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    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.
  • On the same day that Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray edged out Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa for Heisman Trophy, one of the top sportsbooks revealed its favorites for next year’s award for college football’s most outstanding player. UGA quarterback Jake Fromm was listed as the No. 3 candidate for the 2019 Heisman (+550), following Tagovailoa (+350) and Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence (+500), per the popular sportsbook MyBookie. Fromm’s teammate in the Bulldogs’ backfield, running back D’Andre Swift, was listed at No. 6 (+725). This season, Fromm recovered from a poor performance against LSU to finish with 2,537 passing yards, including 27 touchdown passes and only 5 interceptions. Fromm still has another game to pad his sophomore stats against Texas in the Sugar Bowl. In the heartbreaking loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship, Fromm performed at a high level — completing 25 of 39 passes for 301 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Ironically, it was that same game that may have cost Tagovailoa the Heisman as the Alabama quarterback struggled against UGA’s defense and eventually left the game with an ankle injury. Next season will be Fromm’s third year as the starting quarterback for UGA. Despite Fromm’s impressive resume and accomplishments, he will be pushed for playing time next season by backup quarterback Justin Fields, who was the nation’s No. 1 overall recruit in 2018 and shined in brief moments this season as a freshman. What do you think about Fromm’s chances for the Heisman Trophy? Please post your thoughts below. ANNOUNCEMENT: @betmybookie just posted the world opener for 2019 Heisman Trophy odds. https://t.co/YSeLWqBu3z Among the favorites: Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa +350 Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence +500 Georgia QB Jake Fromm +550 — MyBookie Sportsbook (@betmybookie) December 8, 2018 The post Jake Fromm listed as a top candidate for 2019 Heisman Trophy appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia basketball doesn’t take the court for another game until next Saturday, but when the Bulldogs do, you can bet junior Tyree Crump will be a focal point. Crump, a junior from Bainbridge, had a breakout game in Georgia’s 92-75 win over Texas Southern on Monday night, and more figures to be ahead for the Bulldogs’ long-distance sharpshooter. Georgia coach Tom Crean indicated Crump is precisely the sort of open floor player needed to make his uptempo game work. It didn’t take long for Crean to notice him. “I think early on when I got here you could tell there was a lot to his game that could improve,” Crean said. “There’s a lot of room for upside with him.” Crump might not have been the best fit for previous Coach Mark Fox’s deliberate style. But as much as Crean recognized Crump’s talents and abilities, Crump was immediately charged up by his new basketball coach. “He came in and he said ‘We want to play fast and we want to shoot three,’   and my eyes got big and my ears got big and I thought this is the perfect offense for me,” Crump said. “So we tried to listen to everything he said, and it’s carrying over into the season.” The Bulldogs will bring a 5-3 record into next Saturday’s 6 p.m. home game against No. 20 Arizona State in Stegeman Coliseum. The Sun Devils already have beaten one SEC team, winning at Mississippi State on Nov. 19 by a 72-67 count. Arizona State will put its perfect 7-0 record on the line on Saturday when it plays No. 6-ranked Nevada at noon. Crean indicated he’ll keep looking to get Crump free for more shots in the offense. “We want to move him, get him off screens, get him lost in the defense,” Crean said. “There becomes a comfort level that you have in a game like tonight, and he did a good job of playing through fatigue.” Crump is shooting 46.2 percent beyond the 3-point arc (18-of-39), significantly better than the next best player who has at least 10 attempts, Rayshaun Hmmonds (6-of-15). For all that Crean is trying to instill in Georgia basketball, it ultimately comes down to the time players are spending in the gym on their own to perfect their shot. It’s clear Crump is doing his work, and therefor he’ll be getting more opportunities moving forward. Here’s a look at others 3-point shooting percentage who have attempted 10 or more 3-point shots and how many minutes they average: Tyree Crump, 19.9 minutes, 18-of-39, 46.2 percent Rayshaun Hammonds, 24.5 minutes, 6-of-15, 40.0 percent Teshaun Hightower, 17.5 minutes, 7-of-25, 28.0 percent Nicolas Claxton, 27.5 minutes, 4-of-15, 26.7 percent William Jackson, 17.9 minutes, 4-of-17, 23.5 percent Georgia basketball’s Tyree Crump & Derek