Welcome to your one-stop shop for UGA football news and takes every Monday through Friday. Today we look at an interview with 5-star Justin Fields, Aaron Murray’s second career in the broadcast booth, and the return of night games to Sanford Stadium.
Saturday Night Lights
Rejoice, Georgia fans. Night games are finally coming back to Athens.
After years of only sparse night offerings at Sanford Stadium — including six noon kickoffs in 2016 alone — two games under the lights are already on schedule for 2017. The season opener against Appalachian State on Sept. 2 is set for a 6:15 p.m. ET kick, and on Tuesday it was announced that the home game against Samford on Sept. 16 will begin at 7:30 p.m. In between is the game against Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., also set for 7:30 p.m. That’s three straight night games to open the season, the first time the Bulldogs will ever play three consecutive night games. It’s also halfway to the school record for most night games in a season (six in 1994, 2005, 2009, and 2012), according to Dean Legge.
But why stop there? There’s a solid chance that the Bulldogs could begin the season with four consecutive night games, three of which would be played in Athens.
UGA welcomes Mississippi State to the Classic City on Sept. 23, and that could easily turn into another game under the lights. CBS gets pick of the litter for the 3:30 p.m. ET time slot, and that seems likely to go to Alabama-Vanderbilt (the network’s first chance to televise the Tide this season). That leaves 7:30 p.m. spots potentially open for Georgia on both the SEC Network and ESPN 2. The only semi-interesting SEC games that week are Arkansas-Texas A&M, Auburn-Missouri, and maybe Florida-Kentucky. If Georgia is 3-0 with a win at Notre Dame heading into Week 4, it would make sense that the SECN or ESPN 2 would pick Dawgs vs. Dawgs for prime time.
No decision imminent for Justin Fields
Jeff Sentell of DawgNation interviewed 5-star QB Justin Fields, and yes, 247Sports’ top-ranked dual-threat quarterback in 2018 talked about a decision date. (SPOILER: He doesn’t have one.) He also covered the schools still in the running and what his family thinks about his potential college destinations.
“My stepmom wants me to go to Georgia. My Dad, he doesn’t care. He likes Georgia a lot. Just because of the distance. Florida State is also there with him. He likes what they have done with the recent quarterbacks. My mom she just really wants the best for me. My sister [Jaiden] I would say she wants me to go to Georgia. Just to go to school with her. That’s kind of her take on it.”
David Greene on what to expect in Year 2 of new coaching regime
With Kirby Smart about to begin Year 2 in Athens, Seth Emerson of DawgNation has a story on the success many teams have found in the second year of a coaching regime. One person who knows something about that is former UGA QB David Greene, who won the SEC Championship and Sugar Bowl in 2002, the second year in the tenure of Mark Richt.
“Year 2, everybody kind of knows what to expect,” Greene said. “They understand what coaches expect. The offense and defense and special teams, you’ve got a nice foundation and you’re kind of building off it. I think that’s why you see so much growth in Year 2, especially when you’ve got the right pieces in play.”
Top Dawgs in the NFL
The MMQB ranked the top 400 players in the NFL, and on a list that large there’s gotta be a few Bulldogs. Indeed, 11 former Dawgs made the cut. A.J. Green was the top-ranked former UGA star, clocking in at No. 33.
|Charles Johnson, DE||387|
|Cordy Glenn, LT||326|
|Leonard Floyd, OLB||232|
|Alec Ogletree, ILB||224|
|Reshad Jones, S||144|
|Todd Gurley, RB||135|
|Matt Stafford, QB||117|
|Thomas Davis, ILB||65|
|Geno Atkins, DT||55|
|Justin Houston, OLB||39|
|A.J. Green, WR||33|
Could Jacob Eason be the top pick in the NFL draft?
David Kenyon of Bleacher Report looked at a slew of college football players who have the potential to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft in the next few years, and among that group was Georgia’s sophomore signal caller, Jacob Eason.
Georgia’s quarterback competition in 2016 lasted one game. Perhaps it’s fitting Jacob Eason might only last one pick in the 2019 draft.
As a true freshman, Eason completed 55.1 percent of his 370 passes for 2,430 yards and 16 touchdowns with eight interceptions. Those numbers should rise — not only as he progresses individually but also as a young receiving corps develops around him.
Aaron Murray gets a new gig
Former Georgia QB Aaron Murray is heading to the broadcast booth. After sharing a photo of a CBS blazer with the caption “New game day attire” on his Instagram, Murray confirmed to Dawgs247 that he will be calling some games for CBS Sports Network this fall. “Ten games in the booth covering college,” he told Dawgs247.
— Andrew Hall (@DudeYouCrazy) July 25, 2017
Another edition of the DawgNation mailbag comes out on Thursday, so if you have any questions for Seth Emerson, email him at email@example.com or tweet him at @sethwemerson. You can also head over to the DawgNation forum and drop your question there.
Dawgs on Twitter
— Coach Kirby Smart (@KirbySmartUGA) July 25, 2017
— Georgia Women's Golf (@UGAWomensGolf) July 25, 2017
Family gets bigger every year… blessing to be able to spend my life with guys like these pic.twitter.com/hXg3JBTliB
— Glenn Schumann (@CoachSchuUGA) July 26, 2017
This dog is a legit shredder.
— Cut4 (@Cut4) July 25, 2017