Spring-practice updates on five UGA players
Eight practices down, seven to go (including the G-Day game). At just beyond the mid-point of UGA spring football, here are updates on five players you might be wondering about:
- DeAngelo Tyson, DE: After playing the nose position out of necessity last year, he is working exclusively at defensive end this spring – a change much to his liking. “Playing nose was a hard task, but I did it to help the team out,” said Tyson, a rising senior. “Playing defensive end is much better. You don’t have all that double-teaming and triple-teaming and stuff like that. I’m having fun out there this spring.” Linebacker Christian Robinson said Tyson and the rest of the defensive line “have really stepped up. . . . Definitely, the defensive line as a whole is so much farther ahead than I could have imagined.”
- Ken Malcome, RB: Redshirted as a freshman last season, the tailback from Southwest DeKalb has been bothered all spring by a nagging groin injury. He believes the injury has diminished his effectiveness, but he has persevered and stayed on the field. “He hasn’t really been full speed” but had a couple of nice runs on Saturday, coach Mark Richt said. Said running backs coach Bryan McClendon: “You just want him to be able to be comfortable out there and know what to do. That’s what he needs to focus on, making sure he is learning the ins and outs of what we’re doing.”
- Justin Anderson, OG: He is making the adjustment back to the offensive line after last year’s short-lived shift to the defensive line, and he is working himself back into condition after toe surgery sidelined him for all but the opening game last year. “Repetition is so important on the offensive line, and I think he’s behind in that,” new O-line coach Will Friend said. “If he can get all that together, though, he’s got all kinds of tools.” Friend noted that Anderson wasn’t cleared to run until shortly before spring practice and is “not all the way in the great shape that he needs to be in. But he’s powerful, he’s big, and I think he wants to do good.”
- Christian LeMay, QB: The freshman quarterback from North Carolina, who enrolled in January, is mostly learning what to do because, as Richt said at one point, “it’s all brand new to him right now.” While experiencing the learning curve on footwork, fundamentals, etc., he has made a positive impression with his work habits and his demeanor in the huddle and the meeting room. In Saturday’s scrimmage, “he threw one of the better fade routes,” Richt said. “He put it in play, and Michael Bennett made a very fine catch. He also stood in there and threw a short curl, about a 10-yard curl route, to Bennett. He had to hang in that pocket.”
- Branden Smith, CB: An oft-asked question is whether he will be used more extensively on offense, where he has been deployed occasionally the past two seasons. According to Smith, he has worked only at cornerback and on special teams this spring. “They haven’t told me anything about offense,” he said, referring to the coaches. “Right now, I’m just focused on defense.” He also remains in the mix to return punts, although kickoff-return record-holder Brandon Boykin has joined the competition there.
— Tim Tucker, AJC