ATHENS — This is Georgia’s only day of two-a-day practices this preseason. The Dogs have finished the first of today’s practices, a Sanford Stadium session focused on special teams. They’ll be back on the Woodruff Practice Fields at 4:50 p.m.
Talked with a few players after the morning’s session, which was closed to the media:
“I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in in my life,” he said. “I’m feeling very good.”
Geathers, playing the nose position in Georgia’s 3-4 defense, said he weighs about 324 now -– down from about 345, he says, when he arrived last August. He was redshirted as a freshman last season.
“In high school, we played a 3-4 and nickel like we’re playing here,” Baker said. “So I’m very used to the defense. I just got to learn the different names and how they call plays and stuff like that.”
The 6-foot, 200-pound Baker played linebacker and running back in high school. In his senior season last fall, he had 70-plus tackles (19 for loss) at linebacker and rushed for 1,040 yards and 13 touchdowns at running back.
He was recruited mostly as a linebacker, although he said several schools –- Miami, Ole Miss and Florida International –- wanted him as a running back.
Does he expect to eventually get a shot on offense at Georgia?
“I still have thoughts about it,” he said. “I talked to some of the coaches about it, and at this point I don’t know. Maybe next year or a couple of years from now, they might move me. They know I’m capable of doing both sides of the ball.
“Right now I’m going to focus on linebacker and see how that goes my first year.”
Safety “is what I want to play because that’s what I came up here to play,” he said. “If I was to slide down to linebacker or whatever, I wouldn’t really have a problem. But I like playing safety so far.”
“It’s not as big a deal, because I know I can contribute either way,” said Gamble, who was shifted from inside linebacker to outside in the final week of spring practice. “When I get in, I know I can make a difference, whether it’s at the outside or the inside. I’m that type of player who just plays wherever I’m needed and when I’m needed. I mean, I don’t care if I don’t play until the last play of the game as long as I know I’ll make a difference that last play.”
Gamble started 11 games last season.
He said he has practiced only at outside linebacker so far this preseason, “but I’m still keeping up in the playbook with the inside ‘backers. Another injury, and I’m right back in the mix [there].”
“It gives us a lot more time to actually learn, with a new defense coming in,” Gamble said. “We have more time in the film room, more time on our own to study the playbook. We get our one practice in, then get a lot more time to critique it.”