In just one day, college football fans can say that the sport they love to watch will be played later this month.
As is the case traditionally, the major college football season kicks off Labor Day weekend. Local alumni and supporters of the University of Georgia Bulldogs have grown accustomed in recent years to kicking off the season with UGA and Athens sports radio personality Jeff Dantzler, and this year will be no different.
The Milledgeville Chapter of the UGA Alumni Association recently announced that it will host An Evening with Jeff Dantzler Tuesday, Aug. 27 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Jackson’s on Lake Sinclair. Tickets are $10 (paid at the door) and light appetizers are included with the price of admission. A cash bar will be available, and Jackson’s will offer 10 percent off dinner entrees and beverages for those staying for dinner following the event.
Although this event is being hosted by the local chapter of the UGA Alumni Association, it is open to all fans, not just alumni. All planning to attend are asked to RSVP by Aug. 24 by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so event organizers know how many to expect. The kickoff event continues to grow each year as about 100 people attended last year’s installment.
Followers of UGA football will immediately recognize Dantzler’s voice as the one on their radios before and after the Bulldogs take the field on fall Saturdays. A Statesboro, Ga. native, Dantzler also co-hosts The Home Team sports radio talk show weekdays on 960 The Ref in Athens. In addition to his football duties with the university, he also serves as the play-by-play voice for UGA baseball and women’s basketball.
The 2018 Dawgs under head coach Kirby Smart finished as conference runners-up to the University of Alabama before a disappointing season-ending loss in the Sugar Bowl to Texas. Under center, Smart welcomes back his Houston County native quarterback Jake Fromm, who has already played in some big-time games in his two years as a starter. Fromm figures to turn around and hand the ball off to Heisman hopeful and fellow junior D’Andre Swift at running back. Swift will be joined in the backfield by returner James Cook and highly-touted running back Zamir White who sat out last season with an injury. That talented group of backs has a massive offensive line to run behind, a group run by O-line coach Stacy Pittman. The wide receiving corps is where the Dawgs’ biggest question mark lies entering the season. Mecole Hardman declared for the NFL Draft early after last season while longtime receiver Terry Godwin graduated. It was announced in late June that Jeremiah Holloman, who would have been UGA’s leading returning receiver, was kicked off the team following investigations of assault.
Smart has at least a couple of big holes to fill on his defense following the departure of 2018 Jim Thorpe Award winner Deandre Baker and D’Andre Walker, the team’s top pass-rusher in terms of sacks a year ago. What the Dawgs do have is a solid returning nucleus with players like J.R. Reed and Richard LeCounte, both in the secondary, coupled with what supporters hope are some rising young stars that came as highly-recruited gets for the program. Can the Bulldog defense, a unit that lost its sack leader from last year, get to the opposing team’s quarterback and push offenses back or maybe even cause a few fumbles? That’s one question mark looming on that side of the ball for the Dawgs entering 2019.
Dantzler will attempt to answer questions like that and more when he comes to Jackson’s Aug. 27, while also discussing this year’s schedule, the team depth chart, and the overall outlook for the program.
\The Bulldogs will kick off the 2019 regular season Saturday, Aug. 31, at Vanderbilt and will hold their home opener the week after when they welcome Murray State into Sanford Stadium.