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Local News

  • The cities of Braselton and Hoschton will hold joint council meetings at 6 p.m. March 22 in the Historic Braselton Gymnasium, 4825 Highway 53 in Braselton. The purpose of this meeting is to simultaneously consider requests for annexation and de-annexation of land to/from each municipality. Braselton will consider the de-annexation of about 2.37 acres fronting the south side of Henry Street while Hoschton will consider annexation of the same property. The property owner and applicant, LSH Development, LLC, is seeking the change in annexation and zoning for a multi-family residential development. The property’s current zoning in Braselton allows for single-family homes. A site plan for the proposed MFR zoning has not been received. Braselton has already voted to approve the annexation contingent on Hoschton approving the de-annexation.
  • The Emmanuel College men's basketball team had a clean sweep to the NCCAA National Championship last week. Along the way they gathered a few more accolades to add to their already large collection. For the third time during his tenure as an NCCAA coach, TJ Rosene was named 2018 D1 Men's Basketball Coach of the Year. In Emmanuel's last two championship runs Coach Rosene was honored with this same title (2009, 2016). Coach Rosene now has 3 National Championships, 3 Coach of the Year Awards, and 11 straight 20 plus win seasons.  Several Men's Basketball players were also honored. Kendrick Colvin was named First Team All-American and to the All-Tournament Team. Elijah Robinson was named Third Team All-American and Tournament Most Outstanding Player. Jack Fitzpatrick was named a Scholar Athlete.
  • Mary Powers wins a special election in Hoschton, defeating Vanessa Weeks in the race to fill the unexpired term of former Hoschton City Council member Scott Butler.    There was also a Tuesday special election in the Hall County town of Clermont, where Cynthia Shubert-Jett beat Eric Thomas by three votes. Shubert-Jett fills the unexpired term of former Clermont City Council member Robin Brown, who resigned in December. 
  • The Full-Time MBA Program at the University of Georgia Terry College of Business rose eight spots to No. 40 and climbed to 19th among public institutions in the latest graduate school rankings from U.S. News & World Report. It was the largest gain of any business school that was ranked in the top 50 last year by U.S. News. The Best Business Schools rankings were announced March 20. “Our improvement in the most closely watched MBA ranking reflects outstanding employment outcomes that align with our graduates’ career goals,” said Terry College Dean Benjamin C. Ayers. “It further affirms the innovations we have introduced to our curriculum and certainly is supported by the fact that our facilities in the new Business Learning Community are second to none. I am very pleased to see the hard work of our faculty, staff and students recognized.” Last year, 93 percent of Georgia’s Full-Time MBA graduates were employed within three months of graduation –which matched a record for the program – and graduates reported to U.S. News an average starting salary and bonus of more than $100,000. The 93 percent employment rate ranked 17th overall among business schools ranked in the top 50, according to U.S. News. “Our efforts in offering a curriculum that is market-driven and experiential, and a steadfast focus on student experience both inside and outside the classroom, are proving to be transformational,” said Santanu Chatterjee, director of the Full-Time MBA Program. “The U.S. News ranking underscores the support and effort of all our stakeholders, including our vast alumni network.” Terry College’s Professional MBA Program maintained its top 50 placement at No. 44 overall in U.S. News’ part-time MBA ranking, and among public business schools it ranked 25th. U.S. News’ full-time MBA ranking is based on surveys of 480 MBA programs accredited by AACSB International. The methodology includes an assessment of quality (40 percent), placement success (35 percent) and student selectivity (25 percent). The part-time MBA ranking methodology is based on five factors: peer assessment (50 percent), standardized test scores (15 percent), student undergraduate grade point average (12.5 percent), percentage of MBA enrollment in the part-time program (12.5 percent) and years of work experience (10 percent). For its academic reputation among peers, Terry’s Professional MBA Program ranked 29th overall and 18th among public business schools. The rankings appear in the 2019 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools guidebook, available March 20, 2018.
