Georgia Bulldogs: Ty Frix

Georgia at the quarter pole

September, 24, 2013
Aaron MurrayDaniel Shirey/USA TODAY SportsAaron Murray answered his critics against South Carolina.

Believe it or not, we just completed the fourth week of college football season and are already a quarter of the way into the 2013 campaign. Let's take a moment to review where No. 9 Georgia's season stands at the quarter pole.

Best game: Let's call it a tie between Georgia's 38-35 shootout loss at Clemson to open the season and the 41-30 victory over South Carolina the following week. Both games featured big plays, offense galore and a couple of well-timed turnovers – or a late turnover on downs in the South Carolina game – that helped determine the outcome. The two early tests were good preparation for this Saturday's showdown against No. 6 LSU.

Best player: If you want to argue that Aaron Murray has been the Bulldogs' best player so far, I won't argue much. Murray leads the SEC with an average of 346.7 passing yards per game and has thrown seven touchdown passes against two interceptions. But give me Todd Gurley. Georgia's star tailback hasn't been 100 percent healthy, but he dominated much of the Clemson game and throughout against South Carolina. He leads the SEC with an average of 125.7 rushing yards per game and will need to be at his best for Georgia to topple the Tigers on Saturday.

Best performance: Let's show Murray some love here. After the Clemson loss, he faced the same old criticism about how he doesn't show up in big games – despite his passing for 323 yards and completing 20 of 29 passes against the Tigers. A week later, those critics were silent after Murray picked apart South Carolina's secondary with one of the most impressive performances of his career. The senior finished 17-for-23 for 309 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions and was one of the leading factors in Georgia earning an enormous SEC East victory.

Best surprise: Freshman outside linebacker Leonard Floyd generated buzz with his impressive play in August and that solid preseason translated into an immediate starting role. He held down Josh Harvey-Clemons' nickel role against Clemson while Harvey-Clemons was suspended and has shifted back to linebacker in the last two games. Floyd registered the first two sacks of his career against North Texas and now leads the team in that statistic. He also has a team-high seven quarterback hurries, providing a nice pass-rushing complement to fellow outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins.

Biggest disappointment: Georgia's special-teams play has been problematic at points. The Bulldogs lost return specialist Malcolm Mitchell to a season-ending knee injury in the opener and are replacing four-year starter Ty Frix at snapper. Frix's absence has been the issue on two of the four big blunders in the kicking game to date: a high snap that prevented the Bulldogs from attempting the game-tying field goal against Clemson and another high snap that preceded a blocked punt for a touchdown against North Texas. As Coach Mark Richt pointed out, Georgia has been sound on the vast majority of its special teams plays, but “the bad ones have been really bad.”

Post-spring review: Special teams 

April, 27, 2013
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)

Unlike '08, Dogs didn't let loss beat them 

November, 27, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. -- The nine remaining players from Georgia’s 2008 team no doubt experienced similar feelings following their loss to Alabama that season to the ones they encountered after a 35-7 loss to South Carolina in early October.

Like the preseason No. 1 team that fell behind the Crimson Tide 31-0 by halftime, this season’s Bulldogs carried enormous expectations into their game in Columbia only to crash spectacularly. The difference, however, is that they dusted themselves off after the embarrassing loss this time and didn’t allow it to ruin the season like the 41-30 loss to Alabama did four seasons ago.

“When we lost that South Carolina game, I told everybody this will be identical to the ’08 season unless we win that Florida game, unless we grab everything back and go in a different direction,” said Christian Robinson, a senior linebacker who redshirted in 2008. “It really has been different because we could have easily hopped back up in the rankings. We lost to an Alabama team that won every game until they lost to Florida [in the 2008 SEC championship game].

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Richt: 'We need to evaluate everything' 

October, 10, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. -- Asked after Wednesday’s practice to offer a midseason report card for his coaching staff, Georgia coach Mark Richt said last Saturday’s 35-7 loss at South Carolina didn’t necessarily spoil what had been an otherwise exciting first half.

But it definitely created reason to reassess what the Bulldogs’ coaches and players should have done differently.

“Overall I think we’ve coached really well. A lot of really good things have been happening,” said Richt, whose team dropped from No. 5 to 14 in the Associated Press Top 25 after the loss. “But when you lose a game the way we did, we need to evaluate everything.”

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Fan response encourages Lynch 

October, 9, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. -- The last thing Arthur Lynch wanted to do when he returned home from his team’s 35-7 drubbing at South Carolina was clean up a house and front yard that had been egged and rolled with toilet paper.