Ogbeide   DawgNation Georgia basketball Bulldogs get hot-shooting night from Tyree Crump, rip Texas Southern Guards play well off bench in Georgia basketball win over Kennesaw State Tom Crean says Georgia basketball has ‘long ways to go’ after Cayman Classic Georgia basketball sloppy in loss to Georgia State  Clemson too much for Georgia basketball in Cayman Classic Georgia basketball dominant in win over Illinois State Georgia gets fun-filled win over Sam Houston State The post Georgia basketball guard Tyree Crump 3-point output leads Bulldogs appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia football fans can get their statistical fix each week with By the Numbers — a stats-based look at how UGA coach Kirby Smart is doing in his attempt to keep the Bulldogs on top of the SEC and continue the program’s pursuit of a national championship. Today’s edition of By the Numbers looks at the significance of Georgia’s Sugar Bowl matchup with Texas.  Let’s face it: The Sugar Bowl is a bit of a letdown for most Georgia fans given how close the Bulldogs came to returning to the College Football Playoff. UGA’s loss to Alabama will sting for a while, but hopefully DawgNation will soon come to realize that earning a trip to New Orleans to take on Texas is far more than just a consolation prize. First of all, the Sugar Bowl is by any definition a major bowl. Over the years, the games included in that category have shifted, but the Sugar Bowl has always been one of them. With that in mind, this will be the first time UGA’s made trips to so-called “major” bowls in consecutive seasons since the 1980-83 seasons when it went to three-straight Sugar Bowls and a Cotton Bowl. That feat shouldn’t be disregarded. It’s another example of the transformation the program has undertaken since Kirby Smart became coach. After UGA’s major bowl streak in the early 80s, the program went 19 seasons without making it back to the Sugar Bowl — the postseason destination traditionally awarded to the SEC champion. Former coach Mark Richt led the Bulldogs to three Sugar Bowls — in 2002, 2005 and 2007. However, his teams averaged more than three losses per season in each of the years following the Sugar Bowl appearance. Smart’s consistency over the last two years has set a new standard for the program. Another intriguing facet of the upcoming Sugar Bowl is the matchup with Texas, one of the most well-known programs in the sport. According to Winsipedia, Texas has the seventh-highest all-time winning percentage. This will be UGA’s fifth game in the last two seasons against teams in the top 10 of all-time winning percentage. UGA — which is 13th — has played Notre Dame, Oklahoma and twice against Alabama over that span. UGA’s Sugar Bowl date with the Longhorns will also end a 34-year drought of games against Texas — which it last played in the 1984 Cotton Bowl. The Bulldogs’ longest-remaining stretches without playing all-time top 10 programs will then be: 26 years since playing Ohio State, 53 years since playing Michigan and 58 years since playing USC. Of course, the significance of UGA vs. Texas isn’t all about the past. The game could also make a major statement about Georgia’s future too. The last time the Bulldogs played in the Sugar Bowl it beat Hawaii 41-10 in 2008. UGA returned most of its major contributors for the following season and was rewarded with a preseason No. 1 ranking. Georgia didn’t handle the hype of that designation particularly well then, but as recent history indicates: Smart has made the Bulldogs a completely different program. Given the talent UGA returns for 2019, the Sugar Bowl could once again prove to be a springboard to a lofty preseason ranking for Georgia next season, and it could set in motion a series of events that lead to another major postseason destination as well. It could use the momentum of the Sugar Bowl to propel the program back into the Playoff and a long way away from any kind of bowl that could be described as a “letdown.” The post By the Numbers: Plenty of reasons for UGA fans to be excited about the Sugar Bowl 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 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. 