  •   The empty lockers were when it hit home to those who remained. Or at least for those who saw it after the fact. Then there was Jonathan Ledbetter, who stumbled upon the scene as it was happening in the Georgia locker room.  “I tried not to go in the locker room too many times when they were taking the nameplates out because I knew I would get all sentimental and emotional. But I did see the guys’ nameplates getting taken off,” Ledbetter said, with a bit of a rueful smile. “I did have to say goodbye to a bunch of guys, but they’re on to bigger and better things. I’m happy for them. I can’t dwell on the past.”  It was a bit of an odd scene at the Butts-Mehre athletic building Tuesday. The new era of Georgia football was getting underway with the first day of spring practice. But the old era was still around as Lorenzo Carter, Davin Bellamy, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel were all hanging around the complex, walking through the hallways, getting ready for UGA’s pro day Wednesday.  For the last few years, especially the best one in recent Georgia history, they formed the core of the team. They were the face of the program, the best players and the most vocal leaders. And now they’re gone.  “They left their mark here; they left their legacy,” Ledbetter said. “We’re going to try to one-up them. That’s all you can do. I’m going to meet them down the road later in life.”  There remains plenty of optimism about Georgia football given the talent that is on the roster and the talent that is still coming in. Still, those are some very big names whose nameplates are no longer on lockers.  Is it scary? Or is it exciting? Both?  “It’s different,” receiver Terry Godwin said. “I’ve been here with these guys three years, and then they’re finally gone. So it’s kind of something to get used to, not seeing those faces and playing around with those guys. But it’s something you’ve got to go through in life.”  This was the first time members of the 2018 team met with the media since the sudden end to their season. Interestingly, players seemed willing to talk about the way the National Championship Game ended. There were no marching orders not to talk about it. Some players even brought it up when that wasn’t the question asked.  Godwin paused for a second and smiled when asked if and when he got over that game.  “To be honest, me personally, I’m not over it because it’s something I dream about every night,” he said. “One play. We work so hard and got there, and we came up one play short. That hurt me tremendously to see our seniors sit there and cry and just weep. That was very hard. That was tough.”  There was a lot of talk about leadership Tuesday. The on-field void left by the departed – especially inside linebacker Roquan Smith – is easier to gauge. It will be hard, but not impossible, given the way Georgia has recruited lately. Nine members of the nation’s top-ranked recruiting class already have enrolled and will compete for spots this spring. That doesn’t include 5-star tailback Zamir White, who is rehabbing a right-knee injury.  The intangibles, however, are harder to gauge. Quarterback Jake Fromm is back, bringing his boyish enthusiasm, so that should help. But who else?  Tight end Isaac Nauta pointed to himself as a vocal leader on offense, along with Godwin and center Lamont Gaillard. On defense, Nauta mentioned Juwan Taylor, who started one game at inside linebacker last season and will be competing for a starting spot this spring.  “We got to work pretty quick after the national championship, and all those guys left and were training for the draft,” Nauta said. “So you kind of looked around and realized that there’s a whole new group of guys here. It was a pretty quick turnaround, and it felt weird, because you’ve been with guys for two years and now they’re gone just like that.”  Nauta snapped his fingers for emphasis.  “I think with football especially it has to be very quick to turn the page,” Nauta said. “If you focus on what you did or you didn’t do, you can’t ever move forward. I’m not saying not to remember it and not to learn from it. But I would say we turned the page really quick and got back to work. Obviously it sucked, and it was a horrible feeling, but we learned from it and I would say we turned the page very quickly.”  When the season ended, coach Kirby Smart sat down with several remaining players who would have to assume bigger roles. On and off the field. When Smart became the coach more than two years ago he arranged for players to have their own leadership council, as he called it, and for the first two years many of the same players were on it.  Chubb. Michel, Bellamy. Carter. Smith. Isaiah Wynn. John Atkins. Dominick Sanders. And still others.  Now, it’s a new group. A very new group.  “We’ve got a lot of talent on this team,” Ledbetter said. “It’s just kind of putting it together and making it a family again.”

