Posted on Apr 23, 2013 by Murray Poole |
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Some 250-plus members of the south Georgia, north Florida Bulldog Nation turned out at the Jacksonville Jaguars’ EverBank Field Tuesday night for the annual UGA Day, sponsored by the University of Georgia Alumni Association.
Georgia head basketball coach Mark Fox didn’t make it – he was recruiting a certain blue-chip prospect out of Effingham County High – but the other Mark – head football coach Richt – was on hand and while being prompted by TV and radio personality Chuck Dowdle, delved into a number of topics concerning his upcoming 2013 Bulldog edition.
Here are a few of Richt’s comments as he continues his spring tour speaking engagements with the alumni groups:
(On the rapid rise up the depth chart of hard-hitting freshman Tray Matthews)
“Tray Matthews came in with the attitude of being a starting safety at Georgia as a true freshman and that’s where he’s sitting right now. Somebody may knock him out of the box, I don’t know, but he’s a great open field tackler. He’s a great athlete and is doing well in school, just doing a good job. With the new rules now, Tray is probably going to get to play only six games this year because there’s a new rule that if you knock somebody out you’re suspended for the next game or so (drawing laughter).”
(On the return of junior wide receiver Michael Bennett, who was the Bulldogs’ leading receiver before suffering a torn ACL in the fifth game last season)
“When it comes to ACL’s, Michael Bennett is recovering extremely well. He’s one tough football player, one tough kid. He’s going to have zero limitations by June 1. And June and July are big months in the summertime when our guys work hard to get prepared for camp in August.”
(On the Bulldogs’ rebuilt defensive unit)
“Defensively, it’s hard to know who’s going to start. Not a lot of jobs are nailed down defensively at all. Last year, there was a bigger chasm between the first and second groups and we were a little nervous about putting those second teamers in there but guys get worn down in the course of a game or a season and I think we’re going to have a lot more hotly contested positions this season. I see a lot of lean and hungry Dogs who are looking for playing time and I’m optimistic about how well they can do. I think we’re going to have a lot more competition than we thought we’d have. A lot of these younger guys are starting to rise up and put some pressure on some of these veterans.”
(On the Bulldogs’ veteran offense, which returns 10 of 11 starters from last year’s record-breaking unit)
Offensively, we lost two players in Tavarres King and Marlon Brown and we should be outstanding. We should be but just because you did great last year doesn’t mean you’ll do great this year. And I think the offense understands that. But we’re working hard and I think we’re going to be a pretty good team.”
(On junior wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell)
“Malcolm is going to play offense exclusively. He may be our punt and kick return man. I think he’s got the tools to be a great return man and I think it’s going to help him to play receiver only because as talented as he is, he still has some things to work out fundamentally. Coach (Tony) Ball is one of the better receivers coach in the country and Malcolm is really excited about perfecting his trade and we’re looking forward to that. Hopefully, he’ll have an outstanding season and a healthy season.”
(On two young players who really made impressions this spring)
“John Taylor, a young guy who redshirted last year, has really looked outstanding. Coach Chris Wilson really likes the talent base John has. And while I’m on that subject, Sterling Bailey has all of a sudden gotten healthy and is actually sitting at one of the No. 1 end positions. Ray Drew has continued to progress and Michael Thornton (at nose) has also gotten an opportunity and is doing well, so a lot of guys up front are going to help us win.”
(On the Bulldogs’ tougher schedule this season and the Aug. 31 opener at Clemson)
“This year’s schedule will test us right out of the gate. We’re not going to know how good we are until we play that first or second game. Practicing against each other all spring, it’s really hard to tell, hard to gauge what kind of team you’ve got until you get out there. I think we’ll be a very competitive team and hopefully get some wins early on because we’ll definitely be inexperienced defensively and we’ll just see how they can handle it.
“ (Clemson quarterback) Tahj Boyd is a really good player and they’ve got some great skill guys and it’s going to be tough to defend a team like that the first shot out of the cannon.”
(On South Carolina, whom the Bulldogs meet the second week of the season in Athens after opening at Clemson)
“It’s our first SEC game so we need to turn that thing around (after three straight losses to Gamecocks), and I think we’re at home. I’m going to tell you this right now, their crowd (at Williams-Brice Stadium) is off the chain. We went to their stadium and it’s as good of an atmosphere as anywhere in the nation and we need to return the favor this year.”
(On Georgia’s two-time All-America linebacker Jarvis Jones and where he will be selected in Thursday’s NFL Draft)
“First of all, we don’t know where he’s going. In the middle of the season Mel Kiper says he’s No. 1 on the board. Just because he says it doesn’t make it true. And if someone says he’s 15th, it doesn’t make it true, either. But when a guy gets that much hype I guess, if you go any less than the top five picks then everybody thinks it’s a disappointment. But if he gets drafted 15th or 17th, I think it will be cause for a huge celebration.”
Posted on Apr 7, 2013 by Vance Leavy |
Enjoy these G-Day fan photos
Posted on Apr 7, 2013 by Rob Saye |
Rob Saye was hard at yesterday to capture these awesome G-Day action photos ENJOY!
