ATHENS, Ga. – The Bulldog football team conducted its fourth practice of the spring on Tuesday afternoon at the Woodruff Practice Fields.
With temperatures hovering near 80 degrees at the beginning, Georgia practiced for two and a half hours and now has 11 more practices this spring. The spring finale will be the annual G-Day intrasquad game on Saturday, April 22.
Following Tuesday’s session, Bulldog head coach Kirby Smart was left looking for more from his defense.
“I feel like some guys out there are complacent,” Smart said. “Some think they have started two years and they are just comfortable in the spot where they are. There’s not a sense of urgency. Until these guys prove what some are saying about them, I won’t be happy.
Smart also mentioned that senior receiver Shakenneth Williams is dealing with an injury and is currently acting as a “student coach” while sophomore receiver Riley Ridley is working through an ankle injury and the coaches are hopeful that he will be back by the end of the spring.
The fifth practice of the spring, which arrives on Thursday, starts the three-day UGA Coaches Clinic hosted by Smart and his staff. The clinic will run on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and will feature coaches from the NFL as well as staff from the collegiate and high school levels.
“We are really looking forward to Thursday and our Coaches Clinic,” said Smart. “We are expecting a great showing of coaches from all over and we are excited to have them in Athens for three days.”
Georgia was joined at practice by an estimated 200 law enforcement from Clarke County and surrounding counties as an appreciation for their daily services.
UGA will use G-Day to implement the SEC’s Clear Bag Policy, which will go into effect at all SEC venues beginning this fall. The policy will also be in effect, beginning in the 2017-18 competition year, at all of UGA’s ticketed sports venues: Sanford Stadium, Stegeman Coliseum (men and women’s basketball, gymnastics) and Foley Field (baseball). More information on the SEC Clear Bag Policy can be found at: http://georgiadogs.com/clear-bag-policy.
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ATHENS, Ga. – In the interest of public safety and to expedite entry into its venues, the UGA Athletic Association will begin to implement the Southeastern Conference Clear Bag Policy in 2017. This policy will be in effect at the annual G-Day intrasquad football game on April 22. It will go into effect permanently for the 2017-18 competition season and will include all UGA venues that host ticketed events: Sanford Stadium (football), Stegeman Coliseum (men’s & women’s basketball, gymnastics) and Foley Field (baseball).
Following are the basics concerning the Clear Bag Policy:
> These bags will be permitted inside UGA athletic events:
• Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl, or PVC and do not exceed 12”x6”x12”.
• One-gallon clear plastic freezer bags.
• Small clutch bags, with or without a handle or strap, that do not exceed 4.5” x 6.5”.
• Bags that contain necessary medical items, which must be inspected and approved at a designated gate.
> Each ticket holder is allowed one large clear bag such as a one-gallon Ziploc style bag or clear plastic, vinyl or PVC bag that does not exceed 12” x 6” x 12”, plus a small clutch purse
> Prohibited bags include, but are not limited to: purses larger than a clutch bag, briefcases, backpacks, cinch bags, fanny packs that are not clear and/or exceed the size restriction, luggage, computer bags/cases, camera bags/cases, binocular bags/cases, or any bag larger than the permissible size.
> Several SEC schools began implementing this policy in the 2016 school year. All SEC schools will have this policy in place by the 2017-18 school year.
> Fans can still carry items such as binoculars, smart phones, tablets and cameras (with lenses shorter than four inches), so long as they are not in a bag or carrying case.
> Seat cushions — without arms or pockets — will still be permitted into the venues. Fans may also bring in blankets during cold weather events, provided they carry them in over an arm or shoulder to allow for easy screening upon entry.
> More information on this new policy can be found at the following website: http://georgiadogs.com/clear-bag-policy/
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The Georgia Bulldogs have released their 2017 Spring football roster.
