Georgia Bulldogs: David Perno

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia returned from a quiet spring break this week with two spring practices, but the big news around campus was the NFL-bound Bulldogs’ pro day on Thursday.

Jarvis Jones was of course the biggest story at pro day after the two-time All-American skipped the workouts at last month’s NFL combine -- and his day was a bit of a disappointment before a huge crowd of scouts and personnel execs. Nonetheless Jones, ranked fifth on ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr.’s Big Board, said it was a good day. He also further discussed going through the draft process and teams’ apparent concerns about his health and potential longevity in the pros.

We caught up with several of the 17 Bulldogs who participated in pro day and discussed how their preparations are progressing, including slimmed-down John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers, linebacker Alec Ogletree, defensive lineman Abry Jones and receiver Marlon Brown.

As for the current Bulldogs, today is a big day, as they will hold their first spring scrimmage at Sanford Stadium.

We updated the progress of rising sophomore outside linebacker James DeLoach earlier this week and also provided some practice updates from coaches and players after practices on Tuesday and Thursday, as well as a photo gallery from Tuesday’s practice.

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UGA week in review: Spring has sprung 

March, 2, 2013
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Tight end Ty Flournoy-Smith and fullback Zander Ogletree created some of the only headlines in an otherwise quiet week for Georgia’s football program.

UGA week in review: Richt's raise 

February, 16, 2013
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Perhaps the biggest news to surface around DawgNation this week was that the UGA Athletic Association’s board of directors approved a raise and contract extension for football coach Mark Richt, extending his deal through 2017 and pushing his base pay to $3.2 million.

[+] EnlargeMark Richt
Jeff Vest/Icon SMIOn the heels of Georgia's 12-2 season, coach Mark Richt was rewaarded with a raise and contract extension.
Athletic director Greg McGarity said after the board meeting that he expects to offer a pay raise to offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, as well, although he did not yet have any specifics to divulge.

Otherwise, the time between national signing day and spring practice (which starts March 2) is typically quiet around the football program. The players are participating in offseason workouts and mat drills, and the 13 newcomers who enrolled in January are getting familiar with their surroundings on campus.

We focused on several of those newcomers in stories this week:


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ATHENS, Ga. -- David Perno was wearing a post-draft smile Thursday morning -- because 14 members of his nationally touted signing class are already enrolled at Georgia and he expects to keep them.

Perno’s Bulldogs had five signees drafted this week in the MLB First-Year Player Draft, led by second overall pick Byron Buxton and second-round selections Duane Underwood and Joe DeCarlo. But thanks to new draft rules that penalize teams when they can’t sign their picks, high school prospects like Georgia signees Kyle Carter, David Gonzalez, Sean McLaughlin and J.T. Phillips didn’t go as early as they would have in previous drafts -- or in Carter and Phillips’ case, they didn’t get drafted at all -- so they will instead play college ball.

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Georgia coach David Perno predicted before the draft that baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement would help the Bulldogs keep some of the top talent in their highly touted signing class.

From that perspective, so far, so good.

It was a no-doubter that the Bulldogs would lose signee Byron Buxton, who went second overall to Minnesota. Two more signees, third baseman Joe DeCarlo and outfielder/pitcher Duane Underwood, went early in the second round -- DeCarlo with the 64th overall pick to the Seattle Mariners and Underwood minutes later at No. 67 to the Chicago Cubs.

With 15 rounds complete, the only other UGA player or signee to be picked was All-SEC sophomore pitcher Alex Wood, who went near the end of the second round, 85th overall, to the Atlanta Braves.

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Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity eliminated any questions about David Perno’s job status for 2013 last week when he told reporters that Perno will return for a 12th season as the Bulldogs’ baseball coach.

However, Perno said Thursday that this spring’s outcome -- capped by a late-season collapse that caused the Bulldogs to miss the postseason for the second time in three years -- is simply not good enough.

“We’ve got to do our part,” Perno said. “The support staff at UGA is special. They’ve done an unbelievable job since Greg has gotten in there and it’s been great. But golly, we’ve got to win.

“That’s what we were set up to do this year and we just underachieved. I thought last year, 2011, we overachieved. But this year we underachieved, so we’ve got to make certain we do our part next year.”

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ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia’s baseball team will learn its NCAA tournament fate on Monday.

Thanks to wins against some of the nation’s highest-ranked teams, the Bulldogs (31-26, 14-15 SEC) still have an outside shot at an at-large regional bid, although they severely damaged their chances by losing their last four games -- the final two games of the regular season against a horrendous Alabama team and both games at the SEC tournament.

“We’ve got quality wins,” Georgia coach David Perno said. “We’ve beaten everybody at least once that we played. So it’s a situation where it’s out of our hands. I know we could’ve done a better job on our end. [We were] in control of it and right now it’s out of our hands.”

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GREENSBORO, Ga. -- Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity proposed more than $1 million in renovations to Foley Field in a presentation before the UGA Athletic Association Board of Directors on Thursday. He revealed after the board meeting that baseball coach David Perno will be around to see those renovations.