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — Apparently Justin Fields’ finger is just fine, thank you very much. Fields came to Georgia as the No. 1-rated dual-threat quarterback in America. So, naturally, everybody in the Bulldogs’ spring camp is talking about how great his arm is. “Cannon” seemed to be the consensus description. Players and coaches fielded a lot of questions Tuesday about Georgia’s latest 5-star sensation. The Bulldogs held their first of 15 workouts at Woodruff Practice Fields and, not surprisingly, all eyes were on Fields as he trotted out in a No. 1 Georgia jersey for the first time. Javon Wims, watching practice from the sidelines on Tuesday, has had the opportunity to throw and catch with the 6-foot-3, 225-pound freshman. The Bulldogs’ leading receiver from last season has been in town training for the pro day workout Wednesday, and Fields has thrown some routes with him. “Great arm,” Wims said. “Cannon.” And that was a description that was offered over and over. “He’s got a cannon,” junior tight end Isaac Nauta said. “He’s a big, physical kid. … He’s a really good kid too. I like the way he acts and his demeanor. He doesn’t get too big of a head. He’s very level-headed. And coming in to a place like this that’s what you’ve got to be.” Said senior wideout Terry Godwin: “He’s got a nice arm. He’s a quarterback. We’re not recruiting a guy who doesn’t have a great arm. … But, overall, he’s a great guy. In 7-on-7, he’s been out there throwing the ball, knowing the checks and everything. He’s carrying himself very well.” For the record, coach Kirby Smart hates such talk. He loathes people heaping praise on players who haven’t yet proven themselves in the heat of meaningful competition. But he also had some nice things to say about Fields, who Georgia had to pry away from an early commitment to Penn State and fight off virtually every SEC and ACC team to land him. “He’s done a tremendous job in the offseason workouts,” Smart said at his spring practice news conference. “He’s a competitor. He competes every day. He’s first in line trying to compete with every guy at his position. From a football standpoint, we haven’t been able to see a whole lot because we haven’t been able to do a whole lot. But he’s a very bright kid, and I’m excited to go see him practice.” Recruiting analysts and those who have worked with Fields in elite prospect camps have maintained all along not to sleep on his passing ability. At Harrison High, he rushed for 2,096 yards and 28 touchdowns, but he also threw for 4,187 and 41 more scores. So he was truly a dual threat. At Georgia, Fields is working behind Jake Fromm, who earned SEC freshman of the year honors as a 14-game starter and 13-game winner last year. Fromm’s obvious edge is having been through all those battles and having complete command of the playbook. But Fields also has impressed in the meeting room. And he didn’t win Elite 11 MVP honors on his running ability. He trained under Ron Veal — the same quarterback coach as Clemson 5-star freshman Trevor Lawrence — and plans to dedicate himself in the film room as much as the weight room. “Right now, I would think the big thing for him is just learning the playbook,” Matt Dickmann, Fields’ coach at Harrison High, told DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell. “That’s the big thing. Once he learns the mental aspect of what he needs to do for each play and what the coaching staff wants, the sky is the limit.” Of course, the Bulldogs are just getting started, so there’s much more to see and learn about Fields. But his reputation precedes him, and that has even Georgia’s jaded veterans eager to see what all the fuss is about. “I haven’t been able to see him escape a pocket or do any of that type of stuff,” Nauta said. But I’ve seen him run through winter workouts and he can run, too. But what’s impressed me is his arm.” The post ‘Cannon’ arm creates buzz for dual-threat QB Justin Fields in Georgia’s spring camp appeared first on DawgNation.
  • The University of Georgia returned to the football fields on Tuesday as 2018 Spring Practice is underway. 
