Georgia Bulldogs: Nathan Theus

ATHENS, Ga. -- For football fans seeking tailgating or restaurant advice at a given road destination, visiting coaches and players are among the worst sources of information.

During the regular season, their road-trip schedule is extremely regimented -- and it leaves no time whatsoever for sightseeing. Visiting fans might be partying at the Grove in Oxford on game day or along Broadway in Nashville on Friday night, but the visiting players and coaches are locked away at the team hotel finalizing their game plans right up until time to bus to the stadium.

[+] EnlargeArthur Lynch
Rob Foldy/USA TODAY SportsA veteran of four Florida-Georgia games, Arthur Lynch gets one more trip to Jacksonville.
That's why bowl games are particularly fun for the team and staff -- and why the upcoming trip to Jacksonville, Fla., for the Jan. 1 TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl holds some intrigue for Georgia's players. They'll get a chance to actually experience for the first time one of the places most closely associated with Georgia football.

“You will get a chance to get out and see the city,” defensive end Ray Drew said. “I think that's why a lot of people look forward to the bowl game each year, just because it's a little more laid back rather than just flying in, going to the hotel, going to the game and flying back out. So you get a chance to relax a little bit more and just have fun. I think that's what bowl games are about. Of course it's a business trip, but you get to enjoy the city, as well.”

Drew is among a handful of Georgia players who have attended the annual Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville as a fan. He watched the Bulldogs lose in overtime as a high school senior, months before signing in February 2011 to join the Georgia program that fall.

Otherwise, the majority of the Bulldogs -- with the obvious exception of players like Jacksonville natives John and Nathan Theus -- know only bus ride over the city's Hart Bridge, when the throngs of fans and tailgate tents and the massive party outside of EverBank Field first come into view, when they think of Jacksonville.

Sure, they've heard about the elbow-to-elbow crowds at the Jacksonville Landing and know all about the massive fraternity and sorority parties that weekend on the beaches at St. Simons Island. They usually don't get to enjoy the social aspect of the game, however, until their careers are over.

So while a BCS bowl would have been a preferable destination, getting to enjoy Jacksonville is one consolation for the Bulldogs.

“It's tough when you're limited to the bowl games when you don't reach your goals originally, you want to be optimistic and look for the best in every situation,” said senior tight end Arthur Lynch, who also attended the 2010 Georgia-Florida game as a fan while redshirting that season. “For me, it was like, 'If we get to go to Jacksonville or we get to go to the [Georgia] Dome, we've played in both those places before and it kind of gave me extra incentive to want to be at that specific bowl -- not necessarily who we're playing or what bowl it was, but the idea of the location.”

Although few of the players have been out and about in the city, Jacksonville will certainly have a home-town feel for the Bulldogs. Situated close to the Georgia-Florida border, the city boasts a sizable UGA alumni base that should turn out for the Bulldogs' first Gator Bowl appearance since 1989.

“It's definitely a city where there's a lot of Georgia fans there, there's a Georgia fan base there and a lot of alums that are connected to the city. So I have no problem wanting to go see the city for a week,” Lynch said. “Bowl trips are fun no matter what. They make it so it's enjoyable and to see the other side of Jacksonville I think will be pretty cool.”

For Drew, a junior who will be playing in a third-consecutive Florida-based bowl, he already knows where he wants to play around this time next season when he's wrapping up his college career.

“I'd say Dallas, Texas,” Drew said, although he meant nearby Arlington, which will host the inaugural College Football Championship Game next season. “That's where the national will be next year, so yeah, I'm going with that.”
ATHENS, Ga. -- One of the prevailing images from last Saturday's win against Tennessee was Georgia's players dogpiling on top of Marshall Morgan to celebrate his game-winning 42-yard field goal in overtime.

It capped a day where the sophomore claimed the SEC's special teams player of the week award for the second straight week after booting the longest field goal in Neyland Stadium history, a 56-yarder in the first quarter, and the game-winner in OT. But it wasn't much fun to be in Morgan's position at the time.