And yet that’s what Georgia’s tight end found himself doing at 3 a.m. Sunday, when he and roommates Aaron Murray, Christian Robinson, Ty Frix and Dustin Royston returned to see their home had been vandalized after the Bulldogs’ disappointing loss. Robinson -- who has more than 10,000 followers on Twitter -- tweeted about the mess, so Lynch decided to clean up the mess immediately before it became a spectacle.

“[Robinson is] the social media king over there, so when it went on Twitter, I was like, ‘OK, this is going to get a little out of hand.’ I didn’t want anyone to see,” Lynch said after Tuesday’s practice. “I’m glad I cleaned it up when I cleaned it up, just because it’s one of those things. It’s your home. If someone put stuff on Halloween on your home, you’d just be a little offended, but I didn’t take it personal, and I don’t think any one of us really did.”

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ATHENS, Ga. -- There are few examples in Aaron Murray’s tenure as Georgia’s starting quarterback of his mistakes playing a leading role in a Bulldogs loss.

One such example comes from last season’s 45-42 defeat at the hands of South Carolina, when Murray had an interception returned for a touchdown, a fumble returned for a touchdown and did not successfully complete a handoff with tailback Isaiah Crowell, resulting in a fumble that Gamecocks cornerback Stephon Gilmore returned to near the UGA goal line, setting up yet another touchdown.

While Murray’s miscues certainly were not the only ones by a Georgia player that afternoon, the quarterback still cringes as he reviews the plays he’d love to take back; plays that contributed to the Bulldogs losing an eminently winnable game.

“When you go back to watch the film, as preparation, as aid, it’s still painful to watch,” Murray said. “I don’t like to watch it too much.”

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Morgan's roller-coaster ride continues 

October, 2, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. -- Marshall Morgan experienced another couple of hilly points on his rollercoaster ride as Georgia’s place-kicker last Saturday.

In the Bulldogs’ 51-44 win against Tennessee, the freshman’s problems with extra points continued -- he failed on one attempt after banking it off the left upright, having already chipped three successful PATs off the left upright in previous games, plus Tennessee’s Daniel McCullers blocked another PAT try -- and yet he also contributed one of the biggest momentum-shifting plays of the game.

Morgan’s 50-yard field goal at the halftime buzzer helped Georgia tie the score at 30-30, helping the Bulldogs right the ship after a dismal second quarter eliminated a big early advantage.

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DawgNation photo gallery 

September, 24, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia’s 48-3 drubbing of Vanderbilt on Saturday provided plenty of memorable moments. DawgNation was on the sideline trying to capture all of those photo-worthy plays and we came up with this picture gallery from the game. Some highlights include:

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Around the Hedges in 80 Days: N. Theus 

August, 23, 2012
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

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Notebook: Samuel back as top tailback? 

August, 2, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. -- Ken Malcome became Georgia’s presumptive starting tailback after Isaiah Crowell’s dismissal in June, but his status atop the depth chart is far from concrete.

With senior Richard Samuel returning to the position full-time -- following a spring during which he also played fullback -- and freshmen Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley officially joining the competition at Thursday’s first preseason practice, Malcome still must earn the starting spot.

“They’ve done a great job of absorbing everything,” quarterback Aaron Murray said of the new freshmen, “but we have Richard, who’s probably going to get the majority of the reps, so I know he knows everything. And when it comes to the game plan, actually, it’s not like you’re putting the whole offense into the game plan. So it definitely gets narrowed down and they’ll be able to narrow down their focus onto a certain amount of plays that they’ll need to work on for that week.”

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Preseason previews: Special teams 

August, 1, 2012

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.

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Fifty-six 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.

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What Crowell's dismissal means for UGA 

June, 29, 2012
Back to square one for the Bulldogs. Last year, University of Georgia head coach Mark Richt needed to make a splash in recruiting. Coming off a six-win season in 2010 -- by far the worst of his tenure in Athens -- Richt needed an impact player at running back in the class. The Bulldogs were 73rd in the country in rushing, 10th in the SEC, but Richt was able to put the finishing touches on a top-five class -- one he dubbed the “Dream Team" -- by signing five-star running back and the top prospect in Georgia, Isaiah Crowell.

Friday, following an arrest on felony weapons charges, Crowell was dismissed from the team by Richt, ending Crowell’s career at Georgia after only one season and putting more pressure on his teammates to replace the SEC Freshman of the Year. The latest departure further depletes the overall talent on Georgia’s team, making the 2013 class even more important for the future of the program.

