Practice report: Bruce Figgins no ordinary fullback for Bulldogs

ATHENS – They call it “The Chute.” It’s one of the drills Georgia running backs must negotiate early every practice and Bruce Figgins dreads it like a daily root canal.

The object is to zigzag as fast as possible through a series of metal gates while stepping over dummies and holding the football “high and tight.” This is not much of a challenge for 5-foot-7 tailback Carlton Thomas or even the 5-foot-11 Isaiah Crowell. But for the 6-foot-4, 274-pound Figgins, slipping under the metal bar maybe four feet from the ground can be problematic.

“I don’t know how high they are but ‘CT’ can almost stand straight up to them. They come up to his nose,” said Figgins, a senior fullback.”You can imagine how hard it is for me to get under them. Me and Richard [Samuel] have the toughest time. Our heads are always clinking it.”

Trouble is, if you “clink” the metal bar, you have to repeat the drill. So often running backs coach Bryan McClendon is yelling at Figgins, “run it again!”

“I’ll be looking at Coach Mac and he’s like, ‘Don’t be looking at me like that. Get under the chute!’,” Figgins said with a laugh.

It is a bit of an oddity to have a guy Figgins’ size in the backfield. But short on depth at the fullback position, the Bulldogs saw the versatile fifth-year senior as the answer to their problems.

“The tight end and the fullback position, a lot of their assignments actually carry over,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “He’s almost the same guy in a lot of formations we run. . . . Bruce is a big fullback who’s athletic enough to re-direct when he’s got to block a certain person. He fits into all the things we need there. He’s got to get used to blocking moving targets in more space and that takes time. But I’ve seen fullbacks that weigh 220 who can do a great job and guys that weight 280 and do it great. It’s just a matter of knowing what to do and wanting to do it bad enough and is he tough enough for that type of contact because it’s a high-contact position.”

A tight end his first four seasons, including a redshirt year, Figgins is sharing fullback duties with the 5-foot-10, 224-pound Zander Ogletree. Figgins entered camp as the No. 1 guy and, by all accounts, will line up first when the Bulldogs face off against No. 7 Boise State on Sept. 3.

Figgins was able to go through the spring at his new position and just now is starting to feel comfortable calling himself a fullback.

“I’m getting more comfortable with the position, more comfortable with the others guys now,” Figgins said. “I’m still learning and working on getting my pad level down, staying low and knee bend, that’s the biggest thing.”

It’s certainly a formidable sight when Figgins is running around the end leading the 6-2, 240-pound Samuel on a power sweep.

“I think people will be a little intimidated by it,” Figgins said. “That’s 500 pounds moving right there. And Richard’s not slow at all. I have to speed up just to get going ahead of him because he’ll run up your back if you don’t. I think we’ll be able to move some people out of the way.”

Fatigue setting in

Richt was not thrilled with the Bulldogs’ third practice, the first in which they went in shoulder pads and helmets.

“A little bit of fatigue is setting in, a little bit of weariness,” he said. “Even this morning when we had a lot of cloud cover and got a little bit of a break, without question fatigue affected the concentration level. The last 30 minutes of practice we dropped more balls than we did the first two and a half practices. We had more penalties. We couldn’t focus when we were tired, which was a big part of our demise a year ago. So hopefully we can learn to fight through it.”

Atlanta’s Swann among early standouts

Friday Richt lauded cornerback Branden Smith, who recorded an uncanny five interceptions during pass skeleton competition. That overshadowed what Richt said has been some exemplary work the last three days by freshman defensive back Damian Swann.

“I didn’t mention Swann yesterday but after I looked at the film I thought he made a couple of really outstanding plays yesterday and he made a couple of very nice plays again today,” Richt said. “He’s competing extremely well.”

Swann is a former AJC Super 11 player out of Atlanta’s Grady High School. Virtually every player asked about the defensive backfield so far has mentioned Swann as being a standout.

