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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Practice Notes: Ealey Looks Improved

It took Washaun Ealey more than four games before he saw any action last season, and it wasn’t until the final few weeks of the season that he really came into his own as a running back. But when he found his stride, he turned in huge results. Ealey tallied at least 70 yards rushing in each of his final seven games, including a huge 183-yard performance in a win over Georgia Tech.

In the months since the season ended, head coach Mark Richt said Ealey has only managed to climb even higher up the learning curve, and when he hit the field Tuesday at practice, his head coach marveled at how far Ealey had come.

“Washaun is just a whole lot different than a year ago in my opinion,” Richt said. “He was a true freshman. He wasn’t in the greatest of shape, and now he’s in much better shape, he knows what to do, and he’s having fun out there practicing with a lot of tempo and confidence.”


Logan Gray may still be in the running for Georgia’s starting quarterback job, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be giving up his part-time gig on special teams.

Richt said that, while Gray isn’t likely to see much special teams action this spring, the rising junior quarterback is likely to resume his duties as a punt returner once fall camp opens in August. While Gray is unlikely to be the full-time return man, Richt said Gray has proven he’s adept at fielding deep punts that require the returner to decide whether to fair catch the ball or allow it to bounce into the end zone. Gray played on several other special teams as well, but Richt said those duties would depend heavily on his position on the depth chart at quarterback.

“In the fall I think he will either be the guy or be a very strong candidate to do what he did last year on the punt team,” Richt said. “When we’re backed up and you’ve got a guy at his heels on the 10-yard line to decide should I field it or let it go, he did a very good job of that last year, and that’s kind of a hard thing to teach. I think he would do that, and we’ll just see what the future holds. I’m not counting him out for any other special teams either. It just depends how this QB race goes.”


As for the primary punt returner job, tailback Carlton Thomas appears to have the inside track on landing the role that was filled by Prince Miller for the past two seasons.

“I’m pretty confident back there,” Thomas said. “Prince talked to me a lot while he was here and showed me the ropes. So that’s been one of my main focuses since he’s been gone for me to pick up his slack where he left off.”

Bobo said he was hopeful to find several ways to get the undersized but speedy Thomas on the field and said the special teams work would be a good option.

“A role for him on special teams as a return guy is very possible,” Bobo said. “He’s a hard worker in practice and if he continues to do that, he’ll get an opportunity in the fall.”


With Mettenberger’s arrest and possible suspension, the future could also be cloudy for Gray, depending on how the depth chart at quarterback shakes out this spring.

Gray had considered swapping positions from quarterback to wide receiver before the spring, but decided to stay put for the time being. But Richt left the door open for a potential position swap after spring practice ended, which could then leave the Bulldogs with only Murray and incoming freshman Hutson Mason at quarterback, should Mettenberger miss time due to a suspension.

Tuesday, Richt said a potential suspension for Mettenberger would not necessarily preclude a position change for Gray, but that the bottom line was that Gray could be called upon any time.
“No matter what happens,” Richt said, “he’s got to be ready to play quarterback.”


Bobo said A.J. Harmon was working extensively at left tackle this spring in hopes of building some additional depth on the offensive line.

“We’re rotating him a lot in with the ones just to get him some experience playing with those guys and get him some confidence," Bobo said. "He moved over at the end of his redshirt freshman year. This is his second spring, and he’s a little bit behind. It’s learning what to do from a confidence standpoint because there’s no doubt he’s got some ability. We just need him to take that on the field and be able to execute offensively.”

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