Yes, amid all the hoops, spring football practice also starts today

About an hour after the Georgia men’s basketball team finishes its SEC tournament opener against Auburn at the Georgia Dome this afternoon, the Bulldogs’ football team will hit the field in Athens for the start of spring practice.  I’ll be at the Dome, and Andy Johnston will be covering football practice. There’s much SEC tournament coverage on AJC.com today, but I know some of you might be looking for football fodder on the first day of spring ball. So here, culled from a full preview of Georgia spring practice that ran in Sunday’s paper, are three key issues facing the Bulldogs:

1. Rebuilding the receiver corps: While A.J. Green trains for the NFL draft, Georgia faces the daunting task of replacing arguably the best receiver in school history. The Bulldogs also must replace last season’s second most productive receiver, Kris Durham, who completed his eligibility. Rising junior Tavarres King, the leading returning receiver with 27 catches last season, will line up at flanker “to have an opportunity to do some of the things A.J. was doing,” coach Mark Richt said. Coaches will look for others to emerge this spring from a group that includes Marlon Brown, Rantavious Wooten, Michael Bennett, Israel Troupe and early enrollee Chris Conley. “I think there are plenty of guys who can make plays for us,” Richt said, “and young guys coming in [this summer] who are going to be hungry.”

2. Shoring up the offensive line: Expected to be a pillar of last season’s team, the unit underachieved. With the graduation of starters Clint Boling and Josh Davis, the departure of coach Stacy Searels to Texas and the hiring of Will Friend from UAB as Searels’ replacement, the offensive line bears watching closely this spring. Ben Jones is back for his fourth season as the starting center, and Trinton Sturdivant and converted guard Cordy Glenn are the almost-certain starters at left and right tackle, respectively. “The guard spots are really up for grabs right now,” Richt said. Rising sophomore Kenarious Gates, who started three games last season, is a leading candidate for one of the spots.

3. Filling the holes at linebacker: Georgia must replace three of last season’s four starters at the position — Justin Houston, a possible first-round NFL draft pick who started all 13 games at outside linebacker; Akeem Dent, the team’s leading tackler who started 13 games at inside linebacker; and Darryl Gamble, who started seven games on the outside. The linebacker group also lost a coach with the departure of inside linebackers coach Warren Belin to the Carolina Panthers; he was replaced by Kirk Olivadotti, hired from the Washington Redskins. At inside linebacker, the Bulldogs will count on Christian Robinson, who started 10 games last season, and converted safety Alec Ogletree. At outside linebacker, the leading candidates to start are Cornelius Washington and USC transfer Jarvis Jones. Prized signee Ray Drew will join the OLB competition in August.

  • For the AJC’s full preview of UGA spring football practice, please click here.
  • And for 10 players to watch this spring, please click here.

– Tim Tucker, AJC

163 comments Add your comment

Sergeant Joe Friday, LAPD

March 10th, 2011
10:17 am

FIRST……big freaking deal!

Peach Fuzz

March 10th, 2011
10:25 am

I think you have it backwards – amid all the hubbub surrounding UGA spring practice, SEC Tourney begins today.

dangit

March 10th, 2011
10:26 am

Dutch

March 10th, 2011
10:28 am

WR’s look weak. Teams will double Tavarres King, Georgia’s only productive & experienced receiver, then who does Georgia go to? Well known Georgia doesn’t use TE’s, doesn’t like to throw ball over middle due to interception risk, so no need to gaurd them. Georgia struggled mightily without AJ Green last season, this doesn’t look good at all.

LB corp has no experience either, lost Houston & Dent. Terrible agains tthe run, terrible on 3rd down. Hard to imagine this unit improving with a brand new coach who ranked 24th in the NFL against the run.

Offensive Line, terrible last season, weakest unit on the team, yielded dozens of sacks, and 11th in rushing in SEC. With a new coach from UAB no one ever heard of, look for the unit to get worse than Vanderbilt in 2011. Teams will continue to bring 8 in the box to stop the run, as Murray has shown an inability to accurately complete deep passes, and Georgia doesn’t have an experienced deep threat at WR.