[+] EnlargeMarshall Morgan
AP Photo/Wade PayneGeorgia kicker Marshall Morgan kicked a 56-yard field goal against Tennessee, the longest on the road in school history.
“I was trying to get them off me,” said Morgan, whose Bulldogs (4-1, 3-0 SEC) host Missouri (5-0, 1-0) on Saturday. “That's a lot of weight. I've got asthma.”

Otherwise, the Bulldogs' special-teams effort was memorable for the wrong reasons, continuing what has been a season-long trend. Collin Barber had a punt blocked for a touchdown -- the second time that has happened this season -- and Blake Sailors received a five-yard penalty for defensive delay of game after Georgia forced a third-quarter punt, giving Tennessee a fourth-and-1 that prompted the Volunteers to instead go for a first down.

Vols running back Rajion Neal then broke a 43-yard run that set up his game-tying touchdown run when Georgia's defense could have been off the field if not for the rarely-seen penalty.

“If you make a movement that it looks like you're trying to get somebody to jump offsides, if they jump offsides, it's on the defense. It's on us in that case,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “I've never really seen that happen before and it was pretty crucial, obviously. We had a great stop and they were in a position to punt. I think it was a fourth-and-1 or less and they get the long run. A lot of bad plays happened after that point, and we learned a lesson. Can't do it.”

Quayvon Hicks -- one of three protectors in Georgia's punt shield lineup along with Arthur Lynch and Josh Dawson -- said there was a miscommunication on the play and accepted blame for the Tennessee block.

“I put that all on me,” Hicks said. “I would say it was a miscommunication, but it was something that could have been prevented. It will be something that we're really working on, especially me as a player, to make sure that it doesn't happen in the future.”

Hicks could have saved the day if he had blocked Jalen Reeves-Maybin before he darted through to deflect Barber's punt, but front-line blocker Leonard Floyd also barely got a hand on Reeves-Maybin.

Their collective whiff allowed the Tennessee rusher to break through, and Lynch said the decibel level in Neyland Stadium played a direct role in the miscommunication.

“It's so much easier going out and practicing and doing it, even if it's full-speed practice because you kind of have that communication barrier and it really was a lot louder than I think a lot of people thought,” Lynch said. “Lucas Redd looked at me and was like, 'I had to read your lips.' That was one of the things that you just can't have those types of setbacks. I think we've cleaned it up.”

A skeptic might point out that Georgia has vowed to clean up its special-teams errors several times recently, only to see another mistake lead to an opponent touchdown. Asked what he thinks the team needs to do to remedy those miscues, Hicks was direct in his response.

“It's really not what we think, it's what we're going to do,” Hicks said. “Thinking, that's a part of football that really doesn't matter. I think Coach can only do so much. I know we're a very close team, so we're going to do what we have to do this week to make sure that not only in the Missouri game, but here on out, that that doesn't happen anymore. It's just something that could have been prevented. It could have cost us the game.”

That seems to be the message that Richt is imparting to his club, as well. Georgia's errors in the kicking game are simply a quality-control issue, where a lack of attention to detail has allowed opponents to steal easy points.

A shaky snap might have cost Georgia the game in its lone loss. The Bulldogs are fortunate that their ensuing mistakes weren't so costly, but they know their luck will likely run out if they don't fix the problems -- and keep them fixed.

“Us as coaches, we've got to do a better job of simulating what's going to happen in the game and coaching and teaching properly where these guys can be more dependable,” Richt said. “So it's a two-way street. Coaches gotta coach better, for sure, and the players have got to take on their responsibilities and take care of business.

“That's the way it is in life, so we're learning the hard way, and just by the grace of God the two times we had blocked punts, we still won the game. But the margin for error is just getting slimmer and slimmer.”

ATHENS, Ga. -- Arthur Lynch refused to let snapper Nathan Theus remain the only scapegoat after North Texas blocked a Georgia punt for a touchdown, the fourth huge special teams error by the Bulldogs in three games.

