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Friday, July 15, 2011

Todd Grantham speaks - about personnel, freshmen, prepping for Boise State - and I blog

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham discussed pretty much everything in a meeting with reporters on Friday. And we know you want the info, not some snappy intro about how he was dressed, so let’s go:

(OK, if you really had to know, Grantham had on a black Georgia shirt.) Now here you go:

- The move of Richard Samuel back to offense was the first item of discussion, and Grantham’s thoughts on that are in the previous blog post. But he hinted that more switches could be in the offing:

“I’m not 100 percent sure,” he said, when asked if any more guys could move to help shore up the tailback position. “I don’t know that answer.”

- Grantham is treating the Jarvis Jones situation the way he would an injured player. Georgia and the NCAA are looking into Jones’ connection to a former AAU coach, and his status for the start of the season could be in question.
Jones is the first-teamer at the “Sam” outside linebacker spot.

“We’re gonna prepare at every position as if the guy that’s the first team player is the guy, and then if he goes down then he’s the next guy. We’re always gonna have guys in place,” Grantham said. “(If Jones can’t play) we could move a guy around, it could be a guy who’s here now, it could be a freshmen.”

- Grantham didn’t sound too worried about Kent Turene, one of the two freshmen whose status still isn’t resolved. Turene, an inside linebacker, is awaiting word from the NCAA clearinghouse.

“He’s on track,” Grantham said. “But to me it’s just a matter of until they’re here, until we have them you never know. But I feel comfortable.”

Defensive back Devin Bowman is the other signee who has yet to enroll.

- Junior Sanders Commings will continue to cross-train in the secondary. But Grantham said Commings is basically still a cornerback who can play safety.

“It’s a long season. If you go into it and say he’s only this, then it gives you less options,” Grantham said. “The more you can do for us, the more valuable you become.”

- Kwame Geathers will start working at end, since he’s worked a couple years now at the nose. The team is still seeing if it can use Geathers and John Jenkins at nose, but they’ll start by teaching Jenkins the nose spot and letting Geathers – also the slimmer of the two – work outside.

“It’s like anything. The more you can do, the better chance you’ve got to get on the field,” Grantham said. “If he can continue to develop like he did in the spring, then move out and play some end stuff, then … it gives you someone that can play two positions.”

Jenkins is weighing in at about 345 or 350 pounds right now. Grantham was a bit playfully coy on that, asking me and Gentry Estes to guess on that first.

“He can run,” Grantham said of Jenkins. “Around the track, he can run.”

- T.J. Stripling, recovering from knee surgery, will be given a chance to work in pads early in preseason practice, and has a chance to play outside linebacker. Grantham said Stripling, a sophomore is “probably further along” than Dexter Morant, a redshirt freshman recovering from a shoulder injury.

“I expect (Stripling) to be able to come in and start working right off the bat,” Grantham said.

Finally, Grantham spent a good deal of time discussion the plan for the preseason, specifically evaluating the freshmen and when they start preparing for Boise State.

On the freshman, Grantham said they’d spend the early part of preseason determining who can play right away. When asked who could contribute against Boise State and South Carolina, he answered, “All of them.” He also agreed there’d be less of a learning curve for these freshmen than others.

As for Boise State, while players speak often about how excited they are to open with a well-known opponent, Grantham is a bit cautious about starting too soon to prepare for one game.

“The first part of camp you’re just competing, getting better, developing an opinion of the freshmen,” Grantham said. “Then I think once you’ve kind of got that going, then I think you look at things you’re going to see during the course of the season that are unique, that are kind of different. That means we’ll have to work on the spread offense for some of the time, we’ll work on empty, we’ll work on Georgia Tech, because obviously we won’t see any of that during the season, we’ll work on the read-zone stuff.”

Then they’ll spend the final week before the opener, and another day or two, working on Boise State. So Grantham’s basic philosophy is to not spend the whole preseason prepping for one team, because he feels it would leave the team too much to do the other 11 weeks.

“You’ve gotta kind of prepare for offenses,” Grantham said.