Mark Richt’s Dogs open spring practice a week from today and the story line that’s naturally attracted the most fan and media attention is the battle between Logan Gray, Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger at quarterback. And, certainly, one of the things I’m most looking forward to seeing at the April 10 G-Day game is how Murray and Mettenberger have progressed since last year’s spring game. Particularly Mettenberger. I’m hoping the receivers don’t drop as many balls as last spring so we get a fair look at the QBs.
As for the defense, I’m figuring the installation of Todd Grantham’s 3-4 scheme will still be a work in progress by then, so we might not be able to get as good a feel for where they stand, but I’ll be particularly interested in the play at outside linebacker.
And I’m anxious to see who steps up big in the rebuilt secondary. It was at last year’s G-Day game that Bacarri Rambo first turned heads. He looks likely to have one of the safety positions locked up, but will junior college transfer and self-proclaimed “hit man” Jakar Hamilton lay a claim to the other spot? How much will Quintin Banks, Makiri Pugh and Shawn Williams have matured? Will Sanders Commings play safety or cornerback? And speaking of the CBs, the early favorite at one corner would seem to be Brandon Boykin, but will the other be the speedy Branden Smith, who was inconsistent as a freshman? Where will Vance Cuff and Jordan Love be in the mix?
How about you? What positions besides quarterback are you most anxious to watch at G-Day?
The Dogs placed No. 9 in SouthernPigskin.com’s pre-spring Power Poll of SEC and ACC teams, behind Alabama, Virginia Tech, Florida, LSU, Georgia Tech, Miami, Florida State (??!!) and Arkansas, and ahead of Auburn, South Carolina and North Carolina. … Too much already has been made of the apparent altercation involving former Dog Knowshon Moreno in an Athens bar last weekend. And with the 18-year-old who told police he was punched out by Moreno being kind of fuzzy on the details, which his friends helped fill in for him, no one’s certain what really happened. But I like Dawgs Online’s take on it, which is that the headline could have been “Knowshon handles underage drunk.” … I’m glad sophomore Trey Thompkins hasn’t given much thought yet to leaving early for the NBA after this season, because he doesn’t appear quite ready for the pros. But I like his statement that the potential of Mark Fox’s program will be a factor in his thinking “because I want to be known as a guy who helped the program go from where it was to where it will be.” Sounds like Fox has made a definite impression on this young man. … Thompkins and his teammates travel to what they consider the most “weird” SEC basketball venue tonight to take on Vandy. But the unusual alignment at Vanderbilt’s gym, with the coaches on the baselines, isn’t likely to be as big a factor in the game as whether the Dogs keep the turnovers under control and get consistent play from their bench. … David Hale of Bulldogs Blog talked with Sonny Seiler, owner of the Uga mascots, about the progress in finding a successor for the short-lived Uga VII. Seiler says he’s awaiting two potential litters sired by good old Uga VI. (Since when did death ever stop a damn good Dawg?) But even if that works out, the pup likely won’t be old or big enough to take the field at the start of the season, so 5-year-old sub Russ, who’s too old to be the permanent mascot but did a terrific job in the last two games of 2009, likely will continue as the interim Georgia Bulldog. That’ll suit many fans who’ve already grown fond of the backup.