  • ATHENS — “Change is inevitable but growth is optional.” That appears to be the phrase du jour for Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs this year. And it’s a good fit. The Bulldogs opened spring drills on Tuesday with their first of 15 practices, which will culminate with G-Day on April 21 at Sanford Stadium. The day began as it usually does, with a pre-spring news conference at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall. This is Smart’s third spring as Georgia’s football coach, and this one is decidedly different than those first two. It seems like only yesterday that Smart was trying to get to know his players and get to know himself as a first-time head coach, while also trying to rally the fan base. The next year he was trying to convince everybody he knew what he was doing. He did quite well on that front, I think we can all agree. And now, Smart finds himself in the midst of a rebuild, or a reload, however one prefers to characterize it. There remains a buzz, an electricity, over the magical run last season to the SEC title and National Championship Game. But then there’s the reality that 31 seniors and two juniors have moved on since that heartbreaking game ended in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Hence, Smart’s latest expression. “I think that’s a great mantra for this team,” he said. If we’ve learned nothing else about Smart during his brief tenure as Georgia’s coach, it’s that he’s big on sayings. Whether it’s “Do Your Job,” from Bill Belichick, or “Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing” or “Attack the Day,” Smart clearly believes in establishing a theme each year. This season, or this spring at least, it’s “change is inevitable but growth is optional.” The phrase comes from noted pastor, author and motivational speaker John C. Maxwell. The Michigan native conducts seminars all over the world and has written several best-selling books on leadership, most notably The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership and The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader. Obviously, Smart was doing heady reading during his spring-break vacation with his family last week in St. Lucia. But Maxwell’s message is quite simple. In this world, more than ever, change is constant and unavoidable. The key is adapting to it and recognizing wherein one can grow from it. You can see why Smart went with that one, for there is indeed a lot of change happening within the Butts-Mehre Football Complex. To start with, the defense has been turned upside down. They’re looking to replace seven starters from the 2017 group, including the entire linebacking corps, each of whom was an all-star at his position. They lost much less from the offense — three starters officially, four if one includes Sony Michel — but the voids are significant. Michel and Nick Chubb took more than 8,000 yards and 80 touchdowns with them, Javon Wims was the team’s most clutch receiver, and Isaiah Wynn started 41 games, the last 15 at left tackle. “Everybody wants to talk about the guys that left, and I’m certainly excited about those guys getting their last chance to showcase [Wednesday] at our pro day,” Smart said. “But, you know, you don’t replace a Roquan Smith. You don’t replace a Nick Chubb, a Sony Michel, you don’t replace any of those guys, because there’s not going to be another Roquan Smith. There is not going to be a guy exactly like him. So each one of our players has to create an identity for themselves. This team has to create a new identity for itself.” More notable, though, was all the leadership therein. Smart and the Bulldogs have recruited their butts off, so it would follow that there is plenty of talent waiting in the wings. But as Smart pointed out, talent was no more an issue in 2016 than it was in 2017. The Bulldogs entered both seasons with largely the same roster. The difference, Smart said, was the leadership and buy-in of the 2017 team. And that still has to be mined out of this latest group. “The challenge of finding the personalities on this team that will lead the right way, the personalities on this team that will challenge the other guys,” Smart said. “A lot of that already started in the offseason program, guys challenging each other, pushing each other. We’re not going to get where we want to go if we don’t have great leadership. I can promise you that.” The change goes beyond the players on the field. There also has been extensive change within the coaching staff. Jim Chaney is now sharing his offensive coordinator title with James Coley, who was coaching wide receivers but is now coaching quarterbacks. Chaney takes over tight ends, Cortez Hankton comes in from Vanderbilt to coach wideouts, Scott Fountain comes in as the new 10th assistant and will concentrate solely on special teams