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Friday, June 18, 2010

Notes: Boykin Sets Goals High

Brandon Boykin isn’t interested in tempering expectations heading into the 2010 season. Instead, he’s raising the bar just about as high as possible.

After a stellar sophomore campaign in which Boykin in which he picked off three passes and returned three kickoffs for touchdowns, he’s not just looking to surpass those numbers. Boykin wants to obliterate them.

“My goal is, I’m trying to get to 10 picks this year,” Boykin said. “That’s a pretty high goal, but if I get anywhere near it, I think that’s pretty good. Kick return I want to get at least three or four (touchdowns). I’m setting it pretty high and we’ll see what happens.”

Only three players in Georgia history have intercepted at least 10 passes in a season – Ben Smith was the last in 1989 – so Boykin knows he’s aiming high. And realistically, he said, there probably won’t be enough opportunities for him to top that mark if he starts the season on a hot streak.

“I figure by the time I get about five or six they’ll probably stop throwing my way,” Boykin said.

But even while he doubts he’ll attain his lofty goal, he thinks the possibility remains. After all, he made huge strides in his first season as a starter a year ago, despite a lot of learning on the fly.

This time around Boykin will be armed with a much better understanding of what being a shut-down cornerback requires in the SEC, and a defensive philosophy under new secondary coach Scott Lakatos that allows him to flourish.

“I feel like I could have done a lot more last year because I wasn’t as knowledgeable as I feel like I am now just because I was kind of learning on the go being the newcomer to the secondary,” Boykin said. “(This year) it’s a lot more man-to-man at the corners, not as much zone. (Lakatos) is basically saying that my guy is better than your guy, and we’re going to see what happens. He’s basically putting you out there on that island, and you just have to have confidence in yourself.”


When Josh Davis hit the weight room in January, it had been nearly a year since he had done any serious weight training. Two offseason shoulder surgeries following the 2008 season kept him from lifting weights, and when he was finally recovered last fall, the season was already in full swing and there was little time to catch up.

“I really didn’t get to touch a weight until about (fall) camp,” Davis said of his rehabilitation last summer. “Then it was still like lifts, and I couldn’t do much weight because the surgeries hurt.”

Despite the setbacks, Davis stepped into the starting lineup on Georgia’s offensive line midway through the season, and the Bulldogs’ running game was instantly transformed. Georgia averaged more than 100 yards more on the ground per game after Davis was inserted at right tackle, and the offense finally began to click.

Now firmly established as a cornerstone on the Bulldogs’ line, Davis is bulking up and feeling good for the first time in nearly two years. He’s added nearly 20 pounds to his frame from his playing weight of about 290 last year, and the shoulder feels as good as new.

“I’m absolutely 100 times better than last year because last year I had shoulder surgeries,” Davis said. “I feel much better, my body feels healthy and I feel stronger.”


T.J. Stripling arrived at Georgia at about 220 pounds, a weight head coach Mark Richt said likely won’t cut it at outside linebacker over the long haul. But while Stripling, one of Georgia’s top recruits in the class of 2010, might have some work to do to get physically ready for the SEC, fellow linebacker Justin Houston said adding weight just takes time.

“I came in weighing at 218 so I wasn’t the biggest guy,” said Houston, who now checks in at a robust 255. “I came in pretty small. I think he’s at least 220, so he actually weighs more than me coming in.”

Of course, the other lesson Houston has learned over the years is that size isn’t everything.

“I learned from Marcus Howard,” Houston said. “He’s not one of the biggest guys but he plays hard, fast and strong. It’s not always about the size; it’s about the technique and strength. If you can get your strength and technique just as good as the next guy, you’ll be all right.”


One of the biggest questions of the offseason still doesn’t seem to have a definitive answer.
For the past two months, Richt has said he expects junior Logan Gray to get most of his summer reps at wide receiver after Gray failed to win the starting quarterback job in spring practice. But after the first few days of drills and voluntary practices, Aaron Murray, the likely starting quarterback, said he’s still not sure what Gray’s future might hold.

“We’ve only had a week-and-a-half of workouts and only done (pass drills) twice, and he’s been back and forth,” Murray said of Gray. “So I wouldn’t say he’s favoring one or the other at this point. I guess he’s going to feel it out the first couple weeks and see what he wants to do from there.”


Of Georgia’s new batch of linebackers, only Demetre Baker appears destined for a role in the middle.

Recent transfer Jarvis Jones said he will open practices at outside linebacker, but could switch down the road. Houston said that Stripling, Brandon Burrows and Dexter Morant – all three of whom played defensive end in high school – are also working at outside linebacker this summer.

“I think Baker is at inside right now,” Houston said. Pretty much the rest of them are at outside.”

Freshman Alec Ogletree, Georgia’s highest-rated recruit, might also have a future at linebacker, but for now he’s working at safety, Boykin said.

“I saw him break out up a pass the other day, and just seeing that I’ll know he’ll be able to compete with the speed,” Boykin said. “As he learns the technique I think he’ll be fine.”


Woolly Butts said...

What, Richt said Gray would play WR, and he's repping at QB? Lies, lies, lies!!

opsomath said...

Tell Bam-Bam Boykin that if he only gets five picks and five return TDs instead, that is okay.

Andy said...

I saw on twitter you asked my question to Aaron Murray about talking with other qbs about leading as a freshman. Thanks David! You are a swell fella.

Dawgfan17 said...

A safety broke on a ball while it was in the air, WHAT??? That had to be a typo. We will miss you Willie.