Chat with Radi Nabulsi
Welcome to DawgNation! On Wednesday, reporter Radi Nabulsi stops by to chat about the state of Georgia football.
Nabulsi joined ESPN.com in 2011 after covering the University of Georgia for Rivals.com for the last four years and for the UGA Athletic Association since 1993. Nabulsi is a graduate of the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and lives in Athens, Ga.
Send your questions now and join Nabulsi Wednesday at noon ET!
Radi Nabulsi (11:42 AM)
Welcome to the chat folks. We will get started shortly.
Jarvis Jones would have been a first round draft pick last year and came back to school. This year he has the same voice to make. I actually want him to go to the NFL but do you think that there is any chance at all that he returns. Same question with Alec Ogletree?
Radi Nabulsi (11:46 AM)
I would love to cover him for another year since he is fun to watch but no, he is gone. Technically he could come back but I see it as a less than 3% chance that he decides to stay. I firmly believe Alec Ogletree is gone too. Enjoy both of them for these last two games.
Kyle (macon ga)
What do you think about Richt allowing defensive players to "speak their mind" tothe media? I know he said the defense plays better when they are fired up but I'm afraid they might be giving bama some bulletin board material to get amped up to
Radi Nabulsi (11:50 AM)
Bama will be excited no matter what. Shawn Willimas could insult all of their mommas and the Tide will play just as hard. They go to 11. They don't just make 10 louder. So I think it is a brilliant strategy in a way. Richt let's the defensive guys be brash which sows a seed of doubt here and there. He lets the players show they are not intimidated like most folks that line up against Bama. AND it forces the Georgia defense to back it up. In the end, if Georgia wins, it will appear that they never flinched and were Bama's equals. If they lose it will be slat in the wound.
I was just wanting to see how your think Georgia matches up against Alabama and also, how do you see the game playing out?
Radi Nabulsi (11:54 AM)
These teams are creepily similar. Booth run the same pro-style offense and 3-4 defense. Both are loaded with talent. Both have tailback tandems that are capable of rushing for over 200 yards. They have the No. 1 and No. 2 rated quarterbacks when it comes to passing efficiency. They have ridiculous defenders. So it is like trying to beat your doppelganger. I see the game turning on turnovers and special teams. Advantage Bama.
I firmly believe the SECCG outcome rests squarely on the shoulders of our O-line and, particularly, Murray. I think if Murray gets rattled we are done. But, if we protect and he doesn't play scared, we win the game. Do you have a gut feeling one way or the other how it will play out?
Radi Nabulsi (11:56 AM)
I was on the radio this morning in Montgomery and said sort of the same thing. The game will be decided early if Georgia's line can't block. If they can keep Murray upright and run the ball, it will come down to who blinks first (turnover).
JCDAWG (Rabun COunty Ga)
Do you think Alabama's record and Georgia's record are equally the same in terms of difficulty. Georgia lost one on the road versus a top 10 team , Bama lost at home versus a top 25 team?
Radi Nabulsi (12:01 PM)
It won't matter since if they both played those teams again today, either home or away, both would be favored in my opinion. I often hear about how Georgia avoided LSU, Bama, MSU and Arkansas. That is true but the Arkansas one is not a big deal. Bama avoided Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Vanderbilt -- the four top teams in the East. So again they had eerily similar paths to this game.
GADevildawgs (Cumming GA)
CMR mentions we can go three different speeds on offense. Do you think we come out fast like we did against GT? CMR tends to like to go fast only on rare instances but could he be setting up to go more uptempo more often?
Radi Nabulsi (12:02 PM)
I expect a lot of tempo shifts to try to keep Bama guessing. The question is will it work. If Murray is struggling or the line is not blocking, well, then you don't step on the gas when you are headed for a wall.
I'm tired of all the SEC haters and non-UGA fans complaining that we don't deserve a shot at the NC game because of our soft schedule. Bama has won 2 of the past 3 NC's and are in position again. I say if we knock Bama off we deserve the NC by virtue of that game. What do you think?
