Bulldogs counting on Kenarious Gates to come through once again

Right now it looks like it will be junior Kenarious Gates who will be protecting quarterback Aaron Murray's blind side in 2012. (UGA photo by John Kelley)

Right now it looks like it will be junior Kenarious Gates who will be protecting quarterback Aaron Murray's blind side in 2012. (UGA photo by John Kelley)

ATHENS — There are a lot of question marks along Georgia’s offensive line. But there is at least one thing we know for certain: Kenarious Gates is going to be an integral part of it.

That has pretty much been that case with Gates ever since he showed up. Though he was a late addition to the 2010 recruiting class — he snapped up UGA’s last-minute offer on the eve of national signing day — Gates started three games as a true freshman and has played in every game ever since for which he was physically able.

Now a 6-foot-5, 328-pound junior, Gates’ role becomes even more significant this season. He opened spring camp as the Bulldogs’ first option at the all-important left tackle position. He is heir apparent to Cordy Glenn, who has graduated and moved on to the NFL after protecting quarterback Aaron Murray’s blind side last season.

It’s a role Gates saw coming and one he is more than happy to accept.

“I knew as soon as the bowl got over with that was a position I needed to get familiar with,” said Gates, who started nine games at left guard last season and missed two with an ankle injury. “I knew I’d probably be the guy to pick that up. So before spring ever got here I’ve been working on it, trying to get better at it.”

Gates is getting plenty of competition. Junior Austin Long is getting some looks at left tackle and the Bulldogs brought in Mark Beard from junior college to compete at that and other positions. Later this summer, 5-star signee John Theus of Jacksonville will join the fray.

For the most part, it appears to be Gates’ position to lose. He has much work to do after playing guard for the Bulldogs the past two seasons.

“It’s not that big of a difference,” he said. “You’ve just got to be quicker to the outside and to the inside. I’m somewhat used to it because I played it throughout high school and I’ve practiced at it here. . . . You’ve got to be an athlete. You’ve got to have quick feet and be athletic to play the position because it’s the blind side of the quarterback. It’s one of the most important positions out there.”

Whatever flaws and imperfections Gates may have as a left tackle, they figure to get exposed during this camp. In the spring, the Bulldogs always scrimmage the No. 1 offense and defense against each other. That means Gates is often matched up with All-American outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, who led the SEC in quarterback sacks this past season.

“Jarvis Jones is one of the best outside linebackers in the nation and we go against each other every day,” Gates said. “He helps me and I help him all the time. We’re going against each other throughout every practice. He makes me better; I make him better.”

Georgia is quite fortunate to have Gates on board. He was originally committed to Kentucky but switched when the Bulldogs offered him the day before national signing day in 2010. UGA came forward with an offer only after a couple of other prospects turned it down.

Gates ended up playing seven games in 2010 with three starts at right guard.

“I’m here now and I’m glad to be here; I never looked back at the way all that happened,” Gates said. “I’m happy to play here and now I have the opportunity to play my natural position.”

Gates played his entire career at Greenville High at left tackle. He calls “The Blind Side” his favorite movie and Michael Oher, the inspiration for said movie, his favorite player.

So if anybody is anxious about Gates playing left tackle, it’s not Gates.

“I’ve got to get better with my footwork and with my hands,” Gates said. “But overall I feel like I’ve done good there. . . . They wouldn’t put me there if they didn’t think I could do it. They’ve believed in me and trusted me to fill other positions.”

Now the Bulldogs are looking for Gates to come through once again.

171 comments Add your comment

Augusta dawg

March 26th, 2012
6:14 am

Augusta dawg

March 26th, 2012
6:17 am

Wow. Line is going to be too important to Dawgs success. Protect AM and open holes for our backs. We win those battles we win the SEC. D will be great.

Thomas Brown = Mr Negativity = 13-1 East (blogger) = Techie

March 26th, 2012
6:37 am

I believe we are headed for a very special season……go Dawgs!!!!

