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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

For Love of the Game

It's a bit of an odd situation. Coming from Virginia, Jordan Love doesn't exactly know too many of his new teammates all that well, and he never spent any time facing off against any of his fellow freshmen in high school.

So he's done his best to build close ties with the players he's met so far, and as it turns out, two of his closest friends will be the two players he's competing for reps with this season -- Branden Smith and Brandon Boykin.

Rather than start things off on the wrong foot, however, Love said he's looking forward to squaring off against his friends on the practice field.

"I think healthy competition is good," Love said. "You get out there, and everybody's going to be pushing each other, so whoever gets the job is going to be really deserving of the spot."

Most pundits weren't exactly sure where Love would be competing when he finally does hit the practice field. At 6-foot-1 and closing in on 200 pounds, Love looked more like a safety than a corner -- the position he played in high school -- but Georgia's coaches didn't see it that way.

"The coaches said they needed corners and wanted me at corner," Love said. "I'm big for a corner, which they said they liked, so I'll probably be starting off there, but if they need me to play safety, that's what I'll do."

With Boykin (5-10, 195), Sanders Commings (6-2, 215) and Love, Georgia won't lack for big corners, and that's an advantage Love said he thinks the Bulldogs can exploit regularly.

"The receivers in the SEC, they're getting bigger, so you'd like to have a corner that can match up in bulk and size with those receivers," he said.

Beyond his size, however, Love said he brings a few other skills to the table.

"I have good hips, and I've been working on my footwork with an NFL coach, (Oakland's) Lionel Washington, so I have good hips and footwork for someone my size," he said.

Love said he isn't looking at Smith, a fellow freshman and five-star recruit, as his measuring stick, although he expects many fans will invariably compare the two at times. The way he sees it, Smith's game is about speed, and his is about power. They're two different players.

He also doesn't expect to get the iron man treatment Smith has been promised. While Love did play on both sides of the ball in high school, he said he isn't holding his breath to earn any offensive snaps at Georgia. Special teams, on the other hand, is a real possibility.

"I can definitely see myself returning punts and kicks," Love said. "I think if I can get started off on special teams, that will eventually get me on the field whether its offense or defense or different positions."

Whatever it takes to get on the field is what Love wants to do, but added he wants to make plays more than just earn playing time.

The possibility of early playing time is there, however, due in large part to the departure of junior Asher Allen for the NFL draft -- a move that surprised and somewhat disappointed Love. In the end, however, he's just happy for the opportunity.

"I was kind of hoping that when I got there I'd be able to learn from (Allen)," Love said, "but the fact that he left, it was kind of a win-win if he stayed or if he left. If he stayed, I could have learned from him, but since he left, it opens up some more playing time."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great article in last issue of SI about Namdi Asomugha(I am sure that this is not even close on the spelling), and there is a lot of talk about his being a 6'2" 200 lb CB who played S at Cal.

Guess who his DB coach is?