Big class coming in

Richt told DawgNation earlier this month that Georgia could sign up to 34 players in the 2013 class, reiterating a February story that stated the Bulldogs could sign more than 30, one of its biggest classes ever. While the ability to sign that many is dependent upon how much room Georgia has within the 85 scholarship limit come December, as it stands, it looks like that might not be much of an issue.

[+] EnlargeIsaiah Crowell
Dale Zanine/US PresswireIsaiah Crowell rushed for 850 yards and five touchdowns as a freshman.
Twelve seniors are on scholarship, 13 if long-snapper Ty Frix has his scholarship renewed. Several juniors could also leave early for the NFL, including quarterback Aaron Murray, offensive lineman Kenarious Gates, defensive lineman Kwame Geathers and linebackers Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree. That could leave Georgia with as few as 52 players on scholarship come February, meaning any additional attrition over the next eight months could provide the room to easily bring in 34 signees in 2013.

Roster casualties adding up

Attrition among the last three signing classes has put Georgia at a disadvantage in terms of roster depth, as Crowell’s departure leaves Georgia with only 70 players that arrived on campus as scholarship athletes. The Bulldogs signed 19 in 2012, 26 in 2011 and 19 in 2010, but only 50 of the 64 are on the team.

2012 linebacker signee Leonard Floyd (Eastman, Ga./Dodge County) still has a chance to qualify if he is able to pass a course this summer. Another signee, Under Armour All-American defensive lineman John Atkins (Thomson, Ga./Thomson), was deemed a non-qualifier earlier this week after failing to make the necessary score on his ACT. He is unlikely to enroll this fall.

Crowell’s departure is the sixth for the heralded 2011 class. Nick Marshall, Sanford Seay and Chris Sanders were dismissed in February after allegations of theft from teammates arose. Linebacker Kent Turene was unable to qualify via the NCAA Clearinghouse and enrolled at Marshall as a partial qualifier. Defensive lineman Chris Mayes did not qualify either and enrolled at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, but hopes to return in January.

Linebacker Demetre Baker, offensive lineman Brent Benedict, defensive lineman Jalen Fields, juco safety Jakar Hamilton, wide receiver Lonnie Outlaw and cornerback Derek Owens are no longer on the team from the 2010 class.

In 2002, Alabama, accused of double-digit major and minor violations surrounding the recruitment of prospect Albert Means, self-imposed a 15 scholarship reduction over three years. Georgia has now lost 14 signees during the last three years.

Early returns in recruiting

With only 16 of the 19 signees counting toward the 2012 class, Georgia is able to bring in up to nine early enrollees and count them backward. Luckily recruiting has been going very well for the Bulldogs so far in the 2013 cycle. With 19 commitments to date, the class of 2013 -- rated No. 5 in the country right now -- has double-digit prospects saying they plan to enroll in January. Quarterback Brice Ramsey (Kingsland, Ga./Camden Co.), offensive lineman Aulden Bynum (Valdosta, Ga./Valwood), offensive lineman Josh Cardiello (Buford, Ga./Buford), defensive lineman Chris Mayes (Griffin, Ga./East Mississippi Community College), linebacker Ryne Rankin (Orlando, Fla./East River), cornerback Steven Nelson (Warner Robins, Ga./College of the Sequoias), athlete Tramel Terry (Goose Creek S.C./Goose Creek) and athlete J.J. Green (Kingsland, Ga./Camden Co.) have all said they plan to enroll early at Georgia. Cornerback Reggie Wilkerson (Citra, Fla./North Marion), safety Tray Matthews (Newnan, Ga./Newnan) linebacker Reggie Carter (Snellville, Ga./South Gwinnett) and linebacker Naim Mustafaa (Alpharetta, Ga./Alpharetta) have said they are trying to enroll early in Athens as well. Cornerback Shaq Wiggins (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) says he will find out in August if he will be able to enroll early.

Bad timing for Henry decommitment

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DN Roundtable: UGA superlatives 

June, 27, 2012
A few weeks into summer provides the perfect time to get out the yearbook and look at what classmates wrote on the blank pages. After reading all the invitations to “Stay cool!” and “Let’s hang out!” one invariably turns to the awards section. In this week’s DawgNation Roundtable discussion the DN staff, with input from one UGA fan, is giving out the Georgia Bulldogs’ version of the senior awards. But we are not limited to the seniors -- we have opened up nominations to the entire team.