Newcomers to the roster include several walk-ons and transfers, plus the six early scholarship enrollees: Jake Fromm (QB), Deangelo Gibbs (DB), D’Marcus Hayes (OL), Jeremiah Holloman (WR), Richard LeCounte (DB), and Monty Rice (ILB).
The Bulldogs currently only have three quarterbacks on the roster after the departure of Greyson Lambert (eligibility expired), Brice Ramsey (transferring), and Parker McLeod (former walk-on, left program).
Georgia is expected to add preferred walk-on quarterback Stetson Bennett IV this summer. Bennett (6-0, 171), listed as a two-star recruit by 247Sports, is a pro-style quarterback from Pierce County High School in Blackshear, Georgia.
Check out the link to our complete roster below which also includes a printable version.
2017 UGA Football Roster
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The 2017 UGA Spring Football Guide is now available to view online.
The preseason guide features 70 pages of Georgia Bulldogs football information, including the 2017 Spring roster, 2017 opponent information, Spring outlook, Spring notes, 2017 player bios, 2017 signee bios, and more.
Georgia began Spring practice on Tuesday, March 21. The 2017 G-Day Spring Game is set for Saturday, April 22 at 2pm ET and will be televised by the SEC Network.
2017 UGA Football Spring Guide
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ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart, along with several players, spent time with media on Tuesday previewing the 2017 spring practice slate. Below are comments from Tuesday’s media availability.
Head Coach Kirby Smart
“The bad news is we might be a little bit hot out there today. The good news is you (media) don’t have to ride busses today, so you get to stay home and play at your home field, and we do too. We’re excited about that part. I’m excited to see how the guys respond because a lot of our offseason conditioning has been in 70, 80-degree weather in the indoor. We’ve tried to keep it warm, but it hasn’t been this warm. We’re excited to see how they respond to going outside and having to practice out in the heat.
“We’re excited to get back on the field. We’ve got a lot of competition, which you guys well know. We’ve got a lot of position battles. We’d like to think we’ve got more players that can help us from a depth standpoint at this time than we did last year. Obviously, the offensive line is going to be a play-by-position deal. We’re going to rotate some guys, musical chairs through the depth chart. A lot of competition at that position. What you see one day will probably not be what you see the next. We’ve got a lot of guys to rotate, move around, and try to figure out the center, guard and tackle positions. A lot of other positions there’ll be competition and it’ll be great competition. I’ve talked to the players extensively about sustainable focus because that seems to be, with a young team especially with the group we had last year, a lot of freshmen and sophomores playing, their ability to focus for long periods of time. A one-hour meeting, two-hour practice, that’s been a point of emphasis for us. Usually the first day that’s not a problem. But as spring goes along, a lot of guys can get complacent. You worry about guys saying ‘Okay, well I had my job last year so I’ll have my job again this year.’ That’s not the way it’s going to be for us. We’re going to challenge them to compete every day. The players that block, tackle, do the things fundamentally well, will be the guys who will be able to play. Obviously we’ve got some areas we’ve got to improve on, starting with the special teams. That’s a big emphasis for us in all the kicking units. Red area, offense and defense red area, we’re going to target those areas and do a little extra. A lot of situational football, where we put guys in situations and say go play, to put them in situations that you can’t simulate in scrimmages. That’s a big part of it. But we are excited. I’m very pleased with the offseason conditioning program we’ve had thus far, and we’ll see how that equates to 85-degree weather today.”
On the offensive line situation…
“I hope to see a lot of guys that have been in the background come to the forefront. Obviously, we’ve got a group coming in in the fall that’s not currently here that we think will provide depth and provide competition. We’d love to have some of those guys here right now, but we don’t. As it begins today, Lamont (Gaillard) is going to start out and play the center position, Dyshon (Sims) will get in there, Isaiah Wynn will get in there and work at tackle although he’ll keep swinging and do some things that he’s done in the past. That right guard spot is really just completely up for grabs. We’ll have somebody out there today, maybe Solomon (Kindley), it may be Ben Cleveland. We’ll have some guys rolling at that right guard spot. And then tackle, (Aulden) Bynum is going to start out there with D‘Marcus Hayes working with the other group. Obviously there’s a lot of guys like Pat Allen have had a good offseason. Sam Madden has had a better offseason. Chris Barnes is going to be a guy we’ll look at, and he’s going to play a little center. Dyshon will play a little center. Dyshon is the one guy that we feel like has played all three positions in practices, so he’ll continue to do that, but it’ll be musical chairs. But there will be a lot of guys involved in that, and Sage (Hardin) will be involved in that as well.”
