By FLETCHER PAGE
The line on Georgia’s current wide receiver unit has been quality over quantity.
Coach Mark Richt says he’s impressed with his receivers, headlined by A.J. Green, and said barring injuries he’s expects big things. But Richt’s injury fears hit the team Thursday, and although not serious, they show just how precarious this position is.
Both Marlon Brown and Israel Troupe sat out practice Thursday, creating razor-thin depth, leaving only four scholarship receivers to participate in drills. Both Brown (shoulder) and Troupe (hamstring) are expected to be 100 percent soon, but their absence indicates what could happen if injuries crop up in the future.
“We just asked some of the walk-ons to step up,” said sophomore Rantavious Wooten. “We just, as receivers, have to suck it up.”
Now, the group still had Green, senior Kris Durham, Wooten and Tavaress King going full speed Thursday. The talent of the crew is not in question. Especially not with Green out there, as Richt says, “A.J. makes plays every day.”
“We don’t have a lot of quantity, but the quality is unbelievable,” said quarterback Aaron Murray. “Our guys can play anywhere in the country, all of them.”
Injuries have plagued these players in the past. Durham and Green had shoulder issues last season. King had to redshirt in 2008 after hurting his ankle.
Even when Brown and Troupe return, the group is slim. Receivers coach Tony Ball has structured practice to help alleviate the stress.
“Coach Ball has us in set groups that he has going to at a certain time,” Wooten said. “I feel like that helps very much. You don’t have to worry about a specific player at a specific time. You’ve got your group that you go with. That’s helping out with the receivers being thin.”
Despite the recent attrition, King says the receivers have made strides this season, and expect to make an impact.
“If our guys continue to progress, and stay healthy, we’ll have a tremendous time,” Murray said. “Those guys are going to be able to make some plays. We just have to hope they stay healthy, and we’ll be fine.”
GEATHERS LOVES THE 3-4
Kwame Geathers feels at home in the new 3-4 scheme.
The redshirt freshman nose tackle has done everything he possibly can do to get ready for spring ball. In fact, he’s dropped over 30 pounds since August, now weighing in at a modest 308.
“Just my first step is a little quicker, and I think I’m a little quicker off the ball,” he said.
When Geathers made his way to Athens in late August last season, he found out a lot about himself. He was overweight and out of shape. He was also determined to fix both of those problems.
He’s done that, and is starting to generate a name for himself on the practice field.
“I try to compete every day,” Geathers said. “Some days you’re going to have bad days, some days are going to be good days. I go out there and compete every day.”
And he says he fits right in playing over the center. The 3-4 scheme made things easier for him.
“I think it’s not too hard play wise,” Geathers said. “I think it’s just heads-up football. It is just ‘get after the football.’”
QB RACE STILL UNSETTLED
Three men entered spring practice with a shot at securing the coveted Georgia starting quarterback position.
Three men remain.
Logan Gray, Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger are still each receiving the same amount of reps with the No. 1 unit.
“We’ve been getting equal reps with every single drill we’ve done,” Gray said. “Everybody’s had really good days, and days that need improving.”
The coaching staff has given no timetable on when a starter will be announced, but with Saturday’s scrimmage approaching the pecking order may shake out sooner, rather than later.
Mettenberger, despite a likely one-game suspension, is still seeing time with the No. 1 group. Gray, who once considered a position change, says he’s completely focused on the starting quarterback job.
Essentially, nothing has changed the past two weeks of practice, with the spot still up for grabs.
Richt, and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo have not indicated if they are leaning toward one player, or another.
“No, [Bobo] or coach Richt, they haven’t really said too much,” Murray said. “I don’t really know what’s going on with that.”
COACHES GET DRENCHED
Several hundred high school coaches lined the sideline during Georgia’s practice Thursday.
The Bulldogs invited them to Athens for the annual spring football coaching clinic, giving them a taste of the ‘Georgia way’ in rainy conditions in Sanford Stadium.
"We had all of our high school coaches here,” Richt said. “There must be 300 to 400 of them, and we're excited about them being here.”
The two-day clinic offers former NFL coach Tony Dungy as the featured speaker, delivering his message today at 10:45 a.m.
Friday, March 26, 2010
By FLETCHER PAGE