Ten players to watch in Bulldogs’ spring football practice

Georgia starts spring football practice on Thursday afternoon. Here are 10 players whose progress, I think, will be particularly interesting to follow from then through the G-Day game on April 16:

1. Alec Ogletree: After starting four games at safety as a true freshman last season, Ogletree moves to inside linebacker, where defensive coordinator Todd Grantham says the former scout.com five-star recruit can be a “unique” talent.

2. Jarvis Jones: One offshoot of Ogletree’s move from safety to inside linebacker is that Jones, who was redshirted last season after transferring from USC, will settle at outside linebacker. It previously was unclear whether he’d play inside or outside.  Big things are expected and needed from him.

3. Bruce Figgins: It’s pretty unusual for a fifth-year senior to make a significant position change, but Figgins’ shift from tight end, perhaps the team’s deepest position, to fullback, perhaps its thinnest, qualifies. He could be a major contributor if he takes to the new spot.

Washaun Ealey (UGA photo)

Washaun Ealey (UGA photo)

4. Washaun Ealey: He has been Georgia’s leading rusher each of the past two years, but he clearly needs to have a good spring after an inconsistent 2010 season, an off-season suspension and the pending arrival of prized recruit Isaiah Crowell.

5. Ken Malcome: The tailback from Southwest DeKalb was redshirted last season but drew praise for his work on the practice field late in the season. He’ll get a chance this spring to show how he stacks up against the more veteran tailbacks Ealey, Caleb King and Carlton Thomas.

6. Trinton Sturdivant: After missing almost all of the 2008 and 2009 seasons because of knee surgeries, Sturdivant got through last season healthy. He gained more confidence in his health — and more playing time — as the season went along. Now, after briefly considering the NFL draft, he’s back for his senior season at left tackle and a chance to pick up where he left off as a freshman All-American in 2007. He’ll be working with a new offensive line coach this spring, Will Friend.

7. Christian LeMay: A member of the 2011 signing class, the quarterback from North Carolina enrolled in school in January and will participate in spring practice. While there is no doubt Aaron Murray, barring injury, will be the starting quarterback, it’ll be interesting to get a glimpse of LeMay’s potential.

8. Marlon Brown: He caught only 13 passes in his first two seasons at Georgia, but the wide receiver from Memphis –- a much-touted signee in February 2009 — has an opportunity for a starting job as the Bulldogs rebuild the wide receiver corps post-A.J. Green.

9. Kwame Geathers: John Jenkins, the celebrated JUCO nose guard, won’t arrive until summer, and with DeAngelo Tyson’s move to defensive end, Geathers has the stage this spring to show what he can do at the nose.

10. Richard Samuel: He was the Bulldogs’ starting tailback at the beginning of the 2009 season, then was slowed by injury and eventually redshirted after a move to linebacker last year. His progress at inside linebacker bears watching closely this spring.

So … which players, among these or others, will have your attention during spring practice?

362 comments Add your comment

middlegadawg

March 9th, 2011
5:06 am

haha I can’t believe it! First! :P Anywho, I am expecting good things from the dawgs this year, not necessarily great but good

Big time?? Not

March 9th, 2011
5:14 am

Four tickets, four hot dogs, four cokes

Dawg Gone It

March 9th, 2011
5:19 am

I coulda been first. This was my opprotunity. Shoulda, Coulda.

woebegong

March 9th, 2011
5:24 am

There are some pretty good atheletes that Georgia has already on the field if they can perform at the level expected of them. The last recruiting class might have a little trouble breaking in the starting line up for the most part. For sure the big man J. Jenkins will be counted on but not so sure Crowell, will be counted on that much. If UGA Rb’s do their job, Crowell will have a year to adjust to big time football at the college level. I just hope that Ealey steps up to the plate because he is still going to be the key to UGA’s running game, at least in the early going.
I do not think there is any reason that UGA can not win at least nine games this year. 2012, could be a heck of a year for the DAWGS, if all these freshman coming in work hard and take their jobs seriously. It could also help recruiting this year a lot, but with the running back stable UGA has, it might be a little harder to get a RB for 2012, but I am sure they will get one or two that can blossom into good college RB’s.

