LB Gamble says coaching change helped him (plus practice notes)

(Updated 8:15 p.m.)

ATHENS – Georgia coach Mark Richt thinks his team’s two most improved players since the spring might be safety Shawn Williams and linebacker Darryl Gamble.

You’d expect a sophomore, like Williams, to be making major strides at this point. But Gamble’s progress is particularly noteworthy since he’s a fifth-year senior who started 11 games last season and switched positions in the final week of spring practice, shifting from inside linebacker to outside.

Gamble credits the influence of defensive coordinator and outside linebackers coach Todd Grantham.

“I guess it’s like finding love for the game again because I was in a slump,” said Gamble, adding that he and former linebackers coach John Jancek “didn’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things. Having Coach Grantham here just gives me an extra boost of energy.”

Grantham has said Gamble is pushing Cornelius Washington for a starting spot at outside linebacker.

“I’ve never had a complete year; I’ve always had little sparks here and there,” Gamble said of his UGA career. “I’m just trying to have a complete season with making plays every game.”

Richt said Gamble reported to preseason practice in great physical condition and has been “highly productive” on the practice field.

“I think he’s really been sincere about wanting to be a leader, wanting to have a great senior year,” Richt said. “I think it’s just maturity -– a guy growing up, saying, ‘You know what? I want to be special. I want to reach my potential. Show me how.’”

Gray, Mason impress

Georgia is roughly halfway through preseason practice, having held its 14th of 29 allotted practices Tuesday.

“I told [the players] that from what I’ve seen, I think we can have a pretty good team,” Richt said. “But we have to keep progressing from this point forward.”

At Tuesday’s closed practice, Richt said quarterback-turned-receiver Logan Gray “made a beautiful catch on a deep post route. It was an outstanding throw but tight coverage, and he came down with that thing. . . . He’s really beginning to look like a pretty polished receiver.”

Gray won’t start at receiver, but “he’ll play,” Richt said.

The coaches reserve the option of returning Gray to quarterback in the event of an injury to starter Aaron Murray, but Richt said he and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo are “quickly gaining” confidence in freshman Hutson Mason as a potential No. 2 QB.

“I can see [Mason] doing that before this season is over and maybe even by Game 1,” Richt said. “He has progressed very well.”

Etc.

Richt said offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant will be ready to play in the Sept. 4 opener against Louisiana-Lafayette, although “we don’t expect him to play an entire ballgame.” Sturdivant missed almost all of the past two seasons with knee injuries. . . . Offensive lineman Josh Davis returned to practice Tuesday after suffering a minor ankle injury Saturday. . . . Georgia plans to redshirt freshman offensive lineman Brent Benedict, Richt said. Benedict had knee surgery last fall. . . . Cornerback/kick returner Brandon Boykin was named Tuesday to the preseason watch list for the inaugural Paul Hornung Award, which will honor college football’s “most versatile player.”

Other posts today:

120 comments Add your comment

tampadawg

August 17th, 2010
5:43 pm

freedyg

August 17th, 2010
5:47 pm

Matthews Dawg

August 17th, 2010
5:49 pm

3rd and loving it

Kramer

August 17th, 2010
5:52 pm

When players believe in their coaches great things can happen. add the talent level we have and the sky’s the limit.

Cousin Curtis

August 17th, 2010
5:55 pm

Frank Lane

August 17th, 2010
5:58 pm

This is good to hear. I agree with Kramer.

sogadog

August 17th, 2010
5:59 pm

Gamble’s progress is a promising sign that CMR has hired great defensive coaches. This talented bunch of defensive players has been starved quality coaching since 2005.

Destin dawg

August 17th, 2010
6:02 pm

It was at least year LATE.. but these coaching changes on defense will bear fruit THIS year… Grantham from the Cowboys.. Belin was recruiting coordinator as well as LB and special Teams at Vandy… Lakatos had great DB’s at UConn… hey we beat texas A&M 44- 20 with only Garner and grad students.. good thing Martinez didn’t coach Bowl game !!! Go Dawgs !! Can’t wait !!

ryan

August 17th, 2010
6:02 pm

Sources leaking out that James Wilder Jr. will pick UGA . GO DAWGS!

