Posted on Feb 14, 2009 by Murray Poole |
Expectations are always high for the University of Georgia golf teams and that’s the case again this season as the Bulldog men’s and women’s squads seek to make strong runs in the SEC and NCAA tournaments.
Coach Chris Haack’s Bulldogs will be teeing up the 2009 season Feb. 27 in the Puerto Rico Shootout while the Georgia women of second-year head coach Kelley Hester have already kicked off the spring slate, having competed Feb. 8-10 at the Lady Puerto Rico Classic. The No. 7-ranked Bulldogs, who shared the first-round lead with TCU, struggled to a 308 in last Tuesday’s final round and slipped to third place in the 16-team field. Individually, freshman Marta Silva Zamora tied for fourth at 5-over 221, her third top-10 effort in five events this season.
The UGA men’s team would seem to have everything in place to deliver a third national title to Haack, whose 2005 and 1999 Bulldogs captured NCAA championships. The Bulldogs return the entire lineup that enabled Georgia to capture a third-place finish in the SEC last spring and then an eighth-place finish in the NCAAs. It was the Bulldogs’ fourth straight top-10 finish in the national tournament. Under Haack, Georgia has advanced to the NCAAs for 11 straight seasons.
Anchoring the Bulldogs this season are senior standouts Brian Harman, Adam Mitchell and Michael Green. Harman enters his final season in Athens as a two-time All-American while Mitchell is serving as the team captain following his All-America and All-SEC campaign in 2007-08.
“If Brian Harman can obviously play to his potential, he could be as good as anybody in the country,” said Haack. “And Adam Mitchell has shown the last couple of years he is as good as anybody. We just need those guys to play to their potential.”
Hudson Swafford, perhaps Georgia’s steadiest player last season with a final scoring average of 72.48, and Rob Bennett are the juniors on this year’s team, and returning sophomore standouts Russell Henley and Harris English are also anticipating big springs.
“All five of those guys (Harman, Mitchell, Swafford, Henley, English) are pretty equal,” said Haack. “They’re all very talented and can all win on any given week. To have a lineup where you really don’t know who’s going to carry your team that week, that just shows the depth we have one through five … where No. 5 is as good as the No. 1 guy.”
Haack is also high on a pair of Georgia freshmen, Patrick Reed and Will Kropp. “Those are two who have come in with a lot of expectations but the good thing is they can come in and don’t feel like they have to carry the team right away,” noted Haack. “They can just learn from these guys and it will make them better players down the road.”
Haack said the Bulldogs are coming off a strong fall season and hope to keep that momentum going in the spring matches. “Having gone through last year as the No. 1-ranked team and having high expectations, I think the guys now understand that being ranked No. 1 doesn’t guarantee you anything in this game,” he said. “The times we’ve been ranked No. 1, we didn’t win the (national) championship and the times we weren’t ranked No. 1, we’ve won it. We’ve just got to get to that week and have a good, solid weekend, give ourselves a chance and hope we get the right bounces. The two biggest tournaments are the SEC and the national championship and they’re the ones we want to win more than anything.”
While Georgia’s veteran experience is definitely the team’s strength, Haack said the weakness could be if the Bulldogs start putting too much pressure on themselves. “All of these guys are seasoned, accomplished players who have played in big tournaments,” he said. “They just don’t need to worry about outside distractions … about exterior things. If they just go and play golf, everything will take care of itself.”
Hester’s Georgia women are also coming off a third-place SEC tournament finish last season. In the NCAA tournament, the Bulldogs claimed 10th place. The Georgia women have posted top-10 finishes at nine of the last 11 NCAA Championships, including claiming the 2001 national title. From last year’s team, Georgia lost only one player to graduation but, it was a big one as Garrett Phillips ended her collegiate career with a third place finish in the NCAAs.
But the Georgia women then had an unexpected setback recently when returning sophomore standout Krystle Caithness decided to turn professional.
“Krystle went home to Scotland and finished seventh in the European qualifier for the Ladies European Tour,” said Hester. “Of course, we wish her the best but we lost one of our best players in Krystle, who had the lowest stroke average on the team.”
