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Saturday, August 15, 2009

Practice Notes: Another tailback shines in scrimmage

On Saturday, it was another scrimmage for the Georgia Bulldogs, and another tailback leading the statistical show.

Redshirt freshman Carlton Thomas needed only six carries to race off 90 yards. Saturday’s performance is just another step in proving Thomas is more than just a change of pace back.

“He’s tough. He’s a competitor,” coach Mark Richt said. “He’s kind of like Rennie [Curran]. He doesn’t like to hear about how tall he is. He’s just a football player you know.”

Thomas’s durability has been doubted because of his 5-foot-8, 178-pound frame. But Richt said it’ not a concern.

“He’s an every down back,” he said. “We don’t look at him as only a third down guy. He can play first, second, third down. We wouldn’t pigeon hole him into a situational back. People said that about Warrick Dunn when we were at Florida State.”

Richard Samuel carried 13 times for 55 yards and a touchdown.

Once again Richt cautioned about the numbers, saying Thomas benefitted from running behind the No. 1 offensive line against the No. 2 defense.

“They got a lot of work with the No. 1 unit and took advantage of it,” Richt said. “Richard didn’t have as much space as he had the first scrimmage. He had to blast his way in there and gain every yard he got. Carlton had a couple of situations where he had a good bit of space and he took advantage of it. “

Caleb King missed the scrimmage, still recovering from a strained hamstring.

Battle at it again

Senior defensive tackle Rod Battle posted two-and-a-half sacks Friday, adding to the three-and-a-half he had in Wednesday’s scrimmage.

After battling through injuries in a disappointing 2008 season, Battle said the results were encouraging.

“It means something,” he said. “I mean, you go in there and put effort into it, you want to get the results. Like I said I hope we just keep getting better as a defensive group. Hopefully for that first game we’re ready to roll.”

Freshman Montez Robinson had two sacks, with Justin Houston adding one. Darryl Gamble and Kwame Geathers each has a half sack respectively.

Quarterback rotation

Starter Joe Cox took a seat for most of the scrimmage, giving way to backup Logan Gray, and freshmen Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger.

Gray went 6 of 8 for 91 yards, further solidifying his No. 2 status.

“Here’s what I would say--he’s had a good camp,” Richt said of Gray. “He’s done nothing to lose any ground, but the young guys are progressing.”

Murray finished 5 of 9, gaining 95 yards. Mettenberger rebounded from a poor outing in Wednesday’s scrimmage to a slight degree, going 4 of 7 for 29 yards and an interception.

“Quite frankly like I said Monday we’ll meet and really see where we are,” Richt said. “I think Logan had another fine outing today, so I would say he’s still No. 2.”

Cox finished 3 of 6 for 35 yards.

Under the lights

Richt moved the scrimmage to 8 p.m. hoping to use the nighttime atmosphere and cooler temperatures to increase the energy in his players. For the freshmen it was the first time suiting up at night in Sanford Stadium.

“I think for a lot of the guys, especially the freshmen, it reminded them of Friday night lights,” said Battle. “It really seemed to spark something.”

Actually the team beat Richt to Sanford, cancelling meetings to arrive early. The offense was already on the field when the head coach walked in, with the defense close behind.

“It was fun being under the lights and between the hedges on a Saturday night,” Richt said. “The guys were playing with a lot of energy and I think the coaches got what they wanted out of them.”

-Fletcher Page


Hobnail_Boot said...

Sounds like the 1st-team OL is mauling people right now.

KyDawg said...

I've only got one question and it regaurds AJ. Did he play and not have any catches or was he watching?