TCM

March 9th, 2011
5:55 am

UGA has a lot of talent no doubt about it. I just hope Bobo gives the kids an equal oppty to earn playing time and starts, unlike previous years when you had people starting because of seniority, but not necessarily the best player(s). Israel Troupe is another really decent WR that UGA has that Bobo refused to let play. I wonder if Jay Rome is gonna earn playing time as a freshman or be redshirted. If Bobo lets these kids compete legitimately and allows the best players to play regardless of classification, then it might be a heck of a year for the dogs and save CMR’s job, injuries withstanding………

tim

March 9th, 2011
6:02 am

Really looking to seeing what Richard Samuel can do. He was a beast at linebacker in high school. My son saw him the other day and said he had really gotten bigger in the past few months. I hope he can become a part of the linebacker rotation. He’s too much of an athlete to not contribute more than he has.

Paul (You doesn't have to call me Johnson)

March 9th, 2011
6:03 am

Aaron Murray is the key to this team and could be the best QB in the league. Much of AJ Green’s success was due to Murray. Let’s hope Marlon Brown is still the 5 star recruit we think he is and Tavarres King improves from last year. UGA is solid at TE. Will the O-line finally get it together?

Destin Dawg

March 9th, 2011
6:08 am

NO SENIORITY SYSTEM this year PLEASE !!! more creative play calling PLEASE !!! Malcome and Mason will suprise this year !! Ealey needs to MAN UP… I’m betting he will… this Defense wil be back to Junkyard Dawgs under Grantham… with improved S & C and diet… hated to lose Belin…. Play ‘em all .. play “em Early !!!! Go Dawgs !!!

Bubba

March 9th, 2011
6:13 am

Destin, more creative play calling might be nice, but what we really need is better execution. The play calling is good enough to win.

Columbus Dawg

March 9th, 2011
6:20 am

Coach Richt likes these big time spotlight games such nas this year’s Boise game, and usually does very well in these games when given the time and talent to do so. I know there has been talent, but there is a difference in good attitude talent, and bad as we have all seen. If the players really have benefitted from the strength program as much as Christian Robinson says, then we should have a team capable of preparing for and beating a quality opponent such as Boise. Richt has thrived in these types of games more often than not, with the exception of the Oklahoma State game.

Coach Grantham should have this defense giving up somewhere between 15 and 17 points a game, and this should be good enough for a serious east run. Tide Roll will probably get his wish on the offensive line with Benedict and Anderson battling for a spot. I think we see a HUGE improvement here, and will take UGA’s running game to new heights, with or without Crowell on the field. If this happens, then the play action will come a lot easier, and in turn make the loss of Green less painful.

There is a reason that the haters show up here everyday, it’s because they know that the Dawgs are about to return to form, and they want no part of the butt whippings that are coming. Win the first one, and it gets harder with the chickens, but come out with the win at the dome at their backs, and I like the odds Between the Hedges.

falconairre

March 9th, 2011
6:38 am

@Paul (You doesn’t have to call me Johnson) dont just say things in the spur of the moment A.J.Green was all UGA had going b4 aaron murray got there. How could u say that AJ Green success came from aaron murray. if thats the case where did all aaron murray success come from. lookin at your name u must be a tech guy.

Rogeriter

March 9th, 2011
6:39 am

For those ignoramuses that say Georgia is now a second class school because they have not won a National Championship since 1980, let me show you a few facts.
Since 1980, only 18 teams have won a national championship. Some, like Fla., Nebraska, Florida St., LSU, Alabama, Miami, Oklahoma and Penn State have won several.
So, if only winning only one National Championship in thirty years, makes you a second class school, let me name you some other schools who, like Georgia, have only one once (hence they too are second class). How about losers such as, Ohio State, Southern Cal, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Texas, Auburn, Clemson, BYU, Ga. Tech and Colorado.
Then look at the poor losers that haven’t won any. Are Michigan, Texas A&M, UCLA, Washington, Arkansas, NC State, Iowa, W. Va., Va. Tech, Boston College, Old Miss, Arizona State, Boise State and Oklahoma State, plus hundreds of other schools, losers?
Next to Florida, Georgia has the best record, during the BCS er, of any SEC school. I’ll take a loser like that any day!

Greg

March 9th, 2011
6:41 am

Much of AJ Green’s success was due to Murray? LOL. Green had the misfortune of having to play with 3 different starting qb’s in 3 years….I’d say he did pretty well with each. Was his success as a Soph due to Joe Cox?