On Tray Scott…
“I’m excited about what Tray has been able to do. He brings a lot of energy to our team, enthusiasm to the practices. Tray is a guy I’ve known for a while now, and I think he does a great job. He’ll continue to develop our young defensive line and we’ll continue to move forward. I’m very pleased with what he’s done in the offseason and the energy he’s brought to the conditioning program.”
On the quarterback depth…
“We’ve got three quarterbacks in the spring. Obviously, those three guys will be working. Sam (Vaughn) will be working with Jacob (Eason) and Jake (Fromm). We’re excited about the work that we’ve been able to get in with them right now through meetings. They’ve been doing some seven-on-seven on their own. The biggest thing right now is yeah, we’ve got a depth issue. We’ve got some really good preferred-type walk-on guys coming in in the fall. We don’t have another signee obviously coming in, and that’s something we’ve got to address in the upcoming year’s recruiting class. From a standpoint of development or arms, I’m more concerned with being able to get functionality at practice when you only have three quarterbacks. We don’t really have a person to move over there. We’ve got guys who played high school quarterback, but they’re at another position for us now and we don’t want to have to sacrifice that. We’ll continue to work the way we’ve got to with those three guys. They’ll get a lot of work, that’s the good thing, and we’ll probably have some help out there with us just to throw balls.”
On difference in the program from this year to last year…
“It’s really hard to quantify where you are now compared to then. I do think from a standpoint of our system we’re in a much better place. If you can imagine this time last year, the defense probably had a little carryover, probably 60, 75-percent carryover. But offensively, there was a lot of new terminology. I feel like the carryover is much better. Jacob (Eason) is in year two, it’s his second time hearing a lot of things. There are some changes in those things that we’re going to do this spring to challenge him and the offense to pick things up and be able to play in space and make some plays in space. But when it comes to wins and losses or quantifying this guy to that guy, it’s really hard to judge until you go out on that field and you have practices, and you see where they are right now as opposed to where they were against TCU.”
On his first year as head coach…
“I certainly don’t think we were as productive on special teams as we should’ve been. I don’t think, based on our talent level, to be where we were you’ve got to evaluate and say ‘Are we kicking it high enough? Are we kicking it far enough? Did we punt it well enough? Are we covering it right?’ I think you’re always trying to be introspective about those units. But when the stats come up, they don’t lie, you’ve got to work on that area. That’s the part where the biggest improvement has got to be shown, and obviously scoring some more points and being able to score in the red area is critical.”
On Marshall Long and the punters…
“Marshall will be out there. He’s not cleared to kick in 11-on-11 situations. We think by the end of spring he’ll be punting, but we don’t know if he’ll be punting in a competitive environment. Cameron (Nizialek) we’re excited about. I haven’t really been able to see him do anything yet. Today will be our first chance to see him kick. We’ll also have a lot of other guys out there competing as well. We plan on putting those guys in a lot of situations to kick in a lot of pressure situations, try to simulate what they would get in the fall. I am excited to see where the punters are with the guys we’ve got, to see if we can improve as far as distance and hang.”
On Mecole Hardman and star position on defense…
“We have a plan for Mecole. We want to get some offensive snaps and be able to expose him to some of the concepts. But it won’t be early in the spring. We’re committed to continuing to develop him as a corner. He’s a guy that’s going to be working mostly in our two-deep, with our depth at DB and some of the guys that left. We need him there. We need him to develop there. We’ll find out in the fall when we get some more depth in, how much we need him versus on offense. With spring, you have an ability to meet a little longer. That’s what I talk about with sustainable focus. Guys like Mecole, can they handle extra meeting time at another position so they can learn what to do and develop so we can maybe utilize some of his skills. We’re certainly going to try to do that in the return game, so if we can do that in the return game then maybe it’ll carry over to the offensive side. As far as star, it’s going to be done by committee as well. We think in the secondary we’ve got a few guys coming back. We’ve got a couple guys with a lot of experience in the secondary. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re great players but they’ve got a lot of experience. They’ve played for a long time here. We’re going to have a person – the star position is unique. In college football, that’s become a starter. I think (Maurice Smith) played 80-percent of our snaps last year. He might be playing more than every defensive lineman on our team, but you need a big, physical body out there because so many plays are on the perimeter. We’re going to have several guys – Tyrique McGhee will work there, Deangelo Gibbs will work there, Richard LeCounte will work there. We’re going to have several guys. Even Malkom Parrish will go out there and work some. We try to teach the same concept and not specific to a position so that guys can interchange. We’ll do that in the spring.”
On the placekicking situation…
“Rodrigo (Blankenship) is our kicker this spring. We’re going to have competition at that position. We’re going to have competition at every single position. That includes fall camp, that includes this spring. When we go out there and kick, (Blankenship) will be the guy kicking. We’ve got several other kids that will compete with him. Obviously we’ve got a guy who will come in in the fall as well who will have a chance to kick. I think the more situations we can put those guys in punting and kicking will be good for us.”
On moving focus to a new season…
“The moment (the last season) was wrapped up is really in the locker room against TCU. It’s over in the coaches’ eyes. We try to make it that way for the players. The new beginning for us was the minute they come back for spring semester. From the approach of where were we, where are we going and how are we going to get there, that’s the steps that we started in the offseason. Whether it’s gaining weight for you, losing weight for you, better conditioning for you, kicking it further for you, kicking it higher for you, we have meetings with each player so they know where they’re headed. We’re kind of on step two. I think of step one being the offseason conditioning program, step two being the start of spring practice and we’ll do that today.”
On the quarterback competition and balancing reps…
“I don’t know if it’s hard to balance. Every guys out there has been explained that it doesn’t matter (how much experience they have). You could say Davin (Bellamy) and Lorenzo (Carter), they’ve got more experience than Jacob (Eason), right? Well they’ve got D’Andre Walker and Chauncey Manac behind them, who I think are two really good football players. So those two guys are competing with those other two guys, regardless of what the stats say or the SEC media days say before the season of what that guy is. That’s not the way we look at it as coaches. It’s the same way with the quarterback position. Jake Fromm is a talented young man who is going to come in and compete. That’s why he’s here mid-year. He’s here to learn, to compete. He has a really good understanding. He was really coached well in high school and played in a system that was complicated from a scheme standpoint and a coverage standpoint. He comes in ahead of your normal, average freshman. He’s going out there with the intent of winning over that job and winning over the team. That’s what we expect him to come out and compete and do.”
On Roquan Smith…
“Roquan won’t be available most of the spring. We don’t know if we’ll get him back or not. Obviously he’ll be helping us coach when he’s not conditioning. Roquan had a really good year. Roquan is a kid who works as hard as any kid I’ve been around when it comes to daily practice habits, weight room practice habits. He’s a guy who competes his tail off. I think he affects others. I think he’s finding his place right now. He’s going through a little bit of what Nick (Chubb) went through, with ‘Here I am at offseason conditioning and I’m supposed to be a leader, yet I’m not doing it myself. So how do I affect others?’ We’ve had several meetings with him on that, and I think he’s doing a nice job of that. I’m excited to see where he goes and how much he works this spring at the leadership aspect.”
