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Friday, January 23, 2009

Football Notes (1/23)

Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green has a message that could send shivers through SEC secondaries: He thinks he'll be a lot better in his sophomore season than he was in 2008 when he was a freshman All-American.

For one, Green said, he'll be more knowledgeable of the offense, but the improvements won't simply involve experience. Green said he hoped to add seven to 10 pounds of muscle so he can play more physical with opposing corners. More importantly, he said, he hopes to finally be over a sore groin that nagged him throughout his freshman season.

"Just a little bit bigger, a little faster," Green said. "I might do some more crazy things, I don't know. I'm going to have to show the fans when I'm 100 percent."

Green's sore groin bothered him from the outset of the season, but he was able to play through the injury, but the pain became more significant later in the season, and he was held out of Georgia's early workouts for the Capital One Bowl.

As the Bulldogs begin their offseason training, Green is once again sitting out much of the work as his groin continues to heal.

"I'm still rehabbing and getting my groin right, so I'm limited in what I can do," Green said. "I'm mainly doing upper body and stuff like that."

Green said rest and rehab are the only solutions, and that surgery has never been discussed. He was unsure what his availability would be for spring drills, which begin in March, but said he is making steady progress.

"I'm not going to rush it," he said, "just do rehab every day and see what happens."

Green finished his freshman season with an SEC best 56 receptions adding 963 yards receiving and eight touchdowns.

Entering Georgia's bowl game, Green needed just 49 yards to become only the second 1,000-yard receiver in school history, but nursing the sore groin against a Michigan State secondary that offered multiple double-teams, Green mustered just 12 yards on one catch.

Now those 37 yards he came up short of 1,000 serve as his offseason motivation, he said.

"That's my focus," Green said. "That's what drives me right now is how short I came of that 1,000 yards. That pushes me to work even harder."

-- He's been hearing the discussion from fans for more than a year, he said, but linebacker Darius Dewberry said his coaches have never approached him about a position change to defensive end.

With a deep corps of linebackers returning for 2009, however, Dewberry said he would be open to a change if Georgia's coaching staff thought it would help the team.

"If the coaches want me to make the move, I'll play there," Dewberry said. "I think I'd be successful."

Along with starters Rennie Curran and Akeem Dent, the Bulldogs expect to have several other experienced linebackers ready for the 2009 season, including Darryl Gamble, Akeem Hebron, Charles White and Dewberry, who missed much of the 2008 season, first with a suspension and later with a shoulder injury.

Dewberry said he is still rehabbing from shoulder surgery, getting his arm out of a sling just last week. While he doesn't expect to be full go at spring practice, he said he thinks he could easily be ready to play defensive end in time for fall camp, including packing on an extra 20 pounds to his current weight.

"I haven't lifted weights since Thanksgiving, and I just got out of my sling, so it wouldn't be too hard to pick up weight," Dewberry said. "It's (the coaches') job to put the players where they want them, so if they want to move me there, I'd just go and deal with it."

-- When junior cornerback Asher Allen decided to leave Georgia a year early to enter the NFL draft despite failing to record an interception in 2008, it came as a bit of a shock to many fans, but fellow defensive back Bryan Evans said he wasn't surprised at all.

"Any time that you can be an underclassman and get invited to the combine, that's enough said by the scouts," Evans said of Allen. "Just knowing him, I think his ability, he's going to kill the combine."

With Allen leaving, senior Prince Miller is now the only cornerback on Georgia's roster with starting experience, and Evans said Miller has approached his new role as veteran leader with ambition.

"He talks to the cornerbacks every couple days or so just trying to see if they're studying the playbook and getting in the film room," Evans said. "Hopefully he can rub his experience off on them."

-- While defensive coordinator Willie Martinez is the latest Georgia assistant rumored for a job elsewhere, it was the potential loss of offensive line coach Stacy Searels that had freshman center Ben Jones sweating bullets.

Searels interviewed with Auburn in December, but announced he was returning to Georgia just days before the Bulldogs' bowl victory over Michigan State.

"I'm from Alabama, and all my buddies, all my friends were saying, 'Oh, he's going to Auburn,'" Jones said. "I said, 'I hope not.' I liked playing for him, and that's one of the big factors in me coming here."

-- Also wanted to note that former Georgia QB David Greene tells the Albany Herald's Scott Chancey that he plans to retire.

Said Greene: "In my own heart, I knew it was time for me to kind of move on."

Nice work by my good friend Mr. Chancey on the story, and obviously we hope for the best for Greene, who is one of the real nice guys in the sport.

1 comment:

Jacob said...

AJ > Julio