Spike

March 9th, 2011
6:42 am

The entire O line needs to dial it up a notch or two.

Vinny D

March 9th, 2011
6:43 am

Really curious to see which LBs step up. The speed and athleticism of the group is pretty impressive but can they play smart/fast ? I want to see Richard, Jarvis and Alec really turn into a force.

Guy McIntyre

March 9th, 2011
7:09 am

Until we establish a running game, NOTHING else matters….

joe

March 9th, 2011
7:12 am

Dawgs have the ability to put a lot of defensive team speed on the field, the question will be will they know enough of the plan so they play fast? If so they should be improved. Does Braden Smith not figure in at CB, has he not progressed?

MarkLG

March 9th, 2011
7:12 am

I’m intereted in seeing if Shawn Williams will grab the safety postion

mgdawg

March 9th, 2011
7:14 am

The linebacking group should be one of the most talented in a while, now we get to see how that talent translates. One thing I heard all last year about the 3-4 was that the offense never knew which linebacker would be the fourth rusher, last year it was always houston and over half the time he had his hand on the ground so it was even more clear. Hopefully this year with more talent at linebacker they mix it up. The main group I’m worried about is defensive backs, they seemed to never improve last year. What ever happened with brandon smith contributing on defense?

Steve Spurrier

March 9th, 2011
7:15 am

I’d spend my spring learning how to spell 0-2 if I were the bulldawgs.

woebegong

March 9th, 2011
7:17 am

I have been doing a lot of reading and research about Boise since it was announced that the DAWGS would open the season with them. They do have some returning talent, especially at QB, but they have 11 starters to replace and only a minimum of experience to replace them. They have to replace two receivers, one DB, 1 CB, safety, 1 offensive guard, 1 LB, 1 offensive tackle and in their defensive scheme, one nickel back. They will have to have some players with experience, but Boise will probably sink or swim based on their QB. One of their returning OL, spent a year on the bench, suspended from play, so that is like a new guy for them.
UGA lost it’s top receiver and defensive player, but if their replacements step it up, their loss could be minimized. I think one of the adds by subtraction is A.J. Greene. It seemed like three fourths of the offense was predicated with him being involved in the play, and if he was not there, like in the first four games, the offense did not have direction. As good a player as he was; You can’t shape your whole offensive game plan on one player. Human nature tells you, that the other players will eventually feel a less part of the team, and expect him to make every thing happen for the offense. Murray is a good QB, who needs to learn to not try and be a savior on every play, but that will come with more support from his teammates. He is a little short, but he has a good arm and with some more experience, he will be real good. Rb has got to be the strength of our offense, I believe this year. The receivers will need to get experienced in a few games, so the RB’s have got to step up. And lest we forget, the OL has got to do a better job this year. Murray, as a RS Freshman last year, spent half of his time, running for his life and being hurried with his passes.
Our defense will be really improved if J. Jenkins can step right in and plug up the middle. If he can occupy two OL players, our DE and linebackers can be really effective, and blitz a lot more with success. Last year, our DC had to run a 4-3, 40% of the time by his count, so we knew we were hurting. If we win the battle on the line the majority of the times, we will have a pretty good defense. If Boise can’t run, and we keep pressure on their Qb, he will still make some good passes, but our secondary, should be able to keep damage down enough to control the game. Their QB is going to complete a fair amount of his passes because he is for sure one of the best if not the best in the NCAA this year, but good tackling, constant pressure, and physical play by the safeties and CB’s will minimize the damage.
If UGA controls the game clock, we will beat them. If we are constantly three and out, their QB, can have a big day against us. Let’s hope, all the hoopla we have been hearing about our S and C program and special diets will give this team, four quarters of quality play. If they are in shape, we will win this game, as long as we play to our strengths and I believe in CMR as a coach and in this team.
Now, let the naysayers come on with all their vitriol. I am just stating what I think UGA needs, but I am not the coach there, so it is my opinion. Just remember, the game is played on the field, not in this blog. Beware the DAWGS.

GOOOOOO DAWGSSSSSSSSS

devildawg

March 9th, 2011
7:21 am

Michigan won a split national championship with Charles Woodson, and Texas won just the other year with Vince Young. So, I get what your trying to say, but your facts are a bit off.