Although Theus' snap was high -- an error that led Georgia's coaching staff to replace him with Trent Frix later in the game -- senior punt protector Lynch said he misdiagnosed what the Mean Green's rushers were preparing to do and shifted the Bulldogs' coverage.

“That was my fault,” Lynch said. “I should have shifted the protection to the left. The snap and the punter had nothing to do with that. If I would have just gotten the protection corrected … I'll put that on me. We'll correct that.

“It's unfortunate, I knew what was going on and I should have called timeout so we could have shifted it. And that's inexcusable, especially for the fact that I've been doing it for three years.”

No. 9 Georgia (2-1) thoroughly dominated Saturday's game statistically, but two special teams touchdowns by North Texas -- the Mean Green also returned a kickoff for a 99-yard score -- helped make it 21-all early in the third quarter.

It continued a string of early mishaps in the kicking game -- Theus' high snap late in the third quarter against Clemson prevented the Bulldogs from attempting a potential game-tying 20-yard field goal, plus punter Collin Barber dropped a snap in the second quarter against South Carolina, setting up a short touchdown drive – that form an alarming trend.

[+] EnlargeNorth Texas
Dale Zanine/USA TODAY SportsNorth Texas players celebrate after a blocked punt resulted in a touchdown against Georgia.
“We've probably had 100 special teams plays by now, but you just hate that the bad ones have been really bad,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said.

The timing of those errors might be useful for Georgia's coaches, however, considering the opponent preparing to visit on Saturday. Traditionally dangerous on special teams, players from No. 6 LSU (4-0) are no doubt excited over the possibility of making a game-changing play off a return or fake kick against the Bulldogs.

That's a convenient reminder where Richt's coaching staff can reinforce the importance of special teams in this week's practices.

“It's OK to be on high alert this week, so maybe it will help us,” Richt said.

The older players on Georgia's roster probably don't need the reminder on how LSU's return teams can shift the course of a game. The last time these teams played, in the 2011 SEC championship game, LSU punt returner Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu helped swing a game that Georgia controlled early with a 62-yard touchdown return and helped turn it into a rout with a 47-yard runback later in the game.

Mathieu is now in the NFL, but the Tigers' current return specialist, Odell Beckham Jr., is nearly as explosive.

“Unfortunately for us, we've seen what their return teams can do: The Honey Badger,” Lynch said.

Auburn didn't give Beckham many opportunities to break a long return on Saturday night. He was able to return just one kickoff and one punt thanks to Auburn's deep and high kicks, neutralizing an explosive player who returned a missed UAB field goal 109 yards for a touchdown earlier this season.

There were still a couple of big special teams plays on Saturday, however -- one that helped LSU and one that hurt. Auburn punter Steven Clark dropped a snap and dove on the ball for a 16-yard loss at his own 10 early in the game, setting up an LSU touchdown on the next play that helped the Tigers go up 14-0.

Leading 28-7 in the third quarter, LSU coach Les Miles elected to fake a field goal at Auburn's 14. Seth Fruge ran 8 yards on the fake, but was stopped short of a first down. Auburn then drove 94 yards for a touchdown that made it a more competitive game, although LSU still won 35-21.

That aggressiveness is part of the reason the Bulldogs know they can't afford to keep making sloppy errors in the kicking game.

“We've just had a couple of off calls. I'm not worried about it,” said Barber, who averaged 49.8 yards per punt against North Texas. “I trust my protection, pride team. We're going to be the best. There's no doubt in my mind that we can't fix it and get it better by LSU.”

That could mean using different personnel on the coverage units, Richt said, beyond simply using Frix as the punt snapper -- although he said it's likely that change will remain in place this week.

“Your center can't afford to be spraying one a game. You can't afford it,” Richt said. “It's got to be on the money. It's got to be where it's supposed to be when it's supposed to be there.”

