Georgia freshmen holding their own physically, overwhelmed by playbooks, meetings
ATHENS — Here’s some of the freshman defensive player interviews. This is not a comprehensive transcription, just some of what I considered highlights, for lack of a better word, from the conversations I had with some of the guys.
I already provided a pretty comprehensive account of my entire conversation with John Jenkins. Here I’ll share some nuggets from outside linebacker Ray Drew, linebacker Amarlo Herrera, safety Corey Moore, cornerback Damian Swann and cornerback Chris Sanders. I haven’t had a chance to transcribe Quintavious Harrow yet.
If there was any type of theme I noticed from all these guys it’s that they’re heads are pretty much swimming at this point from all the information that’s being thrown at them. They’re all confident they can hang physically but all the meetings and the sheer size of the playbook they’re expected to master has been a little overwhelming for them.
So here’s a little bit from each guy. . . .
CB DAMIAN SWANN, ATLANTA
- On difficulties so far: “I’ve just been trying to learn so much in a short amount of time. It’ll get better. I’m working at all three corners, strong corner, boundary corner, and I’m playing nickel.
- On catching eye of coaches: “Well, I mean, I try to do my best. I didn’t think it’d be this early that I could make an impression on the coaches. But I just trust myself and play. When you know more, you can play faster. At this level, it has to be like that because there’s so much going on on both sides of the ball.”
- Hardest part of playing corner: “The zone coverages. There’s just so much going on with that and you have different responsibiolites in different zxone coverages,. I mean, if you can tell me I’ve got a man, I can play. But I’m going to strengthen up on all those other aspects of being a DB and make improvement.”
OLB RAY DREW, THOMASVILLE
- On first impressions: “My first impression of the collegiate level is just the speed of the game, how up-tempo everything is and how much more technical it is than high school as well. Here you’re trying to learn the whole playbook, while you may have had one or two responsibilities in high school. You have to do certain things according to the other team’s alignment. All these things are running through your mind. You have all these people trying to get lined up and yelling at you to do this and do that. It’s a lot to take in. It’s a big transition, but I think a lot of the young guys are doing well at it.”
- On Wednesday’s scrimmage. “It was different. It took a little while to adjust to the heat. Coming out of high school, playing every Friday night, it’s kind of cool. Playing in the heat of the day, that was the biggest thing for me. As far as the scrimmage as a whole I thought I did OK. I still have a lot of room to improve, which is why we’re going out to practice each day. I’m continuing to improve and I’ll continue to work.”
- On finding a church (he’s a licensed minister): “I’ve been to church every Sunday since I’ve been here. The first day I got here I made it my obligation to get out and find a church to go to. I’ve gone to a number of different churches. I went to Cornerstone Church and a few others. The church I made my home church is Timothy Baptist Church.”
- On if he plans to preach: “Actually last week when I was headed home [a pastor] texted me that he wanted me to preach at his church down in Norcross. I told him we needed to keep that option open since I couldn’t do it at that time. I hope there will be some opportunities in there somewhere.”
CB CHRIS SANDERS, TUCKER
- On his expectations for the season: “All we want to do is come in and help and contribute to the team and just help win a championship. In the secondary, if somebody goes down, we want to be there to help make plays and just getting playing where we can to help get this championship.”
- On impact of “Dream Team:” “I think we are the real deal. I’m not just saying the Dream Team, I’m talking about Georgia period. I think we’re all good. But we do have a lot of skill guys with talent coming in with the Dream Team that are going to help this team win a championship. That’s really all we want to do, just come together and help out.”
- On advice of lettermen: “They just said come out here and get into the playbook right away, right away. They’ve been real helpful. So I’m just trying to get in the playbook every night. We didn’t really expect all these meetings and stuff like that. But it’s all right; it’s college. We’ve got to deal with it. At the end of the day, it’ll work out.”
- Has their been any type of freshmen initiations: “They were talking about cutting all our hair off or we’re going to have to go to class in shirts and high heels. But I think they were just fooling around.”
LB AMARLO HERRERA, COLLEGE PARK
- On working with the No. 2 defense: “Im just trying to do what I can do to help the team. I ain’t worried about whether I play or whether a walkon plays or second strong or third string. I’m just trying to get in and help the team. If they need me they’ll put me in.”
- On playing UGA football: “Really you have to convince yourself you can play every day, because if you get down on yourself then you won’t practice good, you’ll start thinking negative and you’ll start talking about people and you’ll feel like you’re a victim if you don’t think you can compete. I haven’t surprised myself. I’m really just trying to work hard and learn the plays.”
- On learning the defense: “There’s a lot to learn because Coach Grantham,came from the NFL and it’s an NFL-type defense. Really it’s about studying and knowing what you’ve got to do in different formations and just knowing itlike the back of your hand.
S COREY MOORE, GRIFFIN
- On speed of SEC game: “It was the first day we were in helmets and they did a play-action pass. Orson Charles, he came in and acted like he was blocking and he came back out and he crossed my face and he swiped my helmet when he went by. I was like, ‘dog, he moved past me pretty fast.’ I was like, ‘man where’d he come from?’ That kind of woke me up then. I thought,’ man, I’ve got to get ready. I’ve got to move a little faster.’ Ever since then I’ve been on it.
- On playing safety: “The safety position is like the quarterback of the defense. You have to know all the audibles, what the cornerbacks are doing, the middle linebackers. You just have to know your stuff. Sometimes I had to help the cornerback with his plays and stuff like that. Every formation I have to holler out calls to the cornerbacks and let them know and then translate that to the middle linebacker so we can all be on one page. The big playbook we have, it’s been pretty hard. But I’ve been sitting down every day going over it and I feel like I’m starting to get the hang of it.”