Nub

March 26th, 2012
6:44 am

Keep being down on the hunker KG…! Dawg Nation is proud of your efforts…

bubba4dawgs

March 26th, 2012
6:49 am

Welcome, Kenarious! Please be ready for Jadevian Clowny at SC! Your predecessor ignored him at the line of scrimmage leaving a completely open space for him to simply reach our and grab Murray by the Jersey and shake him like a rag doll, causing the ball to come loose and resulted in an immediate touchdown for SC. The Dawgs were ahead at the time and had the momentum to win. Honestly, Glenn didn’t even touch him and he was lined up right in front of him. Talk about a missed block, heck this one wasn’t even attempted! Please don’t give him that easy chance this year! Look at it this way, the DAWGS owe one to SC……just go get it!! GO DAWGS!!

some sense

March 26th, 2012
6:59 am

What about Kwame Geathers? Is he with the team? Is he practicing? Are there issues that need to be reported? Just what’s up, Chip?

Thomas Brown = Mr Negativity = 13-1 East (blogger) = Techie

March 26th, 2012
7:17 am

Yes, where is KWAME?

JB

March 26th, 2012
7:19 am

Was at a funeral this weekend and talked to someone from Jacksonville close to the Boles program. They said Theus is the best OL to come out of Florida they have ever seen. Big, fast, smart and great foot work. Gators not happy at all about losing him.

Ssgt Dawg

March 26th, 2012
7:28 am

I’m sure coach Friend will coaxh him up, but what if Theus comes in and is as good as advertised? Does Gates move back to guard? Would Theus go inside and force Houston over to the right side?

TennesseeDawg

March 26th, 2012
7:40 am

Georgia’s O-line recruiting has been terrible at best.

Will Jones

March 26th, 2012
7:47 am

Looks like coach Rich has asked a home team favor of reports not to report on Geathers.

Warner Robins DAWG

March 26th, 2012
7:54 am

I dont think anything is wrong with Geathers. You havent heard anything about him or big John Jenkins so i’ll take it as, no news is good news. I dont care who they move where as long we have the best 5 O-lineman on the field that will give us the best chance to win…..I’m happy.

DekalbFan

March 26th, 2012
8:17 am

The Dawgs will be real nasty this year. There will be a lot of teams getting the beat down from the Junk Yard. This team is solid all the way around . The DB situation will be one of the strong points after the first two games. I heard that Mizzu QB is having shoulder surgery this spring. I think Richt is tired of all the talk about him being soft.

Dawg48

March 26th, 2012
8:21 am

Why does every one keep masking about Kwamie? HE IS PRACTICING! He is not MIA!
He did NOT quit the team.

[...] least Georgia will find out if it has anyone who can fill the left tackle slot on the offensive line before the season starts. Share this:TwitterEmailStumbleUponRedditFacebookPrintDiggLike [...]

PaulPaul

March 26th, 2012
8:31 am

Has anyone heard anything about the progress of Zach Dabell and Xavier Ward? Both seem to have builds that would allow them to really bulk up and they seem to have a load of tallent. Also on the defense Mike Thornton and T J Stripling seemed to have fallen off the radar screen. Dabell especially was known for nasty aggressive attitude.

Chou Hannis Lea

March 26th, 2012
8:31 am

Looks like coach Richt has asked a home team favor of reporters not to report on Geathers.

Richt is hiding something. Not very ethical, is it?

McDawg

March 26th, 2012
8:34 am

do not move geathers to OL

JB

March 26th, 2012
8:47 am

The closer we get to football season, the more “crap” you will read on here about our Dawgs.Reason. They are going to resemble the old Dawgs and be pretty dang good this year…..and lot’s of folks on here who won’t like that. Pretty simple.

dawgfan

March 26th, 2012
8:48 am

I’m not worried about AM’s blind side. Chip, please ask these guys what they are doing to be more effective in the run game. I don’t care about their footwork and their hands. This isn’t a ballet company. This is SEC football. What are they going to do if we’re back in the SECCG and we need to pick up a tough 3 or 4 yards against a nasty LSU or Bama D-line to keep a drive going? Are they going to do the cha cha with them or block them? I don’t care how quick their damn feet are or how good their hands are. Who cares. We’re not going to win anything untill they start PUSHING PEOPLE BACKWARDS. This offense and coaching staff simply does not get it I’m afraid.