Hester, however, thinks all of her other returnees are capable of pacing the Bulldogs to big things this spring. Georgia is led by senior Mallory Hetzel, junior Carolina Andrade and freshman Marta Silva Zamora. “Mallory had a good fall and we’re looking for her to close out her college career in a good fashion,” said Hester. “Carolina has been very solid in my two years here and should continue to do that, and Marta had a very good fall and we’re really counting on her in a big way.
“Our other two positions will be filled by Tess Fordham, a freshman from Metter, and Leigh Crosby, who’s a junior from Athens and a transfer from Central Florida. And when Krystle left, we added another player at Christmas … Melissa Brody who’s a senior from Atlanta.”
Despite fielding a roster of only six players, Hester thinks her team can be a championship contender once again.
“I think our top three players are very good, as good as anybody else in the country,” she said. “We just need them to continue to perform at a high level. And obviously, one of the other two will really have to step up because we count four scores. I think a lack of depth would be our biggest weakness right now,” added Hester, “but we’re a very strong team. At the end of the fall, we were 7th in the Golfstat rankings and 9th in GolfWeek magazine. It’s just that because we are a little shorthanded this season, we have a smaller margin of error.”
Posted on Feb 12, 2009 by Vance Leavy |
Just in case some of you missed this over the last few days here is the greatest press release to occur during the Mark Richt era of Georgia football. With this move, the “Gotta Chuck It” offensive mentality could finally be coming to an end. Richt’s offense has been hell on SEC defenses between the 20 yard lines since he took over UGA football. But when the going gets tough in the Red Zone, unfortunately the UGA offense has sputtered, which is why I dubbed us “Field U” for many years.
Godspeed Stacy Searels!
ATHENS- University of Georgia offensive line coach Stacy Searels has added the duties of Running Game Coordinator to his list of responsibilities according to UGA head football coach Mark Richt.
“Stacy has actually been serving in that role to some degree this past season,” said Richt. “He’s been working very closely with Coach (Mike) Bobo and we decided to go ahead and make it official with the title.”
Searels just completed his second season on the Bulldogs staff after holding assistant coaching positions at LSU, Cincinnati, and Appalachian State. He is credited with molding a young offensive line into a successful unit the past two seasons despite numerous injuries and three freshman starters each year.
Searels is a former All-America offensive lineman at Auburn where he received both his undergraduate and graduate degree.
Posted on Feb 11, 2009 by Andrew Miller |
Mat drills started last week, and with that the focus turns toward the 2009 season. Oklahoma State is squarely in the bull’s-eye.
Did you know that UGA has played Ok. State three times in our illustrious history? The first two times we faced them they were called Oklahoma A & M and we did a home and home series in 1946 and 1947. We won both games. I wonder what the road trip to Stillwater was like back in 1947? If you made the trip you may have done so in an non-air conditioned Jeep Willys, Ford Pilot, or Chevy Pickup.
Of course, the third time we played them was the 2007 rout in Athens, which we all remember. That game feels like it was played just yesterday, but for some perspective it was actually 6 games PKS (pre-Knowshon starting).
The next Oklahoma State game is a mere 206 days away. Our Dawgs are sweating and burning right now in preparation. I am confident that they will be ready to continue our unblemished streak against those boys in the 10 gallon hats.
P.S. A ten gallon hat can actually hold less than 4 gallons. More like 3 quarts. Silly Cowboys.
Posted on Feb 10, 2009 by Cheri Leavy |
My friend Carol Thomas Harris (UGA 1977, BA Psychology) is an inspiration to me! Her latest gift back to our community is her involvement in mentoring a child at St. Simons Elementary School.
When I asked Carol why she mentors, she said, “I am a strong believer in community service and mentoring is one of the most fun and rewarding ways to give back. It is vital to have someone care about you. And to have someone care about you even though they are not paid to nor is it their job is very special.”
After observing a growing population of Hispanic students at the local elementary school and knowing a little Spanish, she asked to assist a student who might need extra help. She says, “It has been so fun to work one on one with a kindergarten student who loves to learn but needs more repetition due to language challenges.”
Carol adds, “I hope to work with him throughout his school years so that he has the skills he needs to be successful later in life. He loves learning and we make all our activities fun and educational. I probably look forward to our sessions more than he does!”
