ATHENS – Back at “The Butts” today covering Georgia’s second spring football practice. There’s not a lot of new info but I’ll supply some quick updates. In the meantime, I’ll clean out my notebook from yesterday’s first practice:
We get defensive players after practice and I’ll be visiting with Malcolm Mitchell for first time since he’s been playing cornerback, so check back this evening for that report.
Now, from yesterday . . .
Mitchell impressive at corner
As I mentioned, Malcolm Mitchell wowed everybody when he skyed for a one-handed, over-the-shoulder grab in an intercept-the-fade drill in his first practice on Tuesday.
Here’s what coach Mark Richt said about Mitchell’s move:
“He actually came to play DB,” he quipped. “He signed to play DB and now he’s actually back there playing DB.
“It was fun to watch him get out there and compete,” he continued. “You could tell he wasn’t quite sure of what to do every play. But he’s playing with a lot of enthusiasm and certainly can break on the ball and change direction. I like how our cornerbacks look in general. I think they do a nice job. You can tell who the veterans are. It’s very obvious.”
Good bunch of backs
I wrote mostly about Isaiah Crowell on Day One. But even after Carlton Thomas decided to leave the Bulldogs still have six scholarship tailbacks on the roster. So there is plenty of talent and competition going forward.
“We do have a good bunch of backs right now, no doubt about that,” Richt said. “Some of them are totally inexperienced, but there’s a really fine talent base and there’s some guys that have been around. Ken Malcome and Richard [Samuel] and Isaiah have a pretty good idea of what to do with a little more experience under their belts. But they’re a talented bunch. We’ll see how well we block up front and how well they do the little things like secure the ball and protect and all thajt kind oof thing. But we certainly have some giuiys to work with.
All eyes on Keith Marshall
The most notable addition is, of course, true freshman Keith Marshall. Richt was asked for his first impressions on the 5-foot-11, 200-pound freshman:
“He’s very quick. You can tell he’s got good quickness, good speed. He seems to have good running instincts. The drills we do are so unrealistic at this point it’s hard to say that. But fir a guy in his first college practice, considering everybody else knows the system, I thought he did a pretty good job.
“You could tell he did an awful lot of studying from the moment he got here to this point to be able to function like he did. Coach McClendon was there to help him, but he had a pretty good working knowledge of what to do. He wasn’t totally lost and I think as time goes on we’ll see even more of what he can do.”
Some OLBs at DE
Ray Drew and Cornelius Washington were working with the defensive ends rather than the outside linebackers.
“They can do both,” Richt said. “They can play the end position and the outside linebacker position. They have a good working knowledge of that. Their body types certainly would allow them to play the end position as well. They’re getting reps there for a reason.”
Richt said Drew, who is currently listed at 6-foot-5, 263-pounds, could be growing out of the the outside linebacker position. “With the rate his body is growing, that may be the best spot for him,” Richt said. “He has long arms and huge feet. His shoes are like 20s or 18s or something.”
The 6-foot-4, 269-pound Washington, a senior, started six games last season and was second on the team with five sacks.
“Cornelius came in in a 4-3 defense and he was a hand-on-the-ground guy,” Richt said. “There probably was a greater comfort level for him doing that. But he has enough of a working knowledge to play (weakside linebacker).”
Also, former defensive end Derrick Lott was rotating with John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers at noseguard.
Ken Malcome on mat drills (pretty funny)
“Honestly, I didn’t want to come back (after the first day). I couldn’t even do it. I was getting C’s and D’s and F’s the whole time. But in my last mat drill I got two A’s, so that right there gave me a boost. I felt like if I could do that I could do anything. So I’ve just got to go do it and not complain about anything. Do what you’re supposed to do and you’ll be all right.
“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in sports. The only thing about it is I realize with mat drills, they’re not trying to break you, they’re just trying to see how tough you are. My first couple of times I was hurting, barely making it. But the last few times I just had to fight through it It is hard, though, and a lot of people don’t understand that. They think it’s just agilities, but it’s not. They’ll send you back through for anything. They’ll send you back 10 times; they won’t let you leave. So getting two A’s like that, I feel like I grew and they feel like that, too.”
Malcome also said he left the Michigan State game with a separated shoulder and a concussion.
“It was hurting, but once you’re in a game, you’re trying to play,” he said. “I wasn’t going to leave that game no matter what happened to me. I had to fight through it.”