Kirby Smart

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Georgia kicker adds cherry on top of Notre Dame win with scholarship announcement

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As if celebrating a win in South Bend was not enough for Georgia, kicker Rodrigo Blankenship had one more reason to celebrate with the Bulldogs Saturday night. As Georgia head coach Kirby Smart addressed the team in the locker room after Georgia’s 20-19 victory over Notre Dame, Smart turned the attention to Blankenship for the big reveal.

Blankenship was placed on scholarship by Georgia on Friday, but Smart played this one well by holding off until after the game to reveal the news to the rest of the team. One wonders how the announcement would have been made if Georgia had lost. Being able to make the announcement following a win made a joyous moment even more cherished by the Georgia program.

Blankenship converted two of three field goal tries against the Irish and has made three of four tries this season. Last season, Blankenship successfully kicked 14 of his 18 field goal attempts for three points.

Georgia QB Jacob Eason is out for Notre Dame game

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After being removed from a season-opening game win against Appalachian State on Saturday, Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason will sit out of the Bulldog’s Week 2 matchup at Notre Dame. Freshman Jake Fromm will continue to fill in for Eason and will get his first collegiate start this weekend in South Bend.

Eason has been diagnosed with a sprained ligament in his left knee, but will not need to have surgery, according to head coach Kirby Smart.

Eason was hit out of bounds by an Appalachian State defender in the first quarter of Saturday’s season opener in Athens. The play resulted in a late hit out of bounds penalty on the Mountaineers, but the penalty seemed to really be against the Bulldogs with their star quarterback trying to stay in the game only to fall to the ground and require medical attention before being taken out of the game for good.

Fromm performed well in his emergency relief for Georgia, completing 10-of-15 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown on a day that saw Georgia’s running game lead the way to a 31-10 victory. Now, From will be the starter for the Georgia Bulldogs and his first start will come inside Notre Dame Stadium. Georgia’s running game should continue to be the focus of the offense anyway, but how Fromm handles playing in this environment will be something to watch as Georgia looks to go 2-0.

It is unknown how long Eason will be unavailable, and for how long Fromm will remain the starter. Fromm may be in a position to keep the job even if Eason is later medically cleared to play for the Bulldogs, but if Georgia struggles in Eason’s absence, then Fromm may turn the job back over to a healthy Eason if and when that time comes.

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.

Report: Foot injury puts Georgia WR Riley Ridley on sideline for spring

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Georgia wide receiver Riley Ridley has not been practicing this spring, but it has nothing to do with his offseason misdemeanor from a couple of weeks ago. Instead, a foot injury appears to have sidelined Ridley for the spring.

According to a report from Gridiron Now, Ridley has been out due to the foot injury. When the foot injury occurred is not reported. Even if his foot was not injured, it remains unknown if Ridley would be participating int he spring, at least at this point. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has said Ridley will be internally disciplined for his misdemeanor pot possession from earlier this month.

“He’ll receive discipline,” Smart said. “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.”

When Ridley may be available again remains unknown, as does what exactly the punishment to him will be from Smart. A one-game suspension is the expected result for Ridley according to the university’s student-athlete handbook.

Georgia Bulldog sent to pound following traffic charges

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Georgia cornerback Juwuan Briscoe spent about an hour in a county jail Saturday night due to a pair of traffic violations.

University of Georgia police arrested Briscoe Saturday night for failure to have a license and not wearing a seat belt. Both charges are misdemeanors and he was released on a $500 bond.

Briscoe’s arrest is the fourth by a Georgia player under new head coach Kirby Smart. There has been no statement regarding Briscoe’s arrest, and as of now there has been no change to his status with the program as a result.