The coaches will make those decisions this week after reviewing what went wrong -- as well as what went right -- against the Mean Green. And Richt made the point on his Sunday teleconference that there has been more right than wrong.

“We'd been really covering kicks extremely well all year long and then you get one like that [touchdown],” he said. “You might think it's broken, but it's really not broken. We've just got to go back to doing what we've been doing all year long and that's placing the ball where we want it and getting guys down there covering it, being in the right spots and making the play when they get there.”

The Bulldogs would do themselves an enormous favor if they get back to doing that on Saturday. Beckham is one of the nation's most dangerous all-purpose performers and he will absolutely exploit any crack in Georgia's kick coverage schemes.

Cleaning up those mistakes was one of the first objectives when the Bulldogs began preparing for LSU on Sunday afternoon.

“Trust me, we know what kind of guys they've got,” Lynch said. “… Special teams will be a deciding factor in this game, I think.”

Five key points: UGA-Clemson

September, 1, 2013
9/01/13
9:00
AM ET
CLEMSON, S.C. -- Let’s take a look at five factors to consider in Georgia's 38-35 loss at Clemson on Saturday, and let's look ahead as well.

[+] EnlargeTodd Gurley
Allen Kee/ESPN ImagesDespite an injury, Todd Gurley still rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns in Georgia's loss.
1. Injuries hurt Bulldogs: Georgia rolled up 35 points and outgained Clemson 545 yards to 467. It did so without All-SEC tailback Todd Gurley available for a chunk of the game and also without receiver Malcolm Mitchell for nearly the entire game.

Not that Bulldogs coach Mark Richt was willing to use that as an excuse afterward.

“Moving the ball’s fun and all that, but winning the game’s what it’s about,” Richt said. “We’re not going to celebrate that.”

Gurley and Marshall actually sustained their injuries on the same play, with potentially devastating effects for the Bulldogs. Gurley strained his quad while completing a 75-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and then Mitchell suffered a right knee injury during the post-touchdown celebration.

“He got hurt after Gurley scored and in the end zone, [Mitchell] jumped up to celebrate with him,” Richt said. “When he came down, he hurt his knee.”

Richt was unsure about the status of either player for next Saturday’s South Carolina game, although he said of Mitchell’s injury that “I’ve got a feeling his might be worse than Todd’s.”

2. Gurley still runs tough: Despite the injury, Gurley returned to the game -- to his coach’s surprise -- and ran effectively in the second half.

“I really was surprised he came back into the game to be honest with you,” Richt said. “He came back earlier in the game after that and just was not effective at all. He came back later in the game and was able to do a little bit more of what Todd is capable of.”

After rushing four times for 81 yards in the first half, Gurley carried eight times for 73 more yards after intermission, finishing with 154 yards and two touchdowns. And he did much of that damage on runs between the tackles.

According to ESPN Stats and Information, Gurley ran 11 times for 142 on designed runs between the tackles, including three runs of 10 yards or more. Unfortunately for Georgia, the rest of the Bulldogs ran 19 times for 75 yards on between-the-tackles runs, with only 14 coming in the second half (2.0 ypc).

3. Young defense struggles: Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said afterward that he was pleased with the effort shown by the many newbies in his lineup, but lamented that many of their mistakes -- such as missed tackles and a blown coverage on a wheel route -- were typical of inexperienced players.

Perhaps the most costly missed tackle came in the first quarter when Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins broke away from Damian Swann’s tackle attempt and went 77 yards for a touchdown. But that wasn’t the only example.

ESPN Stats and Information reports that Watkins accounted for 102 yards after the catch against Georgia -- the third-best YAC game of his career trailing the 137 and 105 he posted against Auburn and Florida State, respectively, in 2011.

4. Murray’s turnovers costly: Georgia raced up and down the field in the first quarter, but a number of protection issues hurt the Bulldogs and quarterback Aaron Murray in the second.