840 (Dec. 6, 2018) of the podcast, Georgia fans can hear a discussion about how Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker winning the Jim Thorpe Award could help the program recruit more good defensive backs in the future. Georgia football podcast: UGA’s DB recruiting probably just got a lot easier Beginning of the show: Georgia cornerback Deandre Baker won the Jim Thorpe Award for being the nation’s top defensive back Thursday night. I’ll discuss on today’s show why Baker’s award could help UGA with some of its most-coveted defensive back recruits — including 4-star prospects Tyrique Stevenson and Kaiir Elam. 10-minute mark: I’ll discuss Mel Tucker’s introduction as Colorado coach and attempt to decide if Tucker counts as part of Kirby Smart’s so-called “coaching tree.” 15-minute mark: DawgNation’s recruiting insider Jeff Sentell joins the show. Some of the topics covered include… An update on defensive back recruiting Smart’s presence in Brunswick, Ga. to check in on UGA commit Warren McClendon Rumors regarding 4-star offensive tackle Trevor Keegan The latest on 5-star wide receiver Jadon Haselwood UGA’s chances with 5-star running back Trey Sanders And a preview of 5-star offensive lineman Clay Webb’s upcoming commitment decision 45-minute mark: I’ll take a look at other SEC headlines including other SEC players honored with national awards, the UGA players listed as part of the league’s All-Freshman team, a potentially controversial offensive coordinator candidate emerging for Tennessee and Georgia Tech officially hiring former Florida defensive coordinator Geoff Collins. 50-minute mark: I’ll discuss Alabama coach Nick Saban’s attempt to explain why he views UGA has one of the nation’s four best teams, but only ranked the Bulldogs No. 5 on his Coaches Poll ballot. End of show: I share the Gator Hater Updater. The post Georgia football podcast: UGA’s DB recruiting probably just got a lot easier appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATLANTA — Channing Tindall has a championship on his mind for his time at UGA. Channing Tindall was an Army All-American and the nation’s No. 5 ILB prospect on the 247Sports composite scale coming out of his school. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation) That came to his mind after the tough SEC championship game loss to Alabama. Tindall already knows he made the right choice to come to Georgia as the No. 3 overall player from South Carolina in 2018. “I have never regretted my decision on coming to Georgia,” Tindall said from the Bulldog locker room. “I love every guy in here. Just being with the team and coach [Kirby] Smart and coach [Glenn] Schumman. Coach Schumann, I think, is one of the better defensive coaches ever.” “I’ll never want to take that [choice] back. I’m glad I came to Georgia and we are going to win the national championship next year.” When he met the media for the first time after the tough SEC title game loss, he thought of several things. The game plan. His freshman year now mostly in the rearview. His “Welcome to the SEC” moment. Channing Tindall makes a play on Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa in the SEC championship game. He said that he has never regretted his decision to play football for the Bulldogs. (Alyssa Pointer/AJC). But mostly, his heart was on the present. “This was the toughest loss I have gone through,” he said. “But really what is on my mind right now is I’m really feeling for the seniors. Natrez [Patrick], JT [Juwan Taylor] and I really learned a lot from them. I’m really feeling for those boys right now. I know how much this meant to all of us. I know that this is their last year and I wanted them to go out with a bang.” The 6-foot-2, 218-pound defender has a view of what the future holds for the program. “It is going to be really bright I can tell you that,” Tindall said. “As you can see now, we were the underdogs coming into this game. We showed the world we are still able to ball [with them] and we are just going to keep getting better and better. You’ll see in the future.” Channing Tindall on his adjustment to Georgia  Tindall watched Alabama beat Georgia earlier this year for the national championship. When he did, he wanted to be a part of the team that rematched with the Tide and created a different outcome. He has now experienced the “hard works” that are necessary during the off-season now. Tindall said the Bulldogs played Channing Tindall knows what he has to do to carve out an even bigger role on the field for himself at Georgia. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation) “I know what it takes to get here now and know what it takes to get better,” he said. The talented freshman pointed to his first day of fall camp. Was it eye-opening? Nah. More like paralyzing. “I’m going to tell you what,” Tindall said as he began his thought. “The first day of fall camp. That’s when I knew I was at the University of Georgia. The first day of fall camp we had like 15, 16 periods [of practice] and I think I was at the 15th period. I caught a full-body cramp. Barely could breathe. Justing sitting there and soaking [in the tub] for like an hour in there. I was like ‘Ok, now its time to get serious. You are in college. This is your freshman year.'” He remembers an early special teams rep in the second game of the year against South Carolina. He was on the kickoff return team and he met his match. Maybe it was his overmatch. That was T.J. Brunson. Brunson was an old rival at Richland Northeast. Those two locked up last