Other players singled out by Richt for their good work Saturday were wide receiver Tavarres King, linebacker Michael Gilliard, safety Shawn Williams, tight ends Orson Charles and Aron White and Samuel.

Special teams looking special

Georgia is expected to have one of the best overall special teams groups in the country with All-America candidates at punter (Drew Butler), place-kicker (Blair Walsh) and kick returner (Brandon Boykin). The Bulldogs also think they have one of the best snappers in the country in Ty Frix. Apparently that group looked the part as they went live kicking-team work for the first time on Saturday.

“They were very, very sharp,” Richt said. “The snap, the hold, the kick, I think we were 100 percent in every sort of way. Just about every kick split the uprights right down the middle. We had great times and great operation.”

Richt just kidding about Kellen Moore

Idaho newspapers and some national websites, including DeadSpin.com, have been making a big deal of what Richt said in an interview with an Atlanta radio station this week. Richt reportedly said UGA thought quarterback Kellen Moore had already left Boise State when they agreed to play the Broncos in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.

Actually, Richt had been telling that story as a joke on Bulldog Club tours all summer.

“I probably embellished the truth a little bit,” Richt said with a laugh Saturday. “[Athletic Director] Greg [McGarity] did say ‘I think that quarterback is gone’ when it first came up. But by the time we signed the contract, we knew he was coming back. Maybe it will go to his head a little bit and he’ll be overconfident.”

Injury report

Defensive backs Brandon Boykin and Jakar Hamilton were out with hamstring injuries and Derek Owens was sidelined with an unspecified injury that Richt said was not serious. Outside linebacker Cornelius Washington (hamstring) and defensive end Derrick Lott (leg laceration) remained sidelined. . . . Tailback Ken “Boo” Malcome continues to practice but is limping noticeably from a groin injury that has plagued him since spring practice. . . . Big John Jenkins made it through the entire workout a second straight day.

168 comments Add your comment

hot diggidy damn

August 6th, 2011
2:29 pm

Can you imagine Figgins and Samuel sweeping the ends!!!???? Bad part is Bobo is too damn dumb to run it. It WORKS TOO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lets run the GD draw!

hot diggidy damn

August 6th, 2011
2:30 pm

and btw………….1st!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NHS DAWG

August 6th, 2011
2:31 pm

NHS DAWG

August 6th, 2011
2:32 pm

RiffRaff

August 6th, 2011
2:34 pm

B.G

August 6th, 2011
2:35 pm

B.G

August 6th, 2011
2:35 pm

Dang! O well!!!

BirdDog

August 6th, 2011
2:37 pm

Big Figgins at FB is going to crush some folks!

Buckhead Dawg

August 6th, 2011
2:39 pm

Beat SC, beat Florida and all’s well

maconbulldog

August 6th, 2011
2:46 pm

500lbs is a lot of freaking weight….OMG can you imagine on a short and third if big John is added?????

RedandBlackDAWG

August 6th, 2011
2:50 pm

Once that big ole boy gets a full head of steam on him running downfield, I will bet that a LB will be just a little worried about the train about to hit him. Just might be able to get those tough couple of yards needed to keep posession of the ball on a drive. As big as he is, I bet when he blocks you, you will know that you have been blocked also.

GO DAWGS

bigcalidawg

August 6th, 2011
2:50 pm

Boo has been hurt a long time.

Ken

August 6th, 2011
2:52 pm

uga graduate of 1978, coach dooley the best but coach richt close. similar sense of humor. it should be a great year(if we get the first two)…

Brucerugby79

August 6th, 2011
2:54 pm

If Figgins and Samuel start – has anyone looked into the fact that we might be the biggest offensive team in the country? I know both tackles are 340+

Destin Dawg

August 6th, 2011
2:56 pm

Can’t wait… 4 weeks… Todd Grantham = Irk Russell… UGA defense = Junkyard Dawgs !!!!