Clemson accounted for three of its four sacks in the second quarter alone -- and one of them led to a Tigers touchdown. Stephone Anthony knocked the ball away from Murray at the Georgia 20 and Spencer Shuey recovered at the 16. Five plays later, the Tigers scored a touchdown to make it 21-all.

“The fumble was unfortunate,” Richt said. “We’ve got to squeeze the ball better. That was a tough turnover right there, and it cost us a short field and seven points.”

Georgia was soon in prime scoring position after Justin Scott-Wesley recovered a Watkins punt fumble at the Clemson 30, but Tigers defensive end Corey Crawford surprised Murray by dropping into coverage and picking off Murray’s first-down pass at the 17.

Richt credited Clemson and Crawford for a good play call and an outstanding play on the interception.

Clemson punted after the second Murray turnover, but the Tigers had stifled one of the Bulldogs’ best scoring opportunities of the quarter.

“As [Murray] let the ball loose, he didn’t see the guy on the back side -- and off of a play fake … it’s not like you dropped back in the pocket and can see the whole field. So he just did a good job of being in the right spot and made a nice catch.”

5. Win no longer probable after botched FG: This season ESPN is introducing a number of new methods of statistically analyzing the sport -- one of which measures win probability through the course of the game.

Find an explanation of the set of new metrics here:

Clemson held the advantage for most of the game, although Georgia became the more likely victor -- with a 53-percent likelihood of victory -- late in the third quarter when it trailed 31-28 and earned first-and-goal at the Clemson 5. When the Bulldogs failed to reach the end zone after three straight runs, their win probability dropped to 40 percent. And when holder Adam Erickson couldn’t corral Nathan Theus’ high snap on a potential 20-yard, game-tying field goal, Georgia’s chances for victory dropped to 30 percent.

Georgia trimmed Clemson’s lead to three points late in the final period, but that missed opportunity late in the third was the Bulldogs’ best chance to seize the game, according to ESPN’s new metric.

Sloppy play costs Georgia in opener

September, 1, 2013
9/01/13
2:55
AM ET


CLEMSON, S.C. -- Although it’s easy to point to a botched field goal try as the difference in No. 5 Georgia’s 38-35 loss to No. 8 Clemson on Saturday, the Bulldogs know there was more to it than that.

“I thought we did some good things and we did some things to get you beat,” said Georgia coach Mark Richt, whose team has no time to lick its wounds with a game against No. 6 South Carolina on tap next Saturday. “We’ll find out how good we are next week.”

There were penalties from the Bulldogs on Saturday. One of the nation’s most-penalized teams over the last several years, Georgia had nine for 84 lost yards against Clemson -- including two costly infractions in the fourth quarter that short-circuited the Bulldogs’ comeback attempt.

There were two turnovers by quarterback Aaron Murray -- a fumble and an interception -- in the second quarter that took the wind out of the Georgia offense’s sails after accounting for 218 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter alone.

And there was a simple lack of execution at some crucial junctures that altered a game the Bulldogs certainly could have won.

“We did a lot of good things tonight, but there were a lot of things that we didn’t do so well -- some first-game mistakes and they ended up costing us there in the game,” said Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, whose team accumulated 545 yards of total offense, but surrendered four sacks and two turnovers. “But I just told the guys we ran out of time there at the end and it hurts, but we’ve got to look at the tape, we’ve got to correct and we’ve got to get better.”

The sequence that led to the botched field goal was particularly costly. Georgia earned first-and-goal at the Clemson 5 after a 35-yard completion to Chris Conley late in the third quarter. The Bulldogs then ran three straight running plays -- a 2-yard run by Keith Marshall, a 1-yard run by Todd Gurley and a third-down dive for no gain by Quayvon Hicks -- before settling for a 20-yard field goal try by Patrick Beless that would have tied the score at 31-all.

One problem: On his first field goal snap of the season, new snapper Nathan Theus shot the ball high to holder Adam Erickson, who was unable to corral the snap and was forced to fall on it for a 6-yard loss.

That was an enormous letdown after Georgia had battled its way back into the game and failed to gain the equalizer.

