OG Kolton Houston drawing praise of coaches, players

ATHENS – Georgia is in the midst of a major rebuilding effort on the offensive line with only two returning starters. But there is at least one relative newbie who is showing a lot of promise.

Kolton Houston, a sophomore from Buford, had to sit out this past season because of an “NCAA eligibility issue.” That issue is expected to be resolved before next fall and there are strong indications the 6-foot-5, 291-pounder will be among Georgia’s starting five for the season opener.

“We’re expecting Kolton to be a good player for us this year,” offensive line coach Will Friend said. “He’s a good athlete, he’s got good strength, he can run well. He’s probably the best athlete of the guards that we’ve got, to be honest with you. If he can continue to get tougher and continue to improve, he’s going to be a good player for us.”

Interview requests for Houston continue to be denied. But his teammates on the line don’t mind talking him up.

“Kolton Houston, I’ve always been high on him,” said junior guard Chris Burnette, the returning starter at right guard. “I feel like he really could have helped us out a lot last year if it wasn’t for that ineligibility stuff with him. I’ve been very impressed how he’s played.”

By all accounts, Kenarious Gates has been dominant and unchallenged in his move to left tackle from left guard. But Burnette had high praise for the other new names on the No. 1 line – center David Andrews and right tackle Austin Long. Andrews (6-2, 280) is a sophomore from Norcross and Long ((6-5, 304) is a redshirt sophomore from Memphis.

“I’ve been really impressed with the first line in general,” said Burnette, who has been designated spokesman among the linemen. “David Andrews has learned the offense probably faster than anybody I’ve seen as far as knowing what defenses are going to do, their tendencies and stuff like that. Austin, since high school I knew he was going to be a great player. He’s starting to get better after having to deal with injuries and sicknesses and stuff like that is real encouraging.”

Bailey to player D-end

The conversion of outside linebackers to defensive ends apparently was not limited to Cornelius Washington and Ray Drew. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham on Thursday said that redshirt freshman Sterling Bailey is also going play at that down-lineman position this coming fall.

Bailey (6-foot-3, 270 pounds), from East Hall, remains sidelined while recovering from off-season football surgery. But when he takes the practice field in August it will be with defensive line coach Rodney Garner’s group.

“Sterling is a guy who has really grown since he’s been here,” defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “He has very good flexibility and initial quickness. He’s got some size to him and he’s going to continue to get bigger as he lifts and eats. He’s going to be a pretty big man one day and he’s got pretty good athletic ability. Those kinds of guys create mismatches inside. That’s what you’re trying to do is create mismatches so guys can win one-on-one battles.”

Grantham said Washington will work at both outside linebacker and end in the fall.

Garrison Smith, Swann draw praise

Asked to identify some players that have helped themselves this spring, Grantham tabbed a pair of Atlantans — defensive end Garrison Smith and cornerback Damian Swann.

Said Grantham of Smith, a 6-foot-3, 294-pound junior out of Douglass: “Garrison knows what everybody does. He’s a very smart guy, he can get guys lined up and he plays with energy and brings energy to the defense. He did that last year. He’s plays in all of our packages and he can play on all three downs. I’ve been pleased and proud with what he’s done.”

Of Swann, the 5-11, 177-pound sophomore out of Grady: “Damian Swann is a really good player that continues to improve every day. He’s basically a second-year guy, but you see a lot of productivity out of him and I think he can be an outstanding player.

Etc. . . .

Signees John Atkins and John Theus watched the Bulldogs practice on Thursday. . . . Safety Bacarri Rambo and cornerback Sanders Commings didn’t practice because “they’re banged up,” according to Grantham. . . . Wide receiver Rantavious Wooten (leg muscle) had to leave practice again. . . . The Bulldogs will hold their second scrimmage of the spring Saturday at Woodruff Practice Fields.

144 comments Add your comment

k

April 5th, 2012
8:30 pm

Pdx

April 5th, 2012
8:31 pm

k

April 5th, 2012
8:31 pm

k

April 5th, 2012
8:31 pm

Vance Duly

April 5th, 2012
8:32 pm

WOOF! Sorry, that’s all I had to say right now. GO DAWGS!!!

Fred

April 5th, 2012
8:34 pm

I think our offensive line will be underrated this year! GO DAWGS!

Richard Tardits's Beret

April 5th, 2012
8:37 pm

I am concerned about the OL in terms of size and experience….let’s hope the defense can survive the DB shortage early in the season and carry the Offense…..also, Paul Johnson is ugly.

Max Sizemore

April 5th, 2012
8:38 pm

Houston’s development may be the most important item of the spring.

Cdpridg

April 5th, 2012
8:59 pm

I think this line will be a pretty good one come the fall.

jack bull

April 5th, 2012
9:02 pm

i really think we’re going to be fine. no need to worry just yet. as long as AM has learned to protect the football!