when Tindall when a sophomore at Spring Valley High in Columbia. Freshman ILB Channing Tindall has his sights set on a national championship next season for UGA. (Jeff SentellDawgNation) “I remember we used to tussle and everything,” Tindall said of their high school days. “I used to be able to handle him a little bit. Now, when we got to the first play of the game. He hit me and I was like ‘Whoa snap’ and it just hit me then. This is the right deal. You need to get in the weight room and start doing better.” Tindall said that coach Smart’s felt for the Georgia seniors in his message to the team afterward. “That’s what he was really feeling after the game and it is what I am feeling right now, too,” Tindall said. ” He said his team “played their butts off” against Alabama holding that offense down more than any other team in college football has this year. There was no doubt in his mind that the Bulldogs were one of the four best teams in the nation this fall. “We did everything the coaches wanted us to do,” Tindall said. “We were physical. Everything. It was just at the end of the play we just couldn’t finish.” The post Freshman ILB Channing Tindall sees a ‘championship’ future for Georgia football appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart isn’t expected to move too fast on filling the Bulldogs’ vacancy for a defensive coordinator, and with good reason. This is Smart’s first time having to replace a coordinator hire since taking over as Georgia’s head coach before the 2016 season, and it presents a different sort of challenge that few heads coaches have proven they can handle with consistent success. Coaching staff continuity is most often one of the most important factors to a program’s sustained success. Former Georgia defensive coordinator and secondary coach Mel Tucker, who was hired as Colorado’s head coach on Wednesday, will indeed be very difficult to replace. Smart and Tucker d eveloped former 3-star prospect Deandre Baker into a Thorpe Award winner and built a secondary that slowed a historically successful Alabama pass attack last Saturday. Tide coach Nick Saban provided some insight into how he has been so successful maintaining success even while having to replace coordinators almost annually. “ I think that you love continuity on your staff, but I always look at this as a challenge and an opportunity to add new energy, new enthusiasm, new ideas to your staff,” Saban said Wednesday night in Atlanta. “We don’t change our program. We don’t hire people to come in and be independent contractors and do what they want to do. They sort of have to buy into what we do, but the new ideas, the new energy and enthusiasm that they bring is always very helpful to improving our program.” Smart had a front row to that sort of philosophy while coaching at Saban’s side for 11 years at LSU, with the Miami Dolphins and at Alabama from 2007-15. Smart helped the Tide coaching legend develop the program through a time of several coaching and staff hires. The Bulldogs’ program has its own unique personality in several respects, but there are aspects of the framework that are similar to what Smart helped Saban build at Alabama. Georgia appears on the verge of creating its own dynasty with 68 percent of its roster freshmen and sophomores this past season. Smart and his program beat two of the four current CFB Playoff teams head-to-head last season (Oklahoma and Notre Dame) and led or were tied with defending national champ and current No. 1-ranked Alabama for 281 of the 290 plays in the past two games with the Tide in the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Indeed, the Bulldogs narrowly missed the CFB Playoff despite having to replace several key pieces from last season’s CFB Championship Game runner-up squad. RELATED: Kirk Herbstreit says CFP Committee let politics keep Georgia out So the defensive coordinator/secondary coach hire is as big of a decision as Smart has faced. “You know, I always say there’s a lot of books written about how to be successful,” Saban said. “There’s not many written on how to stay successful.” Smart has indicated that he might be inclined to promote from within if not hire a coach he’s already familiar with, though he’ll likely conduct a national search before deciding anything. “I think continuity is critical to recruiting success, (and) I know that the recruiting success that I’ve had as an assistant coach was because I was able to have the same area for a long time, you build relationships, you know people, you get to know them,” Smart said last November. “When you jump around from job to job, sometime’s that’s hard to do. I think our university and our support structure here has done a great job of helping us keep our coaches who are really good assets. “I mean, let’s be honest, we recruit well because of the assistant coaches we have. When you