What we learned from spring practice (PLUS: injury update, Bulldog Club tour)

If you’re looking for definitive answers about a football team, spring practice isn’t the time or place. That’s what fall is for.  Yet Georgia’s spring practice, which ended with the G-Day game on Saturday, provided a few revealing threads:

1. The offensive line is benefiting from the experience young players gained the past couple of years.

Example: Cordy Glenn. When the offensive coaches named their spring MVP, they chose the left guard, who enters his junior season with 23 UGA starts already.

“Early on, obviously as a freshman, he had to depend on a lot of guys next to him to help him out,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “Now he pretty much knows what we’re doing, and he’s able to execute and then use his God-given ability to dominate. And that’s what kind of player we think he can be.”

Bobo said the entire first-team offensive line -– left tackle Clint Boling, Glenn, center Ben Jones, right guard Chris Davis and right tackle Josh Davis –- had a strong spring. The group will be reinforced if Trinton Sturdivant, who started as a freshman in 2007 but missed the past two seasons because of knee surgeries, and Tanner Strickland, who missed last season because of shoulder surgery, return this summer as planned.

2.  Todd Grantham is . . . intense.

G-Day offered little insight into Georgia’s new 3-4 defensive scheme, but it did provide a good glimpse of the new defensive coordinator. Grantham is a fiery presence on the sideline –- even in a spring intra-squad game.

“Well, anytime you’re playing, it’s important, and that’s the thing I wanted to get across to our players,” Grantham said. “Any time you step on the field, it’s important you do your job. And our job is to hold people to low numbers and to stop people.”

“That’s what you want . . . a guy that’s got some fire in him,” said head coach Mark Richt, known for his low-key sideline demeanor. “I think it’s probably good to have somebody who’s a little more outwardly excited. I do get excited on the inside, but it’s good to have that energy on the sidelines.”

3. Three NFL-bound defensive tackles will be sorely missed.

Defensive line coach Rodney Garner was reminded of the talent lost  from last season’s line when he looked up at practice one day last week and saw Geno Atkins visiting. “I was, like, ‘As big a headache as you were, I’d sure love to have that headache back,’” Garner said with a laugh.

The loss of three senior defensive tackles –- Jeff Owens, Kade Weston and Atkins -– and the transition to the 3-4 defense made the spring difficult for the D-line. Practices ended with a No. 1 unit of DeAngelo Tyson at nose, Abry Jones at left end and Demarcus Dobbs at right end. Of the three, only Dobbs has started a college game, and he admits the 3-4 is a different world for him.

“We’re making some progress . . . but we’ve still got a ways to go,” Garner said. “DeAngelo and Abry, they’ve been role guys. Now you got to step up to the plate and be the guy. It’s different being a guy and the guy.”

4. Washaun Ealey is going to be even better than last season.

You didn’t see it in the G-Day game, mostly because the coaches didn’t want opponents to see much, but the rising sophomore tailback had a terrific spring by all accounts.

Ealey ran for 717 yards in nine games (two starts) last season and seems hungry for much more. He is in better shape,  has a better grasp of the offense and is working with better “tempo and confidence,” Richt said.

As for the other half of last season’s tailback tandem, Caleb King missed the final week of spring practice, including G-Day, because of a sore, swollen knee. “We think he’ll be fine in a week or two and able to do everything all summer,” Richt said.

5. The quarterback debate is just beginning.

You’ll get a real-time gauge on the quarterback race, as well as the competition at all other positions, when coaches unveil their post-spring depth chart, probably late this week. But the spring’s fluctuating performances suggest the Aaron Murray-Logan Gray-Zach Mettenberger battle will remain fluid -– and hotly debated, to be sure.

“Ultimately, everybody’s going to have to compete again during fall camp, go out and take reps and make plays and run the offense again,” said Gray, the only quarterback in the program who has ever taken a snap in a college game.

Truth is, the quarterback debate won’t subside until one player proves himself unequivocally in games that count. A key question in picking a starter, Richt said, is: “Can he handle the pressure of the job?” And “this is just the beginning,” Richt added, “of feeling the pressure of the job.”