Buckeye

March 10th, 2011
10:28 am

Posting here too.

Not hiding under the desk.

Dawg Trainer

March 10th, 2011
10:31 am

Smokey IX is waiting for Uga IX to be announced so Uga can begin practice as well…learning how to fetch, heel, and play dead when it come to the Vols! ARRRRROOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

Oger

March 10th, 2011
10:31 am

Oger

March 10th, 2011
10:31 am

DOUBLE G

March 10th, 2011
10:35 am

If only those recruits were three years older, we might have something to talk about – Dream Team redux. As it is, we’ve got our “retreads” from the past season. That being said, the off-season moves in the weight room/nutrition focus have gotten the team’s attention.

Methinks this spring will be pivotal in re-energizing both the team, and the coaching staff. With a year under the defense’s belt, and with a bolstered O-line up front, I believe the Dawg’s future to be much brighter. Returning starters most everywhere except receiver and LB, and, at this point, adequate players to fill those slots portend a good spring, with lots of competition to find out who will be the best players on the field.

And don’t underestimate Murray’s leadership here. After a quiet freshman season, look for him to step up.

devildawg

March 10th, 2011
10:36 am

U mean the Vols that we trounced up and down the field last fall? Those Vols. With your half breed mangy dog, and your silly overplayed fight song.

Worm

March 10th, 2011
10:37 am

Practice is closed.

anotherdawg

March 10th, 2011
10:45 am

I’m a little concerned about the secondary. I think Rambo played better 2 years ago, never was impressed with “hitman” who didn’t really seem to do much hitting. Looked more like “watchman”.

Delbert D.

March 10th, 2011
10:45 am

Green is the most talented receiver in Georgia history, but he’s not the best receiver in Georgia history.

DawginLex

March 10th, 2011
10:46 am

TROLL ALERT TROLL ALERT

Dutch=BB the same goon who stayed on the spring practice blog all day yesterday spewing garbage about players transferring and how bad Aaron Murray is.

converse with this goon at your own risk.

TROLL ALERT TROLL ALERT

dutchisdumb

March 10th, 2011
10:51 am

Dutch has no clue what he’s talking about with the TEs. We never use them? UGA is known as TE U. We couldn’t release the TE much when he was in last year because of the O-Line and lack of a running back. For those that don’t know, Stacey Searels liked to pass block on every play, which is why our running game was so bad. This also wore down our o-line, meaning they couldn’t hold up in the 4th quarter. Not saying that UGA will go 12-0, but it’s not as dire as some would make it out to be.

Sven Ottke

March 10th, 2011
10:52 am

Tim, quick! You are behind. Where is your article on the Olivadotti hiring? You are supposed to do at least one per week.

Spanky

March 10th, 2011
11:03 am

Dutch, doom and gloom all you want! Nobody’s taking you seriously. Thanks to the new work-out regiment, the team (from what I hear) is looking pretty sharp!

Jaydawg

March 10th, 2011
11:04 am

Wonder how long or who the first season affecting injury is going to belong to?Unfortunately just a matter of time with another Richt appointed buddy manning the strength&conditioning program.

South Ga Dawg

March 10th, 2011
11:09 am

Let the haters hate!!! The Dawgs will be just fine!!!

1eyedJack

March 10th, 2011
11:09 am

Reading this article I had an overwhelming sense of Deja vous. You guys get paid to reprint yesterday’s articles?

JB

March 10th, 2011
11:10 am

Dutch@10:28……….Why don’t we just give up football then……Geez

DawginLex

March 10th, 2011
11:15 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cjimTtqv70

*******************************************

From the 4:20 mark on of the video addresses your “we never throw to the tight end” statement

1eyedJack

March 10th, 2011
11:24 am

Dutch is one of those dim light bulbs that try to project next year based on last year. In college or high school you just can’t do that. The whole dynamic changes from one year to the next. Players come and players go, players mature and get bigger, stronger and smarter.

