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  • ATHENS — It is true, Georgia tight end Luke Ford is not currently with the team. But he’ll be back. That’s according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation. Ford, a 6-foot-6, 252-pound true freshman tight end from Carterville, Ill., reportedly was just homesick and asked to be able to go home to spend some time with his family. That request was granted, and Ford is due rejoin the team in Athens on Dec. 26. Ford The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) will depart for New Orleans on Dec. 27 to continue preparations for their Allstate Sugar Bowl matchup against No. 15 Texas (9-4) on Jan. 1. Georgia resumed practices this past Friday and Saturday. It will conduct a Sugar Bowl media day at noon today. Ford was a consensus 4-star prospect when he signed with the Bulldogs out of Carterville High last year. He has been a regular contributor as a true freshman, appearing in 10 of Georgia’s 13 games on offense and special teams. Sometimes he would come into games as an H-back or fullback to provide extra blocking. He caught one pass for nine yards in the season opener against Austin Peay but has no other recorded stats. Ford was the No. 1-ranked recruiting prospect in Illnois and the No. 3 tight end nationally, per 247Sports. He was recruited to Georgia by former tight ends coach Shane Beamer and signed with the Bulldogs a year ago during the early signing period. Beamer subsequently left to accept an assistant head coaching position at Oklahoma. Ford joined fellow tight end John FitzPatrick of Atlanta in the 2018 signing class. FitzPatrick has appeared in only two games this season, so he will be able to use this season as a redshirt season. Both players were behind co-starters Isaac Nauta and Charlie Woerner on the Bulldogs’ depth chart, as well as senior Jackson Harris. Georgia currently also has a commitment from 4-star prospect Ryland Goede of Kennesaw Mountain. The 6-foot-7, 240-pound tight end is expected to be an early enrollee.     The post Georgia Bulldogs’ freshman tight end Luke Ford not currently with team appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Don’t tell Texas coach Tom Herman that his Longhorns could be over their head defending the Georgia football run game. The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) bring the SEC’s top rushing attack (259.8 yards per game) into the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1 against the Longhorns, who hail from what’s largely known as a pass-happy conference in the Big 12. Herman, however, points out this No. 15-ranked Longhorns (9-4) have proven they can hold their own against some of the best rushing attacks in the country. RELATED: Georgia quarterbacks in the headlines, popular talking point The Texas coach said the adjustment to defending a power football team like the Bulldogs won’t “be anything too formidable for us” when the teams meet in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in New Orleans. “We played a team in Oklahoma that had gone six straight games of rushing for at least 290 yards,” Herman said. “The week prior we were against a Kansas team that had a freshman running back named Pooka Williams who rushed for 200-and-something yards against Oklahoma the week prior to that.” Texas held the Sooners to 129 yards rushing and just 3.2 yards per carry in its 39-27 loss to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship Game on Dec. 1. Against Kansas, on Nov. 23, the Longhorns held Big 12 Newcomer of the Year Pooka Williams to 103 yards on 16 carries and the Jayhawks to 137 yards rushing as a team in a 24-17 win. “So, yeah, there are some teams that do like to throw it in our conference,” Herman said. “But the last three games that we played, being Iowa State, Kansas, and then Oklahoma, are all in the conversation for very difficult teams to defend running the football.” Oklahoma ranks No. 11 in rushing offense (one spot ahead of Georgia), Kansas is No. 80 and Iowa State ranks 113. Still, Herman sees enough talent in the Big 12 that he’s not overly   concerned about the Georgia run game. “I don’t think transitionally it will be anything too formidable for us,” Herman said. “We pride ourselves in our run defense, and we certainly understand the way that Georgia’s built, that we’re going to need our best on January 1st, certainly against the run.” Texas ranks 36th in the nation in run defense, allowing 135.9 yards per game on the ground — just over 5 yards more than the Bulldogs’ defense gives up (130.6). DawgNation Georgia football Sugar Bowl Tim Tebow : Georgia will be challenged to be motivated for Texas Kirby Smart and Tom Herman clash again in Sugar Bowl, now as head coaches Georgia football coach Kirby Smart believes Bulldogs will bounceback Some interesting Sugar Bowl numbers via Brandon Adams Thorpe Award winner Deandre Baker will play in Sugar Bowl Texas named Georgia football opponent in 2019 Sugar Bowl CFP Chairman explains why Georgia football was left out of CFB Playoffs 3 Georgia football players get Senior Bowl invites     The post Texas doesn’t see Georgia football run game as ‘anything too formidable’ appeared first on DawgNation.
