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Blog | DawgTime | The Fan's Media Guide® | Page 2
Page 2

How the Bulldogs in the NFL fared in Week 14:

Bears 15, Rams 6:

Roquan Smith: Smith returned his first NFL interception 22 yards and he posted six tackles for the Bears. Smith ranks 16th in the NFL and third among rookies with 97 tackles. He is fifth among rookies with four sacks.

Leonard Floyd: Floyd had two tackles, including one for loss, a quarterback hit and a pass defense for Chicago.

Javon Wims: Wims was a healthy scratch for the Bears.

Todd Gurley: Gurley had 11 rushes for 28 yards and three catches for 30 yards for Los Angeles. Gurley leads the NFL in rushing touchdowns (15) and total touchdowns (19) and is second in rushing yards (1,203) and scoring (120 points).

Ramik Wilson: Wilson was on 13 special teams plays for the Rams but did not record any stats.

Lions 17, Cardinals 3:

Matthew Stafford: Stafford went 15-of-23 for 101 yards for Detroit. Stafford is 15th in the NFL in passing yards (3,187) and is 18th in touchdown passes (18). Last week, Stafford was selected as the Lions’ nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. The award is presented annually to recognize outstanding community service activities off the field as well as excellence on the field.

Saints 28, Buccaneers 14:

Benjamin Watson: Watson had three catches for 24 yards as the Saints clinched the NFC South title.

Giants 40, Redskins 16:

Alec Ogletree: Ogletree had an 18-yard interception return and led the Giants with eight tackles. Ogletree is fourth in the NFL with five interceptions, including three in the last two weeks.

Lorenzo Carter: Carter had five tackles, including a sack, for New York. Carter is 12th among rookies with three sacks.

John Jenkins: Jenkins was a healthy scratch for the Giants.

Dolphins 34, Patriots 33:

Reshad Jones: Jones posted five tackles and defended one pass for Miami.

Sony Michel: Michel carried 20 times for 57 yards for the Patriots. Michel is fourth among rookies in rushing yards (706), 18th overall and fourth among rookies in rushing touchdowns (five), sixth among rookies in total touchdowns (five), and 10th among rookies in points (30) and yards per game (75.6).

David Andrews: Andrews started at center for New England, which rolled up 421 total yards.

Colts 24, Texans 21:

Corey Moore: Moore was on 11 special teams plays for Indianapolis but did not record any stats.

Browns 26, Panthers 20:

Nick Chubb: Chubb had 13 carries for 66 yards and a touchdown along with four catches for 17 yards for Cleveland. Chubb is 15th in the NFL and third among rookies with 760 rushing yards, eighth overall and third among rookies with eight rushing touchdowns, 12th overall and second among rookies with 10 total touchdowns, fourth among rookies with 60 points, and 11th among rookies with 70.0 yards per game.

Orson Charles: Charles had a 9-yard reception for the Browns.

Thomas Davis: Davis recovered two fumbles and recorded six tackles for Carolina.

Jets 27, Bills 23:

Jordan Jenkins: Jenkins had two tackles, including one for loss, for New York.

Isaiah McKenzie: McKenzie had four rushes for 22 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown run, for Buffalo. He also caught four passes for 47 yards and returned five kickoffs for 101 yards.

Chiefs 27, Ravens 24 (OT):

Chris Conley: Conley had two catches for 13 yards as Kansas City clinched a playoff berth.

Justin Houston: Houston had six tackles, including 1.5 sacks, for the Chiefs. On his solo sack, Houston forced and recovered a fumble.

Titans 30, Jaguars 9:

Ben Jones: Jones started at center for the Titans, who rolled up 426 total yards (including 264 rushing) and averaged 7.5 yards per play.

Abry Jones: Jones was inactive for Jacksonville due to a shin contusion.

Chargers 26, Bengals 21:

Shawn Williams: Williams notched six tackles for the Bengals. Williams is sixth in the NFL with four interceptions and is 18th in the league with 89 tackles.

Clint Boling: Boling started at right tackle and helped the Bengals roll up 295 total yards.

Geno Atkins: Atkins had one tackle for Cincinnati.

