The defensive line seems to have had the least amount of changes on its side of the ball for the Bulldogs. One player who’s looking to have a breakout season in his sophomore defensive end Ray Drew. According to the defensive line coach Rodney Garner, Drew is quite capable of that.
“Ray just needs just to work on football- keep working to improve,” Garner said. “The best thing he can do is not read into anything. He needs to focus on getting better everyday he comes to work, and not worry about what’s out there, what you guys [the media] write about him. Ray needs to focus on getting better and better every day he’s out there.”
Georgia backfield still in question
The recent mantra about the Georgia backfield has not been great this offseason. It seems now that is starting to turn around as Georgia’s fourth team practice.
According to an upbeat Bryan McClendon, the running backs coach, no tailback has won the number one spot for opening day against Buffalo.
“All of them are stating a strong case," McClendon said. “All of those guys are working together, teaching each other. [They] are rotating now with both the first and second groups. I just want those guys to get reps because that’s the best way to evaluate guys is to see a body of work and not so much knock them to say ‘this guy’s the first team, this guy’s the second team’ so all those guys have been working with the same group so now you can evaluate the same body of work. I think all those guys have been working extremely well. It’s going to be interesting to see, it really is.”
Although it was initially believed to be a surefire thing, senior Richard Samuel IV may not be manning just his 2011 post this upcoming season, according to McClendon.
“Right now Richard’s been playing both,” he said. “I do think over the course of this year, he’s going to have to play at both positions at some point. He’s got to be ready to do that.”
A big reason for the possible 360-degree flip-flop that Samuel may complete is the prospects of true freshman Todd Gurley.
So far, according to his coach, Gurley is doing just fine despite arriving in Athens a semester after his fellow recruit and friend Keith Marshall.
“You’re seeing a guy who’s done extremely well so far, McClendon said. “He’s picked on pass protection. He’s done an exceptional job of running the ball right now. He’s really doing a great job right now where he his coming in and playing without the ball.”
Along with possibly Samuel, both Quayvon Hicks and Merrit Hall are in competition for the No.1 fullback position as well.
“Right now Merrit [Hall] and Quayvon [Hicks]have both been outstanding, McClendon said.
“Merrit’s such a smart kid and a tough kid. He’s really doing a great job.”
“Quayvon’s picking it up. It’s not easy as a freshman to come in and operate at a high level like we do with our fullbacks. He’s picking it up fast and he’s learning. We’ll see as time goes, on but right now I’m very pleased through our practices.”
Sophomore provides flexibility on the offensive line
With the continued indefinite absence of Kolton Houston on the Georgia offensive line, the Bulldog front five will have even less experience than many originally thought. A beneficiary of Houston’s unfilled spot in the lineup, is sophomore Watts Danztler who is among the six to seven that are candidates to be the starting five for offensive line coach Will Friend.
“Watts has worked there (at right guard) before,” Friend said. “Obviously, he can work there early because he needs to be able to play both. I thought I saw some decent things at times. There’s some things we need to work on. Of course, Watts can do that, he’s smart enough to do that on his in a meeting.”