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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Notes: Line Will Be Key to Offense

No team in the country returns more experience on its offensive line than Georgia, and head coach Mark Richt is hoping that will mean big things for the Bulldogs’ offense in 2010.

“I feel as good going into this year as I have in a while, but I felt good last year and we had some things that happened,” Richt said. “But if everybody stays healthy, we have (a lot of) different guys who have started.”

Those “things” that happened last year – and in 2008 – helped season a deep pool of talent, with all five starters from last year’s line returning, along with Trinton Sturdivant, who has missed virtually all of the past two seasons with knee injuries, and a handful of up-and-coming talent on the line as well.

Chris Burnette is a kid that I think is going to be good enough to help us win. Dallas Lee might be another kid,” Richt said. “When you add those two, the two guys who were injured, and all those other guys that got to play, we’re in good shape.”

With a freshman quarterback getting the starting nod, a veteran offensive line might be as important as ever, too. As receiver Kris Durham said, everything about the Bulldogs’ offensive attack will start with the line.

“The run game’s going to open up the passing game, the passing game’s going to open up the run game, but it all starts with the offensive line,” Durham said. “I feel like they’re going to be our rock, the starting point of our offense. We can’t do anything without them. So we’re going to try to throw it and run it, but the offensive line is going to be the key.”


Durham saw the talent and potential in Tavarres King early on, but it was also pretty obvious what might hold the lanky receiver back on the field.

“You’ve got to have the speed and intangibles, but you have to have strength, too," Durham said of King. "He’s working on that, and fortunately for us, he has a couple more years for us to see what he can do.”

After a solid season as a redshirt freshman in which King hauled in 18 catches for 377 yards -- the second most on the team -- Durham said King is making similar strides in his strength training, too.

King has worked extensively with Georgia's new nutritionist, Rex Bradberry, and has already begun to see the results on the field. He's added some weight -- up from about 181 pounds at the end of the 2009 season -- without losing his speed and agility.

“I worked out with TK in May, and he’s up to 192, and he’s gotten a lot stronger," Durham said. "Hopefully that will lead to good things on the field.”


Throughout Richard Samuel’s two-year trial at running back, Richt promised the five-star recruit had all the tools for the job, he just lacked some of those natural instincts that come with years of experience at the position.

Unfortunately, Samuel never really developed those instincts, but now that he’s lining up on the other side of the field, Akeem Dent thinks Samuel is a natural fit at linebacker.

"I feel like he has more instincts at linebacker,” Dent said. “I'm not taking anything away from him at running back, but just watching a little film on him and seeing how he's progressed coming over to linebacker, I've seen the instincts he does have, and he's going to be able to make a lot of plays in the future."


With noon kickoffs set for Georgia’s second game of the season against South Carolina and third game against Arkansas, along with a likely early start for the opener against Louisiana-Lafayette, Richt knows his team’s conditioning is going to be tested early.

"It is going to be excruciatingly hot and humid, and I can just picture what it's going to be like these first three ballgames," Richt said. "So I'm hoping for a hot summer so our guys can get used to it."

More than just the heat, Durham said, it’s what Georgia does when the temperatures are soaring. He said this summer’s workouts will be crucial, and with the early start times in September, the Bulldogs will have to prepare better than they have in the past.

“It’s going to rely a lot on our conditioning during the summer,” Durham said. “We’re going to have to get out there in the heat, we’re going to have to run, we’re going to have to do more conditioning than we’re accustomed to and really push ourselves.”


The fresh start that came with a new coaching staff on defense has created plenty of excitement in the Georgia locker room this offseason, but there's no doubt that some players were a bit more enthusiastic than others about the changes, Richt said.

"The veterans that had established themselves maybe weren't too excited about having to start over again, but the defense as a whole knew it was going to be a clean slate and there was going to be a chance to prove they can play and prove they deserved a chance to play or start," Richt said. "A guy like Jakar Hamilton coming in, he's brand new and if we didn't change the system, he'd have been behind. But now, he shows up in the spring just like everybody else, learning it from scratch. So a guy like that really benefited."

Of course, the downside the all the change -- for both the veterans and the rookies -- is that there hasn't been anyone with significant experience to lean on during this offseason. It's been more about keeping the veterans a half-a-step ahead on the learning curve.

"During the spring, we implemented the new defense, and we're just trying to pick up where we left off," Dent said. "Right now, in spring ball you get a little bit of an upper hand. Everyone has about the same playing field, but right now, we have a slight advantage over (the younger) guys that gives us a chance to help them make plays."

1 comment:

JasonC said...

One reason the UL-L, Idaho, Vandy and Colorado games will be more important than people think is so the OL backups, which haven't been that impressive, will have a chance to get battle-tested for 2011. We will lose Boling, C. Davis and maybe Glenn. So we will need some guys to get a little experience for the following season.