March 20, 2012

New roles for two LBs?



Spring practice always seems to bring something new.

Tuesday, it was the sight of outside linebackers Ray Drew and Cornelius Washington working with assistant coach Rodney Garner and the rest of Georgia's defensive line.

"They can do both. They can play the end position and they can play the outside linebacker position still," head coach Mark Richt said. "They have a good working knowledge of that. Their body types would certainly allow them to play the end position as well. They're getting reps there for a reason."

Listed as outside linebackers on the Bulldogs' spring roster, the two are listed at 264 and 269 pounds, respectively, although they appeared a bit larger during workouts Tuesday.

"The thing that Todd (defensive coordinator Todd Grantham) likes to do is train as many guys as he can. He likes to cross-train guys for a lot of different reasons. It might depend on sometimes you get injuries and sometimes you've got to step in and play," he said. "Sometimes you've got certain defensive schemes you play and a matchup might be better for a kid at end than at linebacker. If we're playing a team that's just going to try and hammer you and you need some beef in there, you might play Kwame (Geathers) and John (Jenkins), and all of a sudden one of those ends becomes an outside linebacker to take on a big, physical tight end. We're looking for players to have the versatility as much as we can."

Several Dawgs in green

There were no real surprises in regards to Georgia's walk-wounded for the first day of spring drills.

Offensive tackles Zach DeBell (ankle) and Xzavier Ward (know) each wore the green, non-contact jerseys, as did wide receiver Chris Conley (wrist) and wide receiver Rhett McGowan (unknown injury).

Mitchell gets readjusted to CB

It was a smaller-than-normal group at cornerback, including a couple of players who didn't practice with the unit a season ago.

As promised by Richt, Malcolm Mitchell was there as he begins his transformation to at least becoming a part-time defensive back.

"It was fun to watch (Mitchell) get out there and compete," Richt said. "You could tell he wasn't quite sure what to do every play, but he is playing with a lot of enthusiasm and certainly can break on the ball and change direction. I like how our cornerbacks did in general. They did a nice job. "

The group also included redshirt freshman Devin Bowman, Sanders Commings, Branden Smith, Blake Sailors, Luis Capella and Damian Swann.

This and that

Redshirt Brandon Burrows, who missed all of last year while recovering from shoulder surgery, appeared to be practicing at 100 percent with the rest of Georgia's inside linebackers. … Georgia lists the late James Eunice of Valdosta on its spring football roster. Eunice was expected to walk-on in August of 2011, but drowned earlier that year. … Freshman running back Keith Marshall appeared very smooth running plays with the rest of the offense. "You can tell (Marshall) has very good quickness and very good speed," Richt said. "He seems to have good running instincts. For a guy in his first college practice and considering everybody else knows the system, I thought he did a pretty good job. You can tell he did an awful lot of studying from the moment he got here until now to be able to function like he did." … As most thought, Richt confirmed that sophomore David Andrews is currently the team's No. 1 center. - " Right now David is the No. 1 center and has been working extremely hard. I saw him in the offseason a bunch just trying to learn. Ben spent with a lot of time with him, every chance he got just trying to help him with the calls, all the things that have to be done at that position and we do need to solidify our center position because as you know Ben held it down for four years straight and kind of spoiled us a little bit." … The Bulldogs practiced for nearly two hours Tuesday, the first of 15 practices that include the annual G-Day Game April 14 at 3 p.m. "It was fun to be out there and practice football again," said Richt. "We had great weather. It was probably a little bit warmer than they would've hoped, but it's better than freezing rain. An awful lot of work got done today, even though we weren't running into each other. A lot of guys got reps. Spring is a great time of the year when there are no scout teams, so when everybody gets a rep, they get a quality rep on the side of the ball they came to play." … During the media's time at practice, the No. 1 offensive line had Kenarious Gates at left tackle, Kolton Houston at left guard, Andrews at center, Chris Burnette at right guard and Watts Dantzler at right tackle, Early enrollee Mark Beard worked out at left tackle with the second unit with Austin Long at right tackle. Dallas Lee was at left guard for the second unit, with Hugh Williams at center and Hunter Long at right guard.