[...] Ten players to watch at Georgia’s spring drills, from Tim Tucker of the AJC. [...]

MarkLG

March 9th, 2011
7:36 am

On a related note OSU suspended Tressel from standing on the sidelines for the BIG games against Akron and Toledo for REPEATEDLY lying to anybody and everybody about Tattogate!!!

Buckeye

March 9th, 2011
7:38 am

I’m still here. Still standing.

Looking forward to Howard ( before I was Trey) and Co. taking on Auburn,

Looking forward to the Big 10 Tournament.

I’m still digesting what has transpired. The specifics in the email have not been made public. It seems the email or emails brought Tressel to a decision point. Ohio State self reported and chips will fall where they may. Was he placed in a Catch 22? We’ll find out.

For those who feel the need, call Tressel what you will. Call the Buckeyes what you will. Call me what you will for supporting Ohio State. Go ahead and take your shots.

All this muck is an NCAA violation. Y’all had problems with AJ and the NCAA. Y’all had problems with Pryor et al playing in the Sugar Bowl – that too, an NCAA decision.

No arrests. No crimes. No rape, grand theft or otherwise. You look at most athletes these days and most are way too tatted up for my taste. What ever happened to the good old fashioned Navy tattoos with a heart and “mom” or a sweethearts name? I guess that’s what this culture has come to – like it or not. I don’t. And this whole mess is about freakin’s tattoos.

Tough day to be a Buckeye. But, we’re still standing and remain loyal. Tressel is a good man who made a mistake.

“How firm thy friendship, O H I O..”

I’ll be rooting for Howard ( before I was Trey) on Thursday and the Big 10 Champion and #1 Ohio State basketball team come Friday and into the NCAA.

Fleming Island Dawg

March 9th, 2011
7:44 am

Devil he said Texas was one that had one a chmpionship. The one that hadn’t was Texas A&M.

Buckeye

March 9th, 2011
7:53 am

DawginLex,

What’s your take?

Barf

March 9th, 2011
7:56 am

It looks like all the teams that won had to skirt some NCAA issues, Hmmmm!

BB

March 9th, 2011
8:00 am

Murray had success? Really? What, 8 td’s against winning teams, and going 0-6 against those teams?

BB

March 9th, 2011
8:01 am

Ealey hasn’t transferred yet, Tim can you confirm that?

Jalex49

March 9th, 2011
8:02 am

I really hope that Georgia both offensively and defensively ranks in the top tier of college football this year. I agree that seniority is not the answer, but the top available talent, and hopefully a mixture of close top tier talent (2nd-depth, maybe deeper) get some playing time.

I can’t help but believe that there’s a hidden gem in that rb position that hasn’t emerged yet, and I’m led to believe it might be K. Malcome. I do believe that if the offensive line demostrates and play to their talent, Ealey will have an immensely positive impact on Georgia’s running game. I also believe that Crowell will be a terrific competitor and will bring that rb corp to challenge each other with more intensity and focus. In order words, play to their individual abililty, as it was determined by their ratings out of High School.

I’m excited to see who will take up the receiving matel ,left by A.J. Green. I believe that T.King, M.Brown, I. Troupe and some surprises will emerged. If this is the case, then Georgia’s Murray, Mason, and LeMay can spread it all over the field. Not only would that compliment the running game but also allow if succesful, the defense to get needed rest during a game.

I want to see that ” surprise” player or player(s) emerge and contribute in taking this team to a new level for 2011-12. The player or player(s) are on the team, I just don’t know who they are or will they get a legit shot to prove themselves. I think at times, Georgia let’s too many players ride the “pine” and not contribute because of the “hype” and not necessarily the performance of other players on the team. I hope this is the year all that will change and the best player not necessarily the top-rated player will play. Although that player(top-rated) may be the one who should play?

Good luck Georgia in the coming years, ” I know I may be a little to hopeful, but I miss the days of the
” JUNKYARD DAWGS” atmosphere and what it brought to Athens, Georgia football, and the fan base.
It was the best time to be “Dawg” fan. Other team visiably did not want to play the “Dawgs” and although
some teams had success against the “Dawgs” most didn’t….

” GO JUNKYARD DAWGS” BRING IT TO THE HOUSE , EVERY GAME !!!!!