Cordy Glenn: Glenn was inactive for the Bengals due to a back injury.

Injured Reserve:

Tyler Catalina (Redskins)

A.J. Green (Bengals)

Isaiah Wynn (Patriots)

Practice Squads:

Davin Bellamy (Texans)

Reggie Davis (Cowboys)

Garrison Smith (Dolphins)

Maurice Smith (Dolphins)

Georgia’s Baker, Thomas Named To AP All-America Teams

ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia senior defensive back Deandre Baker has been named to the 2018 Associated Press All-America First Team while sophomore left tackle Andrew Thomas has been included on the AP All-America’s Second Team.

Baker, a Miami, Fla., native, became the first Bulldog to win the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award last week for being nation’s best defensive back in college football.  He was also a Walter Camp First Team All-American.  Thomas, a native of Lilburn, Ga., was named to the Walter Camp All-America Second Team as well.

Baker becomes the first Georgia All-American from the defensive backfield named to the AP’s First Team since Bacarri Rambo in 2011.

A Miami, Fla., native, Baker has started all 13 games for Georgia and has 40 tackles and is tied for the team lead with two interceptions.  He also has a team-best 10 pass break-ups.  In addition, Baker has a forced fumble and has collected a fumble recovery for a defense that ranks 15th nationally allowing just 18.5 points per game.

Thomas, a native of Lithonia, Ga., has gotten the starting nod at left tackle for 12 of the Bulldogs’ 13 games, only missing the Middle Tennessee State game with an ankle injury.  He has anchored an offensive line that leads the SEC in Rushing Offense at 251.6 yards per game and that currently features one senior, two sophomores and two freshmen as starters. 

The Bulldogs are averaged 39.2 points per game during their second straight run to the SEC Championship Game and a their first invitation to the Sugar Bowl since 2008.  Thomas and his offensive line unit were named a Joe Moore Award finalist for being one of the top offensive lines in the nation.

The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) All-America teams are expected to be released later on Monday.  The Sporting News All-America teams are scheduled to be released on Tuesday and the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) teams on Wednesday.

The No. 5 Bulldogs (11-2) will take on No. 15 Texas (9-4) in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La., on Jan. 1 at 8:45 p.m. ET.  ESPN will televise the fifth all-time matchup between the programs and the first matchup between the teams since 1984.

The Dodd Trophy Announces 2018 Finalists

Renowned list of coaches recognized for success on the field, as well as the classroom and community.

 

ATLANTA (December 5, 2018) – Officials from the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation and Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl have announced the finalists for the 2018 Dodd Trophy. Finalists include seven of the nation’s top coaches in college football who embody the award’s three pillars of scholarship, leadership and integrity, both on and off the field.

 

This year’s finalists represent four conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC), along with Notre Dame, and have combined for a 2018 record of 75-9 during the regular season. Overall, the seven coaches have a combined 88 years of head coaching experience, seven national championships and 781 career wins among them.

 

Two former winners of The Dodd Trophy were included in the 2018 list with Nick Saban (2014) and Dabo Swinney (2011) being named finalists. Additionally, three of the coaches were finalists for last year’s award, including Pat Fitzgerald, Kirby Smart and Dabo Swinney.

 

Winners of the award from the previous two years and first-year coaches at an institution are not eligible to be finalists.

 

The 2018 Dodd Trophy Finalists:

 

Coach School CFP Ranking APR Score
Dino Babers Syracuse No. 20 967
Pat Fitzgerald Northwestern No. 22 997
Brian Kelly Notre Dame No. 3 966
Lincoln Riley Oklahoma No. 4 956
Nick Saban Alabama No. 1 984
Kirby Smart Georgia No. 5 963
Dabo Swinney Clemson No. 2 987

 

 

“All of these finalists truly exemplify the type of leadership that Bobby Dodd valued and are noteworthy candidates to join the esteemed group of former Dodd Trophy recipients,” said Jim Terry, chairman of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation. “We’re honored to have such a renowned list of finalists who truly embody Coach Dodd’s spirit, both on and off the field.”