Good role models for today’s youth are needed. Consider volunteering your time to mentor a youth and be a cheerleader and encourager in their life. Who doesn’t need that?
I think the easiest way to connect to a mentoring program is to contact your local school system. The individual schools have programs that will match you with a youth and usually have some advice and training to get you started. Boys and Girls Clubs are another spot to check in with as they are always looking for volunteers. Be sure you are committed to taking time to follow through as these kids need a responsible caring adult that they can count on to show up and either help with homework or just bring a little surprise and a card on Valentine’s Day to show someone cares!
I have decided to go back to having an intern and mentoring in the workplace. As a former teacher, I love staying connected to youth and fostering career skills and confidence in business. I had several FABULOUS summer interns while I was Editor of Coastal Illustrated such as Lucye Jordan Magill (UGA 2004) and Angel Griffis (I taught her at Brunswick Highschool) and I am so proud of them now as adults! I have gotten in touch with the Grady School and look forward to finding another student to work with. Inevitably you learn as much from them as they from you.
Carol contacted me and giggled…is Herschel Walker being mentored by The Donald and Ivanka? Check out Herschel on The Apprentice starting March 1st…
Posted on Feb 9, 2009 by Austin Keeble |
Florida came away with another National Title and the Steelers won the Super Bowl – what now? Usually, this time of year I rely on College Basketball to catapult me into Spring, but the dismal state of the Dawgs is making things quite difficult. I seek solace in knowing that it can only get better from here and I have confidence in Damon Evans to find a great coach, but that won’t get me through February.
I’m dedicating this blog to things that are going to get me [and you] through February. First of all, Bulldogs Baseball is currently ranked No. 4 in the Collegiate Baseball Preseason Poll and open the 2009 season against Youngstown state on February 20th. The Diamond Dawgs return an impressive group from last year’s team, the runner-up in the College World Series [Bryce Massanari, Matt Cerione, Michael Demperio, Rich Poythress, Lyle Allen, Trevor Holder, Alex McRee, Will Harvil and Dean Weaver]. Coach Perno used the momentum created by the College World Series run to sign an excellent batch of incoming freshman that should contribute immediately in the absence of Gordon Beckham and Joshua Fields.
Don’t let February get you down. There’s lots of exciting events coming up in athletics and beyond. Also, there’s a lot to be said for supporting the Basketball Team during its darkest hour.
UGA Gymnastics GymDogs never disappoint. They have two home meets coming up:
Saturday, February 28th vs. Florida
Saturday March 14th vs. Michigan
February 18th Macon Film Festival Presents: Vince Dooley: Beyond Football
February 20th Vince Dooley: Ninth Annual Celebrity Roast
Sunday, February 22
Taste of Athens 5pm-8pm
Sample more than 50 local restaurants, plus beer and wine. A silent auction and live entertainment will accompany the event.
The UGA Alumni Association is putting on events this month [contact them for more details]:
Thursday, February 12
UGA’s “Entrepreneurs and Innovation” Summit
Our “Entrepreneurs and Innovation Summit” will provide attendees with insight into the innovation process along with practical advice about capital, protecting intellectual property and creating a culture that promotes innovative thinking.
Saturday, February 14
Fulton County Chapter-GA vs. FL Game Watching and Trivia
Come out for a fun day with fellow alums and help cheer on the Men’s Basketball team.
Tuesday, February 17
“Handling the Emotional Rollercoaster of Job Change”
Join us to gain valuable tips, support, and insight from guest speakers Richard Kirby, Career Coach, and his wife Dr. Robin Kirby, Psychologist.
Wednesday, February 18
UGA Read Aloud at Drew Charter School
Volunteer to read to children grades K-2nd.
Saturday, February 21
King Tut Exhibit at the Atlanta Civic Center
UGA Metro Atlanta Chapters will be offering discounted tickets to the “Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs.”
Saturday, February 21
Fulton County Chapter-Volunteering at Atlanta Community Food Bank
If you are interested in lending a helping hand, please contact Fulton County Community Service Coordinator,Emily Robinson.
Saturday, February 28
UGA Alumni Association Day with Gymnastics
The UGA Alumni Association has a block of 75 tickets for the Georgia/Florida gymnastics meet. You must be a member of the UGA Alumni Association to purchase tickets.
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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