On another note, just read that Bobby Petrino report, the one where he said he DIDN’T have a passenger, yet he DID! A young, blonde 25 year old! Man, that guy is a POS! He’s right up there with a certain ex-AD I knew of….

Dawglasville

April 5th, 2012
9:19 pm

jack bull – The chickens are coming home to roost Bobby Pushay.

LeftCoastDawg

April 5th, 2012
9:24 pm

Did they find red panties at the crash scene?

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

April 5th, 2012
9:33 pm

hope swann turns out to be great. gotta a feeling he’ll be the CB starter for the next 2-4 games.

chip: any updates on lynch, stripling & morant??

Mountain Dawg

April 5th, 2012
9:40 pm

Wooten may as well pack it in.

Grantham's the man

April 5th, 2012
9:48 pm

It will be interesting to see how well the new O-line holds up against the veteran Defense in the G-day game.

Go Dawgs!!!

Mobile Dawg

April 5th, 2012
9:50 pm

I like what I hear in terms of the guys supporting each other. Often the best “gems” are the unexpected ones you find by surprise. If this OL could gel and surprise us, even this skeptical Dawg would say it could be a good season. I would like to see some other QB’s get some “significant” game experience, however Richt apparently doesn’t think that’s important.

KeepDreaming

April 5th, 2012
9:51 pm

Sauce on Side!

ole dawg

April 5th, 2012
9:54 pm

If Arkansas has any morals whatsoever they will fire Petrino ASAP! Not because he had the girl on the bike (which could have have been explained away) but because he and his family LIED about it! This is on par with the Damon Evans deal. We saw what UGA did. Your turn Razorbacks… are you man enough to do the right thing?

Oh yeah… GO DAWGS!!!

Good night yall.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

April 5th, 2012
9:55 pm

I sure hope the O-line can block for our 5ft 2in 120lb running back up the middle plays

Without that play we will not beat the Buffalo’s, Vandy’s, Georgia Southerns, Valdosta States; Columbus College etc

Mobile Dawg

April 5th, 2012
10:01 pm

ole dawg, you sound like the lynch mob crowd that has been chasing the Florida case that ended in the death of a 17 year old. You have no idea what the facts of the case are. Damon was caught “drunk” with a “pantyless” party girl.

Bull Dawg

April 5th, 2012
10:08 pm

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

I hear there are some Star Trek reruns on channel 7. Maybe your mom will let you stay up late!

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

April 5th, 2012
10:13 pm

Bull Dawg

I hear Athens just opened up another kool-aid bar delusional hour starts everyday

Vampire Bill

April 5th, 2012
10:37 pm

Please stop doing drugs and getting arrested.. We might be ok?

pj

April 5th, 2012
10:43 pm

Regarding the comments about our OL being “undersized”? Wrong. Last year we had the biggest OL in the country and a bigger one than 2/3 of NFL teams (look it up). It made us slow and we couldn’t open holes. Look at the lines that really run the ball in the SEC. Yeah they’re big – about as big as our line will be this year – but also quick footed and atheletic. We need a spring at the snap – and with our pro style offense, slightly less weight will do us some good. Go look at Richts top 3 rushing teams since he’s been at UGA. Look at the weight of the OL. Right on par with what we have now.

Beast from the East

April 5th, 2012
11:04 pm

ole dawg,
Driving drunk was the reason Damon Evans was fired…not because he had a woman in the car. Petrino wasn’t drunk…he’s just an a$$hole. They knew that when they hired him.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

April 5th, 2012
11:16 pm

No worries

10 wins
Uniform change
Players being arrested or suspended
losing to top 20 teams
Pre-season national champions
Sales pitches (Dream Team) etc

All is well in the land of mediocrity

Gulf Shores Dawg

April 5th, 2012
11:27 pm

Dawgs will be fine, get behind them and quit cha bitchin…a few field goals kept us form being 12-2 last year, and who would have ever bet our kicking game would implode!!!

Fan

April 5th, 2012
11:32 pm

@Flat Tire
It’s a UGA sports page. Stop trolling and trying to stir things up. Let Dawg fans enjoy a good article about the football team in peace.

UGA ALUM

April 6th, 2012
12:08 am

Actually our O-line was the biggest in college AND bigger than any NFL team last year. I agree that instead of 330lb beefcakes, we need strong, agile, and quick 295ers. I have a good feeling about this O-line and everyone is young….Bodes well for the future…Our o-line will be a strong point for ‘13 and ‘14 to go with all those RBs, IC if he stays 4 years, KM, TG, and the kid from Florida next year….

Clarke County College for Girls and Effeminate Boys

April 6th, 2012
12:19 am

go dawgs….oh, just go dawgs!!!

MY Dawg

April 6th, 2012
12:28 am

We need all the help we can get on the O line. I can’t wait to see Theus and Pike get in the mix this fall. Ga can’t be a true contender until they have a group of ( Big Uglies) that can get the job done. Everyone knows the difference in the SEC is the play of the defensive fronts, and obviously the overall speed. Go Dawgs!

