAULT- 49.350 Mikayla Magee: 9.775 Abbey Ward: 9.825 Sabrina Vega: 9.825 Rachel Dickson: 9.900 Rachael Lukacs: 9.900 Sydney Snead: 9.900 FLOOR- 49.325 Alyssa Perez-Lugones: 9.850 Rachel Baumann: 9.775 Sydney Snead: 9.875 Rachael Lukacs: 9.900 Rachel Dickson: 9.825 Sabrina Vega: 9.875 BEAM- 49.475 Sydney Snead: 9.875 Rachel Dickson: 9.850 Mikayla Magee: 9.825 Marissa Oakley: 9.875 Rachel Baumann: 9.925 Sabrina Vega: 9.950 The post No. 7 Gym Dogs upset No. 3 Florida appeared first on DawgNation.
  • UGA outside linebacker D’Andre Walker has kept a low profile since suffering a groin injury in the second half of the SEC championship. He also missed the Sugar Bowl, and had to pull out of Senior Bowl due to the same injury. Maybe the likable Walker missed the media, because he had plenty of candid things to say on Friday’s “Rich and John” Show on 92.9 The Game. Walker is currently training for workouts in front of NFL scouts. Here goes: On Georgia Tech rivalry: “Georgia Tech is an easy win. I mean, it has been an easy win. That’s pretty much why they fired their coach if it wasn’t. That’s like a field day for the University of Georgia. That’s not really a rivalry because we beat them all the time …” On Kirby Smart following Mark Richt: ”When Coach Smart came over, I just think he brought a different mentality to the program: It was win, work hard, win, do whatever it takes, and stay out of trouble. I think everybody bought in. He (Smart) was much younger than Coach Richt, so he was able to relate to us on a different level than Mark Richt. It was time for change. It was good timing and it was a good change.” On if UGA was prepared for Jalen Hurts: “The first time we played Tua (in the national championship game), I don’t thnk we prepared for him because honestly we didn’t. Going into halftime, Coach Smart was like ‘Tua is fixing to get in the game.’ Somehow he knew. It was crazy … I went into the locker room, and I was like ‘Who is Tua?’ This year (in the SEC Championship), I think we were very well-prepared … and I feel like when I got hurt, the whole game changed. When I go back and watch the game, I got hurt in the third quarter with six minutes left. After that, they were still calling blitzes that we had set up to Tua, but when Hurts came in the game, like I said, we were still calling blitzes. He should’ve called a timeout, got everybody together, and we probably would’ve won that game.” On UGA’s effort in the Sugar Bowl: “I knew that question was coming. But I don’t think they were giving maximum effort in that game. I feel like they felt like they didn’t have anything to play for. We thought we were going to be in the playoffs, but we didn’t. I feel like they didn’t take the game very seriously. And then … me not being out there, that was another big thing. Deandre Baker wasn’t out there as well. Everybody’s mindset had pretty much altered, and it was getting ready for the next year.” Was there any divide in the locker room because of Jake Fromm and Justin Fields? “No, no, never. If anything, it was the coaches that had the hardest decision to make. Each guy came in every day, and worked hard. They were trying to better the team and better themselves. That’s all that really mattered. They both were amazing guys and players as well.” You can listen to the interview in its entirety by clicking right here. The “Rich and John” show goes from 10am to 2pm every weekday on 92.9 The Game. The post D’Andre Walker speaks candidly on Kirby Smart, Sugar Bowl, Tech ‘rivalry’ and more appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — The Georgia Bulldogs are staring down the barrel of some pretty ugly history when it comes to the men’s basketball program. When you get back to the other side of Hugh Durham years, which begin in 1978, that’s some scary stuff to look at. Yet to hear William Harold Jackson II talk about the experience he’s having under first-year coach Tom Crean, one would think the Bulldogs are trying to run down a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The positivity is positively effusive. “Everything’s improved,” said the guard better known as Turtle. “I mean, we bring a lot of energy in practice. We’re learning how to listen for what Coach Crean wants, and to give him what he wants from us. It’s unbelievable. Man, if I could just sit back and watch how he’s going to just improve this program, I mean, it’s going to be unbelievable.” Of course, being a senior, any watching Turtle does is going to have to be from afar after this season. As for this season, his remarks certainly would have to fall in the category of incredibly optimistic in the context of what’s happening on the court in NCAA- and SEC-sanctioned basketball games. The Bulldogs (10-16, 1-12 SEC) are losing way more of them than are winning. In fact, as they prepare for Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. tip at Ole Miss (TV: SEC Network; radio: WSB 750-AM & 95.5-FM), Georgia is in the midst of the school’s worst SEC losing streak in more than 40 years. The latest defeat in what has grown into an 11-game SEC losing streak was the most excruciating of all. Georgia fought back from what had been a 17-point deficit with less than 9 seconds to play when Jordan Harris was called for a foul with 0.5 seconds to go. The Bulldogs were left to stand helplessly as Mississippi State won the game from the foul line, 68-67. The reality now is, Georgia will