Dutch

March 10th, 2011
11:28 am

Last season, teams figured out how to stop Georgia’s offense

1- double AJ Green or only deep threat WR
2- cover TE with weakest LB because Georgia doesn’t throw over the middle
3- bring 8 in the box to stop the run.

It worked great as Georgia scored less than 20 points a game against winning teams and finished 10th in the SEC in rushing. Expect to see the same approach to stopping Georgia’s offense since Bobo couldn’t solve it.

Atticus

March 10th, 2011
11:28 am

Look at what Grantham said about Jarvis Jones on ESPN.

“Justin Houston was a great pass-rusher, but he couldn’t do some of the things Jarvis can do,” Grantham said.

GET AFTER IT DEFENSE!

I really hope we see the pre-concussion Rambo too!

Remarkable

March 10th, 2011
11:29 am

Delbert D. ***Green is the most talented receiver in Georgia history, but he’s not the best receiver in Georgia history.

Inquiring minds want to know, “Who do you think is?”

DawginLex

March 10th, 2011
11:31 am

DawginLex

March 10th, 2011
10:46 am
TROLL ALERT TROLL ALERT

Dutch=BB the same goon who stayed on the spring practice blog all day yesterday spewing garbage about players transferring and how bad Aaron Murray is.

converse with this goon at your own risk.

TROLL ALERT TROLL ALERT

Dutch

March 10th, 2011
11:32 am

Defense 7th in SEC against the run last season, 3rd in SEC East. Last on 3rd down conversion, gave up a 3rd down over 40%, which was worst in conference. Grantham’s 3rd down scheme is flawed, look for Boise & SC to clock Grantham on 3rd down and run the ball down his throat against the 3 down lineman.

Bawbie

March 10th, 2011
11:32 am

Fire Dave Perno !

Remarkable

March 10th, 2011
11:34 am

Dutch, you’re an idiot. Double cover A.J. and put 8 in the box to stop the run leaves only one DB or Safety. I think I could throw against that kind of coverage. No one would play like that.

Dutch

March 10th, 2011
11:36 am

Best plan to beat Georgia’s offense is force Murray to beat you. Take away the run, and cover the fullback with your best LB. Don’t waste a player on covering the TE because Georgia won’t throw over the middle. Double the best WR deep threat to take that away from Georgia. Bring 8 in the box to take away the run. Force Murray to try and beat you throwing to least experienced wide receivers.

Dutch

March 10th, 2011
11:39 am

Georgia likes to throw to the fullback in the flats toward the sidelines, and also outside the seams down the field. Most of Murray’s throws are 5 yards or less, it’s a ball control passing offense, if you jump receivers like Florida did, you get easy picks, as Murray rarely reads before he throws.

Dutch

March 10th, 2011
11:42 am

Georgia is successful throwing to the fullback in the flats toward the sidelines, and also outside the seams down the field. Most of Murray’s throws are 5 yards or less, it’s a ball control passing offense. FL got lucky jumping Murray’s pass last year…99 times out of 100 that will not happen, because Murray proved he is effective reading the coverage before he throws.

Dutch

March 10th, 2011
11:43 am

What teams do, is force murray, who is ranked #119 in accuracy against winning teams, to make hard passes. You really can’t fail with that plan, you have the least accurate passer in the NCAA, why not force him to be accurate to beat you? Georgia’s easy to beat, everybody beats Georgia, I think every single winning team beat Georgia last year. Good move by Boise to schedule Georgia, it’s an easy win.

Dutch

March 10th, 2011
11:46 am

Georgia will win because teams will try to make Murray complete hard passes, which he will do. Georgia can’t fail with that plan with the leading Frosh QB returning. Georgia will not be easy to beat. Good move by Georgia to schedule Boise as it will get them into the top 10 after week #1.

Alabama | MrSEC.com

March 10th, 2011
11:47 am

[...] UGA still hasn’t played its best basketball… or so Bulldog fans hope.12.  Here are three key issues facing the football Dawgs as they open spring practice today.13.  While the focus will be on Georgia’s “Dream [...]