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Good news from UGA today on the G-Day injury front:

  • RT Josh Davis‘ shoulder injury was just a bruise.
  • OLB Cornelius Washington’s leg injury also was a bruise.

Both players “should be fine,” UGA said.

————————————–

UGA’s annual tour of Bulldog Club meetings around the state begins next week.  All stops on the “Dawg Days” tour start with social hour at 6 p.m., followed by program at 7 p.m. Here’s the schedule and who’ll be attending from UGA:

April 22 in Columbus: Mark Richt, Mark Fox and Damon Evans

April 28 in Savannah: Richt and Fox

April 29 in Augusta: Richt and Fox

May 12 in Macon: Richt and Fox

May 13 in Statesboro: Richt

May 26 in Albany: Richt

May 27 in Griffin: Richt

July 26 in Atlanta (Cobb Galleria Centre): Richt, Fox and Evans

More details, including locations and contact info, are here.

—————————————————

OK, your turn: What did you take away from Georgia’s spring practice?

260 comments Add your comment

KimZ's Package

April 12th, 2010
1:15 pm

I hear UGA gans want to just run the ball?

KimZ's Package

April 12th, 2010
1:19 pm

Sorry First
I hear many UGA fans want to just run the ball? The old 3 yrds and a cloud of dust. Just have the new QB whoever he is to just hand the ball off am manage the game? Is this TRUE? Well, if you UGAers want to see Running and Clock Management then quit crying about TECH being High School. You won by 6 last year congrats. In 2 yrs Tech has lost to UGA and LSU thatis 2 SEC games. UGA lost to Kentucky and the VOLS in the same year! HAHAHAHHA is that for real or was I dreaming that?

Da truth

April 12th, 2010
1:19 pm

yeah, KimZ , the FANS probably want that, too.

Jiminy Johnsen

April 12th, 2010
1:25 pm

Orson Charles dropped one pass from Aaron Murray he should have caught and Charles could have caught another pass for a TD that Murray threw slightly high.

teckie

April 12th, 2010
1:26 pm

It kills me that the nerds come onto UGA articles to post. Go find the star trek fan club and post there-wait Im sorry, your not gonna punch me in the nose are you?HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

April 12th, 2010
1:28 pm

kimz, I read your post and have to ask……..what are you talking about? Tool

UGAgrad71

April 12th, 2010
1:28 pm

What is your point, FOOL! You sound like a teen-age bug lover.

BurningRedBleedingBlack

April 12th, 2010
1:28 pm

Just stay healty boys, and protect the football, as far as the defense, keep learning from coach Grantham and his knowledge of the game will show.

Danga

April 12th, 2010
1:29 pm

Quick question…What was the break down of Gray’s and Murray’s numbers versus the 1st team defense as opposed to the 2nd team defense?

DawginLex

April 12th, 2010
1:29 pm

One thing we already knew that will never change:

The nerd herd folks like Kim Z will always be obsessed with all things UGA.

Your greatest team in how many years couldn’t beat UGA in your own stadium? Some of you were predicting 56-18 and scores like that.

30-24 and 8 out of 9. Your signature win down the stretch run was against Weak Forest and that took overtime.

Just go back to your own blog or twitter or wherever it is you nerds hang out. Maybe there will be a feature on how to inflate your blow up doll date.

KimZ's Package

April 12th, 2010
1:30 pm

However you guys do run a pro style offense and we run a high school offense. And I am pretty sure you guys QB will throw more than 5 times a game like our QB. I try to spin it but in reality UGA is just better then Tech!

GYMDAWG

April 12th, 2010
1:30 pm

UGA will go 7-5 this year, if they’re lucky. Florida and Bama in the SECCG is a certainty.

GYMDAWG

April 12th, 2010
1:32 pm

Oops I didn’t notice how weak a schedule UGA has. They will go 10-2

dawgfan

April 12th, 2010
1:39 pm

I think Dontavius Jackson will finally get his chance in the fall.
He will finally be healthy.