 

“This college football season was highlighted by outstanding coaching performances that greatly impacted the course of the season,” said Gary Stokan, Peach Bowl, Inc. CEO & president. “These seven coaches have distinguished themselves as finalists for this prestigious award, not only for having successful football seasons, but also for their efforts within their communities and commitment to empower their student athletes to succeed in the classroom as well.”

 

Finalists were selected by a panel consisting of all previous winners, national media, a member of the Dodd family and a College Football Hall of Fame member.

 

The winner of the 2018 Dodd Trophy will be selected from the list of finalists by the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation, and will be announced in Atlanta during Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Week.

 

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About the Dodd Trophy
The Dodd Trophy was established in 1976 to honor the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division 1A) head football coach whose program represents the highest ideals on and off the field. The award honors the coach of a team which enjoys a successful football season, while also stressing the importance of academic excellence and character, as did Coach Dodd’s teams during his 22 years as head football coach of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Coach Dodd remains one of college football’s legendary figures, both as a coach and a player. Coach Dodd was a native of Galax, Virginia, and played his college ball at the University of Tennessee where his team had 27 wins, one loss and two ties during the three years he played. Coach Dodd was selected to the National College Football Hall of Fame both as a coach and as a player. Additional information about the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation can be found at www.TheDoddTrophy.com. For news, updates and insider information, follow us on Twitter at @DoddTrophy or find us on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/DoddTrophy.

 

About the Peach Bowl, Inc.
Peach Bowl, Inc. operates the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, one of the New Year’s Six Bowls selected to host the College Football Playoff. Last year, the Peach Bowl celebrated its Golden Season, including its 50-year history of traditions and successes as the nation’s ninth-oldest bowl organization. The Bowl has earned a reputation as one of the most competitive bowls in the country, with 54 percent of its games being decided by a touchdown or less. Peach Bowl, Inc. has disbursed $240.5 million in team payouts over its 50-year history. Peach Bowl, Inc. also leads all other bowl game organizations in charitable and scholarship contributions, giving more than $31.8 million to organizations in need since 2002. Peach Bowl, Inc. also runs the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge charity golf tournament, manages The Dodd Trophy national coach of the year award and led the relocation and financial foundation of the College Football Hall of Fame to Atlanta. For more information, visit Chick-fil-APeachBowl.com or follow us on Twitter at @CFAPeachBowl and find us on Facebook at Facebook.com/CFAPeachBowl.

Georgia Offensive Line Named Joe Moore Award Finalist

Georgia offensive lineman Andrew Thomas (71)(Photo by Steven Colquitt)

ATHENS, Ga. — The Bulldog offensive line unit has been named one of three finalists for the Joe Moore Award, which is given to the nation’s most outstanding offensive line unit.

 

The Joe Moore Award voting committee will announce the selection of the award’s winner after a surprise visit to the winning university’s campus in late December.  Alabama and Oklahoma join Georgia as finalists for the honor.

 

The Bulldogs offensive line is led by Broyles Award semifinalist Sam Pittman.  Pittman’s unit leads the SEC in Rushing Offense at 251.6 yards per game and most recently tallied 454 total yards on offense and 28 points versus No. 1 Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.  Georgia has started four different alignments on the line, including three freshmen and three sophomores, and has managed to average 39.2 points per game.

 

Georgia is averaging 7.3 yards per play this season, which is the fifth most in the FBS this season and the highest mark in program history.  The Bulldogs have gone three-and-out on just 9.6 percent of drives, also fifth lowest in the FBS.  Georgia has averaged 6.4 yards per rush on first and second down, most in the SEC and fifth most in FBS.   In addition, the Bulldogs racked up 250 rushing yards in eight games this season, which is tied for the most among Power-5 schools.

 

Sophomore left tackle Andrew Thomas, who has started 12 of 13 games this season, was named a Coaches All-SEC First Team performer and a Second Team selection by the Associated Press on Tuesday.  Senior center Lamont Gaillard has started a team-best 41 consecutive games and was also a Coaches First Team selection and AP Second Team selection.

 

The No. 5 Bulldogs (11-2) will take on No. 15 Texas (9-4) in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, La., on Jan. 1 at 8:45 p.m. ET.  ESPN will televise the fifth all-time game between the programs and the first matchup between the teams since 1984.