Although Perno’s Bulldogs (31-26, 14-15 SEC) are at risk of missing the NCAA tournament after losing their last four games -- the last two of the regular season at hapless Alabama and both games in the SEC tournament -- McGarity confirmed that he wants Perno to remain as Georgia’s coach.

“We’ll sit down at the end of the season,” McGarity said. “Dave will be back next year. It’s not even an issue.”

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HOOVER, Ala. -- If the Georgia Bulldogs look back and wonder “What if?” they'll be thinking of Wednesday afternoon. Down one with the tying run 90 feet away and the winning run another 30 yards behind him, the Bulldogs couldn’t get the job done against the Auburn Tigers, dropping an elimination game, 3-2, at Regions Park.

The loss is the Bulldogs’ fourth straight and threatens the postseason hopes of a team that finished 31-26. The SEC tournament in Hoover would have been their proving ground. Now the selection committee must judge a regular season wrought with ups and downs.

After the game, UGA coach David Perno was frustrated with the way he handled the game and couldn’t say whether a shot at the NCAAs would be in his team’s future. He and Auburn coach John Pawlowski passed each other in the hallway, the fourth-year coach of the Tigers wishing his counterpart good luck moving forward.

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ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia is not in exactly as desperate a situation as it was a year ago at the SEC baseball tournament, but the Bulldogs’ NCAA tournament chances could once again hinge on what happens this week in Hoover, Ala.

Needing to finish with a winning record at last year's league tournament to secure a .500 record and become eligible for an NCAA bid, the Bulldogs used a miracle run to the tournament semifinals -- with unlikely consecutive wins against Auburn, eventual national champion South Carolina and eventual national runner-up Florida -- to reach the NCAAs.

Georgia (31-24, 14-15 SEC) slid from the SEC tournament’s No. 5 seed to No. 8 last weekend when it lost two of three games against Alabama, which finished last in the SEC West, so the Bulldogs might need a couple of wins in Hoover to ensure a return trip to the NCAA tournament.

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UGA baseball week in review

May, 20, 2012
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Results: Georgia went 2-2 in the final week of the regular season, dropping two out of three at Alabama after beating East Tennessee State in a midweek game. The Bulldogs dropped to the eighth seed in the SEC tournament, which starts Tuesday in Hoover, Ala. Georgia will open against fifth-seeded Vanderbilt, which took two of three from the Bulldogs during the regular season.

Georgia record: 31-24 (14-15 SEC)

Highlight of the week: Georgia erupted for 14 hits and eight runs in Thursday’s series opener against Alabama and Alex Wood pitched seven dominant innings as the Bulldogs cruised to an 8-4 victory.

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ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia’s baseball team did itself a major favor with last weekend’s sweep of Auburn, helping the Bulldogs vault forward in the SEC standings.

With two series left in the regular season, the Bulldogs (28-21, 12-12 SEC) are still in the running for one of the higher seeds in the upcoming SEC tournament, where they were barely in the tournament’s 10-team field before taking all three games against the Tigers last weekend.

“There is a whole lot of good things going on, and it's a lot of fun getting back to .500 in the SEC,” Georgia coach David Perno said of completing the sweep against Auburn. “… We had a tough road stretch with Florida and LSU and finally got to come home and get some wins.”

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Watch Saturday's baseball game at 7:30 p.m. ET, live on ESPN3.

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia baseball coach David Perno hinted that lineup changes might be ahead after the Bulldogs went 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position in Tuesday’s 4-3 loss to Georgia Tech.

Perno announced after Wednesday’s practice that he will in fact shuffle the lineup in this weekend’s series at No. 6 LSU (33-9, 12-6 SEC) -- with the biggest change being freshman slugger Hunter Cole’s return to competition.

Cole, who leads the Bulldogs (24-18, 8-10) with six home runs and is batting .370 in SEC play, missed the last six games with a strained muscle in his right side. Perno said Cole is not pain-free, but the injury has healed to the point that he would not risk further injury by playing.

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ATHENS, Ga. -- David Perno recently set an offensive goal for his Georgia baseball team to work toward -- one that seems to be the dividing line between success and failure.

“We set out a couple weeks ago to score six runs a game and that’s all it would’ve took [against Furman],” Perno said after Tuesday’s 5-4 loss to the Paladins. “That’s not a tall order.”

In fact, entering this weekend’s series at top-ranked Florida (29-8, 9-6 SEC), that six-run benchmark has been a nearly automatic signal of victory for the Bulldogs (23-15, 7-8). Georgia is a sparkling 11-2 when it scores at least six runs in a game, but 12-13 when it scores five runs or less.

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Perno hints 2B job up for grabs 

April, 17, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- David Perno has maintained for weeks that Levi Hyams’ bat would come around, but Georgia’s baseball coach seems to be running out of patience with his senior second baseman.

Perno said after Tuesday’s 5-4 loss to Furman that his biggest lineup concern is whether to stick with Hyams or turn to freshman Nelson Ward.

“The only question mark is what to do at second,” Perno said. “Everything else is getting solidified. I just don’t know what to do at second base.”

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