Radi Nabulsi (12:06 PM)
If Georgia wins the game then they will have beaten the defending national champions and the No. 4 team in the BCS (Florida), who was ranked at No.2 when they played. Two wins over top two teams on neutral sites sounds as good a justification as what anyone else can put up.
Yo Radi, so who do you think is the next recruit to choose UGA or do I need to follow Tray Matthews on twitter? Also I haven't heard any news on Tunsil but that Derrick "Flip Flop Romney" Henry is trying to talk him into going to Bama. Any update?
Radi Nabulsi (12:09 PM)
Meow-ouch. It is a good idea to follow Matthews on Twitter, since I think he is going to give play-by-play tweets of Mark Richt's visit next Thursday. As for who is going to commit next, I would keep an eye on Ja'Quay Williams and Reuben Foster. Both are looking around. And I have not spoken to Tunsil but we will soon.
What do the injury situations at Alabama and Georgia look like right now? Anything new?
Radi Nabulsi (12:13 PM)
Both teams seem relatively healthy. Wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell has a shoulder bruise, cornerback Damain Swann has a neck strain and backup defensive lineman Mike Thornton is not practicing due to an ankle injury. The last I heard, Alabama would be without wide receiver Kenny Bell but that Chris Black would be ready.
Jon (nashville) [via mobile]
What is the current numbers on early enrollees and are we going to able to sign the rest of these elite prospects that are still uncommitted?
Radi Nabulsi (12:16 PM)
There are 17 commits that have told us they want to enroll early and two more targets plan to, wherever they wind up. That would be more recruits that Georgia brought in all of last year if Toby Johnson and Williams picked the Dawgs. But I doubt that they all enroll early. Georgia is looking to sign 36 players and has 30 committed right now. One or tow could decommit, but either way they have the room.
R. Foster, what's the story? Any idea if he will come to UGA to be with Tray?
Radi Nabulsi (12:18 PM)
You need to watch the video interview Kipp and I shot with Matthews and Foster after their recent visit and decide for yourself. He was quite candid. At this point your guess is as good as mine. Probably better in fact.
How does Georgia stack up against N.D.
Radi Nabulsi (12:18 PM)
Ask me again next week. If the question is still relevant.
Keith (Lagrange )
I think uga likes that everybody is saying that bama is going to win, but this what we want we will break bama heart this weekend
Radi Nabulsi (12:20 PM)
Most teams like being the underdog. Personally I get tired of the "Nobody thought we could do it!" postgame quotes. Nobody is disrespecting you if they think that the team that has done it before will do it again. That is just called playing the odds.
If Georgia was to lose how much longer does CMR have before poeple start dogging him for not winning a national champingship
Radi Nabulsi (12:22 PM)
About 30 seconds. But it won't matter since he will have played in the SEC Championship game five of his 12 years in Athens. Not too shabby. And sometime you have to knock on the door a long time before they let you in.
Jmbama2008 (Fort Lee, VA)
Do you think the lack of Alabama's pass rush or Georgia's lack of quality experience/depth will be the bigger story in this game? Alabama hasn't been very good at getting to the quarterback.
Radi Nabulsi (12:26 PM)
One thing you mention is something I have been harping on. Georgia has a very thin roster. Granted, losing Michael Bennett, Marlon Brown and Abry Jones to season-ending injuries has not affected the team as very much. Other players have stepped up. But Georgia has 69 players on scholarship that the coaches offer out of high school. Former walk-ons make up the rest of the roster. Georgia would not be where it is without those guys, but I have to think that some of those 4-star and 5-star backups for Bama might make a big play that turn the game. Georgia is one major injury away from being out of the game quickly.
James Adams (Tampa, Florida)
Why does Murray not get the credit he deserves as a great QB in the SEC. He has had 3 great years of production leading the team. He is an excellent student of the game.
Radi Nabulsi (12:29 PM)
He is the first SEC quarterback to throw for over 3000 yards in three consecutive seasons. Murray has set the record books at UGA on fire and danced on the ashes. Plus he still has a year to go. But his struggles against the top programs he has faced has hurt his stock. Saturday could change all that.
who are the "everybodies" saying Bama is going to win? So far I have seen Palmer, Stinchcomb and Mark Schlabach all say that they like georgia and every person on ESPNU is calling it even...are we dog fans a little sensitive?