“Momentum is a big thing and that was huge momentum for us, a big boost for our guys,” Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “That turned out to be one of the deciding plays of the game, obviously.”

As were the plays that immediately preceded it, since they could have given Georgia its first lead since Hicks’ 1-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter.

“We had to get points in the red zone coming in and we wanted touchdowns and we weren’t able to do it right there,” Bobo said. “We ran the ball down there and I wanted to keep running it and I’ve got to look at the tape. We just didn’t execute what we had called and unfortunately we didn’t get the three points. That happens. We still had a chance to win after that, so we had our opportunities and just penalties killed us there on the next couple of drives.”

Even after the field goal mistake, Georgia’s defense forced a Clemson three-and-out, with a punt giving Georgia possession at its 43 early in the fourth quarter. The Bulldgos were quickly flagged for a devastating 15-yard penalty for chop blocking, however, and ended up punting.

Clemson scored on the next drive to go up 38-28 midway through the quarter, making a holding penalty that nullified a 14-yard Gurley run on the Dawgs’ ensuing drive even more costly, as another Georgia punt there nearly put the game out of reach.

The Bulldogs drove for a quick touchdown late in the fourth quarter, but when they failed to recover an onside kick and had already used all of their timeouts, Clemson was able to run out the clock and walk away victorious.

“We killed ourselves with penalties tonight,” Murray said. “It’s tough to convert third-and-long. Penalties are a big reason why we lost tonight.”

With the loss, Georgia finds itself in a fairly familiar position, which might have been why there seemed to be little panic within the Bulldog contingent during postgame interviews.

The Bulldogs dropped their first two games of 2011, including their SEC opener against South Carolina, and finished the regular season with a 10-game winning streak. They took a 35-7 pounding last season at South Carolina and once again won out.

Both times they earned a spot in the SEC championship game by claiming the Eastern Division title. And next Saturday will still play a major role in whether they can return to Atlanta for a third straight season, regardless of what happened against Clemson.

“I don’t see anybody in there ready to jump off a bridge or anything,” Richt said. “I think they all know that happens in football if you play a really good football team and you get beat. And if you do, then you move on and you continue to play well and you get better and you make corrections. We’re still learning a lot about this team.”

Post-spring review: Special teams 

April, 27, 2013
4/27/13
7:00
AM ET
Editor’s note: DawgNation's post-spring positional analysis continues this week after focusing on the offense last week. Today we examine the special teams players:

Returning players/stats: K Marshall Morgan, So. (8-14 FG, 63-67 PAT, 87 points); P Collin Barber, So. (60 punts, 2,488 yards, 41.5 yards per punt), P Adam Erickson, Jr. (8-296, 37.0 ypp); KOR Malcolm Mitchell, Jr. (16 returns, 360 yards, 22.5 yards per return); KOR Todd Gurley, So. (7-243, 34.7 ypr, 1 TD); PR Mitchell (11-57, 5.2); PR Rhett McGowan, Sr. (9-75, 8.3); PR Damian Swann, Jr. (5-37, 7.4) S Nathan Theus, So.

Newcomers: Tramel Terry, Fr. (ESPN's No. 89 overall prospect of 2013. No. 9 athlete. Enrolled in January); Reggie Davis, Fr. (No. 45 wide receiver. Expected to enroll this summer); J.J. Green, Fr. (No. 58 CB. Enrolled in January); Rico Johnson, Fr. (No. 122 WR. Expected to enroll this summer)

Watch List TE takes in Georgia 

March, 13, 2013
3/13/13
10:00
AM ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- ESPN Watch List tight end Jeb Blazevich (Charlotte, N.C./Charlotte Christian) is known for his eloquence and thoughtful answers when discussing his high-profile recruitment. Always respectful and diplomatic, Blazevich responds to inquiries with a skilled precision that any politician would envy. But when asked whether he could sum up his recent visit to Georgia in a hypothetical tweet, Blazevich shifted gears and demonstrated his knack for brevity.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Recruiting rivalries: Georgia vs. Florida 

December, 4, 2012
12/04/12
10:42
AM ET
Georgia’s recent success against Florida has been a long time in coming. The Bulldogs had not beaten the Gators in back-to-back seasons in more than two decades, dating back to 1988-89. Florida has an 18-5 record over Georgia since 1990 so the rivalry has been mostly one-sided. But thanks to some recruiting success, Mark Richt has turned the annual showdown in Jacksonville, Fla., back into one of the most highly contested battles of the year.