  • With 14 active pitchers and the All-Star game actually counting for something, there’s a chance not all of the arms will make it out of the bullpen.That’s what happened to Braves right-hander Shelby Miller on Tuesday at Great American Ball Park. Miller, the only Braves representative, didn’t make an appearance for the National League as the American League won 6-3.Miller was one of six NL pitchers who never took the mound but he said he wasn’t disappointed with not playing in his first All-Star game.“Not at all,” Miller said. “If I got in there, cool (and) if not, cool. There’s obviously a lot of great arms here and guys wanting to get in there and pitch. If I happened to not get in there, it wasn’t a big deal to me.”Miller last pitched Friday at Colorado and is tentatively scheduled to start against the Cubs on Sunday at Turner Field. He said he would probably throw on Thursday in preparation for his next start.“I think rest is a good thing,” Miller said.The stakes increased for the All-Star game when MLB and players decided in 2003 that the winning league would earn home-field advantage in the World Series. The change came after the 2002 All-Star game in Milwaukee infamously ended in a tie after 11 innings because the teams ran out of substitutes available to pitch.The change means All-Star managers can’t use all of their pitchers, especially when the game is close in the later innings like on Tuesday.“We were saving our starters in case we went extra innings,” NL manager Bruce Bochy said.The Royals lost the deciding game of the 2014 World Series on their home field but, in manager Ned Yost’s view, they still had an advantage playing it there. That’s why Yost, the AL All-Star manager, said he was motivated to win.It could be that Yost helped his club with the AL’s victory. The Royals, with the best record in the AL before the All-Star break, look like pennant contenders again.The AL has won 10 of 13 All-Star games since home-field advantage has been the prize. The AL won the first seven games under the new format, the NL won the next three, and now the AL is on a three-game winning streak. There have been two World Series to go to seven games since 2003 and the home teams were 1-1.The All-Star pregame festivities included Pete Rose, who appeared alongside fellow Reds legends Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan and Barry Larkin. Rose, a Cincinnati native, is banned from baseball for gambling but was allowed to participate by commissioner Rob Manfred.Another ceremony included Braves legend Hank Aaron. He was introduced along with Willie Mays, Johnny Bench and Sandy Koufax as the greatest living players as determined by fans in an online poll.Aaron, 81, was an All-Star for 21 of his 23 seasons in the majors, including all nine years he played in Atlanta. He played in a record 25 All-Star games (there were two games from 1959-1962), one more than Mays and Stan Musial.Koufax threw the ceremonial first pitch to Bench.“That was definitely cool to see those four guys,” Miller said. “That’s one of the coolest first pitches you will probably ever see. The introduction and the whole thing was first-class.”Once the festivities ended, the American League wasted little time taking the lead and quieting the crowd of 43,656 that was partial to the NL’s Reds.Mike Trout led off the game with an opposite-field home run against Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke. It was the first home run to lead off an All-Star game since Morgan did it in 1977 and the third time overall.Trout went 1-for-3 with two runs scored and was voted the All-Star game MVP for the second consecutive year. He’s the first player to win it twice in a row and the fifth to win it more than once. Trout also is the reigning American League MVP.“He’ s just special,” Yost said. “He can do anything that anybody can do on a baseball field. He can hit with power. He can run, he can drive the gap. He’s a great defender. When you look at Mike, you don’t look at a 23-year old. You look at a guy that is one of the best baseball players in the planet.”After Trout’s homer, the NL tied the game in the second inning but the AL went ahead for good with two runs against Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw in the fifth inning.After Trout reached base on a fielder’s choice and Albert Pujols walked, Prince Fielder knocked an RBI single for a 2-1 lead. Lorenzo Cain followed with a run-scoring double.Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen led off the sixth inning with a homer against Rays right-hander Chris Archer to cut the NL’s deficit to 3-2. Zach Britton replaced Archer and threw wildly to first base to allow Paul Goldschmidt to reach, then gave up a single to Buster Posey before Troy Tulowitzki grounded out.The AL added two runs in the seventh inning and another in the eighth.
