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Monday, March 8, 2010

Notebook: Durham Brings Seniority to Receivers

It was hardly the way Kris Durham wanted things to play out, but sometimes things have a way of working out in strange ways.

Durham was preparing for a breakout senior season last spring when he hurt his shoulder, and the ensuing surgery to repair the damage kept him on the sidelines for the entire year. After seeing regular playing time for three seasons, waiting and watching was no easy task.

As it turns out, however, it was just what Georgia needed. The Bulldogs have just five other scholarship receivers on their roster, and Durham will be the only senior of the bunch this season. That makes his extra year in Athens a serendipitous turn of events.

“It’s been a blessing in disguise,” Durham said. “I wanted to come back for Joe (Cox) and all the seniors, and you don’t want to sit out a year. It’s hard after you’ve already played. But I definitely learned a lot, and sitting back and taking a year off makes you appreciate the game more.”

It also gave Durham a chance to work with those younger receivers and develop into a leader among the group that features just two returning wideouts who had more than 10 receptions last year.

But Durham warns that the lack of experience at receiver shouldn’t worry Georgia fans. He thinks the group is ready to take a big step forward in 2010.

“They’re definitely progressing,” Durham said. “Your first year, it’s hard to come in and really contribute because you’re trying to learn the plays and what the offense is. In your second year is when you figure out, OK, I understand what I’m supposed to do, now I’m starting to understand what the guy opposite of me is doing and how everything inter-relates.”


It was an odd feeling, defensive lineman DeAngelo Tyson admitted. After more than two months of waiting and wondering, the Bulldogs finally got back to practice last week in what was a frenzied first experiment with Todd Grantham’s new 3-4 defensive scheme.

The follow-up to those early efforts, however, was a bit out of place – a 12-day vacation.

“It’s weird to practice one day and then take a week off. You can get out of shape and get weak, but I think we have players who will buy in and do what they’re supposed to do over spring break.”

Georgia opened spring practice on March 4 to take advantage of additional meeting time afforded by the NCAA, but players are now relaxing again on their spring breaks before returning to work on March 16 to finish out the spring. It was an odd schedule, but head coach Mark Richt said he hopes his players are using their vacation time wisely and will come back ready to impress.

“Guys can gain a lot of confidence during the spring, especially from a competitive standpoint, from a physicality standpoint,” Richt said. “If you learn to play hard and play physical in the spring and see what it feels like, they’ll remember that. It’s also a big time just to prove to the coaches, should you be in the lineup, should you be playing? I don’t worry about who starts in the spring so much as who’s going to be ready?”


It’s an annual spring story for tight end Aron White, but this year, he’s not going to let it dominate his approach to the offseason.

The undersized tight end has fought an ongoing battle to put on weight and improve his blocking during his first two offseasons at Georgia, but this year things are different. He’s tipping the scales at 240 pounds – a career high for him after playing last year closer to 230 – and he’s through worrying if he gets any heavier.

“I’ve always struggled a little bit keeping the weight on, just with the working out that we do and just genetics,” said White, who caught 13 passes for 197 yards and four touchdowns last year. “It’s always been something people have talked about with me, but I try not to think about it. I want to let it come naturally. I don’t want to put on 10 pounds overnight and then go out there and lose a second on my 40. I definitely feel like that’s not my strength, running people over. I have to get out there and be athletic. That’s what suits me best.”


Tailback Washaun Ealey officially unveiled his new uniform number at Georgia’s first spring workout, switching from the No. 24 to No. 3 – the same number he wore during his high school days.

The move got the stamp of approval from backfield mate Caleb King, who said it fits with the dynamic he’s trying to establish among the running backs.

“I just called him my son now,” King joked. “He’s three and I’m four.”


Anonymous said...

I've heard Mettenberger was arrested over the weekend. Have you heard anything about this?

kathleen said...

Is that a joke, like "he was arrested for bringing guns onto the practice field"...??

King Jericho said...

According to David's twitter feed, it's legit. Well this QB race might have just gotten less interesting. OR MAYBE EVEN MORE!

Can Mettenberger be our Stephen Garcia?

Riley said...

Sorry, Kathleen. It's legit.