Most likely to succeed

David Ching: Ty Frix. Believe it or not, Frix -- who graduated in May -- is the only biomedical engineering major on the football team.

Radi Nabulsi: Jarvis Jones. He will be a first-round draft pick, and he is disciplined and wiser than his years suggest.

Kipp Adams: John Theus. He has the mindset and talent to play on Sundays. He also is used to winning, with three state championship rings at Bolles High School in Jacksonville, Fla.

Comeback_King: Aaron Murray. He is smart and talented.

Best dressed

DC: As a sports writer, I'm not sure I'm very well-equipped to answer this question. I'll say John Jenkins because he has worn house shoes that amused me at post-practice interviews.

RN: Kosta Vavlas. Who else shows up for post-practice interviews in a silver silk shirt and purple tie?

KA: Tavarres King. Tavarres has always had a professional approach to his attire.

CK: Marlon Brown. The guy has some serious swagger.

Most spirited

DC: Shawn Williams. He brought some much-needed swagger to the defense last year.

RN: Brandon Burrows. Despite numerous injuries he keeps fighting to get back.

[+] EnlargeMitchell
Scott Cunningham/Getty ImagesCoaches have stated repeatedly that 'most athletic' receiver-turned-cornerback Malcolm Mitchell is one of the best defenders on the team.
KA: Christian Robinson. He has been a great ambassador for the Bulldogs through the last four years, and he showcases his passion for UGA on Twitter.

CK: Shawn Williams. Just watch him play.

Most athletic

DC: Jay Rome. Playing both basketball and football (even if he redshirted) as a freshman is pretty impressive.

RN: Malcolm Mitchell. The best receiver and the best cornerback, according to the staff.

KA: Malcolm Mitchell. He is a burner with outstanding leaping ability and body control. Watch out for Josh Harvey-Clemons in the future though, as he has Boss Bailey level athleticism.

CK: Malcolm Mitchell. The best wide receiver is now Georgia’s best cornerback.

Best hair

DC: T.J. Stripling. I don't think I've ever seen a football player with more hair.

RN: Christian Robinson. This week his faux-hawk has been bleached blond.

KA: T.J. Stripling. Stripling’s listed weight on the roster would likely be 5 pounds less if not for his flowing locks of hair, which he has maintained since high school.

CK: Isaiah Crowell. You’ve got to love the dreads.

Most likely to be President of the United States

DC: Aaron Murray. He's a friendly, charismatic kid and is already a pro at talking a lot and saying nothing.

RN: Arthur Lynch. Loves politics and will carry the northwest and the south easily.

KA: Ray Drew. Anyone who knows Drew knows he has the charm, charisma and the public speaking ability to lead his peers.

CK: Chris Burnette. Great guy.

Most dependable

DC: Christian Robinson. From a media perspective, he's our cleanup hitter. Understands what you're asking and gives thoughtful responses.

RN: Kenarious Gates. The coaches started leaning on him as a freshman and still do so now.

KA: Michael Bennett. Bennett has made several tough catches to extend drives, and could have the best hands on the team.

CK: Jarvis Jones. Brings 100 percent to every game.

Class clown

DC: Tavarres King. He tweeted a picture of John Jenkins sucking his thumb while taking a nap. Gutsy move to pull on a 335-pound man, but King can pull off that kind of stuff.

RN: Zander Ogletree. His mouth is picking up where Aron White’s left off.

KA: Garrison Smith. Always upbeat, Smith can get a group roaring with laughter at any given moment.

CK: Watts Dantzler.

Most likely to marry a supermodel

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Spring look: Special teams

March, 20, 2012

To get ready for the start of Georgia’s spring football practice today, DawgNation has provided a position breakdown for each of the last nine days. In today’s final installment, we analyze the special teams.

2011 starters: P Drew Butler, 2011 senior (58 punts, 2,566 yards, 44.2 yards per punt); PK: Blair Walsh, 2011 senior (21-35 field goals, 46-46 PAT, 109 points); PR: Brandon Boykin, 2011 senior (14 returns, 180 yards, 1 TD, 12.9 yards per return); KOR: Boykin (38-850, 22.4 yards per return); SN: Ty Frix, Sr.

Key losses: Butler, Walsh, Boykin, PK Brandon Bogotay (1-2 FG, 6-6 PAT, 9 points)

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Freshman Quarterbacks A Growing Trend?
Ted Miller looks at how freshman quarterbacks have become more common in college football, and how these "rookie" college players could factor in at several College Football Playoff contenders.