Radi Nabulsi (12:30 PM)
Every fan base is. The SportsNation poll I saw had 65% of respondents picking Alabama.
I thought there was a limit of 25 players that you could sign too class. Is that not true?
Radi Nabulsi (12:32 PM)
You are only allowed 25 initial counters. Georgia will count 9 backwards to last year which is allowed and two players are still being counted as part of last years class as well.
boy, is there any doubt that notre Dame may well be the most popular and most hated team in the country? Notre Dames tv ratings have been off the charts. and did you see the prices of the title game jump dramatically after the Irish won?
Radi Nabulsi (12:33 PM)
I did. Wondered where you were at Corey. Yes they are loved and hated. Reminds me of Alabama, the Yankees and the Cowboys.
Who will Georgia put out to cover Amari Cooper? He has been Bama's best receiver all year and pretty much the go to guy. If Georgia has someone to lock him down we only have 1 or 2 more threats at receiver.
Radi Nabulsi (12:35 PM)
Not sure but I might gamble on Damian Swann. Thank goodness I don't coach but with the way Swann has been playing, I would give him a shot.
Go Dawgs!!!! Is amarlo Herrera ready to go for saturday didnt see him in the Tech game just wondering?
Radi Nabulsi (12:36 PM)
He is. Georgia started Christian Robinson since he is better at quickly reading the play and Robinson responded with the game of his career. But against the pro-style offense, expect Herrera and Mike Gilliard to return to the field.
Radi What is the number one priority for the Dawgs saturday?
Radi Nabulsi (12:37 PM)
Hang onto the ball.
Rich Anderson (St. Marys, Georgia)
What does next year look like for the Bulldogs?
Radi Nabulsi (12:40 PM)
A rebuilding year on defense and possibly breaking in a new quarterback on offense. I am not sure what Murray plans to do -- return or go pro. But the defense is going to lose 9 starters and the first part of the season is brutal.
Ben Jamin (Phoenix)
I noticed that Mike Bobo is a finalist for the Broyles Award. Bobo has been under a lot of criticism the past few years as Georgia's OC; however, this year the offense has been producing big numbers. Is it more of a result of top recruited talent finally clicking together, or is more credit due to Bobo's play calling this season.
Radi Nabulsi (12:45 PM)
God question. Georgia put up a ton of points last year too. Just not against LSU. I have defended Bobo a lot because for years Georgia has struggled in the running game. The offensive lines were porous and the runs to easily sniffed out. Take any offensive coordinator, rip out the running plays from his playbook, hand it back to him and tell him to score 38 points and you deserve the butt-kicking he would give you. This year he has a decent line, two healthy backs and a talented quarterback.
do you see Corey Moore grabbing a starting gig next yr.
Radi Nabulsi (12:47 PM)
Both safety spots will be open but there will be a couple junior college players vying for those spots as well. I am not sure what has held him back. The guy is a warrior, but I think it may have something to do with competing his assignments.
Player for Saturday nobody has talked about but should - Sanders Commings. Nobody has tried to throw at him all year except Tennessee, and he had two INT's in that game. Alabama fans keep talking about their freshman, Armari Cooper, but Sanders can shut him down, and now their #2 receiver is out for the game.
Radi Nabulsi (12:50 PM)
My key for the defense was that that cornerbacks need to be able to play one-on-one so the safeties can help in the run game. If Commings bottles up Cooper, that would be huge. I still would like to see what Swann could do against him just for the entertainment value alone.
Radi, don't put Alabama in the same category as Notre Dame in terms of popularity or fame... Notre Dame trumps everyone. Alabama doesnt have the national fan base Notre Dame has. Notre Dame is huge in every big market in this country. Your response?
Radi Nabulsi (12:51 PM)
Get out of New Your City sometime.