RED DOG 77

April 6th, 2012
1:11 am

I’ve been sayin’ it all along, the Oline is going to surprise and amaze this year. Yup, it might take a few games to gel, but we have a fine stable Big’uns…………….Me?……..we do get by the all important first four games………..then it is…………GO GET ‘EM DAWGS…………..GATA

WtfWruthnkn

April 6th, 2012
1:18 am

How many people just come out and admit they were cheating when first asked?

WDE

April 6th, 2012
2:58 am

Kolton Houston=DGD

Troup Co. Dawg

April 6th, 2012
3:10 am

There are some mighty fine people here in the Great state of Jawje !!!

7576DAWG

April 6th, 2012
5:28 am

I know this is off topic but the AJC didn’t provide anywhere so you could vent about what is going on with Petrino at Arkansas.
Jessica Dorrell got an assistant coordinator job and she was just on the volleyball team. If Arkansas doesn’t fire this little gold digger along with Petrino I hope that the SEC will get involved and demand something be done. It is a disgrace as long as Petrino remain a coach in the SEC. We already knew he did not have any integrity because of the way he left Atlanta but for a grown man that is suppose to be a roll model to his players to get caught and lie about his involvement with Dorrell in an attempt to cover it up is a reflection on the SEC and I will be very disappointed if he remains coach at Arkansas.

Year of the DAWG

April 6th, 2012
5:45 am

PJ. finally some one on here knows what there talking about. Our fat and slow OL killed us last year.Thats why we got killed in the second half. Go DAWGS!!!

tenn.DAWG

April 6th, 2012
6:21 am

After three years of the O-Line being overrated let’s hope that interview with CWF wasn’t just coach speak.They have to toughen up.Have Pat Dye call’em out again,worked before.

Paddy

April 6th, 2012
6:36 am

Beast of the East @11:04pm…..you are spot on with Petrino. He was a coward when he left the Falcons and he has shown again that character flaw in Arkansas. It is no wonder that he does not recruit in Georgia any longer. He is about to run out of states!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Destin Dawg

April 6th, 2012
6:37 am

This O line needs to be more physical and open up some holes… push ‘em BACK.. Way Back !!! run the ball .. we have the running backs ! Go Dawgs !! Grantham has the Junkyard defense going NOW .. we need a consistent offense… Go Dawgs !!

Paddy

April 6th, 2012
6:42 am

pj…….your assessment of our past O-Line problems is very accurate. I am encouraged about the potential of this whole group and our coaches ability to get the most production out of this group.

BobDawg

April 6th, 2012
7:34 am

LOL….Looking at Putrino’s face after the wreck; caught with a 25 year old girl…. Geez, what a snake in the grass. Tried to undermine the Auburn coach; left Falcons in a lurch and now this….

jasont13

April 6th, 2012
7:54 am

I’m a UGA alum who lives in NWA (Arkansas), and they will not fire Petrino. he is being praised for having a press conference two day’s after the wreck. he has the media and the AD wrapped around his finger. they are either scared of him or something. if this happened at UGA, Tech, or any other university in metro Atlanta, Mark Bradley and Jeff Schultz would be trying run them out of town.

Joey

April 6th, 2012
8:02 am

Is it any of our business what Arkansas does or doesn’t do to its football coach. There sure are a bunch of pure-as-the-driven-snow posters on here. Regular Puritans.

Petrino may be an a-hole, but he’s a damn good college coach. Since his first year at ARK, he’s done a hellova better job than our coach, while butting heads in the West.

Paddy

April 6th, 2012
8:12 am

Joey…….Are you really saying that because we don’t live in a particular part of the country, we have no right to comment on these sports stories? You have just taken “States Rights” to another level. WOW, you live in a rather small world!!!

Across the Wide Missouri

April 6th, 2012
8:29 am

Missouri 37, Georgia 17

DawgNation

April 6th, 2012
8:30 am

Finally some more good news out of UGA. Thanks Chip. On Patrino I just say Karma is a Witch

DawginLex

April 6th, 2012
8:33 am

Bobby and Jessica

Hawgs on a Harley

I’ll give it to the ol’ boy, she is smoking hot.

Anybody think Richt would do anything that stupid?

He hired her in the Athletics Dept on March 28th!!

You can’t make this stuff up!!

Joey

April 6th, 2012
8:36 am

Who said anything about rights? Not me.

It just comes off as petty, and holier-than-thou, for fans on a UGA blog to demand another program fire their coach.

That’s it, and I suppose my world is about the same size as everybody else’s . . .

DawginLex

April 6th, 2012
8:36 am

so joey, what would you rather have?

A) A few players doing dumb things getting themselves in trouble

or

B) A coach who is the biggest idiot of everyoen in the room who hired a hot 28 year old former volleyball player and is now banging her and wrecks his motorcycle with her as a rider and does not admit she was a passenger?