BB

March 9th, 2011
8:02 am

Ealey has yet to make a public statement about his 3 week suspension, and being barred from the team and all athletic buildings. I’d like to hear it from Ealey, otherwise, he’s transferring.

BB

March 9th, 2011
8:04 am

Murray went 5-4 with AJ, 1-3 without AJ. Can you imagine how bad Georgia will be without AJ or Durham to bail out Murray’s inaccurate passes?

BB

March 9th, 2011
8:05 am

Figgins has only been thrown to 9 times in 3 years. Georgia promises each off season to use TE’s more, and they never do in the season. Figgins will likely transfer also.

BB

March 9th, 2011
8:06 am

Kwame & Ealey have no chance at starting, Richt’s already entitled Jenkins & Crowell. I’ve watched Richt for years, he entitles certain players, this has led to his downfall.

BB

March 9th, 2011
8:07 am

Lemay has 0% chance of starting ever at Georgia. Murray’s Richt’s favorite player on the team. Richt has yet to bench Murray, even when Murray commits 2-4 to’s in a game. Lemay will likely transfer before the season starts.

Buckeye

March 9th, 2011
8:08 am

The emails are posted, having been released by Ohio State, on the Columbus Dispath web site.

http://www.dispatch.com.

Interesting perspective from the home town paper.

BB

March 9th, 2011
8:09 am

If Malcome was good enough to play, he would have played last season.

BB

March 9th, 2011
8:09 am

Buckeye-

Break it down for us all, what happened at OSU?

BB

March 9th, 2011
8:11 am

Murray’s only success/wins was against teams like Idaho State. Murray’s not a gamer.

woebegong

March 9th, 2011
8:12 am

Buckeye,

Agree with you on most of your post, but I thought he maybe got in more hot water than just tatoogate. I think what probably did the trick was him knowing about a federal probe into some illegal drugs, a couple of players may have been involved in, and not telling anybody, he had the information.
There are just so many rules the NCAA has, it is hard to imagine any coach surviving without a few bumps and bruises along the way.
Almost all colleges are going to have some players commit misdemeanors. It is the felonies that make you look really bad unless you are UGA. Everybody seems to want to rap on anything UGA does on these blogs.

GOOOOOO DAWGSSSSSSSSSSS
Just to make Buckeyes morning, LOL.

woebegong

March 9th, 2011
8:14 am

Dynamic,

All the athletic skills in the world will not teach you the playbook any quicker. Also worth noting, he will be in the SEC, not a smaller high school league. These kids in the SEC are just a little tougher than Calhoun.

UGASlobberknocker

March 9th, 2011
8:18 am

Rog, I get your point and it is a good one..but actually Wash and Mich both had co championships in the 90s.Wash in 91 w/Miami..Mich in 97 w/Neb

UGASlobberknocker

March 9th, 2011
8:19 am

and of course Tech in 1990..still cant believe that one. But if Rog only counying co’s as a half a title, then he would be ld be accurate

Buckeye

March 9th, 2011
8:21 am

Woe,

Appreciate your comments. Here’s a link to the self-reporting document from Ohio State to the NCAA. Good lord, you’d think he covered up a coinspiracy to assasinate the president. Makes one appreciate the responsibility of taking on the behavior of 85 18-22 year olds.

http://www.the-ozone.net/football/2011/tresselaffair/reporttoncaa.pdf

BB

March 9th, 2011
8:23 am

Murray won’t have any WR’s to throw to, even if he dramaticaly improves his accuracy by completely refiguring his delivery, teams will just double T King, and Georgia doesn’t have another WR after that.

BB

March 9th, 2011
8:23 am

If I were scheming for georgia, I wouldn’t even cover the TE, Georgia never uses them.

NWGA Dawg

March 9th, 2011
8:24 am

I think our defense will be much better this year, although if Rambo would wrap up rather than try to highlight hit everyone, I think we would be much better in the secondary.

BB

March 9th, 2011
8:24 am

Teams will keep bring 8 in the box to beat Georgia, just like last year, because they know Murray can’t beat them deep.

BB

March 9th, 2011
8:26 am

Defense will be better, as Grantham lets the guys compete, and goes with the best.

Offense will continue to struggle, especially against winning teams, only scored 18 points a game last year against winning teams, you don’t have the best players at each position, just Richt’s favorites on offense.