Looking at Georgia's schedule it seems as if they have not decimated every opponent as Alabama has (exception LSU and A&M). Do you think Georgia will have to play a perfect game and hope Alabama plays a sloppy game for Georgia to have a chance?
Radi Nabulsi (12:53 PM)
Not really. I mean it would help but if you compare the scoreboards you need to remember this. Mark Richt calls off the dogs much earlier than Nick Saban. Maybe nice guys finish last -- maybe they don't. But if Georgia had wanted to it could have scored 70 on Auburn and Tech among others.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you think a win on Saturday will help Georgia land some recruits that may have been on there way to Bama?
Radi Nabulsi (12:56 PM)
Yes. When talking to recruits about Alabama they often cite playing for championships. If Georgia were to at least make it to the BCS title game, then it would rid Georgia of the stigma that the Bulldogs can't quite get there. It would quiet Richt's detractors which would also help in recruiting.
Cody (Wilmington, NC)
Radi, this game comes down to Aaron Murray. If Murray plays well, Georgia wins. It's as simple as that. Our offense is explosive when he plays well. That secondary could be in for a very long day.
Radi Nabulsi (12:56 PM)
But he can only play well if the line holds up and Georgia can run the ball.
any transfer at the end of the yr for UGA?
Radi Nabulsi (12:57 PM)
I think so.
Reuben Foster (Auburn. )
How long until you can tell everyone I am committing to the G?
Radi Nabulsi (12:58 PM)
One minute after you tell me.
Jason (Nashville, TN)
I'm a huge Tavarres King fan and think he's the most underrated player on the team. Have you heard if NFL teams are taking notice of his contributions? Do you think he'll be drafted?
Radi Nabulsi (1:00 PM)
I have not heard of who may be looking at him. I don't know but a handful of scouts and talk to them very infrequently. After the season King will hopefully let me know who has been contacting him. I do think he gets drafted.
Regardless of who loses, where do you see the loser playing in regards to a bowl game? I have heard that UF is a lock for the Sugar? Thoughts?
Radi Nabulsi (1:02 PM)
I think the loser goes to the Capital One Bowl. The Sugar will take an 11-1 Florida team and pass over the two-loss runner-up from the SEC championship game. Personally I think that is a joke and and farce. Nothing against the Gators, but the lose of the championship game should be afforded a better bowl.
Beachdawg (St. Simons Island, Ga.)
Should the Dawgs plan a South Beach party contest for who can wear the ugliest swim suit??? Do you have confidence if things came down to a Field Goal?
Radi Nabulsi (1:08 PM)
I love a good party. I will get out my Mr. Burns swimsuit, circa 1920. As for a field goal to win it, I think I would try it from 30-45 yards. Not closer and not farther. That is my confidence level with Marshall Morgan right now. He at least appears to have shaken his PAT issue. But imagine this: Georgia is trialing by two with four seconds left, and are sitting on the Bama 25. Just called the last time out. Do you trot the freshman kicker out there or do you allow Murray to try and win it? Hate to think of what the fan reaction would be to Marshall if he missed the kick and Georgia were denied a shot at the BCS title.
Hearing rumors that Radi Nabulsi will be the next coach of Tennessee, David Ching the next coach of Auburn, and Kipp Adams the next coach of Arkansas. Can you comment on that?
Radi Nabulsi (1:09 PM)
I can neither confirm nor deny that. But look to Ed Achoff's cat getting a shot at defensive coordinator.
thanks Radi, feel free to drop soe names on that transfer list
Radi Nabulsi (1:11 PM)
No thanks. It would immediately turn into "ESPN is reporting that ..... have decided to transfer." Just stay tuned after the bowl game.
Mny of the fans keep saying of Murray plays well Georgia wins no doubt. Mettenberger played well against Bama and LSU is far more talented than Georgia and Alabama escaped in Death Valley. I think these Dawgs might be drinking th Kool aide.
Radi Nabulsi (1:12 PM)
Murray cannot do it by himself. He doesn't have Johnny Manziel's wheels. The backs and O-line will have to play lights out.
