Capitals

Georgia faces 2 former defensive coordinators

Georgia faces 2 former defensive coordinators

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) Brian VanGorder got his start in major college football running Georgia's defense. Willie Martinez used to hold that job, too.

Now, the two former defensive coordinators for the fifth-ranked Bulldogs will be on the opposing side Saturday night trying to help Auburn figure out how to slow down Georgia's offense.

It's just another close tie in a border rivalry where it's more often the players who have crossed state lines.

VanGorder is in his first season in the same job at Auburn, trying to rebuild a youthful group that has been inconsistent and at times abused this season. Martinez is coaching the Tigers' secondary after spending nine seasons at Georgia (8-1, 6-1 SEC) and serving as defensive coordinator from 2005-09.

Both will face their former boss Mark Richt for the first time on the opposing sideline.

``Mark gave me my first real break in this business,'' said VanGorder, Georgia's defensive coordinator and linebackers coach from 2001-04. ``Then there are guys that played for me, and the fans at Georgia. It was just such a fantastic time in my life. I certainly am aware of all that but I've also been in it long enough that I know when the whistle blows to start the game on Saturday night, that it's a ball game. It's a thinking man's game and it's an emotional game, and that'll really be the focus.''

He's got plenty of other things to worry about, anyway.

The Tigers (2-7, 0-6) must contend with quarterback Aaron Murray and one of the league's top offenses with a group that allowed 671 total yards to Texas A&M two weeks ago. It was the most Auburn had ever yielded.

The growing pains have been significant for VanGorder, who spent the past four seasons as defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons. He has started three freshmen and a number of sophomores. Only defensive end Corey Lemonier, linebacker Daren Bates and safety Jermaine Whitehead have remained in the starting lineup for every game.

VanGorder said he went through a tough transition with Georgia, too.

``That was a situation where we really had to change the culture of defense there,'' he said. ``They just hadn't played the same type of defense that maybe the personnel indicated that you could. It was rough. We had a few tough games, some high yardage games, and it seems to me about the seventh game of the year we started to gain the consistency and confidence. And then by the end of the year, we were playing pretty solid ball.

``We had some good players that played in the NFL for a long time. We had talent but the culture change was really the tough part of the first year.''

Georgia won an SEC title and two division titles during his stay in Athens. Martinez replaced him and the Bulldogs won another league championship in 2005.

Their new defense ranks last in the SEC in run defense and 13th in total yards allowed.

Richt doesn't think the familiarity of VanGorder and Martinez - who spent nine seasons at Georgia and was coordinator from 2005-09 - with himself and Bulldogs offensive coordinator Mike Bobo will have much impact on the game.

``There's not many secrets out there in the college football world or SEC world,'' Richt said. ``First of all, every bit of film there is is given to each other freely. That's just how it is, so it's not like you can't get film on anybody and study what they do. Are we different offensively today than we were when VanGorder was here? Yeah, we're very different. So maybe not as different as when coach Martinez was here, but for the most part it's changed a good bit, just as far as little things and the fact that Mike is calling the game and not me.

``I think everybody gets enough information to put a good gameplan together.''

Auburn coach Gene Chizik, however, that experience ``certainly can't hurt you.''

Chizik said Georgia has changed some philosophically on offense over the years but not all that much.

``I think it's a little bit both ways,'' the Auburn coach said. ``The bottom line is when you watch this many games you know what they're going to do, they know what you're going to do. It's just a matter of executing and being in the right positions to make plays. Defensively, they've seen the last nine or 10 games. They know what we're going to do. They've been around those two guys as well. I think it's probably kind of a push.''

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The NHL salary cap numbers are in, what does it mean for the Caps?

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The NHL salary cap numbers are in, what does it mean for the Caps?

The NHL released the salary cap range for the 2018-19 season on Thursday. That sound you hear is the general managers frantically typing numbers into adding machines to figure out which of their players they can afford and which they are going to have to let walk.

The cap ceiling will rise from last year's $75 million all the way up to $79.5 million with the cap floor set at $58.8 million.

So what does this mean for the Capitals?

Here's a look at the team's pending free agents:

Unrestricted free agents: Jay Beagle, John Carlson, Alex Chiasson, Tyler Graovac, Jakub Jerabek, Michal Kempny, Anthony Peluso, Zach Sill, Wayne Simpson

Restricted free agents: Riley Barber, Madison Bowey, Travis Boyd, Adam Carlson, Philipp Grubauer, Tim McGauley, Liam O'Brien, Devante Smith-Pelly, Tom Wilson

We will not know exactly who will make the roster, so to project how much money the Caps will have to work with, let's assume Nathan Walker makes the team and Shane Gersich goes to the AHL. That will give the Caps a little less than $14.8 million with which to work.

Considering the team will need to use about half of that number if not more to re-sign Carlson, that's not a whole lot to work with.

Is $7 million enough to re-sign Beagle, Kempny, Bowey, Smith-Pelly and Wilson? Probably not and that does not even account for prospects who will try to compete for the NHL roster such as Barber and Boyd.

Here's what the cap ceiling tells us:

  • The team's entire offseason will depend on if the team can re-sign Carlson and for how much.
  • Carlson's cap hit last season was just under $4 million. A $4.5 million increase in the salary cap ceiling doesn't mean much when Carlson is going to get a raise of $3 million or more.
  • Grubauer will almost certainly be traded because he is an asset and because there won't be enough money for the team to commit $1.5 million or more to the backup goalie like they did last season.
  • If Carlson returns, fan favorite Beagle has almost certainly played his last game as a Cap. Everyone wants him back, but he would have to take a severe discount for the Caps to fit him and even then, he would be taking away a roster spot from a young prospect ready to make the jump to the NHL.

Free agency opens July 1.

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Derrius Guice continues to ingratiate himself with Redskins fans with new fundraising effort

Derrius Guice continues to ingratiate himself with Redskins fans with new fundraising effort

For most college players, being a part of the NFL Draft experience is a dream come true, but for Derrius Guice, it was becoming a nightmare. Originally projected as a first round pick, Guice saw his name falling fast on draft boards due to questions raised about his maturity and high-maintenance personality.

Two months removed from the Redskins selecting him 59th overall, Guice has erased any doubt regarding his character. Whether it be taking fans out to the movies, shooting the breeze while signing autographs, or even the occasional leap frog over two practice barrels and a trainer, Guice has ingrained himself as a Redskins fan favorite. He's done a great job at making himself popular, now he's focused on making change for others. 

On June 20th, a day before his birthday, Guice announced he would be running a fundraiser for the Mary Bird Perkins center, a cancer foundation in his hometown of Baton Rouge. Inspired by his best friend's mother who "rang that bell,"—an indication that a patient has beaten cancer—Guice wants to help others do the same. 

Guice has utilized his newfound popularity to entice other peope to donate. If you donate $5, you can play him in Fortnite. For $50, you guys can go bowling together. Anyone willing to donate $100 or more will be entered in a raffle for tickets to the Redskins Monday Night Football game against the Saints. 

If Guice can match his off the field popularity with on the field production, he'll be in contention for Rookie of the Year. Anyone interested in donating can click here