THE TEN AT 10
1. I have to admit that I didn’t watch the season finale of “The Bachelorette” last night. In fact, the primary television set in my house blew out Monday and I spent the better part of the evening trying hook up my new “smart” TV and get it to communicate with my new cable box, which was a way more of an enormous undertaking than I expected.
That wasn’t why I didn’t tune in. Even with a Murray in the middle of it – former Bulldog Josh Murray won the hand of Atlanta’s Andi Dorfman, in case you hadn’t heard — I watched only about 10 minutes of one episode this entire season. It’s just not my thing.
But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t follow the show. Toward the end, I kept up with it via Twitter. And I found that to be far more entertaining than the show itself.
My primary source of information was Christian Robinson, or @crob45 in the Twitter-verse. And I wasn’t the only one. The former Georgia linebacker and longtime Aaron Murray roommate is a close personal friend of Josh Murray and obviously an invested viewer. And he also happens to be hilarious on Twitter. Here’s some of his offerings Monday as he watched the show from his graduate assistant’s desk inside UGA’s Butts-Mehre Building:
As the show began …
When Dorfman’s father appeared …
When Josh made his big move …
Robinson’s reaction to the outcome …
When the runner-up Nick got nasty about losing …
His phone paid the price …
Who’s next? …
Moving on …
Apparently Robinson got back to the business of breaking down game tape after his last tweet.
2. Robinson was not the only member of Georgia’s football family to get swept up in the bachelor drama. Others weighed in as well, including:
From UGA Athletics’ official Twitter account …
From tight ends coach John Lilly …
And the from head man himself, Mark Richt:
Of course, Josh Murray sent out a tweet …
But the tweet of the night about the show came from a non-Dawg, Barrett Sallee of Bleacher Report …
Oddly quiet throughout the whole affair was Aaron Murray. Thinking it must’ve had something to do with that whole NFL training camp thing he’s doing with the Kansas City Chiefs.
3. Enough about reality shows. Football officially begins in Bulldog country on Friday. The players report for preseason camp on Thursday night, UGA will host its annual media day on Friday and the first on-field practice will commence Friday afternoon. The Bulldogs will go in shorts Friday and Saturday, don shoulder pads on Sunday and Monday and then get after in their first full-pads workout of the season on Tuesday afternoon.
The AJC will be providing coverage all day every day so be sure check the UGA page regularly for updates.
4. Of course, as Georgia eases into 2014 season, all eyes will be on tailback Todd Gurley. The junior from Tarboro, N.C., is getting early mention as a Heisman Trophy candidate.
You may have heard during his appearance at SEC Media Days that Gurley is not at all focused on the much-hyped competition to win college football’s top individual award. But what you may not have caught was Gurley talking about his personal statistical goals. He said he would like to lead the SEC in rushing this season.
That in itself would be a huge accomplishment as the league is loaded with great runners this season. In fact, nine of the top 10 rushers in the SEC last year were underclassmen, and all but three of them return to play for their respective teams this season. Take out quarterbacks Nick Marshall (1,068 yards rushing) of Auburn and Dak Prescott (829) of Mississippi State, that leaves Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon (1,235), South Carolina’s Mike Davis (1,183) and Arkansas’ Alex Collins (1,026) as Gurley’s primary competition for the conference crown in rushing.
But Gurley doesn’t see it as a competition, necessarily. “I just go out there and do my game,” he said. “I don’t worry about what other people do. I definitely respect their game and I definitely watch their tapes and I show respect. But it’s not really a competition.”
That said, Gurley can’t help but eye what has become the golden number for modern-day backs — 2,000.“If I could get 2,000 yards, that would be awesome,” Gurley told reporters. “If the Lord would bless me with that, ‘oh my gosh.’ But that’s going to be pretty hard to do in the SEC.”
5. At least one person believes Gurley is capable of accomplishing great things, and it just happens to be the greatest Bulldog of all time.
Herschel Walker, attending the BB&T Atlanta Open this weekend, told Dawgs247.com senior writer Gentry Estes he believes Gurley is just has good as he was. Gurley just happens to be at Georgia during different strategic times.
“When I was there we ran the ball a lot,” said Walker, who ran it 994 times three years at Georgia, which remains an NCAA record. “Whereas the game now has switched so much to a passing game. So I think it’s very unfair to compare athletes because the system players are in makes a big, big difference.”
That said, Walker had a suggestion for Coach Richt this season.
“You’ve got not just two great running backs; you’ve really got four,” he said, referring to Gurley, Keith Marshall, Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. “… So if I was him, I’d rely real heavily on my running game.”
Hard to argue with that logic.
6. The ever-observant Estes also pointed to a clue on Monday suggesting that incoming freshman Rico Johnson might get a look at defensive back in camp. The 5-foot-11, 172-pound athlete from Swainsboro signed with the Bulldogs as a wide receiver. But on his Twitter account, @Ricjohnson7, he includes “DB” in his bio.
“God 1st Family 2nd.. Just Living My Dreams.. DB/WR/KR for The University of Georgia,” it reads. For what it’s worth.
7. Georgia has gone to considerable lengths to shore up depth issues at another position. Transfer Joseph Ledbetter will receive an athletic grant-in-aid to play tight end for the Bulldogs when he enrolls in school for fall semester and will report with the rest of the team on Thursday. What makes Ledbetter’s addition particularly interesting is the 6-5, 220-pound athlete has played Div. II basketball at Pfeiffer University in North Carolina the past two years and very little football even going back to his days at Tucker High School.
Ledbetter made the switch to football this past spring and attended UGA’s Dawg Night camp two weeks ago. What makes Ledbetter’s addition even better for the Bulldogs is his little brother is a 4-star defensive end prospect and rising senior at Tucker High. Jonathan Ledbetter is currently committed to Alabama but has and will continue to be pursued by UGA, which has a little more ammunition now. You can read recruiting reporter Michael Carvell’s account HERE.
8. Almost lost in the dog days of summer was the fact that the baseball team lost another Dog. Hunter Cole, who had been participating in the Cape Cod league this summer, turned pro two weeks ago. In fact, he already made his debut in the Arizona League for the San Francisco Giants rookie team. The third baseman batted in the No. 2 hole on Sunday and went 3-for-5 with an RBI.
Cole, was was selected by San Francisco in the 26th round in June, led the Bulldogs in hits, doubles and batting average his junior year this past season. He’s the third junior off last year’s team to make the jump to the pros, joining shortstop Nelson Ward and pitcher Jarrett Brown. Georgia also lost two signees who were second-round selections.
9. Former UGA tennis star John Isner won the BB&T Atlanta Open for the second straight year this past weekend. Despite the victory and the $103,000 first prize, Isner remained No. 12 in the ATP World Singles Rankings. He was ranked as high as No. 9 a few years ago when he went on a run and knocked off Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
Of course, Isner was a four-year letterman for the Bulldogs, holds the school record for wins in both singles and doubles and to a perfect 32-0 record as a senior. His only blemish that year was losing to Somdev Devvarman of Virginia in the singles final that year.
That got me wondering how Devvarman is doing as a pro these days. He’s ranked 132nd.
10. Georgia soccer incoming freshman Mariel Gutierrez was named to the 21-player roster for the upcoming 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, it was announced this week by the Mexican Football Federation. The World Cup will be played in Canada Aug. 5-24, with Gutierrez’s squad making its fifth straight trip and sixth overall.