Dutch

March 10th, 2011
11:49 am

Tim Tucker-

Please ban the clown who keeps acting like me, you can find him at the 11:38, & 11:42 posts.

thanks.

Dutch

March 10th, 2011
11:50 am

Also 11:46… thanks Tim.

Johnny Pastduedate

March 10th, 2011
11:52 am

I am interested to see how Russ will handle the sideline duties this season. Does he have the stamina for a full SEC schedule? Will he be on a short leash at the beginning of the season? Will he be able to stay out of the doghouse? Where’s the bathroom? Time will tell to see if Russ can handle a full load.

Dutch

March 10th, 2011
11:52 am

Tim Tucker-

Please ban the clown who keeps acting like me, you can find him at the 11:36, & 11:39 posts.

thanks.

Dutch

March 10th, 2011
11:53 am

Also 11:50… thanks Tim.

*****?

March 10th, 2011
11:54 am

why no mention of richard samuel as ILB?

Dutch

March 10th, 2011
11:54 am

If you defend Georgia against the outside 3rd of the field, you can easily beat them, they don’t like to throw over the middle, especially to TE’s, but really to anyone. Bobo passes down the field, short passes, to the outside, towards the sidelines. If you have 8 in the box, Bobo coaches his QB’s to hit short passes to the fullbacks or WR’s toward the sidelines. Just jump the routes, Murray rarely reads the defense first, even against UCF, in the last game, was just turning and throwing.

If you see the Georgia RB make a cut block, that’s the side of the field and angle where the ball’s going 90% of the time.

Tim

March 10th, 2011
11:57 am

Tim,

11;52, and 11;53 also.

If you guys are experiencing this troll who can’t debate, and tries to imposture as your name, just report him to the AJC editor, they’ll make sure his computer isp is blocked.

Editor – Kevin Riley, 404-526-2161, kriley@ajc.com

A village has lost their idiot....

March 10th, 2011
11:58 am

Dutch, you have it all figured out. Thanks for enlightening us with your brilliant analysis.

gdawginkalamazoo

March 10th, 2011
12:00 pm

Speaking of courts and the SEC tourney, if we can keep King and Ealey out of court we will be in good shape. Things weren’t as bad last year as they seemed considering what we were working with. Frosh QB and new defensive scheme. Look for things to a lot better this year. We will miss Durham and Green but the kids we have will step up because they know what the future can hold if they do. I am not worried about Murray if he can’t handle it or goes down Mason or LeMay will step in.

Just stay out of trouble this year. We don’t need those distractions.

Dutch

March 10th, 2011
12:02 pm

You also want to rattle Murray early, if he gets behind in the first quarter, game’s over. He’s lost ever game where the other team scores first. Best way is to do what Florida did and jump a short route for an easy pick. You can also force the RB’s to fumble, especially Caleb King, Bobo uses Caleb a lot, so if he runs it, just strip him as he’s not aware of strip opportunities. Murray also fumbles a lot, he doesn’t protect the ball well, so pretty east to strip if you get close to him.

Dutch

March 10th, 2011
12:03 pm

Georgia also rotate the rb’s a lot. If King’s in, it’s likely a passing play. If Ealey’s in, it’s likely a running play.

Dutch

March 10th, 2011
12:05 pm

At TE, if Figgins is in, it’s a running play, Georgia thinks he’s a better passblocker but they don’t like his pass catching, don’t cover him Georgia only throws to him 3-4 times a season. If Charles is in, likely a run, as Georgia only throws to TE’s 3-5 times a game.

Dutch

March 10th, 2011
12:08 pm

Murray generally throws 4 yards behind the receivers, so it’s better to follow the receivers on the routes, really, King’s the only 1 you have to worry about with a double team. Murray rarely throws in front of receivers in stride. Murray also keys in on his #1 receiver in clutch times, so double to triple team T. King in a must situation.