cloudy
Wednesday February 10th, 2016 7:36PM

Georgia's seniors say they have unfinished business

By The Associated Press
HOOVER, Ala. -- The Georgia Bulldogs want to put the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division back atop the league.

They see no reason why it can't happen this season, especially after a big group opted to return for their senior seasons instead of heading to the NFL.

"We're still hungry," wide receiver Tavarres King said Thursday. "We did make it to the SEC championship (last season), but we didn't win it. That's something that we want to do and it's something that we feel like we can do. Several guys came back to do that. We said that we had some unfinished business.

"That's it ... winning the big game of the SEC championship."

Georgia was picked at Thursday's SEC media days as the preseason favorite to repeat as East Division champion, which lately has been another way of saying SEC runner-up.

West teams have won the past three SEC and national championships. Both Alabama and LSU got more votes to win the overall title among reporters covering the league than Georgia.

The SEC winner and national runner-up LSU clobbered the Bulldogs 42-10 in last year's title game, following eventual national champion Auburn's 56-17 win over South Carolina in 2010.

King the East can "certainly" snap that losing streak in 2012.

If the Bulldogs manage to win, it might be traced back to nine of 10 rising seniors deciding to come back, including SEC sack leader Jarvis Jones.

"That was the main idea of why we all came back," defensive end Abry Jones said. "We all talked to each other before we made the decision to come back. We knew as soon as the year ended, we could do something big."

Coach Mark Richt said their return and leadership are big reasons for his optimism leading into this season.

"I think Georgia's got as good a chance as anybody to win it," he said of the East.

To do it, the Bulldogs will have to overcome several offseason setbacks.

On June 29, Georgia dismissed tailback Isaiah Crowell following the player's arrest on felony weapons charges. Cornerback Sanders Commings is facing a two-game suspension for a domestic dispute and cornerback Branden Smith will miss at least one game (marijuana).

All-American free safety Bacarri Rambo (marijuana) and linebacker Alec Ogletree (team rules) also could face suspensions.

Richt declined to discuss those players' status Thursday.

He's more enthusiastic about discussing leading receiver Malcolm Mitchell's prospects of playing on both sides of the ball. Mitchell worked exclusively in the secondary during the spring after making 45 catches for 665 yards last season.

"Early in the year, you'll see a whole lot more of Malcolm on defense percentage-wise," Richt said. "As the season rolls along, you'll see closer to 50-50 offense and defense."

Mitchell could boost a defense that ranked fifth nationally in total yards last season and returns nine starters.

"I think we can be better than just top 5," Jarvis Jones said. "We can do a lot of great things and become one of the best defenses in the nation. That's what we're shooting for."

If that happens, it might help the Bulldogs make it at least one step beyond last season's accomplishments.

"We know our league is tremendous," Richt said. "We know the Eastern Division is going to be a tough road. All we're trying to do is prepare the best we can to hopefully play the best we can play and maximize the potential of this football team.

"Hopefully that will be good enough to get back to Atlanta and hopefully play a little bit better this time around."
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Tech beats Southern California in Sun Bowl
Tevin Washington threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score to help Georgia Tech beat Southern California 21-7 on Monday in the Sun Bowl.
5:54PM ( 3 years ago )
Top 10 sports stories of the year: 2012 one for the history books
2012 has been all things to all people in the sports world. The last 12 months have run the gamut of emotions and given fans and spectators much to awe, rue and everything in between.
2:33PM ( 3 years ago )
College Football Hall to break ground in Atlanta
Groundbreaking for the new College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta will be Jan. 28 and the museum is scheduled to open in the fall of 2014.
2:15PM ( 3 years ago )
Sports
Tech's 2nd half surge beats Fordham 73-48
Daniel Miller and Robert Carter Jr. each scored 14 points and Georgia Tech scored 17 straight points in the second half en route to a 73-48 victory over Fordham on Saturday night.
10:17PM ( 3 years ago )
Djurisic's career night leads Dogs past Florida A&M
Nemanja Djurisic scored a career-high 21 points and Georgia won its third straight Saturday 82-73 over Florida A&M.
7:26PM ( 3 years ago )
Ga. Southern beats Ga. State, 68-64 in overtime
Eric Ferguson scored 24 points and Georgia Southern overcame a late double-digit deficit to beat Georgia State 68-64 in overtime on Saturday.
7:25PM ( 3 years ago )
College Sports
(UPDATE) Basketball: 7-AAA games again postponed due to weather; 8-AA also altered
Region 7-AAA, for the second time in as many days, and Region 8-AA have been forced to alter their region tournament schedules for today due to winter weather...
By AccessWDUN Staff
5:20PM ( 2 hours ago )
APNewsBreak: Stewart-Haas Racing chooses Brian Vickers to replace injured driver Tony Stewart at Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Brian Vickers is expected to replace injured driver Tony Stewart for the NASCAR season opener at Daytona International Speedway, The Associated Press has learned.Stewart-Haa...
5:14PM ( 2 hours ago )
UNG baseball announces changes to weekend schedule
University of North Georgia head baseball coach Tom Cantrell announced schedule changes to this weekend's series against Kentucky Wesleyan.
By UNG Athletics Communications
3:31PM ( 4 hours ago )
Falcons owner Blank to have surgery for prostate cancer
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank is planning surgery for what he says is a treatable form of prostate cancer.
By The Associated Press
10:30AM ( 9 hours ago )
(VIDEO) 8-AAAAA tournament: GHS boys advance, Falcons drop heartbreaker in quarterfinals
The ingredients were there Tuesday for Flowery Branch to cook up the first upset of the Region 8-AAAAA boys tournament....
9:07AM ( 10 hours ago )