Posted on Apr 4, 2013 by Vance Leavy |
Normally at BI we stick to talking about UGA sports and fans, but I felt like this update on Jekyll Island was worthy for our readers/followers. Obviously growing up in the Golden Isles and spending many years active in the business community there makes the improvements on Jekyll very close to my heart. Our area as a whole is magical in so many ways and a fresher Jekyll will only make it better. And for the purely UGA folks, you should be very pleased with the news of the 4H Center’s improvements.
This letter is from the Executive Director of Jekyll Island, Jones Hooks, who is a UGA grad. Enjoy reading about the good things happening there. And make plans to visit soon.
Dear Jekyll Island Friends and Residents,
While economic conditions continue to challenge our energies, I am pleased to report continued progress in the Jekyll Island Authority’s efforts for island-wide revitalization.
In March, the Jekyll Island Authority Board approved a lease agreement with Georgia Coast Holdings, LLC, which will make way for a complete overhaul of the Oceanside Inn & Suites, transforming the hotel into a new Holiday Inn Resort. The current Oceanside Inn & Suites is proposed to be taken back to its concrete structure, to then be completely rebuilt, and repositioned as a new resort.
The estimated $16 million project is expected to take 10 months. The Oceanside Inn & Suites is tentatively set to close in August and to reopen as a 155-room Holiday Inn Resort in late Spring 2014. The project is being funded by private investments from Georgia Coast Holdings, LLC, at no cost to the Jekyll Island Authority.
Along with news of the Holiday Inn Resort, we remain optimistic that the Westin will be under construction by the end of this month. When the Westin breaks ground, it will be only the second full-service hotel to get underway in the State of Georgia in more than five years. It will be the first outside of metro Atlanta, and the first in a resort location. So, yes, economic times have been tough statewide, but we continue to overcome this challenge.
We’re also thrilled to reveal the 4-H Center on Jekyll Island will be getting a $12 million make-over in coming months. Just last week, the Jekyll Island Authority announced a new partnership with the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service, under which the Jekyll Island Authority will assume responsibility for the 60-year-old center. As part of the partnership, the center will be significantly improved by the construction of a new education building, replacement of the 1950s-era dormitories, a new auditorium, and other essential buildings, grounds and roadway improvements.
Additionally, the island will open an expanded biking and walking paths by the end of May. Since December, construction crews have steadily worked to add about 1.4 miles of path to the island’s existing bike and walking pathways. After the new trails open this Spring, Jekyll Island will have five bike trails, totaling about 21.5 miles.
Jekyll Island guests will also note the island entryway has been given a facelift recently. New landscaping and roadway designs have been implemented along the Ben Fortson Parkway. New lighting has also been added to this portion of the parkway, to highlight landscaping and signage at night. We believe these improvements provide a more aesthetically pleasing and streamlined experience for travelers both coming on and leaving the island. The number of compliments received regarding these improvements has been most gratifying.
These achievements in revitalization come on the heels of the successful opening of the Jekyll Island Convention Center last Spring. Since May 2012, the Jekyll Island Convention Center has held 128 events, with more than 99,500 attendees coming through its doors.
The Center, too, has earned Silver LEED Certification, which can be credited back to its environmentally-sound details and thoughtful design.
In the past few months, it has also been exciting to see a number of private residential homes being renovated and remodeled. Obviously, revitalization of Jekyll Island is beyond a few major new facilities; it is an island-wide movement!
As progress and revitalization continue, the balance between conservation and rejuvenation remains at the forefront of all of our efforts. It is our goal to breathe new life into Jekyll Island, while also maintaining the peaceful, untouched and unique spirit which has, for decades, made Jekyll Island a true treasure for the State of Georgia.
C. Jones Hooks
Posted on Apr 1, 2013 by Rob Sherrell |
I love me some UGA basketball. Always have, always will. It has been quite a painful ride lately. There have been several high points and a boatload of soul plundering losses! Stones reference. This season was puzzling. This team lost early to four really bad teams. Then thrived at the end of the year beating a lot of bad teams and a couple of good ones. With any luck in four unbelievably brutal losses, UGA could’ve finished the conference schedule anywhere from 10-8 to 13-5. That’s not bad. So I’m here to state the demise of the basketball program may be a bit overblown, if you will. Now I’m not a Fox homer. I whole-heartedly believe that every coach in all NCAA sports are replaceable at any given moment, with maybe the exception of all-world jackleg Nicky Satan and UGA superstar Jack Bauerle. Basically meaning, there’s always a chance someone’s better. And if UGA basketball can make an upgrade, by all means go for it. However, look before you leap.
Every time I read anything about Coach Fox online, I see Georgia fans bashing him because he can’t recruit. However, before we landed KCP, UGA hadn’t had a McDonald’s All-American since 1993. So Fox did in three full years of recruiting what five coaches, three of which are coaching legends in my opinion, did in 17 years. For a side note on that, I was told the AJC had a piece a few weeks back about how KCP’s high school coach didn’t want him to go to UGA. He wanted him to go to a good program, like Tennessee of Kentucky. Weren’t we 3-0 against those two schools this year? That’s a lot of resistance to still get the kid.
