December 18, 2007

Football Notebook: Barnes gone

Backup quarterback Blake Barnes has decided to transfer to Division II Delta State, Georgia sports information director Claude Felton confirmed Tuesday.

The 6-3, 230 pound quarterback from Baldwyn, Miss. had played sparingly during his Bulldog career. He has not thrown a pass in an actual game since 2005, when he completed just 2 of 3 passes for nine yards.

Barnes grew up 170 miles from the Delta State campus in Cleveland, Miss.
Barnes can begin playing immediately for Delta State next fall.

Barnes had been third-string this year behind Matthew Stafford and Joe Cox

Hawaii's defense impressive to Stafford

Everyone talks about Hawaii's Run-and-Shoot offense and rightfully so.

Stafford says the Warriors' defense isn't bad, either.

Defensive coordinator Greg McMackin's 4-3 scheme has been very impressive. Hawaii's attacking defense leads the WAC in both sacks (3.25 per game) and tackles for loss (8.5), which ranks ninth and six nationally both categories.

Hawaii's overall defense is ranked as the nation's 33rd best, compared to 93rd last year, 102nd in 205th and 116th in 2004.

The Warriors lead the WAC in sacks with 38 for 246 yards.

"It's a big improvement. We've watched them from two years ago till this year, and it's definitely been a big jump. You can see it on the film," Stafford said Tuesday. "A lot of its effort, but also you're talking about guys who have been in the system now for a couple of years.

"They just play hard. They don't take anything from anybody like they shouldn't ,and they get after it. They like to knock people around and they like to get physical."

Hawaii's offense isn't the only part of the team that knows how to score, either.

The Warriors' defense and special teams has accounted for nine touchdowns - five interception returns, three kickoff returns, and one punt return. The nine non-offensive touchdowns rank second nationally to Wake Forest.

Linebacker Adam Leonard has two of the interception returns for touchdowns in consecutive games against Charleston Southern and Idaho.

Defensive back Ryan Mouton also has two touchdowns - a 40-yard interception return at UNLV and a 90-yard kickoff return against Charleston Southern.

Defensive backs Myron Newberry and JoPierre also have interception returns.

"They play an opportunistic defense, getting after the ball, chasing it down," Stafford said. "They like to get pressure with their front four, but they will blitz. Nothing like Georgia Tech, but it's definitely going to be a challenge for us."

Dog fans purchase 24,500 tickets

According to UGA numbers, the Bulldogs have sold 24,000 tickets for the Sugar Bowl.

Meanwhile, Hawaii received 1,000 extra tickets which were made available Tuesday to UH season-ticket holders who have not yet had a chance to purchase them.

"We have worked tirelessly to acquire as many Allstate Sugar Bowl tickets as possible to accommodate our football season-ticket holders," Herman Frazier, UH athletics, director, said. "We're hopefully that this final offering of tickets will satisfy the needs of most or all of the season-ticket holders who were interested in tickets."

Hawaii had originally returned 4,000 of the 17,500 tickets allotted by the Sugar Bowl because school officials did not think all would be sold.

They were wrong.

The smaller allotment of 13,500 tickets sold out quickly, leaving the university scrambling to find more.

King was a close call

Mark Richt said Tuesday there was one over-riding factor why Caleb King did not play against Florida as many speculated he would.

He wasn't ready.

"Caleb had a very good attitude about it (playing), but we just didn't feel he was ready to play," Richt said. "You could see in practice that he was still feeling his way around, which was very natural."

Richt said that he and the rest of Georgia's offensive coaches had no qualms with the way King was running the ball.

Running backs coach Tony Ball had no issues with King's preparation either.

In fact, he was well pleased.

"The thing I was really most impressed with him during that time was, No. 1, his willingness to do whatever to help the team and his focus," Ball said. "When he knew it was time, his focus in the meeting was great, his attention during practice was really great so that was one thing I was really impressed and encouraged with him."

King will go into spring as Georgia's No. 2 tailback behind starter Knowshon Moreno.

This and that

Linebacker Marcus Washington tweaked an ankle Monday in practice but Richt expects him to play. … Richt said Aron White is still officially a tight end, but worked as a flex receiver during Tuesday on the scout team offense.

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