Grantham sees Gamble pushing Washington at OLB
ATHENS – Georgia’s defensive and offensive coordinators chatted with reporters after Friday’s practice, which was interrupted for about 80 minutes by a late-afternoon storm:
- I asked Todd Grantham where the hottest battles for starting jobs are being waged on defense, and the first one he mentioned was a bit of a surprise:
“Outside linebacker. You got [Darryl] Gamble and [Cornelius] Washington. I’ve been pleased with both those guys’ progress. Both of those guys have improved.”
Justin Houston is entrenched at one OLB spot, and Washington came out of spring practice a solid No. 1 at the other. But Gamble, who moved from inside linebacker to outside in the final week of spring, “has had an excellent camp,” Grantham said. “And literally Cornelius has improved the last couple of days. So we’ll see how those guys go when we start playing.”
- The other positions Grantham mentioned as battles for starting spots: strong safety (Nick Williams vs. Jakar Hamilton) and one cornerback spot (Branden Smith vs. Vance Cuff, although both will play a lot).
- Generally, Grantham seems very pleased with how things are going: “I like it. I think the guys have really bought in to what we are doing. I think they’ve shown that they’ve studied in the offseason.” He said it was a good sign that the players maintained their focus when they returned to the field after Friday’s thunderstorm.
- As for which freshmen have caught his eye in the opening week of camp, Grantham mentioned linebacker Demetre Baker, cornerback Derek Owens and “obviously” safety Alec Ogletree.
- Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo clearly expects a breakthrough season from sophomore wide receiver Marlon Brown, who played surprisingly little as a freshman last year.
“Marlon looks like a different player to me in just how he’s running,” Bobo said. ” He looks smoother; he looks more flexible. . . . I’m excited about Marlon Brown. . . . Marlon has a bright future. . . . He’s going to play a lot for us.”
- Bobo said again that he has been “really pleased” with freshman quarterback Hutson Mason’s practices against the No. 1 defense this week: “He has shown a lot of composure and ability to make plays.”
- Offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant, who missed almost all of the past two seasons with knee injuries, is getting limited reps but “when he’s been out there, he’s looked good,” Bobo said.
- Georgia will practice in full pads for the first time Saturday. “I expect us to go out and play fast,” Grantham said.