 

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2018 All-SEC Football Team Announced

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Dec. 4, 2018)—–Ten Southeastern Conference institutions placed a member on the 2018 All-Southeastern Conference Coaches’ Football First Team, as the first and second teams were announced Tuesday. Alabama led the way with 12 representatives, while Georgia had seven selections, and Missouri and South Carolina each had five.

 

Twelve schools were represented on the first and second teams, while 11 institutions had at least two All-SEC selections.

 

The 2018 list includes 11 student-athletes who have made multiple appearances on the All-SEC Team. Florida’s Martez Ivey was voted All-SEC for the third time, while Alabama’s Jonah Williams, Georgia’s Deandre Baker, Kentucky’s Benny Snell, LSU’s Devin White and Greedy Williams, Ole Miss’ Greg Little and A.J. Brown, Mississippi State’s Jeffery Simmons and Montez Sweat and Missouri’s Drew Lock were named to the All-SEC Team for the second time.

 

Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own players.

 

The SEC individual award winners will be released Wednesday and the All-Freshman Team will be announced Thursday.

 

2018 All-SEC Coaches’ Team

 

FIRST TEAM OFFENSE

 

TE

Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M

 

OL

Jonah Williams, Alabama

Andrew Thomas, Georgia

Greg Little, Ole Miss

Bunchy Stallings, Kentucky

 

C

Lamont Gaillard, Georgia

 

WR

A.J. Brown, Ole Miss

Jerry Jeudy, Alabama

 

QB

Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama

 

RB

Benny Snell, Kentucky

Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M

 

AP

Deebo Samuel, South Carolina

 

DEFENSE

 

DL

Quinnen Williams, Alabama

Jeffery Simmons, Mississippi State

Jachai Polite, Florida

Montez Sweat, Mississippi State

 

LB

Josh Allen, Kentucky

Devin White, LSU

Deshaun Davis, Auburn

 

DB

Deandre Baker, Georgia

Grant Delpit, LSU

Greedy Williams, LSU

Deionte Thompson, Alabama

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

 

PK

Cole Tracy, LSU

 

P

Braden Mann, Texas A&M

 

RS

Deebo Samuel, South Carolina

 

SECOND TEAM

 

OFFENSE

 

TE

Irv Smith Jr., Alabama

 

OL

Martez Ivey, Florida

Alex Leatherwood, Alabama

Deion Calhoun, Mississippi State

Zack Bailey, South Carolina

 

C

Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama

 

WR

Deebo Samuel, South Carolina

Emanuel Hall, Missouri

 

QB

Drew Lock, Missouri

 

RB

D’Andre Swift, Georgia

Damien Harris, Alabama

 

AP

Lynn Bowden, Kentucky

 

DEFENSE

 

DL

Isaiah Buggs, Alabama

Jonathan Ledbetter, Georgia

Terry Beckner, Missouri

Derrick Brown, Auburn

 

LB

Dylan Moses, Alabama

Cale Garrett, Missouri

Mack Wilson, Alabama

 

DB

CJ Henderson, Florida

Johnathan Abram, Mississippi State

Joejuan Williams, Vanderbilt

DeMarkus Acy, Missouri

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

 

PK

Rodrigo Blankenship, Georgia

 

P

Joseph Charlton, South Carolina

 

RS

Mecole Hardman, Georgia

Late Rally Sinks Georgia in SEC Championship

ATLANTA – Three unanswered touchdowns from No. 1 Alabama lifted the Crimson Tide past No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs in a 35-28 finish Saturday in the 2018 SEC Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

 

The SEC East Champion Bulldogs (11-2, 7-2) scored the first points in the second half with a touchdown to go up 28-14, but the SEC West Champion Crimson Tide (13-0, 9-0) strung together the rest of the scoring to win their 27th SEC Title in school history. For the second straight season, the result came down to the last play, but this time Georgia’s pass went incomplete out of the end zone.

 

“It was a tremendous atmosphere, the SEC Championship Game once again is one of the best games of the year,” Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said. “A lot of credit goes to Alabama, they outperformed us in the second half. The game had a lot of momentum swings – up and down, back and forth, which we knew it would. We have a lot of champions on this team and a lot of kids that have a heart of a lion like these two [Jonathan Ledbetter and Jake Fromm at the podium] right here, especially. They lead this team and care about this university and play really hard.”