Larry M (Athens)
Folks are rightfully focusing on our o-line as the critical factor in this game. However, even if our line plays well and we do not lose the turnover battle, I am still extremely worried about our special teams play, particularly place kicking. Missing extra points is simply unacceptable for a SEC kicker and his FG kicking is not reliable either. To me, that could very easily be the turning point of the game - the ability to make a long field goal.
Radi Nabulsi (1:13 PM)
Well said. Nothing to add here. Moving on. Heck, maybe you should take the next couple.
Keith (Lagrange )
When do you think the next commit will come for uga?
Radi Nabulsi (1:15 PM)
Well they had three last week. I am guessing the next one comes in a week or so. Actually, if I send Kipp on a vacation it will happen just as he gets to an area with a low cell phone signal.
Penalties were one of the few negatives in the Florida game. Is there a message to the team to play with disciplined emotion? I still remember the last time we played Alabama, where an Alabama turnover was negated because of a penalty early in the game. That really changed the momentum.
Radi Nabulsi (1:17 PM)
The amount of up-downs after the Florida game was staggering. That is the punishment for penalties in a game, administered the following week. I expect that there will be plenty after this game as well.
So if the Dawgs add 36 recruits, what will there total roster number be come next fall?
Radi Nabulsi (1:17 PM)
Can't be over 85.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Are Tunsil and Adams the main targets that could be swayed by a Georgia victory?
Radi Nabulsi (1:20 PM)
Would not hurt for Alvin Kamara or Reuben Foster to see the Dawgs win either. But if Georgia loses then the pitch from the coaches is, "Look at how close we are, we just need you to put us over the top." At least that is what I would say if I were Mark Richt.
Where do you think Robert Nkemdichi will be going next year? Possibly UGA?
Radi Nabulsi (1:20 PM)
Doug (Silver Creek, GA)
Couldn't be much worse than the grief Blair Walsh got after the bowl game last season.
Radi Nabulsi (1:21 PM)
Agreed. And I saw some clowns complaining about his success with the Vikings. So sad.
@codihandley (alpharetta, GA)
Any chance you will be updating your Twitter picture soon?
Radi Nabulsi (1:24 PM)
You don't like Abdullah the Butcher? Well hit me up @radinabulsi and give me some good suggestions. I guess I could put Teddy Roosevelt up there as he is my hero. Or I could put my ugly mug on it so that people might recognize me. But I would surely lose a few thousand followers who could not take the sight of me.
Do you see us going a lot of empty sets and 4 receiever sets against them? We have had success in the past when we get the ball to the play makers early and let them go but bama is exceptional at tackling.
Radi Nabulsi (1:25 PM)
Depends if the line can block. Against Ole Miss the Bulldogs had to go max-protect and that negated the option to do so. If they can stick with just 5 linemen then yes I do.
Beachdawg51 (St. Simons Island, Ga)
Yeah...update that Twitter pic wearing that Mr. Burns suit..Ha...You win the contest...Party on Garth.
Radi Nabulsi (1:26 PM)
someone mentioned the negative about penalties in the florida game. Radi, can someone please tell Malcolm Mitchell to quit woofing after every play? go back to the huddle, perform, and shut up. We don't need 15 yard flags because of his mouth.
Radi Nabulsi (1:27 PM)
The guy is a talker. I imagine it could get worse seeing as how close he came to going to Alabama.
Yo Radi, these same questions are getting a little boring. I want to know what's the worst Christmas present you every got? I once got a neck tie de-wrinkler and i wear steel toe boots and a hard hat for work. Can you top that?
Radi Nabulsi (1:28 PM)
Why is Saban so concerned about where the loser of the CG plays?
Radi Nabulsi (1:30 PM)
I know folks like to look at it as if he is worried about losing but I think he is confident. People thought he was worried about Oregon's no-huddle offense too. I believe all he does is think about football and he doesn't hide his opinions. He thinks it is wrong for the loser to be left out of the BCS and I think most everyone that is not a Florida fan agrees.
Radi Nabulsi (1:31 PM)
Hey folks I have to go. Thanks so much for stopping by! If I didn't get to your question, feel free to come by The Pound at www.dawgnationespn.com.