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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thursday Practice Notes (10/30)

Coming off the practice field Wednesday, defensive ends coach Jon Fabris stopped freshman Baccari Rambo to tell him he thought the defensive back would make a great quarterback.

Fabris and the rest of the Bulldogs got a great taste of what Rambo could do under center this week as the freshman from Seminole County played the role of Tim Tebow on Georgia's scout team.

"He's a great guy, and I think that I best fit him," Rambo said of Tebow. "I can't throw like him, but I can run like him."

Rambo, who is redshirting this season, played quarterback in high school and filled in as Vanderbilt's Chris Nickson in Georgia's preparation for its game against the Commodores three weeks ago. Coaches were so impressed by his play, they immediately tagged him as the Bulldogs' Tebow clone.

"Rambo's been doing a pretty good job," defensive tackle Corvey Irvin said. "He's not as big as Tebow is, but he might as fast as Tebow and he's giving us a good look."

The extra work on offense has actually been a good thing for Rambo's future as a defensive back, too, he said.

Spending so much time studying some of the SEC's top offensive stars in order to mimic them on the practice field has given him a new perspective on how to handle his job on the other side of the ball.

"I'm starting to learn to a lot about defense by playing offense on the scout team," Rambo said. "Last week I played (LSU wide receiver) Brandon LaFell, and I was (learning) the defense real good and quicker."

Fellow true freshman Carlton Thomas has played the role of Percy Harvin this week, and the two have made the most of their opportunity to contribute, Irvin said.

It wasn't exactly how Rambo had hoped he would be helping the team win games this season, but he said if he is forced to be on the sideline on game day, he's happy to be making some important plays during the week.

"I really wanted to play this year, but I feel like I got redshirted because the coaches felt like that was what was best for me," he said. "I'll do whatever to help the team, go out and bust my tail on scout team, whatever."

Head coach Mark Richt said players have been cheering Rambo's performance in practice this week, even starting a "Rambo for Heisman" chant.

One player who has used the opportunity more for teasing than for praise, however, has been Rambo's cousin linebacker Darryl Gamble.

"I'll be out there on the field, and he'll just be teasing me and stuff saying, 'Come on, man, be like Tebow. Don't be like Rambo,' " Rambo said.

It's all in good fun for the cousins who, having grown up just miles from the Georgia-Florida state line, both have a special appreciation of this week's rivalry game.

Despite Rambo's new group of fans and rousing success at quarterback, however, he said his plans still include playing defense. After all, he doesn't think he's quite ready take over for the incumbent at his new position.

"No, (Matthew) Stafford is a good quarterback, man," Rambo said. "I can't beat out Stafford.

-- This week's game against Florida marks a special anniversary for Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno. Last year's showdown with the Gators was the moment for many fans when he stopped being the Bulldogs' redshirt freshman tailback and became the next Herschel Walker.

With seniors Thomas Brown and Kregg Lumpkin out with injuries, Moreno carried the load in Georgia's win over Florida a season ago, running the ball 33 times for a career-high 188 yards. On the Bulldogs' infamous opening drive, he was the runner on eight of the nine plays, including a 1-yard touchdown run that preceded Georgia's on-field celebration.

"That really was when everyone around the nation was like, 'Hey, Knowshon Moreno,' " fullback Brannan Southerland said. "He really was our only true tailback we had going into that game, and I think he showed not only Georgia nation but around the country that he could take the load, 30-something carries and the hits and everything. He had a breakout game last year, and we hope he'll have another one this year."

Heading into this year's matchup with the Gators, Moreno is just hitting his stride. In his past two games, he has run for a combined 335 yards and scored twice.

It's no surprise to Richt that Moreno has improved as the season has progressed, and he said even better games could be in store for the running back.

"I think he worked himself into better condition," Richt said. "He had a good offseason, but he really didn't get the work in camp like we're used to him getting. He banged up his knee, we were very careful with how much we were using him, and he just didn't get the reps in camp that he probably needed to hit the ground running."

-- Richt said he expects injured starters Dannell Ellerbe and Tripp Chandler to travel with the team and be ready to play Saturday against Florida.

"We expect Tripp to go, we expect Ellerbe to go," Richt said. "They've been practicing and there's no setbacks."

Bruce Figgins has started the past three games in place of Chandler at tight end, but he has a shoulder injury of his own and has not caught a pass yet this season.

Ellerbe's replacement, however, has been a star for the Georgia defense. Gamble made 13 tackles last week against LSU and returned two interceptions for touchdowns. Between Gamble's strong play and Ellerbe's injured knee, Richt said he expects there to be a rotation at Mike linebacker.

"The limitation would be the number of plays more than how we use (Ellerbe)," Richt said. "We'll use him the way we've always used him, but will it be the same amount of plays? Probably not because he's coming off the injury and because Darryl has done such a fine job, too."

-- Ever since Gamble was quoted saying Georgia's seniors had something special planned for the Florida game, fans have been abuzz over just what the surprise might be. Georgia's seniors and even Gamble, however, have denied there are any big plans.

Richt was asked Thursday if perhaps another Georgia blackout had been discussed, and he didn't exactly deny it.

"When you get a bunch of seniors in the room back in the fall, all kinds of things got discuss, I'll just say that," Richt said.

That caused another reporter to push a bit harder by asking directly what color uniforms Georgia planned to wear.

"We're going to wear red," Richt said.

But did that mean just red jerseys or red pants, too? Richt was coy with his response with a sly grin painted across his face.

"We're going to wear red," he said, adding he wanted to add the uniforms to his "no comment" list this week. "Put that in the celebration category."

-- Offensive line coach Stacy Searels doesn't spend much time with Georgia's linebackers, but that doesn't mean Rennie Curran doesn't have some fans in the Searels family.

Curran was informed this week by Searels' daughter that she would be dressing up like him for Halloween this year.

"It tripped me out a little when she told me that," Curran said.

Of course, family members of the coaching staff aren't the only ones who might want to don a Curran costume this year, and the sophomore linebacker said he had heard rumors the outfit was a hot seller.

"Apparently they're selling them at one of the sporting goods stores around here," he said.

-- Richt was asked if he agreed with pundits who thought 100 points could be scored in this week's Georgia-Florida game, and his answer was pretty revealing.

"Just one team," he said, "or both?"


Anonymous said...

do you really think the Dawgs will pull a "Code Red" and wear red pants with the red jerseys? I really hope not--They should play like the Flash, but not dress like him!

David Hale said...

Agreed... I'm no fashion expert, but I can't imagine that will look too good. Moreover, the Dawgs need to simply concentrate on winning this game and not any gimmicks with uniforms.

Honestly, the whole exchange with Richt was one of the strangest I've seen. I wish I could put the audio online because it was almost humorous how cagey he was being about it.

Brett said...

Hale, Do you think there will be a gimmick with the uniforms? It sounds to me there will but who knows. Also I have not seen one analyst pick the bulldogs to win, scary..

Anonymous said...

"Also I have not seen one analyst pick the bulldogs to win"

No one (other than trev of course) picked us to win last year either.

Anonymous said...

I've wanted to see an all red Georgia team since they brought the pants out in Knoxville in 80'.

I kinda expect it now, cause Richt can't even tell a harmless tale to keep an innocent secret.

They can wear all white as long as they win, bottom line, I don't think anybody cares about anything other than the final score.

Junior said...

I hope CMR learned his lesson after the Alabama game and he's just playing word games with the media. We don't need to get too cute this week.