and Dan Lanning comes in from Memphis to coach outside linebackers. Some of the change came as a result of other teams recognizing good work at Georgia and some was initiated by Smart in an attempt to improve. Regardless, there were a lot of new faces and voices on Woodruff Practice Fields on Tuesday, and that’s an adjustment for all involved. “Yeah, [there is some] level of risk,” Smart said of the staff shake-up. “But I think if you continue to do the same things you’ve always done you’ll get the same results usually, guaranteed. We’re always trying to get better. I’m not accepting and saying we were good enough by any means. I think you can always look at yourself and say how can I improve? I think we improved our staff tremendously.” Smart is definitely familiar with this whole process. For years, he was one of the only constants at Alabama, where Nick Saban was having to replace assistants annually the way the rest of us change light bulbs. That part is inevitable. If Georgia keeps winning at the rate it did last season, it can expect to keep losing coaches to other programs. But, as always, it will come down to players more than coaches. And as Georgia demonstrated last year, that often comes down to leadership as much as talent. Smart says he doesn’t know yet where the 2018 Bulldogs stand in that regard. But he’s eager to find out. “The biggest question about this team is who are going to be the leaders?” Smart said. “Who are going to be the guys that demand a lot of each other? It’s not talent alone. You don’t win the SEC, you don’t play in the Rose Bowl with talent alone. You’ve got to have great leadership, and that’s where we’ve got to really improve.” Or grow, as the saying goes. The post Georgia’s Kirby Smart: ‘Change is inevitable but growth is optional’ appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia’s signing of basketball coach Tom Crean to a six-year, $19.2 million contract last week made a statement. And the Bulldogs are about to make another statement when it locks down Kirby Smart as their football coach for the foreseeable future. The question is, what will that statement be? At the moment, Smart is set to earn only a half-million dollars more than Crean annually. That won’t last. The fiscal year ends June 30, and by then, Smart figures to be making twice that. The exact salary the 42-year-old Smart ends up getting from UGA remains to be seen. Athletic director Greg McGarity has declined to discuss it. But whatever the Bulldogs end up doing could be enlightening when it comes their current mindset with regard to their football program. Suffice it to say, it’s a very, very good time to be a successful football coach. Actually, it’s a good time even to be a bad coach if you’re at a Power 5 school — and in the SEC in particular. You might have noticed that a lot of money has been pouring into — and out of — the league in which Georgia competes. Last year, the SEC generated $596.9 million in revenue, distributing approximately $40.9 million to each of its 14 members. Most of that, or a lot of that, is a result of the conference’s TV arrangement with ESPN. Being amateur athletics and all, the SEC’s member institutions can’t pass on that windfall to the players — I mean student-athletes — who provide the labor and the entertainment responsible for generating all that income. So, after funding their non-revenue sports and sending some funds the universities’ way, the schools generally invest the proceeds into facilities and coaches. As a result, we’ve seen SEC coaches start banking some serious green. Believe it or not, Alabama’s Nick Saban is not even the league’s highest-paid coach anymore. Well, not technically. According to USA Today’s latest report, Saban currently earns $6.94 million annually. That’s actually less than the salaries that new Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher ($7.5 million) and old Auburn coach Gus Malzahn ($7 million) are due to pull in based on new contracts. But when “completion bonuses” and “talent fees” are factored in — and I’m pretty sure the IRS counts those — Saban was due to earn $11.125 million this last year. And that was before winning another national championship, which I assume would generate some kind of bonus. And that’s where Smart made out pretty well in 2017-18. What he may have lacked in guaranteed salary, he made up for in incentives. Smart is due to receive an additional $800,000 from the Bulldogs’ run through the SEC championship and into the College Football Playoff Championship Game based on the bonus structure in the contract he received from Georgia in 2016. Had Georgia won that final game rather than suffer that excruciating overtime loss, Smart would have made an additional $400,000. As it was, his assistant coaches made more than $800,000 in additional bonuses based on