On Riley Ridley…
“He’ll receive discipline. We’ll have internal discipline. I’ll say this – we are very disappointed in his decision. We do not condone that behavior. I think Riley is going to learn a valuable lesson from this mistake.”
On Jacob Eason and expectations for him this season…
“Offseason conditioning, I got to see him run, jump, move, do all of the physical traits of a quarterback. I think he’s in better shape, I think he’s moving around better. I thought as the year went, he got more comfortable being mobile in the pocket. I saw that in the offseason conditioning program. I was like ‘This guy is a lot better athlete than we give him credit for.’ We got to see some of that. From a leadership standpoint, he’s got to do a better job of communicating in the huddle, doing all the things that maybe a freshman would struggle to do when he’s getting by for himself. He’s got to help others now. I’m starting to see that. He feels more comfortable now having been here a year than he was obviously in year one. We’ll get to see today. It’s hard to make a lot of these judgments until you get to be out on the practice field and be with them.”
On normalcy with the coaching staff…
“I think it helps any time you have a lot of carryover. I think the flip side of that is you’ve got to be careful of do they get too comfortable? I think sometimes that’s the case. I challenge our coaches each year, each day, to change up the drills, to change up the environment. Do something different every day that they have to respond to because that’s what they’ll see in the game. We don’t want them getting comfortable at all. We want to challenge our players, especially the ones we have returning, because my biggest fear is a guy thinking that ‘It’s okay because I’ve started. I’ve done enough. I’m not hungry.’ They should be hungry and should be motivated to win games, to win the (SEC) East, to be the best player you can be. You’re motivated by that, not the flip side of I’ve already played, I’ve already arrived. We don’t have anybody that has arrived.”
On Jeremiah Holloman and his skill set…
“I think the biggest thing he brings is the toughness factor. I think one of the things that stuck out on his tape, everybody talks about the catches and the sides, but he’s physical. That’s the demeanor that we need, a guy that’s going to go out there and hit you and hat you up. I really like that about the guy. I think he’s going to help us on special teams. He’ll have a learning curve to go through. He’ll learn the sets and the different plays, but I’m excited about his work habits. He’s one of the hardest workers out there with those mid-year guys. He doesn’t really care what other people think. He doesn’t look around at the other guys. He’s focused on ‘I’m going to give you all the effort I can.’ We took time this offseason to film finishes. We’ve had guys that finished the drill really well, they ran through the cone really well and gave great effort, and then we had guys that pulled up a little bit short. You come in as a team and we say this is the way to do it, this is the way not to do it. We didn’t care who it was. We didn’t care who you were or how many games you had played. Repeatedly, (Holloman) showed up on the way to finish because he strains his gut. He’s not afraid to try hard. When you get that as a player, that’s a good trait.”
On Sony Michel’s 2016 season and keeping his strong play into 2017…
“I thought Sony did a good job. He affected that TCU game probably more than anybody, between him and Isaiah (McKenzie). When you get him the ball in space he tends to make things happen, so finding ways to get Sony the ball and creative ways to use his ability is important for us. He finished off the year really well. More importantly than on the gridiron, he impacted our team more off the field than probably anybody. He’s not a guy that’s afraid to speak out. He’s not afraid to challenge others. I appreciate that as a coach, having been around a lot of players like that in my past. He has that ‘it’ factor to do that. To have that at the running back position, that’s certainly you would think of Elijah Holyfield, Brian Herrien, Prather Hudson, Christian Payne, we’ve got guys there that are good players, but we’ve got to find ways to use them. It’s just not that easy to hand them the ball back there and get them through a defensive line if you don’t have space to do things.”
