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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits: Pigskin Preview Edition

Not a ton of new info to come from today's Pigskin Preview Day in Macon, but here are a few quick tidbits:

-- Akeem Dent said there haven't been much in the way of workouts yet as players are still trickling back onto campus. He said he's had a chance to meet a number of the true freshmen though and is pleased with their preparation and attitude upon arrival.

-- Dent talked about Richard Samuel's transition to linebacker, saying that Samuel appears to have a much more natural instinct on that side of the ball. "I feel like he has more instincts at linebacker. I'm not taking anything away from him at running back, but just watching a little film on him and seeing how he's progressed coming over to linebacker, I've seen the instincts he does have, and he's going to be able to make a lot of plays in the future."

-- Dent said that the differences between the 3-4 and 4-3 aren't as dramatic as a lot of people think, but one of the things that has gotten players excited is how much more aggressive and fast the style of play is. He said that makes it easier to be high-energy in practice and enthusiastic about learning the D.

-- Kris Durham joined the multitude to rave about Aaron Murray. "Aaron is a special guy. He's very, very intelligent. He's going to bring a new energy, he's a fiery competitor and I can't wait to see what he does."

-- Mark Richt continued to stress how his biggest expectation for Murray is all about the QB not being a hero.

-- As for Murray's likely backups, Durham said he still wasn't completely clear on Logan Gray's plans, but thought that if the former QB did spend most of the summer and fall at wide receiver, it could bring an interesting perspective to their group. Durham said Gray's experience at QB gives him a bit of a unique insight into what the QBs will expect from their receivers.

-- And Durham said he caught a few balls from Hutson Mason already -- and each one was perfectly thrown. "He hit me in stride every single time," Durham said. "I was very, very impressed with him."

-- Durham also said he had a chance to work a little bit with freshman receiver Michael Bennett this week, too. He said Bennett obviously had a ton to learn still, but his potential was obvious. "He's got a lot of talent, and he looked good out there."

-- Richt touched on expansion again. One of the things I was curious about was whether he thought potential additions of teams like Georgia Tech, Clemson or Florida State -- ACC schools Georgia routinely competes against on the recruiting trail -- would affect how recruits view Georgia. Richt said he didn't think it would be an issue in most cases. "Some of them really want to play in the Southeastern Conference, but there's a lot of them that are just trying to find the best fit for them."

-- Not surprisingly, Richt wasn't entirely pleased with the early kickoffs against South Carolina and Arkansas. "It is going to be excruciatingly hot and humid, and I can just picture what it's going to be like these first three ballgames," Richt said. "So I'm hoping for a hot summer so our guys can get used to it." Durham said essentially the same thing, not in that he thought players needed to up their running and conditioning to make sure they're prepared.

-- Richt talked about how the 3-4 helps Georgia because of all the turnover it had at defensive tackle, since they now only need 3 down linemen at a time. The challenge, Richt said, will be at nose tackle. "It's going to be a challenge to see if these guys can really control the double teams that they need to inside. That's part of the reason we moved Justin Anderson in there is because he is a big, giant, powerful man and if he can take to it, I think he's going to be tough to block."

-- Richt said he expected Branden Smith to see snaps on offense regularly again this year, despite an increased -- and potentially a starting -- role on defense. Those early games under the hot sun, Richt said, might make coaches a bit more leery of leaving Smith on the field too much.

-- Richt talked about finding depth at OLB and he said some of the true freshmen are going to need to step up. "(T.J.) Stripling and Brandon Burrows and Dexter Morant, those guys are the body types we think will fit into that role. I hope we don't have to rely on those guys at they're trying to figure it out, and some of them have got to grow a little bit physically, too. T.J.'s not a really thick guy right now. Dexter's a little bit slim. Burrows is a bit more physical. But we need to get those guys in there and learn what to do, and hopefully we don't have to play them too much."


Tom said...

Has today's college football game changed so much in the 12 years or so since Champ was playing 100 plays a game? I am unsure as to why a Branden Smith can't play 65 defensive plays and 15 offensive plays? The only two arguments I will listen to is that A)Champ was a superior athlete than Smith and B) Champ did most of his two-way playing in his Junior/Senior years. But are either of those really justifying not playing a great player more often?

JRL said...

I hate this "It's going to be hot" crap. It's hot for the other team too...........give it a rest coach.

Anonymous said...

"Aaron is a special guy. He's very, very intelligent. He's going to bring a new energy, he's a fiery competitor and I can't wait to see what he does

Didn't I hear the same quote last year about Joe Cox?

Ginny said...

JRL- I don't think this is an issue of which team will be at a disadvantage. I think Richt's genuninely concerned about the health of his players. 90+ degree weather is awful to play in for either team.

David said...

Saw this and thought of you D. Hale. Think this is in your future?,17572/

hannah said...


I saw this morning that Nick Marshall committed to UGA as a dual-sport athlete -- and as a defensive back for football (not QB--guess I missed that scholarship change from Richt). I think this is great news!

My question is, how does doing football and basketball at the college level work? The seasons overlap, so what does the athlete do in Nov and Dec and Jan? Just asking what Marshall's athletic life might look like once he gets up here.

David Hale said...

Good question, Hannah. I may try to track down a better answer for you for an upcoming mailbag, but my quick response is that football will take precedent, so Marshall likely wouldn't be available for basketball until the conclusion of football season. This is essentially what Fred Gibson did for a couple of years and other high-profile players around the country (Donovan McNabb and Charlie Ward come to mind) have done in the past.

Woolly Butts said...

David, in a Macon column today you refer to Brandon Burrows as a possible rotation player in 2010. Earlier in the summer (I think it was you) you talked about his knee injury, which caused him to miss much of his senior year of HS, to make him a likely redshirt. Has that prognosis changed? CMR did not mention the injury at all. But then according to Anonymous, all he does is LIE, LIE, LIE.

Riley said...


Since he's on a football scholarship I'm pretty sure he'll play out the season, then join the basketball team after. Larry Brown, a tight end, did this for a few years at UGA.

David Hale said...

Wooly -- I think you've made the same mistake I've done on several occasions... Brandon Burrows = OLB likely to see some action this year. Brent Benedict = O lineman with knee injury.

Burrows is in good shape.

Benedict is still hopeful to be ready to practice by fall camp, but that's still very much up in the air.

So... no LIES here!

Woolly Butts said...

Thanks David. You are honest, even though you always misspell my first name. I mean, Davvid.

Burrows is a very impressive kid. I talked with him several times during recruiting and he comes across as smart, coachable, and with-it. He could be a beast at OLB. He did blow out his knee in HS, as did Benedict, but I'm glad to hear he's recovered enough to be in position to play this year. And I ain't lying.

Also, I do recommend that people see the Onion video that David (not Hale) posted is spot #6 of this comment string. I sent it to friends and relatives in Boston and they loved it.

And while I'm writing....people did indeed say similar things about Cox as they are saying about Murray. And they are about the same size, though Aaron might be an inch or so taller. One thing I've seen in Murray is major "It factor" qualities. He's incredibly charismatic and has great leadership skills. This was evident during his recruiting trips as a HS senior, when he was a magnet for other recruits. So don't take the Cox comparisons too seriously, because I think Murray is far more mobile, and can lift a team a la Drew Brees better than JC could; and I say this as a dedicated fan who liked Cox, in spite of his limitations.