the team’s success last season. And that’s the way McGarity likes it for Georgia’s coaches. He prefers that their contracts be incentive-based. Or, at least, he used to. Smart is expected to receive a new deal from UGA as a result of the SEC championship and playoff run last season. He has to, really, just based on what has been going on in the market. Texas A&M hired Fisher away from Florida State after firing Kevin Sumlin and immediately made him the highest-paid coach in the league. Malzahn, who lost to Georgia in the SEC Championship Game, received a seven-year, $49 million deal shortly after that loss. Dan Mullen went from Mississippi State to Florida and now makes $6.1 million a year. Tennessee hired Jeremy Pruitt from Alabama and he’s due to draw a $4 million salary from the Vols. And just like that, they all make more than Smart ($3.75 million). Now what? Traditionally, Georgia hasn’t been known to pay anybody the most to do anything, and I doubt that will be the case here. Certainly, heading into just his third season as the Bulldogs’ head coach, Smart remains a junior executive in relation to his top-earning peers But Georgia made a statement when it trotted out $3.2 million-a-year contracts — the second-most lucrative to Kentucky’s John Calipari — in front of Thad Matta and Crean to coach the basketball team. And I expect the Bulldogs will make a statement here with football, too. Georgia can’t, won’t and probably shouldn’t pay Smart on the scale that Alabama pays Saban. And he doesn’t have the experience that Fisher or Malzahn or even Mullen do. But he did something this past season only Malzahn has done when he won the SEC. And he just about won it all after that. More important, though, is where Georgia sees itself in the SEC football hierarchy. That’s why Auburn continues to dump truckloads of cash at Malzahn’s door. That’s why Florida doled out so much to get Mullen to leave Starkville. Sure, markets and resumes dictate salaries to a degree, but it’s also about these football programs staking a claim to their status in the SEC and college football. Will Georgia stake a football claim with Smart? What it just did in basketball indicates it probably will. If so, the Bulldogs will have their first Six Million Dollar Man. The post What kind of statement will Georgia make with contract offer to Kirby Smart? appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS – To see Jake Fromm in street clothes these days is to wonder if this guy still plans to play quarterback. His physique says he’d make a pretty good tight end now, or perhaps a pass rusher on defense. His arms suggest he has been lifting something heavier than a leather football. And he has. Though he looks as though he must have added 20 pounds, Fromm actually weighs exactly what he did last season for the Georgia Bulldogs as a freshman at 225. That’s according to his father. “He’s more cut up,” Emerson Fromm said. “I hadn’t seen him in about two months until he came home recently [for spring break], and you can definitely tell a difference. But you have to remember, he’s been doing Georgia’s weight program for over a year now. He’s stronger, for sure, but he’s actually the same weight. Just cut more.” Now a sophomore, Fromm returns to the Bulldogs after playing in all 15 games and starting the last 14. You probably recall that he played pretty well. Fromm led Georgia to a 13-2 record, SEC championship and appearance in the National Championship Game. The Bulldogs lost to Alabama 26-23 in overtime and finished with a final ranking of No. 2. But that was last year and this is this year. As coach Kirby Smart points out, no starting position is guaranteed. That, we’re told, extends to the quarterback position. Much of the buzz surrounding the 2018 spring practice session – which begins with the first of 15 practices on Tuesday – surrounds the perceived competition at quarterback. Georgia signed the No. 2 player in the nation, according to the 247Sports composite: quarterback Justin Fields of Kennesaw, Ga. A consensus 5-star prospect, Fields is different from Fromm. At 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, he’s slightly taller and he runs the football like a tailback. He recorded 2,096 rushing yards and 28 rushing touchdowns in two years as a starting quarterback in high school. But he can throw the ball, too, as his 4,187 passing yards and 41 touchdowns attest. Fields’ presence and the threat of losing his starting position would seem to be the impetus for Fromm to work as hard as he has since Georgia’s 2018 season ended on Jan. 8. But that’s not Fromm’s motivation, his father said. “People are saying that, but Jake competes with himself,” Emerson Fromm said. “That’s what he’s always said. Jake aspires to be great. To be great, you’ve got to be getting better all the time. So that’s