Georgia Bulldogs

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Vince Dooley says he would not have fired Mark Richt at Georgia

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There was a bit of a shock when Georgia decided to move on from former head football coach Mark Richt last year. Richt had been a model of consistency in a profession that sees that becoming more and more a rarity and he did so in a conference bubbling with as much pressure as any conference has from top to bottom. Regardless, it was time to try something new if the goal was to get Georgia over the hump of being a perennial SEC East Division contender and more of an annual SEC championship and College Football Playoff contender.

If the decision were up to him, former Georgia head coach Vince Dooley says he would not have fired Richt. This is something you might expect to hear from the man who brought Richt to Georgia in the first place.

“He had to make to real tough decision in changing coaches,” Dooley said to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, referring to Georgia Athletics Director Greg McGarity and the decision to fire Richt. “Mark Richt, I hired him and, well, you have this loyalty when you hire someone that you’re going to go the extra mile. If I’d have been the athletic director, I probably would have sat down with Mark and said ‘next year is very important,’ and I probably would’ve gone another year with him.”

That’s fair, of course. But it is also worth noting Richt had plenty of time to win more at Georgia and was never able to prove he could for one reason or another. At least, not to the extent others in the SEC have raised the bar during Richt’s tenure. Keep in mind how many SEC programs won SEC titles and national titles during Richt’s tenure at Georgia (Urban Meyer, Les Miles, Nick Saban among them). With all of the resources and the talent pool to recruit from available, it is easy to argue Richt should have accomplished more on the field than he ultimately did. That is not to suggest Richt was a failure at Georgia overall, because that simply would not be true at all. But when you have to compare rings, Georgia was lacking in one critical department.

And don’t think that Dooley is against current Georgia head coach Kirby Smart. On the contrary, Dooley is very optimistic and positive about Smart as the head coach of the Bulldogs.

“He’s got a great background,” Dooley said. “He knows what it takes in this league. He’s a Georgia man. He played here but then he had his training under a guy who is a proven success in Nick Saban. He’s got a good staff and the recruiting has been great. So I really think that the future is really bright.

Richt didn’t take long to land on his feet once being released by Georgia. Richt was named the head coach at Miami and is already building the Hurricanes up the way he did with Georgia. Entering the 2017 season, Miami appears to be trending upward, and we’ll see if they can keep that theme going for an entire season. In the meantime, we’ll keep dreaming about the possible collision course Richt thinks Miami and Georgia are on.

Gus Malzahn makes several changes to Auburn’s administrative staff

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A potentially big upcoming season for Gus Malzahn’s future at Auburn has resulted in several administrative changes to his off-the-field staff on the Plains this past week.

Announced on Thursday, the school confirmed several moves related to the running of the program. Perhaps the most notable change was the promotion of former Nick Saban staffer Patrick Suddes to assistant athletic director for football.

“I’m blessed to work for Coach Malzahn, and to work with this staff,” Suddes said in a release. “Auburn is a great place. It’s a blessing to be here. I’m going to embrace this new role and look forward to serving. I’m excited for the upcoming season.”

Stefan Schmidt takes over Suddes’ previous role as director of player personnel while Brett Whiteside slides over to director of football operations. Former AU offensive lineman Jorrell Bostrom, who won a ring on the 2010 national championship team, received a new title of director of player development.

That’s the biggest bits of shuffling among current staffers but the Tigers also announced two new hires to serve key roles. Former Cincinnati defensive line coach Kenny Ingram returns to Malzahn’s staff as director of player relations while Mollie Moore was poached from rival Georgia to serve as director of recruiting operations.

The moves still place Auburn well behind rival Alabama when it comes to number of non-coaching personnel on staff but do help the team play a bit of catch-up on that front.

Brice Ramsey’s mom confirms QB will return to Georgia

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It appears Kirby Smart‘s recruiting efforts have paid off.

Earlier in the week, the Georgia head coach confirmed that he was “actively recruitingBrice Ramsey, the quarterback who UGA announced in March would be transferring out of the UGA football program.  Thursday, Ramsey’s mother confirmed that her son would remain with the Bulldogs.

“Brice has committed to finishing out his time at the University of Georgia,” Yolanda Ramsey told Dawgs247.com. “After visiting and talking with other schools, he could not get past the part of where he is heart was and that is at UGA at the end of the day.”