And he did it with some ringers from the Sunshine State.

Quarterback Aaron Murray has struggled against the Gators but is 2-1 in his career against them. In his first win he completed four passes to tight end Orson Charles of Tampa, Fla. All-SEC kicker Blair Walsh, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., always said the Florida game was the biggest of the year and he scored 22 points against the Gators in his career. Keeping Murray upright this year was a freshman from Jacksonville, right tackle John Theus.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

'Dream Team' class gets results 

November, 2, 2012
11/02/12
9:00
AM ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- Recruiting battles matter. The results are almost always indicative of what future success a program can expect. Georgia is hoping that the fierce battles it won in 2010 will continue to pay dividends going forward.

On signing day 2011, the Bulldogs received letters of intent from 26 members of the “Dream Team” recruiting class --a moniker that Mark Richt bestowed on that year's signees. Despite having lost seven members of that class to transfers, dismissals and academic ineligibility, the Dream Team is 2-0 against Florida with one SEC East title to its credit and another title within reach this season.

Prior to that class, Georgia had a 14-12 record during the previous two seasons, including the program’s first losing season under Richt. He and his staff hit the recruiting trail hard in 2010 and the results have been obvious.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

UGA-UF: Top 10 recruiting battles 

October, 24, 2012
10/24/12
12:00
PM ET
The Florida-Georgia rivalry doesn't just take place in Jacksonville. The two schools compete all year long on the recruiting trail around the Southeast. Kipp Adams of DawgNation and Derek Tyson of GatorNation take a look at ten of the top battles for blue-chip players, five from each school's perspective.


Georgia

DT Marcus Stroud (Thomasville, Ga./Brooks County): The year was 1996. Florida was coming off six straight wins over the Bulldogs and to make matters worse, the Gators had a verbal commitment from elite Peach State defensive tackle prospect Marcus Stroud. Gators WR Jacquez Green was Stroud’s host during his official visit to Florida, and he felt Stroud was definitely going to be playing for the Gators. Signing day arrived, and what happened then became one of the all-time recruiting surprises of the past two decades, with Stroud switching his commitment to Georgia. Stroud’s Sports Illustrated cover energized a fanbase looking for any glimmer of hope against their rival in Gainesville. The next year, alongside starting quarterback and future offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, Stroud helped end the losing streak against Florida in 1997. The No. 13 overall selection in the 2001 NFL Draft, Stroud played in the NFL for more a decade, earning three Pro-Bowl/All-Pro selections in 2003, 2004 and 2005.

DT Jeff Owens (Plantation, Fla/Plantation): The 6-2, 265-pound defensive lineman took official visits to Florida, FSU, Georgia, Oklahoma and Virginia Tech, and ultimately chose the Bulldogs -- although his father wanted him to stay in-state and play for the Gators. Owens went on to start 37 games at Georgia, making 102 tackles, five sacks, 13 tackles for loss, two fumbles forced, two fumbles recovered and three pass breakups.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Notebook: Defense wants better starts

September, 19, 2012
9/19/12
8:55
PM ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- With suspensions and injuries damaging Georgia’s defensive depth, perhaps it is no surprise that the Bulldogs have started slowly on defense in two games thus far.

Senior defensive back Sanders Commings -- who along with outside linebacker Chase Vasser missed the first two games on suspension -- said the absences of key players produced the majority of the early busted assignments. Although Commings and Vasser returned for last Saturday’s game against Florida Atlantic, the Bulldogs were still without suspended All-America safety Bacarri Rambo and linebacker Alec Ogletree.