 

Statistically, the numbers matched up across the board with Georgia compiling 454 total yards and Alabama right there with 403 total yards. Through the air, sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm went 25-of-39 for 301 yards and three touchdowns. The running back tandem of D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield teamed up for 75 and 60 yards, respectively, on the ground. Swift had two total touchdowns, one running and one receiving.

 

On the receiving end, Swift had a team-high six catches for 63 yards, however junior tight end Isaac Nauta led in yards with 81 on four catches including a career-long 55-yard catch. Nauta notched the game’s first score, while Riley Ridley was the other Bulldog to find the end zone in the game. Ridley finished with four catches for 48 yards and the lone second half score on a 23-yard catch.

 

Defensively, Georgia forced four three-and-outs on the day, which was led by juniors, safety J.R. Reed and inside linebacker Tae Crowder, with eight tackles apiece. Senior outside linebacker D’Andre Walker played disruptively with five tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, a batted ball and two tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Georgia’s two takeaways came from interceptions from Reed and fellow safety Richard LeCounte.

 

“These kids battled tooth-and-nail with what is one of the best teams in the country,” Smart added. “We didn’t do enough to win the game, we didn’t finish it, but give Alabama the credit. They made the plays when they had to, but this is a special group.”

 

At the half, Georgia led 21-14, scoring on three of its six possessions, while also outpacing Alabama in total yards (227-146) and time of possession (20:52-9:08). Sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm went 14-of-18 including 10 straight completions that tied a SECCG record for 139 passing yards for two touchdowns. Meanwhile sophomore D’Andre Swift directed the ground attack, totaling 66 yards on 13 attempts with a touchdown. Six Bulldogs recorded two catches in the first half.

 

The Crimson Tide threatened in their first drive of the game, reaching the Georgia six-yard line, but an 11-yard sack by Walker followed by LeCounte’s first-career interception kept the scoreboard clean.

 

Three possessions later, Fromm connected with Nauta in-between the seams for a 20-yard score. On the seven-play, 60-yard drive, Fromm went 4-for-5 to all different receivers.

 

After Alabama knotted the score at 7-all, Georgia orchestrated a 13-play, 74-yard scoring drive that elapsed 7:19 off the clock. This time Fromm went a perfect 6-for-6 including two third-down completions.  Swift capped the drive with a 9-yard run off the right guard to make it a 14-7 Georgia lead.

 

Next, Georgia’s defense forced a three-and-out, giving the ball back to the offense and to Swift who proceeded to rack up 44 yards in a 51-yards touchdown drive. The Philadelphia native ended the drive with an 11-yard touchdown catch. On the drive, Swift became the 14th Bulldog all-time to eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark.

 

Coming out of the break, the Bulldogs’ defense forced Alabama’s third three-and-out and Fromm made it count by dropping a 23-yard touchdown pass into Riley Ridley’s hands for the 28-14 lead.

 

Later in the third quarter, Crimson Tide narrowed the gap to 28-21 on a 51-yard touchdown catch from receiver Jaylen Waddle. And then with 5:19 left in regulation, Alabama constructed a 16-play game-tying drive with a 10-yard pass from Jalen Hurts to Jerry Jeudy as the equalizer.

 

The last and game-winning scoring drive occurred in the waning minutes when Hurts scrambled for 15-yards to give the Crimson Tide the 35-28 edge. Hurts went 7-of-9 passing for 82 yards after Tua Tagovailova left the game due to an injury. The SECCG MVP went to Crimson Tide running back Josh Jacobs who had 83 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

 

The College Football Playoff Selection Show Presented by AT&T airs Sunday at noon ET and will reveal the College Football Playoff selection committee’s four playoff teams at 12:30 p.m. The four-hour special will then reveal the CFP selection committee’s complete top 25 at 2 p.m., followed by the remaining New Year’s Six matchups at 3 p.m.

