Georgia Bulldogs: T.J. Stripling

Todd Gurley, Trey DePriestKevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesTodd Gurley had 105 total yards and two touchdowns in Georgia's scrimmage Wednesday, part of a much more focused effort by the Bulldogs' offense.
ATHENS, Ga. -- Since his team will open the season at night against Clemson, Georgia coach Mark Richt wanted his team’s final two scrimmages to be under the lights.

Richt got exactly the conditions and energy level from the team that he was hoping for in Wednesday’s second scrimmage of the preseason -- a marked difference from the Bulldogs’ listless effort a week ago.

“I thought it would be a good idea to do it this week because I just wanted it to be a nice, cool night, I wanted everybody to be well-rested and I just wanted to see a lot of energy out there,” Richt said. “It was like night and day from the first scrimmage as far as just the energy level out there.”

Georgia’s coaches got what they expected from their starting units, as well, with those groups mostly having their way against the backups in traditional series and situational scenarios.

“When you scrimmage like this and you go ones versus twos, you hope that your No. 1 offense is going to have a pretty good go against your No. 2 defense and vice versa. And that’s about how it’s gone,” Richt said. “If your second offense was just thrashing your No. 1 defense, then you’ve got a really, really serious problem. But that’s not the case. I thought both No. 1 units played pretty good.”

Several of Richt’s assistant coaches said recently that they would begin narrowing the field of candidates for playing time after Wednesday’s scrimmage so that they would have defined roles when they hold their third and final scrimmage next Wednesday. Richt said the coaches would grade film of the scrimmage within the next 24 hours, but their personnel decisions will likely take at least a few days.

“It’ll be maybe a day or two before we start trying to figure out ... and it won’t be exact until probably next Wednesday,” Richt said. “I would think by next Wednesday when we have that practice game, we’ll have a really good idea of our lineup.”

As for statistics, there were no particularly eye-catching numbers on Wednesday -- unlike last week’s scrimmage, when starting quarterback Aaron Murray threw three interceptions. Murray bounced back to go 14-for-18 for 173 yards, one touchdown and one interception on Wednesday, with backup Hutson Mason finishing 9-for-19 for 107 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

All-SEC tailback Todd Gurley was the offensive star of the evening, rushing five times for 33 yards and two touchdowns and adding three receptions for another 72 yards. Tailback Keith Marshall had six carries for 39 yards and freshman Brendan Douglas added seven rushes for 50 yards and two catches for another 31 yards.

“[Douglas] was very impressive today,” Richt said. “He ran the ball well, he ran with power, he ran with some vision, he continued to pass [block] pretty good. He’s not perfect in that area.”

Blake Tibbs and Michael Bennett caught the two touchdown passes and Malcolm Mitchell led the receivers with four catches for 58 yards.

Josh Harvey-Clemons, suspended for the opener at Clemson, led the defense with seven tackles and three pass breakups. Amarlo Herrera had five tackles and two pass breakups, while T.J. Stripling, Connor Norman, Garrison Smith and Leonard Floyd all had four stops. Floyd also made a tackle for a loss and would have recorded a sack, Richt said, if not for being blatantly held by an offensive tackle.

Defensive end Toby Johnson recorded the one official sack.

Freshman cornerbacks Shaq Wiggins and Brendan Langley both made interceptions, with Langley returning his interception 48 yards for a touchdown. Richt said Langley also broke up a pass at the goal line to prevent a touchdown.

The two freshmen are not just competing to be the backups at cornerback, Richt said, they’re competing with Sheldon Dawson to win a starting job alongside junior Damian Swann.

“I’d say they’re all still competing, other than Swanny’s going to be in there,” Richt said. “But who the other starter will be, it’s just a matter of watching what happened in this scrimmage and what happens between now and next Wednesday, probably.”

Kennar Johnson and Lucas Redd also intercepted passes.

The Bulldogs are still contending with a number of injuries, as 15 players appeared on Wednesday’s injury report -- including safeties Tray Matthews (shoulder/hamstring), Corey Moore (knee sprain), Shaquille Fluker (illness), Marc Deas (elbow sprain) and Paris Bostick (foot surgery).

Nose guard Chris Mayes (concussion), linebackers Tim Kimbrough (knee sprain) and Chase Vasser (ankle sprain), receivers Reggie Davis (knee sprain), Rhett McGowan (ankle sprain) and Rantavious Wooten (hamstring strain), tailback A.J. Turman (knee/ankle) and tight end Jay Rome (ankle sprain) were also sidelined.

The good injury news, Richt said, was that he did not believe the team suffered any new injuries during the scrimmage.

“It was a good day. No one was banged up today,” Richt said. “Sometimes the next day you hear something, but today Ron [Courson, Georgia’s director of sports medicine] came to me and said everything looked good, so that’s a blessing.”