On balancing use of returning players with getting less experienced players reps…
“I think as a coach you’re always worried about that. I know some coaches in college football who have the philosophy that if you’ve played 1,000 snaps in your career, which let’s be honest we’ve got a couple guys that have, is spring (practice) going to get them better? I would argue that yes it is. In a controlled environment, the things you can do, when you can reduce risk by doing drills. Drill work is obviously separate from 11-on-11. Every guy on our team can get better. We’ve got no guy that can’t improve. We preach that to them. We’re not going to take guys and say you sit out of this, you sit out of that, because of who you are. I think that can cause angst or problems from within. But we have to be smart as coaches too, understand that when we’re in a tackling environment, some of these guys have been tackled enough times to prove they can carry the ball. In Lorenzo (Carter) and Davin’s (Bellamy) case, it’s not necessarily the same because they play less snaps than other guys do because we rotate, we’ll have to be smart about that. We meet a long time each day to say who’s getting those practice reps. We’ve got some guys behind Lorenzo and Davin that need to get the practice reps. But those guys need their practice reps too, especially from a conditioning standpoint, not so much a scheme standpoint.”
On the quarterbacks affecting the workload…
“The obvious effect would be can they handle it. We’ve tried to have them, independent of us, throwing each day to strengthen their arms to be able to sustain and get through it. I’ll let you know since you’ll see it today, Brice (Ramsey) is going to be there and help us. He’s going to be a guy who’s out there, not from a scheme standpoint, but he’s going to help. He’s loyal to this program. He’s been very appreciative and has handled everything in a first-class manner. We asked him to help and he said ‘Absolutely, I’ll come out there.’ But not from a standpoint of taking reps away. We’re talking a standpoint of can we get enough balls being thrown? He’s going to do that. Those three guys (Eason, Fromm and Vaughn), they’re going to get a lot of work. Most of the time, you’d like to have five quarterbacks but three of them getting the reps. What are the other two doing? Most of the time they’re helping facilitate a drill. Brice is going to do that to stay in shape, to keep himself in shape, and continue looking at other places.”
Senior TE #83 Jeb Blazevich
On anticipation for spring practice…
“This is my last spring, so it’s my last round to get better and improve myself. I’m trying to soak it all up.”
On emerging leaders…
“Guys are starting to speak up more. We’re trying to develop a culture of leadership. I think different guys are stepping up in different ways, but I think spring ball will be the true test of who is going to start to lead this team.”
On the leadership of Jacob Eason…
“He is speaking up a lot more and getting us on the same page as him. We’ll go out there and do 7-on-7 on our own, it’s hectic because no one has to be there, but he’s always the one that gets guys going and starts everything off. He’s not afraid to bark at guys when he needs to and stuff like that. It’s great seeing him come out of his shell and really start to emerge as a vocal leader.”
On having the same coaching staff as last season…
“Yes [there is a relief in that]. Especially for me, personally, having the same offense. It saves me a lot of studying, a lot of stress, and time spent away from here learning it. In terms of practically, what it can do for the football team, we’re able to take bigger steps forward. It’s less of learning the terminology, learning the ins and outs of what’s this formation. We already know the basics and we can help the young guys because we’ve been there and gone through it all with this staff. We can take bigger steps forward on improving.”
On helping the younger teammates..
“We’re definitely trying. I think having been there, that’s where you learn a majority of the stuff. They’re throwing so much stuff at you, but it’s being able to whittle that down and saying alright, when you hear this key word, just have your ears perk up, this is what you need to know from this, these are the things practically that are going to happen, this is what we see a lot. It’s more of the grassroots of what we’re learning and being able to apply it out there, opposing to try to learn the entire offense all at once. It’s a step by step process.”
Senior TB #1 Sony Michel
On the continuity of the coaching staff…
“Most of us know what to expect. And we’ve been prepping the early enrollees on what to expect, telling them what the coaches demand out of us. I think they’ve bought in really well. We are going to go out there and give the coaches what they want.”
On hopes for the spring…
“I just want us to get better. We are going to improve our identity and who we are as a football team, especially the offense. The defense will work hard to improve their identity too.”