The specific schools to which Ramsey spoke haven’t been detailed.

Ramsey played in 24 games during his time with the Bulldogs. He completed 45 of 74 passes for 582 yards four touchdowns and four interceptions. The past two seasons, Ramsey also punted the ball a total of 45 times, averaging 38.7 yards per boot.

With the return, UGA is now back up to three scholarship quarterbacks on the roster — Ramsey, sophomore and returning starter Jacob Eason and freshman Jake Fromm. It’s likely Ramsey will battle Fromm for the backup job behind Eason.  The fifth-year senior could also see some time again as a punter.

Auburn AD banging the drum for a Tigers move to SEC East, Mizzou shift to West

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Tuesday, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey laid talk of a potential Auburn move from the SEC West to the East at the feet of the media. A day later, that university’s athletic director picked up the talk and ran with it. Hard.

After months of chatter on the subject, Jay Jacobs met the issue head-on at the conference’s spring meetings Wednesday, with the AU AD banging the drum very loudly for his football team to move from the West to the East and Missouri taking their place in the division.

While it makes sense football-wise for most involved, Jacobs cited the demographics of the student population at large as one of the reasons he will push for a divisional adjustment.

“It makes more sense for Auburn from the standpoint of the demographics of our students, not our student-athletes,” the athletics boss said according to 247Sports.com‘s Brandon Marcello. “Six or eight years ago, I looked at all the demographics. Most of all our students come from Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina, Kentucky, a few from Mississippi, very few from Louisiana.

“Since we went to the national championship twice we’ve got more geographical students from all over the place but still the majority of our students come from the southeast.”

The Opelika-Auburn News lays out the geographical argument, as it in reality relates to athletics budgets that are impacted by more than football specifically, very succinctly:

If you look at SEC universities laid out on a map, Auburn is closer to SEC East schools Georgia, Florida South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt than it is to SEC West schools such as Arkansas, LSU and Texas A&M.

Missouri is closer to all three of those schools than it is to the ones located in the Eastern Time Zone.

Jacobs is expected to broach the West-to-East subject with Sankey this week as the conference’s ADs talk shop with the commissioner, although it won’t be on the official agenda.

As for the the Iron Bowl as well as the annual matchup with the team Between The Hedges as part of any potential move? “[T]he bottom line is … we’re going to keep playing Georgia and we’re going to keep playing Alabama,” Jacobs said.

Moving to a nine-game conference schedule — and this is without even discussing eliminating divisions entirely as well — would easily facilitate an Auburn move to the East as well as limit, if not completely erase, the concerns over losing long-time rivalries across the league. Of course, we all know adding another league game will likely gain very little if any traction, at least not for the foreseeable future.

After all, you gotta continue to have those cupcakes as part of your Deep South college football diet.

Kirby Smart ‘actively recruiting’ Brice Ramsey to stay at Georgia

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Back in March, Kirby Smart announced that Brice Ramsey would be transferring from Georgia. Two months later, the quarterback still doesn’t have a new football home — and won’t, if his erstwhile head coach has anything to say about it.

On the first day of the SEC spring meetings Tuesday, Smart addressed the gathered media throng and touched on several issues. One of the most interesting is the fact that, in the coach’s words, he’s “actively been recruiting” Ramsey in an attempt to get him to remain in Athens.

“I’ve actively been recruiting Brice, trying to recruit Brice,” Smart said according to the Athens Banner-Herald. “As it stands right now, he’s still looking around but we should have some more clarity on that in the next couple of weeks.”

Ramsey’s name hasn’t been attached to any school in particular, although some thought that Colorado State, whose head coach, Mike Bobo, helped recruit the signal-caller to Athens, would be a likely fit.

Ramsey played in 24 games during his time with the Bulldogs. He completed 45 of 74 passes for 582 yards four touchdowns and four interceptions. The past two seasons, Ramsey also punted the ball a total of 45 times, averaging 38.7 yards per boot.

If Ramsey’s departure ultimately comes to fruition, UGA would have two scholarship quarterbacks on the roster — sophomore and returning starter Jacob Eason and freshman Jake Fromm. Should Ramsey return, he would likely battle Fromm for the backup job.