recruit well and get good young men in here, you can have a successful program. I think continuity is important, but I do think change is inevitable. It’ll happen. It’s happened to us every year.” Georgia football coordinator search Early list of names to consider for Georgia football DC opening Colorado announces Mel Tucker as new head coach Towers Take: Mel Tucker did excellent work for Bulldogs Mel Tucker expected to finalize Colorado deal very soon Whenever Mel Tucker leaves, he’ll be tough to replace The post Georgia’s Kirby Smart has insight to handle pivotal coordinator coaching search appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Nick Saban is standing behind his words that Georgia is one of the four best teams in the nation, even after he voted the Bulldogs’ No. 5 in the final Coaches’ Poll. Saban, whose Tide overcame two turnovers and a two-touchdown deficit to beat the Bulldogs 35-28 last Saturday, was asked at the CFB Playoff press conference in Atlanta Wednesday night about his final ballot. “ Well, I do think they’re one of the top four teams in the country but I didn’t think they were going to get in the playoff with two losses,” Saban said. “So I voted the teams that I thought had the best chance to get in, but I do think after playing Georgia they were one of the best four teams in the country.” There were plenty of people who agreed, including ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who went so far as to say the CFP Committee allowed politics to keep the Bulldogs out of the playoffs even though they knew Georgia was one of the four best. Indeed, the Bulldogs have led or been tied with No. 1-ranked and defending national champion 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. Saban, who said after last Saturday’s game, “I sure as hell don’t want to play them again,” suggested the CFP Committee   saw last Saturday’s game as a loser-out game. “What this basically indicates is the SEC Championship game was a playoff game,” Saban said. “You know, the 1 and 4 team in the country played, and it was a heck of a game, and they played a great game, and they have a great team, and I think they’re one of the best four teams in the country, and that’s no disrespect to any of the people that are here, but I didn’t think they had a chance to get in with two losses.” CFP Committee chairman Rob Mullens said the two losses — compared to Oklahoma’s one loss — is not what kept Georgia out of the College Football Playoffs. “ Our job is to pick the four best teams, so it really wasn’t about number of losses,” said Mullens, who prior to getting his current job as the athletic director at the University of Oregon was the deputy director of athletics at Kentucky. “Obviously when you’re looking at the resume, you can see that they’ve got two and others have one, but again, their two losses are against highly ranked teams. It’s really about trying to get the four best teams.” Mullens is one of five current athletic directors on the 13-person committee, along with Ohio State’s Gene Smith and new members Todd Stansbury (Georgia Tech), Scott Stricklin (Florida) and Joe Castiglione (Oklahoma). While Saban suggested the committee wasn’t going to take a conference championship game loser, Mullen indicated that had nothing to do with the decision. “ The conference piece is out of it, that’s really not a part of it,” Mullens said. “We’re looking at — there were some people who felt they were the fourth best team, and even some that felt they were unequivocally felt they were the fourth best team. But after all the dialogue, the debate, the intensity, you put it to a vote, and the vote didn’t have them as unequivocally the fourth best team. In fact, it had them ranked No. 5.” Saban, when asked if his vote suggested the four best teams didn’t make the playoffs, made it clear he voted in the four teams he thought would make the playoff. “When we played Georgia I thought they were one of the best four teams in the country,” Saban said. “That doesn’t mean that they’re any better than the teams that are here, and I voted for the four teams that are here.” Georgia football’s great CFB Playoff debate Kirby Smart on CFP Playoff: ‘Every year it’s going to be different’ criteria ESPN analyst goes on epic rant after Georgia football left out of playoffs Nick Saban states Georgia one of top four teams in the nation after SEC title game CFP Chairman defends leaving Georgia football out Kirby Smart lobbying for CFB Playoff spot after loss Chip Towers: Committee got it right by leaving Georgia out of playoffs Closer look at Georgia football vs. Oklahoma statistically Georgia football one of best teams, and it doesn’t matter ‘Protocol’ cited as reason Georgia left out of College Football Playoff The post Nick Saban’s revealing explanation of why he voted Georgia football No. 5 appeared first on DawgNation.