where he’s been putting all his energy — on getting better. “So I don’t want this to come out the wrong way. He’s not worried about Justin. He’s worried about Jake. He doesn’t look at it like a competition.” Indeed, Fromm has gone about this offseason pretty much the way he has all the other ones since he dedicated himself to being a quarterback. The exception is Georgia’s offseason strength and conditioning program, overseen by director Scott Sinclair and his staff, and the closely monitored sports nutrition program. Those, Fromm’s father acknowledges, make a difference physically. As for what he does on his own, Fromm once again used spring break to consult with David Morris of QB Country. Fromm has trained under the respected quarterback guru, who is based in Mobile, Ala., since he was “13 or 14” years old, according to his father. Fromm worked with Morris in Mobile over the first four days of his spring break, joined by younger brothers Dylan and Tyler Fromm. But he didn’t spend the entire week in football-grind mode. Fromm went to the beach twice while in Alabama, then he hunted and fished his way back home to Warner Robins, Ga. After a brief visit with his parents, Fromm returned to Athens last weekend to make sure he was ready for the start of spring practice. Georgia coach Kirby Smart, just as he did last year when Fromm was the new kid in camp and Jacob Eason was the incumbent starter, surely will characterize quarterback as an open competition like all the other positions during spring practice. But the fact is, it’s hard to imagine Fromm being unseated as starter by anything other than an injury. Everybody knows Fromm played well after replacing an injured Eason during the third series of the 2017 season opener. Georgia won all but two games with Fromm as the starter, and he completed 62.2 percent of his passes for 2,615 yards with 24 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Fromm also ran for 3 touchdowns. And while he had only 79 rushing yards on 55 attempts — a number that includes being sacked 20 times — Fromm displayed a knack for keeping the ball on zone-read plays in exactly the right moments. But when his performance is broken down in greater detail, Fromm played even better than cumulative statistics or the win-loss record suggest. For instance, he was ninth in the nation in what ESPN calls Total QBR. That statistic takes into account what a quarterback does on a play-by-play level, including down, distance, field position, clock and score. Measured on a 100-point scale, Fromm’s score of 81.1 stands fourth among returning quarterbacks, and within 2 points of Nos. 2 and 3, UCF’s McKenzie Milton (82.5) and Alabama’s Jalen Hurts (82.1). Those who followed Georgia closely last season won’t find this a surprise, but Fromm did his best work on third and fourth downs, as well as in the fourth quarter. His quarterback efficiency rating rose from 160.1 to 185.02 in the fourth quarter. He had a rating of 145.6 on third- or fourth-down and 9 or more yards, was 176.5 on third- or fourth-down  with 3 to 8 yards to go, and an incredible 298.9 on third- or fourth-down and 1 to 2 yards to go. That’s where the narrative that the Bulldogs might consider a third-down package for Fields loses some validity. Certainly, Georgia will get Fields ready to play since he’s the only other quarterback on scholarship, and it follows that they will install a package that will take advantage of his unique skills and strengths. But, based on Fromm’s work last season, it doesn’t make sense that the Bulldogs would substitute for him on the most important downs and distances. Meanwhile, all the aforementioned data is based on what Fromm did last season. Based on what we’ve seen and heard from the sophomore from Houston County, he doesn’t plan on coming back as the same quarterback we saw a year ago. “Maybe he won’t improve; maybe he’ll stay right where’s he’s at,” Emerson Fromm said of his oldest son. “But that’s never been the case before with Jake. He has always worked hard and sacrificed every day in an effort to get better. And that’s what he’s thinking about this year, just being better than he was last year.” That has been the message from Fromm on the rare occasions we’ve heard from him since the Bulldogs left Mercedes-Benz Stadium after the loss in the National Championship Game 10 weeks ago. Fromm talked about spring practice and the April 21 G-Day Game that will punctuate the month-long practice period on a video released by UGA last weekend. “We’re going to come back and we’re going to be working hard. We already are,” Fromm said. “We’re excited for this season and guys are stepping up. We’re not going anywhere.” Least of all, Fromm — or so it would seem. The post Georgia QB Jake Fromm working to build on stellar opening act in 2018 appeared first on DawgNation.