On being a veteran…
“Every year is different. You’re still a team. No one is an individual. You still have to go out practice and work hard with the team. People are going to be looking for you on the practice field just like they are on the game field. If you’re not practicing, I’m sure you’re not going to be prepared to play a game and you have to be prepared at all times.”
Senior OLB #7 Lorenzo Carter
On veteran approach to spring practice…
“To show the young guys how to do it. We are going to show them the work it takes to get to where we want to go to win championships. I’m listening to the coaches to do what they ask me to do, then I expect the younger guys to listen to me and the other leadership on the team. We got to lead by example. We can’t let up, we aren’t going to let up.”
On the continuity entering spring…
“It is great, just being in the meeting room with everybody in there is a good feeling. We did some good things and some bad things that we need to fix.”
On individual improvement this spring…
“I just want to go out there and affect the team and try to make the team better. You just have to go out there and play your position and not try to be selfish. Just go out there and do what the coaches ask us to do.”
On new defensive line coach Tray Scott…
“He is a great guy. He brings a lot of energy to the defensive line. Just being around him a little bit has shown me a lot. He knows what he is talking about in terms of defensive line moves, different pass-rush moves and different techniques against the run.”
Junior ILB #6 Natrez Patrick
On entering the second year under head coach Kirby Smart…
“We are more comfortable going into this spring. It is a big difference, honestly. Everybody is comfortable and knows what to expect. Everybody knows his expectations and we are ready to take it to the next level. The continuity is not only us, the coaches have a better feel for all of us. ”
On the biggest thing he hopes to take from this spring…
“The biggest thing I want to take from this spring is to create that persona in that defense that I know we can be. To create our identity.”
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ATHENS, Ga. – Despite 29 points from J.J. Frazier, the Georgia Bulldogs fell 78-69 to Belmont in the first round of the 2017 National Invitation Tournament.
Frazier, who finishes the season with 13 games with 20 or more points, led Georgia (19-14) in scoring and added a pair of rebounds and assists. William Jackson II and Tyree Crump each scored 10 points, and as a team, the Bulldogs committed a season-low five turnovers.
“We just could not find a lineup that could get stops and also play offense,” Georgia head coach Mark Fox said. “We were disjointed and Belmont has a great shooting team. We couldn’t settle on a defense that could slow them down on the three-point line. They had two spurts, one to start the second half and one in the middle of the first, that they knocked in some three-point shots and that really was the difference in the game.”
The Bulldogs were without their second- and third-leading scorers, as Yante Maten and Juwan Parker each missed the game due to injury. Maten suffered an unexpected setback from his knee sprain following last weekend’s SEC Tournament, while Parker suffered a partial tear to his right Achilles.
The game opened with a series of runs, with Belmont (23-6) racing out to an 11-4 lead and the Bulldogs quickly tying the game at 13. Later, after holding Georgia to a stretch of 0-of-5 shooting, Belmont was able to go on another run, this time taking a 25-17 advantage. The Bruins, who came into the game averaging nearly 30 three-point attempts per game, hit their fifth three-pointer of the game just over 10 minutes in and led by as much as nine in the opening period.
Entering the final five minutes of the first half down by seven, Georgia got layups on back-to-back possessions from Jordan Harris and Frazier and cut the lead to three. On the next Georgia possession, following some quick ball movement, E’Torrion Wilridge found Tyree Crump for a three-pointer that tied the game. During the 7-0 run, the Bulldogs were able to hold Belmont scoreless for nearly three minutes. The Bruins then put home a few shots in the final two minutes and took a 37-34 lead into the break.
In the first five minutes of the second half, Belmont was 5-of-5 from three-point range and got out to a 54-43 lead. At the 11:46 mark, Frazier went 1-of-2 at the line and cut the lead to nine. The first free throw, which Frazier missed, snapped a Georgia-record 45 consecutive made free throws for the senior. He finishes his career with the highest free-throw percentage in Georgia history at 84.1-percent, breaking Jerry Eppling’s record of 82.2-percent.