be fortunate to win another game. Today’s road game is against the Rebels (18-8, 8-5), who beat the Bulldogs by 16 in Athens two weeks ago. Next week, brings Auburn to Athens and sends Georgia back on the road to Florida. The final two are at home versus Missouri and away at South Carolina. The Bulldogs’ best shot is against Missouri, which enters this stretch run with just three conference wins. If Georgia can’t manage another W, it will be its worst conference record since going 1-13 in 1956. But then there’s this: Georgia is expected to break it’s all-time attendance record when Auburn visits The Steg on Wednesday. To date, the Bulldogs have drawn 133,683 spectators to their 15 home games. That’s bodies through the doorways, by the way, not pregame sellouts. With two games remaining, that’s just 5,888 shy of the school record set in 2015-16. Georgia has been averaging 8,912 per home game, including eight sellouts of its 10,500-seat arena. Imagine when Crean fields a truly competitive team, much less the championship contender he plans to build. Where’s this coming from? Jackson says it’s a result of all that positivity. “Well, I can only speak for myself and what I see,” Jackson said. “… Everybody’s doing great, having a very cheerful [demeanor] in practice. I mean, our practices have been unbelievable. Like [Thursday] was just great. [Crean] still brings positivity that’s out of this world because his mindset is just so ‘go, go, go,’ which makes him a great coach. “He’s not worried about records. He’s not worried about media. He’s not worried about anything outside of basketball, which is our main focus, too.” It’s pretty amazing when you think about it. Amid Georgia’s worst basketball season in decades, Crean has been able to secure the commitment of the top prospect in the country in Anthony Edwards and two other Top 100 players while setting a UGA record for home attendance. Is this guy a magician or what? Nah, Crean says. Just staying positive and focusing on what he can control. I’m going to step out of the way here so you can just read one of his rants of positivity: “To be honest with you, if you don’t have that kind of energy, you’ve got to go stand on the sidelines. We have to get better, right? But I think, ultimately, when players are in an environment where they’re improving — and they know they’re improving — that’s a huge energy tick for them. That’s what we’ve got to continue to do. And there’s no question we’re right there on the result; we’re right there on the result. But they’ve got to keep understanding that everything that we’re going through — the process, so to speak — is what’s going to give them the chance at those results. So, you cannot back off, you just cannot back off, because practice is mere games on many different levels, and that’s something that we have to continue to build on. We’ve got a great group of guys who work very hard and it’s our job to make sure that when they look at me as a head coach or at our coaching staff, that they see energy coming right back at them. But the standards that comes with that, when it comes to the effectiveness that you want to play with, practice with, we can’t get away from that either. So, they’re not ‘rah-rah’ sessions as much as they are ‘Let’s get better, let’s really work at it.’ You know, it’s an honor to play for Georgia, but it’s an honor to practice to get better to represent Georgia, just as it’s an honor to coach for Georgia. That’s how I look at it everyday.” That might come off as hokey at some places, but it literally manufactures energy and optimism in Crean’s players. That’s sorely needed with the results being what they have been this season. For a guy like Turtle, a senior on his way out, it’s something he can’t get enough of. The thought of what Georgia can be, even when he’s not around anymore, excites him. “We’re not worried about anything at all because we know we’ve got a great coach and a great system,” Jackson said. “Georgia is a great program, and if we can just stick together and put our great moments into a whole game, I feel like, man, we’ll be unstoppable. … “The sky’s the limit if we can just stay together and stick all these things together and just keep listening to Coach Crean.”   The post The ‘positivity’ in Tom Crean’s program amid record losing streak is positively incredible appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Do you love UGA football? Do you love to cook? If it’s a strong “yes” on both, then UGA may have posted the dream job for you. It’s called “Head Performance Chef for Football Nutrition,”  per UGA’s human resource website. If you want a glimpse of what a typical work day looks like, here’s an good article about it by Macon.com’s Wilson Alexander. Part of the job is teaching UGA’s football players how to cook on their own, and … who knew that that Bulldogs great Nick Chubb was a 2-star with the skillet. “Nick cannot make an omelet,” Terry Godwin told the website . “It breaks. It completely breaks. He just turns it into scrambled eggs. It’s horrible.” Some of the job duties, per the job listing: This job could have some serious competition. After all, celebrity chef Alton Brown is a UGA grad. On a serious note, if you’re interested, you may want to apply ASAP because it looks like the job listing closes at midnight on Friday (Feb. 22) The post Help wanted: Chef for UGA’s football team appeared first on DawgNation.