Georgia’s Jake Fromm Named Manning Award Finalist

ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm has been named one of 11 finalists for the 2018 Manning Award, which is given to the nation’s top quarterback and the only award that takes candidates’ bowl performances into consideration.

 

Fromm, a native of Warner Robins, Ga., joins two other signal callers from the Southeastern Conference as finalists and is one of three sophomores on the list.  The winner will be announced after the bowls in January and will be honored at a ceremony in New Orleans.

 

Fromm was named one of the Manning Award’s Stars of the Week following the Bulldogs’ 36-17 rout of No. 9 Florida on Oct. 27 in Jacksonville, Fla.  He was 17-of-24 for 240 yards and three touchdowns as Georgia was on its way to sweeping the SEC East for the second year in a row.

 

Overall, Fromm has started all 12 games for the No. 4 Bulldogs and is 161-for-233 for 2,236 yards with 24 touchdowns and only five interceptions.  He is ranked third nationally on the active list for Passing Efficiency at 165.94 and is second in the SEC and eighth nationally in Completion Percentage at 69.1, which is on pace to pass Hutson Mason’s school record mark of 67.9 in 2014.

 

Fromm is coming off a career-high four touchdowns on 13-for-16 passing for 175 yards during Georgia’s 45-21 dismantling of Georgia Tech on Nov. 24.

 

The Bulldogs (11-1, 7-1 SEC) face No. 1 Alabama (12-0, 8-0 SEC) at the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta on Saturday at 4 p.m.  CBS will televise the matchup between the defending league champions and the defending national champions.

Bulldogs Getting Set for Alabama

ATHENS, Ga. – Fourth-ranked Georgia held a two-hour workout Wednesday in preparation for its upcoming battle with top-ranked Alabama in the SEC Championship Game.

 

The Bulldogs (11-1) and Crimson Tide (12-0) will meet Saturday for the 69th time overall but just the second time in an SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. In 2012, then No. 2 Alabama edged No. 3 Georgia 32-28 as the game ended with the Bulldogs at the Alabama five-yard line. The teams last met to decide the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship in Atlanta, and that game went to overtime as the Crimson Tide won 26-23.

 

The Bulldogs are seeking to become back-to-back SEC Champions for the first time since a three-year stretch from 1980-82. Last year, the Bulldogs defeated No. 2 Auburn 28-7 for the SEC title. Georgia enters Saturday’s game averaging 40.1 points a game while Alabama checks in at 49.0 points a game, which ranks second nationally. The Bulldogs scoring defense ranks 10th nationally, allowing just 17.2 points a game while Alabama is third nationally, surrendering only 13.8 points a game.

 

Also, on Wednesday, it was announced that Georgia junior place-kicker Rodrigo Blankenship has been named to the 2018 Southeastern Conference Community Service Team for football. The SEC names a Community Service Team for each of its 21-league sponsored sports, looking to highlight an athlete from each school who gives back to his community through superior service efforts. Blankenship, a native of Marietta, Ga., was the only player from the conference named to this year’s Allstate AFCA Good Works Team for his dedication to the community and performances on the field and in the classroom.

 

After practice, junior tight ends Isaac Nauta and Charlie Woerner met with the media to discuss the week’s preparations.

 

#18 junior tight end Isaac Nauta

On having another crack at Alabama…

“Even bigger than the opponent, having another crack at an SEC Championship is no small feat. It’s such a good conference and it’s so tough to get to this point, it feels good to have another chance to defend the championship. It means a lot and to have Charlie be a part of it, playing against this opponent, I know he’s excited about that. … This is a big moment for him, for the team, the university as a whole, so we’re excited to go out there and play in this game.”

 

On familiarity with Alabama through being recruited…

“I know a ton of people over there, usually as I do at every program we play. It’s a part of recruiting; you get to know people. I’ve got friends that go there. … I have a lot of respect for them and what they’ve done. They’re a great team and I’m excited for the challenge. We’re going to go out there to do our thing.”

 

On the dynamic of being a two-touchdown underdog after a season of being the favorite…

“To be honest, I didn’t even know that. I don’t look at it like that at all. Every week they put up numbers and you see them either not come to fruition or be right on the dot. I haven’t looked at [the odds] at all, I didn’t even know that. I’m just trying to prepare the best to be able to come out and beat these guys. That’s how we’re approaching it.”