Post-spring position review: OLB 

April, 24, 2013
4/24/13
7:00
AM ET
Editor’s note: Our DawgNation post-spring positional analysis continues this week after focusing on the offense last week. Today we examine the outside linebackers:

Returning players/stats: Jordan Jenkins, So. (Six starts in 2012, 31 tackles, eight tackles for loss, five sacks, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery); Chase Vasser, Sr. (Two starts, 19 tackles, four TFL, 1 FF); T.J. Stripling, Sr. (Eight tackles, one TFL, one sack, one FF); Brandon Burrows, Jr. (No tackles); Josh Dawson, So. (five tackles, 1.5 TFL); James DeLoach, So. (four tackles)

Newcomers: Davin Bellamy, Fr. (ESPN’s No. 299 overall prospect, No. 25 defensive end. Expected to enroll this summer); Leonard Floyd, Fr. (The four-star prospect had no position rating as a player from Hargrave Military Academy. Expected to enroll this summer); Shaun McGee (No. 43 DE. Expected to enroll this summer.)
ATHENS, Ga. -- Considering the state of Georgia’s depth chart -- with 10 starters returning from last year’s record-setting offense and 12 key performers missing from the 2012 defense -- Tuesday’s first spring scrimmage has to be viewed as a win for Todd Grantham’s rebuilding defense.

Practicing under blustery conditions at Sanford Stadium, the defense surrendered just one touchdown off a traditional drive before the Bulldogs began working on situational possessions such as third-and-long and goal-line scenarios.

“There were some good plays made out there offensively. As far as putting together drives and scoring points, it just didn’t happen today. The defense did a really nice job,” said Bulldogs coach Mark Richt, who added that the offense scored two more touchdowns in four goal-line possessions.

(Read full post)

By the numbers: UGA classes since 2006 

January, 18, 2013
1/18/13
7:00
AM ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- Here’s a breakdown of Georgia’s last seven recruiting classes and what they managed to accomplish in college and beyond:

2006
ESPN top five classes: Florida, USC, Texas, Georgia, Notre Dame
Georgia’s ranking: 4

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Position scouting report: Outside LBs 

December, 27, 2012
12/27/12
7:00
AM ET
Editor’s note: Over the next several weeks, we’ll take a look at each position on Georgia’s depth chart and project how it might look in the future. Today we examine Georgia’s outside linebackers.

Current two-deep depth chart:
Jarvis Jones (Jr.), Ramik Wilson (So.)
Jordan Jenkins (Fr.), Josh Dawson (Fr.)

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

3 Up, 3 Down: Alabama 32, Georgia 28 

December, 2, 2012
12/02/12
7:00
AM ET
ATLANTA -- Georgia’s 32-28 loss to Alabama in Saturday’s SEC championship game will go down as perhaps the game of the year and very likely the most exciting contest in the two decades that the conference has staged this game.

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the final seconds ticked off the clock with Georgia 5 yards short of a game-winning touchdown -- the difference between playing for the BCS championship and not even reaching a BCS bowl game.

Here are the highs and lows of Saturday’s loss:

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

DawgNation Q&A 

November, 9, 2012
11/09/12
9:00
AM ET
We asked for questions on The Pound, DawgNation’s message board, and our readers had quit a few. From coaching hot seats to hot recruits to ice cold players, we touch on a little bit of everything.

[+] EnlargeReuben Foster
Alex Scarborough/ESPN.comWould Georgia handing Auburn another loss put LB Reuben Foster, the No. 24 prospect nationally, back in play?
Bullpup969:- Do you know if Reuben Foster (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) is still solid on Auburn? Would a coaching change play into the picture?

Radi Nabulsi: Coaching changes always have consequences and if Gene Chizik and, more importantly, Trooper Taylor were no longer with Auburn, then I would expect Foster to take some official visits. He would likely check out Georgia, LSU, Alabama, Oregon and Washington. The Tide coaches have never stopped recruiting him. Some of Georgia’s commits would try and sway Foster to Athens since he is so close to Tray Matthews (Newnan, Ga./Newnan) and Shaq Wiggins (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek). The last time I spoke to Foster, he was solid to Auburn. He has a good family situation living in Auburn, Ala. But things change in recruiting. Here is one angle that I have not seen mentioned. If Chizik were fired and Auburn hired a new, exciting coach, the prospects committed to the Tigers might become more enthusiastic. I can see them lining up to play for a Charlie Strong or a Jon Gruden.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

UGA midseason report card: LB 

October, 13, 2012
10/13/12
7:33
AM ET
Editor’s note: Georgia’s football season is at the halfway mark, and the Bulldogs will take this weekend off before resuming SEC play next Saturday at Kentucky. We'll take a look at a different position group each day this week and evaluate how it performed in the first half of the season in our DawgNation midseason report cards.

ATHENS, Ga. -- If any position group on Georgia’s defense seems primed to have a big second half, it’s the linebackers.

Although injuries and suspensions kept the group from playing together for most of the first six games, they had periods of absolutely explosive play. Now that everyone is back in the fold, they could be primed to lead a defensive revival in the second half -- particularly if All-American Jarvis Jones can overcome the injuries that recently have plagued him.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Notebook: Bennett proving he belongs

September, 18, 2012
9/18/12
10:53
PM ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- Michael Bennett knows there is something that separates him from other players at his position. He jokes about it all the time.