Also, last year everyone complained about UGA missing out on three instate studs. However, we’ve missed out on instate studs for 20 years obviously. Also, from what I remember at least two of them had UGA in their top two. It was basically UGA and someone else. Unfortunately, they went to someone else. But we were in the conversation. Plus, UCLA hired a guy from Atlanta with AAU ties to the kids we were recruiting to get them out of state. If your argument is Fox should hire a coach like that, then he may need to do that. But that will involve the athletic department spending additional money. So, again a lot of resistance.
Thus getting some guys like a KCP is the first step. The next step is start winning a few ball games. That should increase your image and then you get the players to win a few more basketball games. Now I realize if Fox wouldn’t have gotten KCP, we’d have been really, really bad this year. But, he got him.
One other thing a little puzzling to me is when I read how bad our program currently is. But it’s not in any worse condition, in my opinion, than it has been in the past. Durham was great. Tubby was great. Harrick was great when he was on the floor and keeping his son from program crushing mistakes. In between, there’ve been a lot of low points. More low points than high points I promise. Now without a doubt the next thing you tell me is look what Billy Donavan is doing in
Gainesville. And I agree it is amazing. He is rolling it out down there. And yet we’re 3-2 against them in Athens the last five years. We haven’t won down there since 2001, but a lot of teams haven’t. Whatever he’s doing is working and is exceptional. So I guess you want us to hire him because I don’t know of another Billy Donovan out there. Florida just hit the jackpot with Donovan and he’s brought Mickey D AAs from all over the country year after year. That tells me it can be done because he did it. But for every Donvan and Coach K, theres a Billy Gililispie and thousands of other coaches that don’t work out. So you can make the comparison and it’s 100% legit. But there’s also no doubt that Florida signed him not knowing what would happened and it’s worked out beyond their wildest dreams. But Auburn, Miss St, USC, etc have all hired coaches too and the outcomes are more closer to reality. A few years of sub-par performances and start the firing and hiring cycle all over.
I don’t want to waste anymore of your time, so I’ll make my last point.
Our fan base can take some heat on this as well. Fan support is spotty at best. I don’t get to go to as many games as I’d like. But I do go to every one I can. And really, I’d rather watch on my sofa so I can slam down some beers. But I feel obligated to show up and support if I’m going to add my two cents to any conversation about the program. My wife went to UNC. She’s blown away how empty the Stegasaurus is every time we go. I know the next argument is start winning and the fans will show. Again, I can’t argue that’s not right. But I was in a bar a few weeks ago and a special came on about an instate superstar going to
Kansas. I missed most of it, but one thing I heard is how crazy Allen Fieldhouse is during their games. He said that was one of the biggest selling points. Maybe the apathy at UGA is a direct result of not doing a good marketing job. I really don’t know. But I do know a rocking arena sold at least one kid.
And I don’t want to harp on this because it’s an intangible and who knows how big or little of an impact this really makes. But a sold out area can’t hurt. And I don’t mean a Kentucky game in Athens when blue is everywhere.
So some say it’s time to run Mark Fox out of town. Then, by all means, go ahead. Let’s just make sure we improve the position. With buyout contracts, coaching carousels, the necessity of perfect timing where the ideal coach opens up at the ideal time, the overall perception of a coach’s view of UGA and it’s fan support, it’s not easy. Plus, he’s not decimated a proud program. He’s merely kept a historically mediocre program where it historically sits, at the very least. In my opinion, he’s actually improved it and has it moving in the right direction. And again, I’m merely speaking as a fan that wants what’s best for the program. Earlier in the year when we lost some really bad games, I didn’t know if Fox would or should keep his job. But he righted the ship and finished strong with KCP’s acrobatics. I don’t think there’s anyway this team didn’t learn a lot this season. We relied heavily on some freshmen and they should only get better. If KCP comes back, you’ve got a decent team in a currently bad conference. We should have a solid six or seven man rotation. We’ve got to find a couple other contributors to spell some guys. If that happens, we’ve got a legitimate shot a making a post-season appearance. With the Big Dance a possibility. Then, we may even get some more instate superstars. After that, you may even go to some games and see what you’ve been retweeting may not be 100% true. So I vote Mark Fox easily deserves another year at least, unless you can workout something with Coach K or Donovan. Go Dawgs!
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2013 BI Issue Dates
February 26: 2013 Signing Day/Pre-spring
April 23: Spring Football
June 4: 2013 Football Preview
July 23: SEC Preview/Media Days
August 13: Fall Camp Update
August 27: Clemson
September 3: South Carolina
September 17: North Texas
September 24: LSU
October 1: Tennessee
October 8: Missouri
October 15: Vandy
October 29: Georgia/Florida
November 5: Appalachian State
November 12: Auburn
November 19: Kentucky
November 26: Tech
December 10: Bowl Preview