BugKiller

August 17th, 2010
6:03 pm

Maybe they didn’t see eye-to-eye because John Jancek was a clown who had absolutely no clue what he was doing?

Maybe he feels more energized because the head coach’s BFF is no longer here to hold his defensive players back, playing those weak-sauce soft-azz zones all of the time?

Gee, I wonder what could have happened last year if all of us “crazy reactionary bozos” had gotten our way, and the three horrible defensive coaches (and the stupidly stubborn special teams coach) had been fired then???

Hmm.

Destin dawg

August 17th, 2010
6:05 pm

thanks Tampadawg… hope it’s true.. Dream Team ???

richt rules

August 17th, 2010
6:13 pm

Love our team and coaches!!!

59bulldawg

August 17th, 2010
6:14 pm

Absolutely agree with Kramer!

frankly

August 17th, 2010
6:28 pm

The more I learn about this team, the more I’m convinced we’ll ok – (ok meaning pretty darn good).

Johnny DangerDawg

August 17th, 2010
6:29 pm

I like how Gamble sounds hungry. If every Dawg sees his past success as only a hint of his potential, then we will have an excellent team of hard workers.

Drew Carey dropped 80 pounds

August 17th, 2010
6:32 pm

Haven’t been overly worried about the D its the Boo Boo Im worried about. But Defenses win ballgames!

WestOfAthens

August 17th, 2010
6:39 pm

Darryl may not be in the mix on a constant basis. But his attitude proves he can be better. Takes a man to seek improvement albeit may not be necessary.

I remember the fumble, i remember how his effort helped UGA win the game. (At Vanderbilt, 2007)

mt airy dawg

August 17th, 2010
6:40 pm

That Wilder kid looks like a monster!!! Hope its true

Drew Carey dropped 80 pounds

August 17th, 2010
6:45 pm

Enter your comments here

Not So fast

August 17th, 2010
6:48 pm

I wouldn’t put too much stock in all of this dream team talk. I bet most of these playa’s will change their pea brain minds by signing day. Can you say DaRick ?

bardawg

August 17th, 2010
6:49 pm

Please don’t say too much abot Wilder coming to UGA. Let.s just try & be patient, eep our collective fingers crossed, and don’t jinx this. Talk about the crown jewel of the recruiting class of 2011, whoa nelly! GO DAWGS! GATA

PTC DAWG

August 17th, 2010
6:49 pm

Count me in as one who is glad CWM is gone to Oklahoma.

Clean House

August 17th, 2010
6:52 pm

Is it true that Fabris is job hunting again?

Clean House

August 17th, 2010
6:53 pm

Now if we can only can Mike BoZO !!!!!

DawginOH

August 17th, 2010
6:58 pm

Agreed, bardawg. My fingers are crossed while my mind is elsewhere. I’m so happy to hear about Gamble’s progress under CTG. He is an extremely talented young man with loads of potential. I loved watching him terrorize LSU in Baton Rouge a few years back.

Gratefuldawghead

August 17th, 2010
7:00 pm

Praise Jesus we finally got some COACHING on defense!
GO DAWGS!

Athens, Georgia

August 17th, 2010
7:03 pm

.
Nesbitt for Heisman
—————————
.

Mike on Lake Hartwell

August 17th, 2010
7:05 pm

GATA MR. WILDER! WISE DECISION.

ryan

August 17th, 2010
7:20 pm

Mike on Lake Harwell its not gonna happen It looks real good for UGA .

Santa Cruz CA Bulldog

August 17th, 2010
7:26 pm

I am starting to get excited about this UGA defense!

poopdawg

August 17th, 2010
7:31 pm

Gamble unselfish attitude shows why he is a damn good dawg. Wilder’s film looks really good. GO DAWGS!

Old Gold

August 17th, 2010
7:34 pm

Dirty Harry

August 17th, 2010
7:42 pm

Bet Old Gold wears yellow panties!

TXDawg

August 17th, 2010
7:44 pm

TXDawg

August 17th, 2010
7:51 pm

Wilder narrowed his choices down to Florida, Georgia and FSU after considering his options and deciding that his best chances to pursue his offensive game were at one of these three schools.

