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Mel Tucker mic’d up at Georgia practice
One of the major factors behind Georgia football’s run to the College Football Playoff has been the play of its defense and the fantastic game planning by defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. Under the tutelage of Tucker and Kirby Smart, Georgia’s defense ranks fourth in the nation in scoring defense and total defense and eighth in defensive S&P+ and has only given up more than 21 points twice this season.
Because of the success of Georgia’s defense, Tucker has received some much-deserved recognition in recent weeks. He was a contender for the Broyles Award, given to the best assistant in college football and was reportedly a candidate for the once-vacant Tennessee head coaching gig that went to Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt. With plenty of stops in both college and the pros during the last two decades, including a stint as Jacksonville Jaguars interim head coach in 2011, Tucker is one of the most experienced coaches on Georgia’s staff.
With the speculation surrounding the Tennessee job now behind him, Tucker can now focus on what will be his toughest challenge since coming to Athens: stopping Heisman-winner Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma offense in the Rose Bowl. Of course, Tucker and the Dawgs are hard at work getting ready for the New Year’s Day semifinal showdown, as evidenced by a clip he recently released on Twitter.
On Monday, Tucker tweeted a video showing him coaching the Georgia defense, specifically the defensive backs, at a recent practice.
“Can’t wait to get these bowl practices in. Nothing but green grass and opportunity! #LeagueOfShadows,” Tucker tweeted.
In the video, Tucker can be seen coaching up his team, serenading his players with some Lou Rawls and telling one of his guys he should try “heat yoga” to become more flexible. He also had some especially kind words for Smart about the talent in the Georgia secondary.
“I never coached a group of guys like this, man. I never coached a group of guys like this,” Tucker said. “These DBs right here? They’re something else now.”
— Mel Tucker (@Coach_mtucker) December 11, 2017
College football awards circuit can provide something more than a few free meals and a dry-cleaning bill to the players involved. As laid out in this fun piece by Ryan McGee of ESPN, it can also be used to gather information bowl opponents. “We’re all gathering intel, man,” Oklahoma’s Mayfield said according to McGee.
“Every guy in here, they have looked and seen who has already played against who,” Mayfield said. “We’ve all already watched film of the team we’re playing in our games, but nothing beats real game experience. So, if you really watch this week you’ll see guys grabbing other guys and asking for tips on their next opponent.”
From that exchange, it seems pretty evident Mayfield used the award circuit to get the skinny from SEC players on what to expect against the Bulldogs’ defense. But don’t think Georgia is getting left behind in the intelligence-gathering department. Butkus Award-winner Roquan Smith served as Georgia’s man on the inside of the awards circuit, and he apparently didn’t let the opportunity to get a leg up on the Sooners go to waste.
In that very room with the two Sooners sat Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith. He kept his distance from Mayfield, the quarterback Smith will be charged with stopping in the Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1. Smith stayed on the back row of the conference room, throwing down on a bag of Chick-Fil-A. But as soon as Mayfield was pulled out of that room to knock out a TV interview, Smith jumped up and went straight to Ed Oliver, the Houston defensive lineman who burst onto the national scene in 2016 by making Mayfield’s day miserable. The two tackling machines talked barely above a whisper, Oliver’s hands torquing to illustrate a point.
Hey, Roquan, what did Oliver tell you?
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, man.”
More postseason accolades for Roquan Smith
Another day, another batch of All-America inclusions for Smith. The linebacker was named to both the ESPN and CBS All-America teams Tuesday. Along with both of those organizations, Smith has been named an All-American by The Associated Press, the Football Writers Association of America, the Sporting News and the Walter Camp Football Foundation. If he’s named an All-American by the American Football Coaches Association, he will have met the criteria to be considered a unanimous All-American.
Dawgs on Twitter
Today we're looking back at the Top 5 big hits of the year.
— Georgia Bulldogs (@UGAAthletics) December 13, 2017
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) December 12, 2017
— Coach Sam Pittman (@CoachSamPittman) December 12, 2017
That’s as a good a spot as any.
I'll just sleep here, thanks pic.twitter.com/3J7wSQyqF2
— Animal Life (@MeetAnimals) December 12, 2017
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