Fast Eddie

April 12th, 2010
1:39 pm

I am not a UGA fan but my daughter and her family are so I went to the game with them on Saturday. Wonderful day and great fellowship with the family and their UGA friends. Ealey is the best RB on the team and Mettenburg appears to be the best QB. Gray looks like he ought to be playing in a community college somewhere. I love Richt as a great role model and I think he is a pretty good coach when he has the best athletes. However, I think he is over matched against Meyer and Saban because they have players as good as his. Richt’s players are better than Spurrier’s at SC but Spurrier is a much better coach if he had equal material. Lastly, the SEC is a real meat grinder. My hat is off to Richt for surviving at UGA this long.

UGA ALL THE WAY

April 12th, 2010
1:49 pm

We ACTUALLY use our receivers Kims Package….unlike GT which only does if the QB or the RB cant run the ball anymore…Get the facts str8 b4 u talk about a team that yes only won by six but added 1 more to the list of 8 out of 10…so yeah, dream on dreamer

Tim Tucker

April 12th, 2010
1:49 pm

Danga,
The answer to your question about breakdown of G-Day stats:
Gray vs. first-team defense: 7-for-13, 102 yards, 1 TD.
Gray vs. second-team defense: 3-for-4, 30 yards.
Murray vs. first-team defense: 8-for-19, 96 yards, 1 interception
Murray vs. second-team defense: 2-for-3, 0 net yards

Nostradomus

April 12th, 2010
1:59 pm

The fact that neither of these 2 hyped freshman can seize the job has to make you wonder just how good or not good they are. That’s issue no. 1.

The other issue is on the D-line where you have to have a dominating NT like a Terrance Cody. We don’t have that and our D-ends don’t look to be dominant either. If we’re going to use the 3-4 blueprint over at Bammer and use that to turn the tables on the gayturds then we have to get the kind of size on the D-line that the Bammers have. Not just a Cody type monster NT but bigger and better D-ends as well. We don’t have a Dareus type guy that they have either. We got the blueprint now on how to beat the gaytors. I’m just not sure we have the defensive personnel yet, especially on the Defensive line.

O-line looks impressive but if none of these qbs can step up opposing teams will just stuff 8-9 men in the box and beat us. We all knew last year that Logan Gray wasn’t the answer. But the fact that he’s still right there in the qb mix indicates to me that these two other these other 2 qbs aren’t all that to begin with if neither of them can seize the job outright from a Logan Gray.

Running backs were set. Defensive backs should be really good too. Not very deep at lb. Gotta get the lb depth built up similar to bama. I keep mentioning Bama because it looks like we can copy their defensive plan on how to beat Florida, get the personnel in there, and start beating them the same way. Still at least a year or 2 away personnel wise from what I see.

JR

April 12th, 2010
2:02 pm

I am amazed at the comments about CMR surviving at UGA this long. I remember Texas fans saying the same thing about Mack Brown before he took them to two National Championship games (probably should have been three). They also said the same thing about Stoops being a better coach as people are saying about Meyer and Saben. I hope the same happens for CMR, a solid defense might make all the difference. Would have loved to see Colt finish the game in Pasadena.

The Truth

April 12th, 2010
2:02 pm

My questions is why didn’t Mettenberg get any snaps with the first team offense…. he looked really good against the 2nd team defense without any talent at WR….

devildawg

April 12th, 2010
2:02 pm

Thanks for posting that breakdown, Tim. I got the impression most of Murray’s completions and yards came on that one drive that ended in the interception. Is that right? I’ve seen a bit of the game on youtube, and it looks like on the pick he was feeling pressure (a guy wrapped around his leg it looks like) and just heaved it. Looked really good on that drive until that point; he’s gotta learn that taking a sack isn’t as bad as throwing a pick.

Mett looked really nice, I just wish we’d seen him throw with and against the first teams.

Nostradomus

April 12th, 2010
2:10 pm

JR,

They were saying that about Mack Brown because he couldn’t beat Texas’s biggest nemesis Oklahoma. Stoops was dominating Mack Brown and had beaten him 6 in a row before Mack finally turned the tables and now I think has won 3 of 4 or better. If you cannot defeat your biggest rival than the seat is going to get hot. Just a fact of life and 2-7 against your biggest rival including 1-2 against the hapless Zook and now 1-4 against Urban Meyer isn’t going to get it done. CMR can handle possibly one more year of losing to UF but if he loses 2 more to UM to go 1-6 against him then at that point changes have to be made. Hopefully Bama has given us the blueprint with the 3-4 on how to beat Florida. Who knows? In a year or 2 maybe we can take that blueprint and turn it around and start beating them regularly the way Mack Brown turned the Texas-OU rivalry upside down after losing the first 6 to Stoops. It can be done but it has to start NOW.