Spike 80DF

August 6th, 2011
2:57 pm

dern, we need Malcome 100%…

Football Insider

August 6th, 2011
2:57 pm

Good teams will not be intimidated by the dawgs. That is the dawgs problem. They think they are intimidating when they really aren’t. Just play football and don’t worry about how it looks.

Power sweep. A speedy linebacking core will slow that down quite easily, and a 274 pound full back is laughable. Patchwork UGA offense. Yeah, real intimidating.

dawgfan

August 6th, 2011
2:58 pm

The Boise game is a mistake. I am all for big OOC games but let’s reserve them for big BCS programs and not hyped up overrated media darling mid majors like Boise. There is nothing to be gained from this game. Eventhough Boise is supposedly the #5 team in the land (a total joke), the haters will just portray it as a mean ole bully cheating SEC team beating up on poor hapless Boise. Lose and it will be humiliating because we’re the big bad SEC and we shouldn’t lose to Boise, eventhough they are supposedly the #5 team in the land (LMAO). We are Georgia. We aren’t some lame program like Georgia Tech that has to play on Thursday night to get anybody to watch our games. We don’t need this.

Thanks.

Football Insider

August 6th, 2011
2:58 pm

Destin Dawg…wow. That’s all I have to say. Wow.

You did not just say Todd “Let GT run 500 yards on us” Grantham = Irk Russell.

Now I know these practice reports have gotten UGA fans once again..delusional.

ned

August 6th, 2011
3:00 pm

Hot Diggity: the power sweep is dead. done… ancient history. It only works as a change of pace against speedy modern defenses. Would you also like them to practice quick kicks and the Statue of Liberty play? Bobo may not be perfect, but he knows a lot more than you.

Football Insider

August 6th, 2011
3:00 pm

Opposing defenses will tell their LB’s and DB’s to tackle low. Figgins and Samuel are not shifty enough to shed low tackles. The bigger they are the harder they fall.

dawg4ever

August 6th, 2011
3:01 pm

all the injuries and fatigue already setting in. Same old same old for this team. So much for S&C. and being able to finish. Another ploy by richt to keep his job,unfortunately it’s like all the other desperate moves he has made the past 2 years. None of them have worked. When the problem starts at the top with the head coach, all the changes in the world want matter. The NIGHTMARE in athens continues.

pirtdawg

August 6th, 2011
3:02 pm

I’ve felt pretty positive bout the RB situation. However hearing that Boo’s groin is still bothering him that bad really has me worried. I had hoped he would have a break out season, not looking so good.

Football Insider

August 6th, 2011
3:02 pm

Dawgfan…

You don’t need this? You are aware that your football team lost to Colorado and UCF last year aren’t you?

Bama, Auburn, and LSU are the big teams in the SEC. UGA is just riding the coattails at the present time.

gulfshoresdawg

August 6th, 2011
3:04 pm

six tickets to the Dome! I’m juiced! Go DAWGS!!!!

maconbulldog

August 6th, 2011
3:04 pm

Football Insider= Troll

Football Insider

August 6th, 2011
3:06 pm

Macon…why because I speak the truth. Sorry, didn’t mean to pour water in your kool-aid.

dawgfan

August 6th, 2011
3:06 pm

Was I stuttering? We don’t need this. We play in the SEC on national televsion most saturdays. Win those games and we will have all of the respect we need. We don’t need to play Boise.

Joey

August 6th, 2011
3:10 pm

So, Bobo calls the toss sweep on our first offensive play, and it goes for 16 yards.