That, Commings said, is part of the reason opponents have already scored three touchdowns of 40-plus yards in three games, where the Bulldogs’ stout 2011 defense allowed only two touchdowns of that length in 14 games.

Further, they have already allowed 11 plays that covered 25 yards or more -- five to Buffalo and three each to Missouri and Florida Atlantic.

(Read full post)

Notebook: Patience pays off for Lynch 

September, 17, 2012
9/17/12
9:32
PM ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- Arthur Lynch preached patience last week when discussing how Georgia’s tight ends had just one reception to their credit in the Bulldogs’ first two games.

Lynch’s patience finally paid off in Saturday night’s win against Florida Atlantic, with the junior catching three passes for 73 yards and his first college touchdown. And he could have finished with four grabs for 101 yards, but a holding penalty against center David Andrews canceled out a 28-yard Lynch catch in the third quarter.

“All my guys, all my friends and random fraternity guys on campus would be like, ‘You guys have got to come on. Tight ends, tight ends.’ It was like, ‘Be patient guys. It’ll happen.’ And it did. We had some great plays called and we executed them when we had to.”

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Around the Hedges in 80 Days: N. Theus 

August, 23, 2012
8/23/12
8:33
AM ET
Nine days remain until Georgia kicks off its season opener against Buffalo on Sept. 1. In the days counting down to the opener, DawgNation will profile, with our “Around the Hedges in 80 Days” series, a Bulldogs player we expect to make an impact. We will review each player’s career thus far and project his long-term potential as we progress through our alphabetical list, from center David Andrews to receiver Rantavious Wooten.

9. Nathan Theus
Redshirt freshman, Long snapper
6-foot-3, 249 pounds



To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Preseason previews: Special teams 

August, 1, 2012
8/01/12
8:30
AM ET

Editor’s note: With Georgia set to open preseason camp on Thursday, DawgNation will break down each position group and the storylines to watch in August. After examining Georgia’s offensive and defensive position groups, we complete the series today with the Bulldogs’ special teams units.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Dawg Blawg: Signee John Theus 

May, 18, 2012
5/18/12
9:44
AM ET
In less than a month, ESPN 150 offensive lineman John Theus (Jacksonville, Fla./Bolles) will arrive in Athens and begin the next stage in his life as a college student athlete. The 6-foot-6, 295-pound prospect chose the Bulldogs over programs like Florida, FSU and Notre Dame, and his addition gives Mark Richt a much needed talent boost to the offensive line with the graduation of starters Cordy Glenn, Justin Anderson and Ben Jones. In this feature, Theus discusses his journey from Jacksonville to Athens.

[+] EnlargeJohn Theus
Courtesy Paul TheusJacksonville (Fla.) Bolles High OL John Theus was the first to make it official in signing with Georgia on national signing day.
It’s weird to think about where I came from, to where I am now. It seems like it was just yesterday that I was a freshman at 265 pounds and it was my first day of summer workouts. Now I am less than 30 days away from leaving my house for Athens. The last part of my senior year has definitely been a little hectic but also a lot of fun. We just had our senior prom a few weeks ago and with only a couple days of school left, all of my senior friends are ready to head out. I have mixed emotions about leaving home seeing because of how close I am to my family.

But don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely excited about being in Athens with my brother, Nathan, and all the friends I already have up there. Nathan actually is back home now, so my real training for UGA has begun. The workouts that I have been doing are the ones that Coach T [Joe Tereshinski] sent to all of the signees. They are some of the toughest workouts I have done but I know I need them in order to prepare for the 6:30 a.m. summer workouts the best I can.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

SPONSORED HEADLINES

The top five freshmen in the SEC
The SEC Network highlights the best freshmen football players from the SEC this year.
VIDEO PLAYLIST video

SEC SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/20
Monday, 12/22
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Saturday, 1/10
Monday, 1/12