Bruce Mac

April 12th, 2010
2:10 pm

Did Chipper get hurt in GDay game too? I think Heyward would be All American at Tight End or D End. Could you imagine him coming off the edge, WOW!!!!!!!!!!

big k

April 12th, 2010
2:23 pm

i was at the game and i give Mettenberger and Gray both thumbs up on their performance. Mettenberger showed command of the pocket and when it collapsed he stood tall and made several big throws down the field. Murray had a good drive going late in the game but he overthrew some deep passes that could have been completed

race is still wide open

kb

April 12th, 2010
2:24 pm

Would really like for those who are in charge of this forum to keep those who use profanity of any form off!!!!!

Joey

April 12th, 2010
2:24 pm

Chipper playing football?? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahaha . . .

UGAAlumnus

April 12th, 2010
2:37 pm

Someone a while back decided UGA has a weak schedule this year and all the fans have just latched on the idea. There is hardly such a thing as a weak schedule in the SEC. After coming off a couple of the toughest schedules in college football over the past 2 years, it’s nice to see we have a couple of easier non-conference games, but we do not have a weak schedule. SEC teams show up to play no matter how “weak” they might appear.

Rabun Dawg

April 12th, 2010
2:38 pm

Did not attend the G-Day game and do not put much stock in that type of game. That being said, I did not expect to see Logan Gray still in the mix with all of the talent these young guys had, but I guess because he has been in the system a few years, they need him just in case. The few times he did go under center, he looked lost, although he was thrown in at some pretty bad situations as I recall. But seriously, after this much time, can he seriously be considered as a starter? If so, we may be in some trouble right off the bat. Just wondering, can someone enlighten me as to why it has come down to this- red-shirt frosh and an unproven upper-classman? What happened to some of those recruiting years, did the fact Stafford entrench himself as our QB keep us from getting any QB’s? Just wanted to know the answer to this!

Thuga

April 12th, 2010
2:40 pm

Non conference…you da man! Pure Red and Black. Trash mouth and all. All pickup and no sheepskin. You were probably foaming at the mouth with your SEC love. Break time is over, get back on that garbage truck where you belong.
KB you are right..does he think he’s talking in special code.

Doesn’t matter about how great everybody did in the GDAY game. What matters is will they have the discipline instilled by the first game. They need to handle the basics. New DC seems to understand it!

Murray the midget

April 12th, 2010
2:42 pm

I wish the O linemen weren’t so tall; that’s what caused the interception, I couldn’t see the defender who picked off the pass.

Mark "Crimson Crier" Ingram

April 12th, 2010
2:43 pm

They look like Gator bait and will do no better than 9 wins-3 loses (if they are very luckie)in 2010. Tide and the Gators will have matching records of 11-1 and meet again in Atlanta for the SEC Championship and the winner will play again for the BCS NC!
No team will go undefeated in the SEC.

big k

April 12th, 2010
2:43 pm

UGAAlumnus is right. SC on the road with us fielding a likely freshman QB, an explosive Arkansas team, Miss State and Colorada are iffy teams and idk what type of teams they will have, Florida, Auburn AT Auburn(they will have a good squad),and the Nerds to wrap it up

not as tough as years past, but no pushover

SOOHSO

April 12th, 2010
2:44 pm

Looks like another boring 10-2 or 9-3 season. How long do we have to wait for a NC???

BG

April 12th, 2010
2:51 pm

UGA has 3 studs to choose from for QB. The 2 running backs will be the best in the SEC and the oline is the best in the SEC.

Debose

April 12th, 2010
2:52 pm

Mr. Grantham, you can cross Jeoffrey Pagan off the top of your class of 2011 want list, we got him.

JamminDawg

April 12th, 2010
2:53 pm

Many people think Mett should be starter, following his suspension of one game. First, that’s not even logical, since his returning game would be in Columbia. Secondly, I personally thought Gray looked the best on Saturday, given the fact he was running with the 1’s on both sides. But with as many accolades as Murray received coming out of high school, and with no clear number 1 starter, I’m sure Murray will end up being the man.