 

#89 junior tight end Charlie Woerner

On the hype going away during the game…

“[The hype] goes away at the first kickoff. That’s how we’ve practiced all week, was to be sound and execute during the game. We practice with crowd noise to get used to it. Really, right when the game starts, it’s like, ‘alright, let’s lock in, let’s go execute the plays we worked on all week.’”

 

On having a helpless feeling being sidelined during the 2018 National Championship game…

“Oh yea, I hated seeing everything happen out there and knowing I couldn’t help, especially watching us lose on the very last play. The helpless feeling was horrible. I was like, gosh I can’t do anything to help the team out except for cheer along the sideline. It’s not the same when you’re a competitor and want to be out there.”

 

On Jake Fromm’s progression into his sophomore season…

“I think he’s gotten a lot more mature. He came in very mature, but still is a lot more mature. He knows everything in the playbook, he handles himself better in situations. He’s just become a better quarterback overall to be honest.”

 

Kickoff at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Saturday is slated for 4:10 p.m. and be televised by CBS Sports and available on the Georgia Bulldog Sports Network. Additionally, Westwood One Sports and the SEC Radio Network will be broadcasting the game.

Georgia’s Rodrigo Blankenship Named To SEC Community Service Team  

Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship (98) during the Bulldogs' session on the Woodruff Practice Fields in Athens, Ga., on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017. (Photo by Steven Colquitt)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Georgia junior place-kicker Rodrigo Blankenship has been included on the 2018 Southeastern Conference Community Service Team for football as he and his teammates ready for the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta on Saturday.

 

The SEC names a Community Service Team for each of its 21-league sponsored sports, looking to highlight an athlete from each school who gives back to his community through superior service efforts.

 

Blankenship, a native of Marietta, Ga., was the only player from the conference named to this year’s Allstate AFCA Good Works Team for his dedication to the community and performances on the field and in the classroom.  He is a member of the UGA Athletic Association’s Leadership Academy (L.E.A.D.) and has been a visitor at Camp Sunshine, which is a camp that provides support programs for children with cancer and their families.

 

Blankenship has also volunteered for the “Empty Bowl” luncheon, which is a luncheon sponsored by the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, and with the Extra Special People (ESP) group, which is an organization assisting individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.  In addition to a number of other community service projects, Blankenship has been a spokesperson for “No More,” which is a public service announcement by UGA’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) against domestic violence and sexual assault.

 

The No. 4 Bulldogs (11-1, 7-1 SEC) take on No. 1 Alabama (12-0, 8-0 SEC) in the league’s title game on Saturday at 4 p.m.  CBS will televise the matchup of the defending SEC champions and the defending national champions in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Georgia Returns to SEC Title Game in Atlanta

ATHENS, Ga. – The William Porter Payne and Porter Otis Payne Indoor Athletic Facility featured the two-hour practice of a University of Georgia football team bound for Saturday’s 2018 Southeastern Conference Championship.

 

The Bulldogs’ trip to Atlanta marks back-to-back years Georgia has reserved the date at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the SEC title. Last year, Georgia held Auburn to one touchdown in its 28-7 win.

 

The victorious Bulldog team followed its conference title with a Rose Bowl Game win in Pasadena, California on New Year’s Day, before facing Alabama on January 8 for the CFP National Championship in the same Atlanta stadium.

 

Georgia Head Coach Kirby Smart

On special teams as a potential weakness for Alabama…

“I’ve been around Nick (Saban) long enough to know he does a good job on special teams. I don’t look at it as a weakness because your kickoff returner and your punt returner are two of the best in the whole country. Have they struggled some with some kicks? Yeah, sure. But that hasn’t been something new for them; they’ve dealt with that before. They’ve overcome it with a really strong special teams. They have the best kickoff coverage I think I’ve ever seen. They’re flying down the field, knocking people’s heads off. The kickoff return and punt return are elite. Their starters are all good players on those. I don’t look at it as their special teams is down, I think people mention that because of their punter and possibly because of their kicker.”