I sure hope I’m wrong.

JB

March 26th, 2012
8:48 am

Mr. Chou……………………For not very ethical…………check the Auburn and Bama boards. Thanks.

Dawglasville

March 26th, 2012
8:54 am

Do a better job of establishing the run and pass blocking becomes a lot easier.

DC

March 26th, 2012
9:02 am

Great article! Thanks for the write-up. Can’t wait to hear about the competition between Theus and Gates for the LT position! Does the person that doesn’t win out go to the RT?

DawginLex

March 26th, 2012
9:04 am

bulldawgs/TB

You are DEAD WRONG about Crowell versus Marshall

Crowell(according to eyewitness accounts), is running over people. The defense is winning overall but Crowell is playing very physical and has won several one on one battles with the defense.

Marshall shows signs of being good but he lacks the physical size of Crowell but has better speed.

Crowell 220 pounds
Marshall 190 pounds

That is why Crowell is 1st team.

Also, regarding the fights. There were 4 total and Crowell was not involved in all of them. Football players fight? Is this really a revelation? No.

Ken Malcome is also doing very well this spring.

The offensive line is trying to get their depth chart set.

Crowell is the best running back on campus.

Wow!

March 26th, 2012
9:07 am

Let me put this as diplomatically as I can. Going through life gullible is no way to live. Someone makes an unverified statement about Richt and Chou Hannis Lea immediately jumps to a conclusion that Richt is not ethical.

Chou needs to watch out for time share salesmen, people wanting to sell beachfront Arizona property, and offers to buy the Brooklyn Bridge.

TigerinGA

March 26th, 2012
9:20 am

Win SEC??? Comical at best. Good luck puppies.

BigGAdawg

March 26th, 2012
9:21 am

“Georgia is quite fortunate to have Gates on board. He was originally committed to Kentucky but switched when the Bulldogs offered him the day before national signing day in 2010. UGA came forward with an offer only after a couple of other prospects turned it down.”

THANK YOU DUH’RICK.

@bubba4dawgs, Welcome??–you do know that this is his third year in Athens.

Dawg Haus

March 26th, 2012
9:21 am

Boy, aren’t we all glad KG accepted that last-minute offer back in 2010? I’ve been very impressed with his play the past two seasons. Glad to hear he’s still got his foot on the gas.

Concerned

March 26th, 2012
9:44 am

A super looking player on what should turn out as Georgia’s best offensive line ever. The athletic group is just that athletes, and with more on the way. Sounds like a great start to a super season. We do have a huge opportunity to do very well this coming season, and I am looking forward to seeing what turns up. Go Dawgs

VADAWG

March 26th, 2012
9:55 am

This is the only statement i will announce on this blog and i will continue to do so!!!! Championships are won in the trenches!!!!

PERIOD!!

AltamahaDawg

March 26th, 2012
10:02 am

Careful DIL, Don’t mess with BuLLdawg’s alibi.

7576DAWG

March 26th, 2012
10:06 am

If we are weak at any position on the offensive line , and especially left tackle from the first team standpoint, just think how bad things will be when the second team plays. We need at least two deep at every position on the offensive line with NO fall off to be able to compete with Alabama and LSU. Offensive linemen substitute frequently so they all will get plenty of opportunities to get on the field.
Because Murray is short sometimes he has the tendency to move back too far which allows fast defensive ends to make it around the containment so it is just important for Murray to make sure he stays up in the pocket. A lot of the offensive line criticism last year was Murray’s fault.

Joey

March 26th, 2012
10:13 am

We will have lots of talented O-linemen, and maybe more depth than the past few seasons.

The problem is, we have had talent on the O-line up to now – Jones and Glenn will go in the first couple rounds of the NFL draft, and Anderson probably later. So why does our O-line seem so average when we go against good teams? So is it lack of proper technique or conditioning?