“I am now researching a lot of schools to see which ones have used big backs to carry the ball for them in the past and things like that,” he said. “I want to play in an offense that a big back like me fits into the best.”

ryan

August 17th, 2010
8:01 pm

McGarity was a good omen he brought the magic from Florida to UGA and the Bugs can’t stand it .

OEJ

August 17th, 2010
8:03 pm

TXDawg.. I’ll believe it when the article comes out tomorrow. Although I want him at UGA, I still think hes going to FSU, but we shall see tomorrow.

TXDawg

August 17th, 2010
8:16 pm

Fair enough OEJ, but I’m reading mulitple media outlets reporting that his mind is made up on UGA being the winner for his services.

MrGoodpliers

August 17th, 2010
8:29 pm

Great news about Wilder if it’s true. I still want Crowell….

DawgNation

August 17th, 2010
8:41 pm

It is going to be SO funny when GT’s only bowl invite is to Shreveport which is the ACC tie in now not the SEC. Ooops. You have to win enough to get an invite.

All that being said it is great news from Athens about the teams progress and the news on Wilder if it turns out to be true.

ToccoaDawg

August 17th, 2010
8:48 pm

With Big Wilder playing on goal line O and D the sky’s the limit for the big man

kb

August 17th, 2010
8:49 pm

So tired of the hatefest between UGA & Tech. C’mon guys. Why don’t we direct the shots @ the likes of teams such as South Carolina and Florida?

Yuri

August 17th, 2010
8:54 pm

UGA folks can brag all you want to about beating Tech in football most years, and that’s perfectly fair. What’s also fair is to point out that with a history of Jan Kemp (Vince Dooley days), Jim Harrick, and now Damon Evans, the UGA Athletic Department is truly “The Cesspool of the South,” and is richly deserving of that title. No one outside of Georgia has any respect for your University or your Athletic Department, and that is a fact. It has been said many times: “Tech people are proud of their school, Dawgturds are proud of their team. Dawgturds can brag all you want to about beating Tech in football most years, and that’s perfectly fair. What’s also fair is to point out that with a history of Jan Kemp (Vince Dooley days), Jim Harrick, and now Damon Evans, the UGA Athletic Department is truly “The Cesspool of the South,” and is richly deserving of that title. No one outside of Georgia has any respect for your University or your Athletic Department, and that is a fact. It has been said many times: “Tech people are proud of their school, Georgia people are proud of their football team.” What a legacy to be proud of!

UGA fans can now return to your mobile home parks and resume waiting for your unemployment checks.

And watching those red panties falling from the sky, always a good time-killer for thUGA morons.  :-)  :-)  :-)

BG

August 17th, 2010
9:01 pm

Yuri, 8 out of 9 hurts doesn’t it?

ryan

August 17th, 2010
9:07 pm

That is what i am taking about if GT calls us Dawgturds than i will call them Bugs that needs to be squashed sticks and stones .

dawgster

August 17th, 2010
9:09 pm

I don’t know if the reports are true, hope they are, even if he does alot of things can happen this season in the recruiting that could have him change his mind..If he does i hope he will stick with his committment, but he sounds like the type of person that would…Also, i’ll wait to see what happens but if it happens i can’t wait and see what the gator faithful have to say…They were sure he was a lock for them according to their posts and i guess now they really, really did not have him as a main target…But i will wait and see what happens and whatever does i wish the young man success and best wishes at any school he chooses…

kb

August 17th, 2010
9:09 pm

Yuri, apparently you did not get the memo. Stop the hatefest between UGA & Tech!!!!!!

Jeff Foxworthy

August 17th, 2010
9:11 pm

You know you are loser… when you go on to your state rival’s blog, who has dominated your pathetic team, and post crap like Yuri, GT baby and Old Gold… Get a life…

Directions

August 17th, 2010
9:12 pm

Liking what I’m hearing out of Athens during the last 14 practices. Hopefully the news is true from Tampa.

bwell

August 17th, 2010
9:22 pm

I hear that Wilder Jr. Picked Ga over FSU and FLA. Is it true.