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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Notebook: Players Eagerly Await Coaches' Arrival

When he first heard the news that Scott Lakatos had been hired as Georgia’s new secondary coach, cornerback Brandon Boykin did a quick image search on the Internet, just to find out what his new coach looked like. Beyond that, however, Lakatos remains a mystery.

The same is true of new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who like Lakatos has yet to meet any of his new players, despite extensive anticipation on the part of the current crop of Bulldogs.

“The anticipation comes and goes, but I’m ready for the coaches to be here, and ready for everybody to settle down and get rolling,” defensive end Demarcus Dobbs said. “I’m ready to know what position I’m going to be in, what position I need to play, so I can try to be the best at that and learn as much as I can.”

Dobbs’ eagerness is understandable. With a brand new set of coaches and a brand new defensive scheme, the 2010 season could look a good bit different from the 2009 version of the Georgia defense, and like the rest of his teammates, he’s anxious to learn how he’ll fit into the big picture.

While Dobbs is a senior wondering what his final year has in store, freshman Jakar Hamilton arrived on campus just two weeks ago without even knowing who his first college coach would be.

“It was difficult but I knew Coach Mark Richt was going to get the job done,” Hamilton said. “Fortunately we got (Grantham) from the Cowboys who has been in the league for 11 years, and I’m just excited and ready to meet him.”

Georgia has a team meeting scheduled for Friday, which is likely to be the first time most of the players meet their new coaches in person. With recruiting season coming to an end and Georgia’s staff playing catch up, time has been limited for the coaching staff as a whole, and Grantham just wrapped up his NFL season with the Dallas Cowboys last weekend.

So while it will no doubt be a busy few weeks before offseason conditioning shifts into high gear in early February, the excitement and the jitters are both evident, defensive tackle Abry Jones said.

“It’s a little bit excitement and nerves,” Jones said. “It’s exciting that we finally got a new coach and a new scheme but we’re also nervous because we’ve never run it before, so it’ll be like a first time.


Grantham brings with him a brand new scheme on defense, and many of Georgia’s players are still a bit up in the air about where they’ll fit into the 3-4 defense.

One player who is a bit more excited than concerned, however, is Jones, the former Northside star, who thinks the changeover in scheme could mean a move to a position he played extensively in high school.

“I could play defensive end because I played in high school,” Jones said. “It wouldn’t be much of a jump.”

Jones said he hasn’t heard any indication of how the depth chart will shake out in Grantham’s new 3-4 look, but he said if it’s up to him, defensive end would be his preference.

Either way, Jones said his role will change a bit in 2010 with an increased responsibility in stopping the run with just three down linemen. Still, it will be a new experience for the sophomore.

“I played in high school in a three down linemen type of scheme, but never in a real 3-4,” Jones said. “Seeing that I came in as a freshman and had to learn one new defense, the only bear would be learning a whole other defense. Other than that I don’t see a problem with it.”


After two arrests and an indefinite suspension in early December, the future looked bleak for rising sophomore defensive end Montez Robinson. But Georgia announced last week that Robinson had been reinstated – save a two-game suspension to open the 2010 season – and Dobbs said the time away has worked wonders for Robinson’s outlook.

“You can just tell the guy has a total change of attitude,” Dobbs said. “I don’t know if it was him going home for the bowl game and talking to his family or whatever it was, he has a great attitude.”

Robinson played sparingly last season but was named to the SEC’s All-Freshman team at year’s end. He was arrested on multiple charges last month, however, and was immediately suspended from the team.

Since his return, however, Dobbs said Robinson has worked hard and shown a far more outgoing personality.

“He’s happy. He’s upbeat. Before he was never like that,” Dobbs said. “He was just kind of a mellow guy, walking around finding his way. But now you can tell there’s a complete difference in him, and I’m excited to see what he can do this season.”


Three Georgia players underwent offseason surgeries last week and will be limited during the spring.

Offensive lineman Justin Anderson and fullback Fred Munzenmaier both had shoulder surgery and will be limited during spring practice. Defensive end Jeremy Longo had surgery on his knee. He will miss all of spring practice.

All three are expected to be fully recovered by the start of fall practice in August.


“There was actually no other open rooms. It was him or like two baseball players and a tennis player. So I was like, I’ll just live with A.J.” – Georgia early enrollee Kolton Houston on how he ended up roommates with offensive lineman A.J. Harmon.


Kathleen said...

That is great to hear about Montez. I know the dawgs coaches have a healthy attitude about counseling and that players have easy access to guidance/therapy so I hope that's making a difference for him.

What a great thing to read not just about him as a player but as a young man.

Anonymous said...

I graduated with Abry last year at Northside and he was a beast off the end. I was actually disappointed that he was moving to tackle cause I knew he wouldn't be as big of a pass rusher as he was in high school. He'll definitely be able to pull his weight though if he did switch positions.

JRL said...

I'm on your page Kathleen. That report put a smile on my face.

Jayna said...

I am so pleased to hear about Montez, he has already been through so much in his young life you can't help but want this kid to be a success on and off the field. I really hope things continue in the right direction for this young man. Glad the coaches were patient with him too!

JRL said...

I'm also fired up about our new defensive hires :-)

I can hardly wait for spring practice.

Anonymous said...

I would say at this point taht Longo is a bust. Been hurt for 2 yrs and still skinny for a dline guy

Anonymous said...

thought Jakar Hamilton was JUCO making him upcoming JR.?

David Hale said...

You are right... Jakar is a JuCo... my bad.

Anonymous said...

Well that sounds kind of sad- makes it sound like A.J. Harmon didn't have anybody to live with! Does A.J. not have any friends on the team? He seems like a good-natured guy.

David Hale said...

I think it was just a joke... AJ may have been living with someone who graduated in Dec, which is probably the most likely explanation.