It’s not lack of talent.

BG

March 26th, 2012
10:14 am

Good luck this year Gates. GO DAWGS!

7576DAWG

March 26th, 2012
10:20 am

Will Friend does a good job with the recruits we have gotten since he became a coach at Georgia but he needs to pick up his game in recruiting. We missed out on some great players with the 2012 recruits and I hope it was because those players didn’t know Friend good enough but 2013 and 2014 is all on him. Today, being a good coach isn’t enough you also have to be a great recruiter. Hopefully things will pick up the next two years.

Top Row Dog

March 26th, 2012
10:24 am

We need you big dude. Just give the backs a little daylight and Aaron a few seconds. The backfield will make y’all look good. And the WR’s and TE’s all coming together, gonna be a special year people.

G-Dawg

March 26th, 2012
10:31 am

Friend is doing much more than Searles ever did!!

RxDawg

March 26th, 2012
10:32 am

Trey Mehrebutts, UGA Alumnite

March 26th, 2012
10:41 am

“Bulldogs counting on Kenarious Gates to come through once again” – AJC

Come through the gates? I am more worried about Horagnious Atkins breaking through and making tackles. We’ll see what happens.

bham dawg

March 26th, 2012
10:52 am

I love Kenarious Gates but it always seems like we don’t have a left tackle in waiting. It always seems like we have to move somebody from their natural position to fill in at left tackle. Last year it was cordy playing out of position, now we are moving Gates after playing 2 years at guard. I think our O-line would be much more consistent if we could get the players in one position as a freshman and keep them there. Hopefully Theus will come in and be a 3 year starter. Also, where is Mark Beard? Usually when you bring in a JUCO guy especially on the o-line you are expecting them to start right away. Everything I have read they have him working with the second unit.

DawginLex

March 26th, 2012
10:54 am

Beard actually worked with the 1st unit Saturday along with Dallas Lee moving to center.

Dantzler and Andrews got moved to 2nd team

Nothing to read into it though. Just trying to find the right combo

flo-ri-duh

March 26th, 2012
10:54 am

Kwame Gaethers has been at every practice but did miss one session of the 1st practice for unspecified reasons. Stripling, Debell and Ward had surgery last year but are practicing – but no full contact. Thornton is cross training at DT & DE and was last seen alternating at DT with Jenkins. Stripling is at OLB.as is Burrows. All are supposed to be ready by the 1st game and Ward & Debell have gained at least 20 – 25 lbs and strength in their red shirt year.

Dawginit.

March 26th, 2012
10:59 am

He needs to lose about 20 lbs if he’s going to be an effective LT in the SEC.

flo-ri-duh

March 26th, 2012
11:00 am

Recent commit O’Neal at LB is the 3rd ranked ILB by Rivals and 9th by Scout but is ranked much lower by ESPN. The 2 highest rated ILB in Georgia are committed to Bummer and Auburn. In other words, Rivals says Georgia has the 3 highest rated ILB in the nation but two are going out of state. This is a definite position of need as UGA got no ILBs in the last class.

AltamahaDawg

March 26th, 2012
11:03 am

6′5″, 328 lbs. Now, just think about that.

bham dawg

March 26th, 2012
11:18 am

@flo-ri-duh… did you see trey matthews tweet about reuben foster?

bham dawg

March 26th, 2012
11:23 am

For what its worth which isn’t much but… “Seems like me and my boi Reuben will be playing together again before we play together in college!” @Trigga_Tray28

Maybe Reuben is transferring to Newnan. If so it could only help our chances at flipping him.

Chip Towers

March 26th, 2012
11:43 am

some sense: Kwame’s fine.

Savh dawg

March 26th, 2012
11:58 am

Herrera is strong at inside LB. Look for big season from him

TampaGator

March 26th, 2012
12:02 pm

Mitchell, the fast kid from Valdosta, moved from WR to CB, right? Next question: Has he been arrested yet?

Just having some fun.