Given how Richt tortured David Greene (the real starter) and ruined a perfect season just so he could keep Shockley’s daddy happy, I don’t see why Richt would change his methods now when it comes to dealing with highly rated QB prospects.

Bama Jammer

April 12th, 2010
2:55 pm

“The 2 running backs will be the best in the SEC and the oline is the best in the SEC.”

Keep dreaming

Simms

April 12th, 2010
2:57 pm

All the pathetic Yech fans on here hiding behind UF, be reminded. This season will prove if Meyer is the real deal, or just the most fortunate coach in college history. If UF has success this season then he is the man, but I personally believe Meyer has benefited from circumstance and a ton of luck over the years.

ugaaccountant

April 12th, 2010
2:58 pm

“Soohso:
Looks like another boring 10-2 or 9-3 season. How long do we have to wait for a NC???”

What a spoiled brat.

Bama fan

April 12th, 2010
2:59 pm

Yous Ugay fans sure r funnie!!!! Yous nos we be winning da nadional chapoinship agian this yeer. Wes got the bestest coach in all the land and the smartested players!!!!

ROLL TIDE!!!!!!

SOOHSO = jealous techie

April 12th, 2010
3:00 pm

it’s too obvious

SEC fan

April 12th, 2010
3:04 pm

BG,

Are you insane? The 2 Georgia running backs will be the best in the sec? Have you forgot about Mark Ingram over at Bama that ran for over 1650 yds and won the Heisman? And his backup Trent Richardson who a lot of people feel is better than Ingram. He is certainly bigger, faster, more explosive than Ingram. The texas longhorns will tell you that.

Ealey and King combined for 1400 yds last year while Ingram and Richardson combined for 2400 yards. I think its safe to say Ealey and King are a poor man’s version of Ingram and Richardson and quite frankly shouldn’t be mentioned in the same sentence as those 2 beasts.

JB

April 12th, 2010
3:07 pm

Haters on here ” scared” Grantham & co. will be successful. Richt’s best teams had a top notch defense ( DUH). Georgia has always….and I mean always been able to put points on the board. Get the Defense playing right, and Haters won’t like it…..lot’s of laugh’s on these blogs last 2 days or so about dawgs, but bend don’t break got fired. Now, we haven’t proven a thing yet, but like Mark Bradley said, these guys look faster and go to the ball to make plays, not back peddle. GATA

UGASlobberknocker

April 12th, 2010
3:13 pm

Why is it there are more Tech and other fans blogging here than Dawg fans.?.dont you people have your own blog to deface? and like kb says, how about you SOBs cut out that damned cussing and quit being such smart a$$e$.

GYMDAWG

April 12th, 2010
3:14 pm

All that matters in the SEC this year will be December 4th. Gators versus Tide. It is so funny to read these posts about how UGA might win 8 games. Ignorance Is Bliss! Keep living in 1980 boys!

UGASlobberknocker

April 12th, 2010
3:17 pm

I bet GYMDAWG hasnt really been to the gym since about 1977. Probably weights 300 lbs. And I bet he isnt a Dawg either.

JB

April 12th, 2010
3:19 pm

2003,2004,2007 Dawg teams were pretty good GYMDAWG……That’s not 1980

JB

April 12th, 2010
3:20 pm

No, he ain’t a dawg, just hiding behind a Dawgs ASS.

DawginLex

April 12th, 2010
3:22 pm

I thought gymdawgs were girls. You know, 5 feet tall and 100 pounds with thighs on top of thighs wearing those gymnastic outfits highlighting the backside “package”.

UGASlobberknocker

April 12th, 2010
3:27 pm

Ive got last years Gymdog calender; I didnt see any fat Tech fans with zits on it, so Im thinking GYMDAWG is definately an imposter.

In fact, lets face it, our Tech buds ARE pretty smart ,yet GYMDAWG shows no signs of intelligence..so Im thinking GYMDAWG is really a grad of Georgia Perimeter who wishes he went to Tech and who also enjoys pretending he is a Dawg. In short, the dude has issues.