With the Bulldogs down 68-54, Frazier scored the game’s next six points and got the deficit back down to eight, but the Bruins led by 10 following the final media timeout. The Bulldogs could not close the gap, scoring just seven points in the game’s final four minutes. Belmont finished the game 14-of-31 (45.2-percent) from three-point range and won the rebounding margin, 35-32.
• The contest was a rematch of last season’s first-round NIT game, a 93-84 win for the Bulldogs.
• J.J. Frazier moved to fourth all-time for single-season points at Georgia, suprassing Walter Daniels’ mark set in 1979. He finishes the season trailing Jacky Dorsey by just six points for third on the list.
• A streak of 45 consecutive free throws made by Frazier ended at the 11:46 mark of the second half. It was the second-longest streak in SEC history and was the longest ever at UGA.
• In the five games in which Yante Maten missed due to injury (including the Kentucky game in which he was injured in the first two minutes), Frazier totaled 36, 28, 29, 31 and 29 points.
• After leading 37-34 at the break, Belmont hit its first six 3-point attempts and seven of its first nine shots of the second half, all over the first seven minutes, to build a 12-point lead.
• The contest was the second double-digit scoring game in William “Turtle” Jackson II’s career, with the previous coming against Oakland this season (also 10 points).
• The 45.2-percent shooting clip by Belmont was the third-best by a non-conference opponent against Georgia this season, trailing Furman (50-percent) and
Georgia Head Coach Mark Fox
On tonight’s game…
“We just could not find a lineup that could get stops and also play offense. We were disjointed and Belmont has a great shooting team. We couldn’t settle on a defense that could slow them down on the three-point line. They had two spurts, one to start the second half and one in the middle of the first, that they knocked in some three-point shots and that really was the difference in the game.”
On offense sputtering…
“We just had no rhythm or execution with the lineups that we had. We tried lots of different formulas but we couldn’t really execute with the guys in the spots they were in. So we went to just trying to play off of ball screens, getting penetration and breaking down the defense which got us back in it but that is a tough way to make a living over 35-40 minutes.”
On trying to replace missing Yante Maten and Juwan Parker’s offense…
“We knew we would miss the scoring but those two guys are also two of our better defenders so we were most concerned about our ability to get stops. However, Belmont has a very good, experience team and they certainly made us pay for how we defended tonight. “
On J.J. Frazier…
“He has been a tremendous Georgia Bulldog. He’s going to have played in four postseasons and leave here as statistically one of the best players to every play here. He has brought a competitive spirit to our program that I think we will be able to look back on much like Kentavious (Caldwell-Pope)’s competitive spirit. It just becomes something that becomes apart of your fabric and it carries on to generations after you leave. I think you will see that in the result of what J.J. has done here. He is a remarkable young man and we are certainly going to miss him.”
Georgia Senior Guard J.J. Frazier
On playing without Maten and Parker…
“It was hard. Belmont shoots really well, and its hard to adjust for that overnight.”
On being celebrated at the end of the game…
“It was nice to know that the fans appreciated my hard work. I put my heart and soul into this university. If you were to cut me open, my blood would be red and black. I love Georgia. Its nice that my efforts didnt go unnoticed.”
Belmont Head Coach Rick Byrd
On tonight’s game…
“It’s a tough blow for those guys not to have Maten. I figure that we started out plus-33 points in this game because I think that’s what he got against us a year ago. He played phenomenal and I think we would have had a really hard time guarding him. I love winning this game, don’t get me wrong, but I am such a fan of Mark Fox and the job he does and the kind of person he is. I know that’s a tough loss. We’ve lost home games that have mattered before. Home games that the perception is that you’re not supposed to lose that game just because of levels or something like that. That’s tough that he didn’t have all his ammunition with a couple guys out – they’re just not the same team without them. That doesn’t diminish any effort that we gave or how well we played. That was perhaps our best game of the year.”
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