Then, he calls the same play . . . . . . . . . . . with 6:40 left in the game.

it's the first week fo August

August 6th, 2011
3:12 pm

dawg4ever, you should change your handle to ‘dawg 4 never’. It’s the first week, dude. The boys are in great condition, but they’ve got to get used to football. My guess is that sitting on the sofa all day as you do, you wouldn’t know that.

dawg4ever

August 6th, 2011
3:13 pm

that is funny. Both figgins and samuel run high and both are very stiff. They will probably both trip over the chalk lines on a sweep. But rest assured there will be 3 or 4 guys waiting on them by the time they get to the corner. Might be the worst r.b tandem in the country. Such a sad state UGA’s running back situtation is in, and it just got worse with Boo still having problems with a groin that has been a problem for 4 months now. The guy will probably never contribute either. Great job RIcht.

maconbulldog

August 6th, 2011
3:14 pm

Opinions and facts ( or truth ) are two different things sir. Bring some fact that I can Google or Bing. And if this season goes well will you like to sip on some Kool-Aid with us. Cherry or Blue Berry?

Football Insider

August 6th, 2011
3:14 pm

Yes, I am a nerd. So?

dawg4ever

August 6th, 2011
3:16 pm

I’m a nerd too, Football Insider. You want to hook up?

Joey

August 6th, 2011
3:18 pm

Is it normal to have a groin injury for so long, like Boo?

LHarding Dawg

August 6th, 2011
3:18 pm

So who would you like to play dawgfan, Georgia Southern or Georgia State. As a season ticket holder, I would much rather play Boise, who matters, than a cake walk team.

dawg4ever

August 6th, 2011
3:19 pm

i run 3 miles a day every afternoon in the august heat u big mouth. will gladly meet u anywhere anytime. u guys are so tough behind a computer calling people names and running off at the mouth. if u dont like the truth, dont read my posts, but we have had the same problems with hamstrings every year at uga, so obviously nothing has changed, and if these kids had been running so much, they wouldnt be falling out like flies and getting so fatigued with 30 minutes of practice left. That is when the 4h qtr is won. but a long distance runner like you wouldnt know anything about that. DUDE!!

441North

August 6th, 2011
3:19 pm

We beat Boise, and we instantly climb to no. 15. We need Boise

LHarding Dawg

August 6th, 2011
3:21 pm

Great idea, dawg4never, I won’t read your post anymore. loser!

gotta go

August 6th, 2011
3:25 pm

same optimism we always have….it will be no different than last year…this is not a team that can score more than 17 per game..

dawg from a distance

August 6th, 2011
3:27 pm

Beef sweeping the end…. how about just blowing up the middle of the line and smashing it down the d’s throat? That’s what I would do with the “where’s the beef” package.

Go DAWGS! Getting excited about a DREAM season!

maconbulldog

August 6th, 2011
3:29 pm

3miles in heat huh? You know it is different when pads are added

D BAG TROLLS!

August 6th, 2011
3:37 pm

You smell weird kids! Go DAWGS!

D BAG TROLLS!

August 6th, 2011
3:39 pm

Doug4ever = tech fan

Taquarius Jackson

August 6th, 2011
3:39 pm

Football Insider, question for you, if you’re not a UGA fan why do you take the time to read an article on UGA football and post negative comments about the team and fans in your posts? If you need some more attention can’t you go home and get a hug?

mvdawg

August 6th, 2011
3:42 pm

Go dawgs, run right at Bosie and smash them in the mouth

PowerDawg

August 6th, 2011
3:47 pm

Fatigue???? After three days? WTF?

Hamstrings? After all the training they have been going through? Hamstrings?

Don’t these guys stretch before practice?

No excuse for this kind of stuff…S-T-R-E-T-C-H !!!!

nash

August 6th, 2011
3:58 pm

I don’t know if many of you remember this but Boo was the 9th ranked running back coming out of high school in his recruiting class.

KOOL

August 6th, 2011
4:08 pm

dawg4ever, 3 miles really isn’t that much of an accomplishment in the world of running… to threaten your fellow posters on the forum is a little silly… maybe if you increase your milage, it would calm you down a bit.

Rabid Dawg'84

August 6th, 2011
4:17 pm

Shut Boo down!!!! We need him healthy 9/4.