The Georgia sophomore realizes that as a Caucasian wide receiver at a big-time college football program, he is like a living, breathing four-leaf clover -- extremely rare -- but he has also been a good-luck charm for the Bulldogs thus far.

Bennett leads the Bulldogs with 265 receiving yards and, among the SEC’s top 15 players in receiving yards per game -- he ranks fifth with 88.3 -- he is the only one who is not African-American.

“I’ve proved myself throughout my whole life, being a white guy playing a black man’s position. It’s just the nature of how it is,” Bennett said with a grin. “It’s not racist or anything, it’s just the way it is. I feel like I’ve always had a chip on my shoulder in high school and then coming here. No one’s really respected me. I remember going in 1-on-1s and no one wanted to go against me because they didn’t want to get burned by a white guy.”

(Read full post)

Upon Further Review: UGA 56, FAU 20 

September, 17, 2012
9/17/12
4:02
PM ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- After rewatching Georgia’s 56-20 win against Florida Atlantic on ESPN3 today, I can’t say that I learned much that wasn’t apparent from watching the game live.

The Bulldogs’ first-team offense was as good as I’ve seen it, there was an ugly first half for Georgia’s defense and the game eventually turned into a bludgeoning. But let’s jump into some of the finer points of the Bulldogs’ win in this week’s “Upon Further Review.”

• This is one of those situations where you ask if someone wants the good news or the bad news first. I prefer the bad news first in such a scenario, and that would be that Georgia’s defense had a truly awful first half against another opponent which had no business moving the ball so effectively.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Notebook: No looking back for Mitchell 

August, 27, 2012
8/27/12
9:28
PM ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- Malcolm Mitchell admits occasionally wondering during spring practice whether he was making the right decision in splitting time between receiver, where he was a Freshman All-SEC honoree last season, and cornerback.

But with only five days remaining before he makes his debut as a two-way player, Mitchell remains convinced that he will be effective on both offense and defense.

“At first, it’ll bother you a little bit, but right now I really won’t worry about it because the decision’s been made,” Mitchell said after Monday's practice. “It’s been put in process, so at the end of the day, that was a choice that I’ve just got to deal with right now. I feel like it’s going to work out good either way.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Thirteen 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.

13. T.J. Stripling
Junior, Outside linebacker
6-foot-6, 235 pounds



To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Q&A: Grantham offers updates on D 

August, 5, 2012
8/05/12
6:09
PM ET
Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham spoke with reporters after Sunday morning's practice -- the Bulldogs' fourth workout of preseason practice. Here is some of what Grantham had to say:

On whether Georgia got an under-the-radar signee in James DeLoach: I think that’s a good example of recruiting to be honest with you because all you guys, when a guy commits, y’all kind of forget about him and then y’all go talk to the guys that haven’t made a decision yet on where he’s going to go and that becomes the news. There’s a guy that loved Georgia, committed to Georgia and knew what he wanted to do, so he kind of gets forgotten and not talked about. So you can blame yourself on that one.

On freshmen Jordan Jenkins, DeLoach and Josh Dawson fitting what he wants at OLB: Those guys are physically what you want in the outside backer position and there’s a couple of schools of thought. Usually those kind of guys are the most athletic guys on their high school team and sometimes when you get them, you have to let them grow into a position of where they’re going to be. Then other times, because of their body structure and their length, they end up staying there. And these guys are going to stay there and I think these guys will really help us.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Wilson, Stripling among OLB contenders 

August, 4, 2012
8/04/12
3:26
PM ET
ATHENS, Ga. -- Saturday’s arrival meant it was exactly one month until Georgia’s season-opening game against Buffalo, so the Bulldogs’ coaches still have plenty of time to settle on a starter at outside linebacker opposite All-American Jarvis Jones.

And it’s a good thing because they have no shortage of candidates to evaluate.

“There’s still some competition there. I’m not 100 percent certain,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said Saturday before mentioning sophomore Ramik Wilson as a leading candidate for the job and raving about true freshmen Jordan Jenkins, James DeLoach and Josh Dawson for the second consecutive day.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Preseason preview: Linebackers 

July, 29, 2012
7/29/12
11:56
PM ET

Editor’s note: With Georgia set to open preseason camp Thursday, DawgNation will break down each position group and the storylines to watch in August. After examining the offensive positions earlier this week, we shifted to the defensive line yesterday and today will examine the linebackers.

Jarvis Jones could probably be a millionaire by now. But instead of bolting for the NFL after a standout sophomore season where he led the SEC in sacks and tackles for loss, the Georgia outside linebacker decided his game still needs work before he turns pro.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Drive Through: Resurgent Gamecocks
After their 38-35 upset of No. 6 Georgia, are South Carolina's playoff hopes back on track? And where does Georgia go from here?
VIDEO PLAYLIST video

SEC SCOREBOARD

Thursday, 9/18
Saturday, 9/20