 

On recruiting before the SEC Championship…

“You can go recruit, we may at night send somebody somewhere if it’s local or we’re able to go see somebody, but certainly our sweat’s being put in the bucket towards Alabama. It’s not that we don’t care about recruiting; we’re still communicating with our recruits, but we can’t really focus on that right now. I think those kids respect that. A lot of them are focused on their playoffs or their state championships. In regards to when that ends, it’s ready, set, go. We’re going out to pull for them. We’ll go out as soon as they can.”

 

On the relevance of the Georgia program…

“I’ll be honest with you, becoming relevant and significant is every game. When you play on national TV, you play in the SEC, you have a chance to be relevant and significant every week. Certainly this is a wall game. It’s for the number that goes up on these walls in here. Put numbers up in here, especially on that side of the room [for the national championships.] It’s special. That’s what you’re playing for; you’re playing for a championship.”

 

On Smart’s assessment of Alabama…

“They’re good. They’re really good. They’ve got a good team. They’re explosive. I don’t see the weaknesses. Everyone talks about the kicking game, but they’re explosive. They’re really talented. They’re doing a good job, and they’re playing at a  high level. You can say they’ve been tested, but the thing is when they get on top of you, they know how to finish. They attack; they are constantly attacking. The pressure’s never off. I had several coaches after the games they played us this year say ‘Man, y’all put pressure on people in every area. There’s no phase in offense, defense, kicking; it’s like there’s always pressure.’ That’s Alabama. Really, really good putting pressure whether it’s offense, defense or special teams.”

 

On Alabama sophomore QB Tua Tagovailoa…

“I don’t think it’s only athletic; he resorts to that if things don’t go right, but he can sit in the pocket and make every throw. He’s very confident, and he’s got a presence about him in the pocket. He doesn’t fear rush; if he’s got guys bearing down on him, he sidesteps and gets the ball out, and that’s what makes him very special. He’s a really good dude.

 

On Smart’s game day approach…

“I can’t remember much about being a player. I was excited, I guess nervous; I don’t know, I’m nervous about everything. I’m competitive, want to do well. Work hard at it. Certainly once you prepare, there’s only so much you can do. I get the most comfortable the closer the game gets, because I realize there’s not a lot you can do, but I’m more intense leading up to, because I want to get all the hay in the barn. When the hay’s in the barn, there’s not a lot I can do. Let the players go play. Show confidence in the players.”

 

On making adjustments throughout the game…

“The first series may be jitters and guys still trying to get over it. You’ve got to stick with your plan and feel comfortable with your plan. If your plan’s not working, you’ve got to go to Plan B or Plan C…I think you adjust throughout the game. I think you get different answers. We try to always have different looks. The defense, we’ll try to save something till the second half. As an offense, we always try to have a script coming out the second half. I think offensively more than anything we’ve had some really good opening second-half drives. I think a lot of that’s preparation and coaching. We try to do a really good job of that.”

 

On having two Georgia running backs on the brink of 1,000-yard years in back-to-back seasons…

“Oh yeah. I knew we had a good offensive line coming back. I didn’t know we would use so many of them in different games and shuffle them. I knew we were talented on offensive line and had good backs. So whether I thought we would have two 1,000-rushers, we’re not there yet. We’ll try to get there. We probably could have, but some of those games they were taken out…I don’t know if they see it as a competition, I really don’t. Those two guys are such team players; there’s no ego in either one of them. I think more worried about the team than see each one of them do well.”

 

Senior ILB #44 Juwan Taylor

On already facing Alabama sophomore QB Tua Tagovailoa in the CFP National Championship Game…

“Of course it does. We already know he’s a good athlete and can move in the pocket and can make plays. We just have to keep him contained.”

 

On the Alabama offense in January compared to this year’s team…

“There are similarities with the running game they’ve got. The different thing is they’ve got more explosive players in the backfield and at the receiving corps.”

 

Junior ILB #30 Tae Crowder

On Georgia’s consistent confidence level…

“It’s just all about how we prepare. We’re going into the game and going into the practices just like every other team.”

 

On what makes the Alabama offense so different…

“I don’t know. They’ve got a pretty good offense, but so do we.”