  • NEW YORK (AP) - Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson watched the Nets let a 21-point lead slip to two and was reminded of the offensive flaws that sent the team spiraling on an eight-game skid a few weeks ago. Needing a spark on the offensive end, Atkinson made sure D'Angelo Russell led the way. Russell scored 32 points, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 18 and the Nets beat the Atlanta Hawks 144-127 on Sunday for their fifth straight win. Joe Harris had 16 points and Spencer Dinwiddie added 15 off the bench for the Nets, who last won five straight March 25-April 2, 2015. Atkinson noticed a different team to start the third quarter as the ball moved and the Nets pushed toward the basket more. 'I was worried at halftime. I said this game is too loose. It's too up and down,' Atkinson said. 'They play fast, and we knew we had to start that third quarter with an edge, and I felt we did.' Atlanta cut Brooklyn's 21-point lead down to 66-64 when Kent Bazemore capped a 6-0 run with two free throws late in the first half. But the Nets pulled away in the third quarter with an 11-5 run to make it 108-92 after Russell found Ed Davis cutting to the basket for a dunk. Russell then found Jared Dudley for a 3 to extend the lead to 111-94 with 14 seconds left in the third, one of 34 assists by the Nets. That matched a season high set last Friday against Washington. 'I think just our commitment for wanting to see each other do better,' said Russell, who finished with seven assists and no turnovers, becoming the first Net with that line since Vince Carter on March 19, 2008 against the Hawks. 'Like I said, everybody is aggressive at the appropriate time but still wanting to make that extra pass for the next guy, still having your teammates' back on the defensive end, that rotation,' Russell added. 'We're making those plays.' Brooklyn also notched a season-high 12 steals. John Collins scored 29 points and Dewayne Dedmon had 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Hawks, who have lost three straight and seven of their last eight. Atlanta stumbled in the first quarter and trailed 42-23 at the end of it. The Hawks shot 10 for 23 from the field while the Nets connected on 16 of 26, including 7 for 14 from the 3-point line. 'It's all about figuring a way to get us going,' said Bazemore, who finished with 20 points. The Hawks have lost their last five on the road, dropping to 2-14 away from home this season. TIP-INS Hawks: Rookie point guard Trey Young had 13 points and 10 assists. ... Atlanta had 38 assists on 47 baskets. Nets: The Nets had their highest scoring game ever at the Barclays Center, topping the 131 they scored against Philadelphia on March 15, 2016. ... Brooklyn has posted at least 70 points in the first half of its last two games, a feat it had not accomplished since the 1983-84 season. The Nets scored 70 points through two quarters against Washington on Friday and had 72 at the half against Atlanta. ... The Nets have scored at least 100 points through the first three quarters in consecutive games for the first time in franchise history. ... The 144 points in a regulation game were the second-most in franchise history behind a 147-132 win at Detroit on April 17, 1982. BITTERSWEET RETURN Former Nets guard Jeremy Lin returned to Brooklyn and said he wished things had ended differently. Lin was surprised and upset with the trade that sent him to Atlanta on July 12 after two years and just 37 games in Brooklyn due to injuries. 'Honestly, coming in the building, just thankful,' said Lin, who was averaging 10.8 points and 41 percent shooting from the 3-point line in 25 games. 'As sad as it is when I think of Brooklyn, obviously, I just think of a lot of injuries and things like that. It's quite a contrast to being healthy, being able to participate in a game.' UP NEXT Hawks: Host the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night. Nets: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night. ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports