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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Practice Notes: Recruiting Implications Will Be Big Saturday

In his first year on the job at Tennessee, Lane Kiffin made a point to put a target on Georgia. He called the Bulldogs his team’s biggest rival, and for good reason. The Volunteers need to recruit in Georgia, and Kiffin wanted to get his regime off on the right foot. The result was a dominant win over the Bulldogs in Knoxville last month.

This week, Georgia faces another first-year coach of another SEC program that relies on the Peach State to fill a sizable portion of its roster when Auburn comes to Athens. And once again, the victor will earn bragging rights – not just among fans, but in the living rooms of recruits throughout the state.

“Winning helps recruiting,” Georgia recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner said. “That’s the single most important factor is winning. Everybody loves a winner, and if you win, you’re hot, and you’re the most attractive person out there.”

For the past three years, Georgia’s had the edge over Auburn, but that hasn’t stopped the Tigers from competing for many of the same players the Bulldogs have recruited. Twenty players on Auburn’s current roster hail from Georgia, and a win for first-year coach Gene Chizik would help to boost that number in the future.

But the familiarity also breeds a bit of intensity, too, and head coach Mark Richt said his current players aren’t interested in letting Auburn become the latest to earn a win over the Bulldogs, on the field or on the recruiting trail.

“Auburn being so close to our border, just about every guy that we have on our team was more than likely recruited by Auburn and has been to Auburn and has seen what they are all about,” Richt said. “It’s a big deal for us as a staff, it’s a big deal for us as a team.”


A year ago, Clint Boling was pressed into action at left tackle thanks to a slew of injuries at the position, and he never quite felt at home.

This season, Boling has made the move once again, but now he’s a bit more comfortable playing the most demanding position on the offensive line.

“I got a lot of experience playing left tackle last year and I’ve been working on it the last few weeks of practice, so I feel a lot more comfortable there now,” Boling said. “It’s not a big deal at all.”

Boling has started the past two games at left tackle after opening the season as Georgia’s starter on the right side of the line. When Trinton Sturdivant went down with a season-ending knee injury, many fans clamored for Boling to return to the left side where he eared rave reviews a year ago, but the change was slow to come.

With the return of junior Josh Davis from injury, however, Georgia had more leeway to fill any void Boling might leave on the right side of the line, and Boling said one the pieces were in place, everyone was happy to make the move.

“I think Coach (Stacy) Searels was just trying to find the best lineup he wanted with a group of guys that could play hard and do what he wanted to do,” Boling said. “And if that was me at left tackle and Josh at right tackle, then both Josh and I will do whatever Coach Searels wants to do.”


Georgia opened last week’s game against Tennessee Tech with a new look on offense – a no-huddle attack that kept the Golden Eagles guessing.

“We did the first couple of series. It wasn’t no-huddle, hurry-up offense, but it was just something we had gone into the game planning on doing,” quarterback Joe Cox said. “We wanted to get some plays run, get the line up and down fast, and try to put points on the board quick those first couple of drives. We scored on both those drives.”

The fast-paced offense was something offensive coordinator Mike Bobo had been toying with but saw a prime opportunity to run it against Tennessee Tech, and it gave Georgia a chance to show a more dynamic side of an offensive unit that has failed to show much life at times this season.

“It was just a change of pace, something that a lot of people haven’t seen us do, and it definitely caught them off guard because they were looking to the sideline trying to figure out what they needed to get in, and we went right down the field,” Cox said.

Despite the success the offense had against Tennessee Tech, Bobo isn’t sure if he’ll continue to use the approach going forward, but he said he liked the results enough to keep it as a possibility.

“It’s something we mess around with from time to time, and a lot is depending on our depth at receiver and how much we can do,” Bobo said. “But it was one of those games that we did want to spread them out and get our guys in space, and that’s something we could use in any game.”


With A.J. Green out of the lineup last week, Cox found his tight ends made for appealing targets downfield against Tennessee Tech. The Bulldogs’ tight ends caught seven passes and one touchdown in the game, and that’s a trend Cox said he thinks can continue as Aron White and Orson Charles continue to develop within the offense.

“We’ve got two tight ends that are really making a lot of plays right now,” Cox said. “They’re dedicated to run blocking and work hard on it every day, and they’re great in the passing game. Orson and Aron, they run great routes and have great hands. You don’t have too many of those, and we’re lucky enough to have to of them on the same team.”


Two of Georgia's injured offensive linemen are making strides toward recovery, but Richt isn't sure either will be practicing before the spring.

Freshman Austin Long underwent back surgery before the season and has yet to practice with the team. There was hope he might be ready to practice by December leading up to an anticipated bowl game, but Richt said that's unlikely.

"He's got another appointment with the doctor, and it's sometime in December, to try to gauge how well it's healing," Richt said. "There's a possibility it's healed, but there may have to be some things that are taken out."

Richt said Long has been relegated to minor workouts -- elliptical machines and exercise bikes -- but he has not been able to run or do any significant weight lifting.

Trinton Sturdivant tore his ACL for the second time in as many years in Georgia's opener against Oklahoma State, but Richt said the left tackle is already well ahead of where he was two months after his first surgery.

"He's very excited about the repair," Richt said. "This is so much different than the last one because there was so much less damage that was done. The recovery is faster or at least he feels better faster. He feels like it's a great repair, he's confident in it, and he's excited about the future."


Richt on A.J.: "A.J. looks like A.J. Green, which is a very good thing. You'd never know he had any issues, and he might be a little more fresh than he would have been because we really didn't let him exert hardly at all."

Richt on Justin Houston: "He was wearing green but he was practicing and we expect him to play."

Richt on Quintin Banks: "He had a dislocated finger and they just kind of put it back together again and taped it to the next finger and go."


For the second straight day, Georgia's coaches and players braved the elements to get in a day's worth of practice, and while the energy was high, Richt said the passing game has been challenged by a day of rain and a day of high winds.

"We really haven't had a chance to throw and catch extremely well with the horrible weather yesterday," Richt said. “I think the wind was blowing like 14 to 20 mile-an-hour gusts out there, so it wasn't ideal conditions. Hopefully tomorrow we can have a pretty day. But we got the work in we needed to get done these last two days, and I'm happy with that and think we've got a good, solid plan.”


In the first day of college basketball’s early national signing period, first-year Georgia coach Mark Fox landed another recruit from the state of Florida when Orlando-area prospect Cady Lalanne signed a national letter of intent to join the Bulldogs.

“Cady is a terrific young kid who has the ability to score inside and outside,” Fox said of the 6-foot-8, 215-pound Lalanne. “One of the things we were looking for was a good interior offensive player, and I think we were able to find him. But his versatility on offense is something I really like, too. He was also very well-coached in high school, so I expect that his transition to college will be a smooth one.”

Lalanne is Georgia’s first recruit for the 2010-11 season, but Fox also landed guard Vincent Williams from the state of Florida soon after being hired in April.

Lalanne is rated as the nation’s No. 37 forward prospect by ESPN and the No. 21 center prospect by


Anonymous said...

When you recruit felons, this is what happens...

BigMuddyDawg said...

Regarding the hurry-up, no-huddle offense the Dawgs ran early in the TTU game, do we think this was a preview of some things to come? As we all know, conventional wisdom suggests that a team with a struggling defense needs its offense to win the time of possession battle, keeping the opponent's offense on the sidelines (something the Dawgs have certainly struggled with). Does giving the no-huddle a look suggest that we instead intend (or concede) to trade punches with the other team?

IWJTTU, but then again, the no-huddle approach seemed to take a back seat to the run it down their throats approach as the game progressed.

What are we looking at here?

(Also, I'm sure the words used for the Word Verification are just randomly generated but "tartnes"? Nice.)