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Column: Some brief notes on sports around the state

The views of the author are not necessarily the views of AllOnGeorgia.

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Sports in Georgia are alive and well right now, especially with the Atlanta Braves putting together a strong season and football talk starting to pick up as training camp looms for the Atlanta Falcons and preseason practices draw nearer for state college teams.

With that said, let’s go to the notebook for some items that have caught my attention in recent days.

*Falcons practice: The team will hold a practice at Mercedes-Benz Stadium later this month.

The Falcons will charge fans $5 to see the 12:30 p.m. practice on Sunday, July 29. All proceeds will go to the Atlanta Super Bowl Committee’s capital improvement project. Super Bowl 53 will be played Feb. 3, 2019, at Mercedes-Benz.

The team will hold a roof-opening ceremony prior to practice at noon.

The Falcons are scheduled to open training camp July 27 at the team facility in Flowery Branch.

*Georgia QBs: Former Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has high praise for Georgia quarterbacks Jake Fromm and Justin Fields.

“There are no worries at the quarterback position at the University of Georgia for a long time,” said Arians Monday while talking to reporters as he hosted the 6th annual Georgia Celebrity Golf Classic at the Ritz-Carlton Lodge on Lake Oconee to raise money for programs that support abused and neglected children.

Arians knows a thing or two about quarterbacks as he coached Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, Carson Palmer and others during his NFL career.

He once also wrote a book “The Quarterback Whisperer: How to Build an Elite NFL Quarterback.”

“They’ve got two quarterbacks who can flat out play,” Arians said of the Bulldogs.

Arians attended spring practice at Georgia earlier this year.

“I’m amazed at Jake, his command of the team, not just on the field,” the coach said. “When I was sitting in the team meeting room, he walked in, and you could tell it was his team.”

He also praised Fields, the highly-touted incoming freshman.

“The young quarterback is just an unbelievable athlete,” Arians said.

*UGA prospect: Savannah native Demetrius Robertson is scheduled to announce his decision on his transfer from California on Saturday.

The 5-star wide receiver, who had 837 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in two seasons with the Golden Bears, is considering Georgia, Alabama, Texas and West Virginia.

*Georgia Tech’s switch: It’s been a busy summer for Georgia Tech equipment manager Tom Conner and his three-person staff as they switch the Yellow Jackets’ gear from Russell Athletics to Adidas.

They’ve worked steadily to move out the old gear and bring in the new stuff including uniforms, practice gear, warmups, coaching attire, bags, balls, shoes and more.

Conner said it’s hard to fathom how many boxes have been shipped to the school for $3 million in new gear, but said it’s a lot.

Shipments began arriving at the school in May. In June, the Yellow Jackets began getting about 200 boxes of gear a week.

A storage room that has generally been used for football equipment has been storing gear for all sports.

Recently, a sprinkler head broke in a second-floor room and caused water to gush into the storage space on the ground floor. Boxes had to be moved out into the hallway to prevent the new gear from getting damaged.

*World Cup showing: Prior to the Atlanta United’s soccer match on Sunday, the team plans to show the World Cup final on the large video board inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The World Cup final is set for 11 a.m. Sunday. The United host the Seattle Sounders at 2 p.m.

*Marietta’s loss: Former Marietta football player and  coach James “Friday” Roberts passed away at age 64 this past weekend.

No cause of death was revealed, but according another former coach at the school, track coach Roscoe Googe, he recently had heart surgery.

Richards grew up in the projects of Marietta and was a water boy for the football team before becoming a player. He rushed for a school-record 2,090 yards in 1971.

He played at Florida and was drafted by the New York Jets. He played two years in the NFL, though he never got into a regular-season game.

He returned to Marietta to coach in 1978 and was there until retiring in 2010. He also coached basketball and track and field.

Richards became head football coach in 1995 and posted a 108-57 record with the Blue Devils while winning four region championships.

However, he is best known for mentoring his players including those he took on recruiting visits out of town when they had no other transportation and also those who lived with him when they had rough times in their personal lives.

“He had one of the biggest hearts of anyone that I ever knew,” Googe told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Richards was inducted into the Marietta City Schools Athletic Hall of Fame in 2006.























Kevin Price is a freelance writer for AllOnGeorgia with more than 20 years experience in journalism and communications.

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