Bulldogs believe David Andrews will play big at center

Georgia center David "Boss" Andrews (R) gets dwarfed next to fello linemen such as Watts Dantzler. But line coach and the Bulldogs say he's "plenty big." (UGA photo)

Georgia center David "Boss" Andrews (R) gets dwarfed next to fello linemen such as Watts Dantzler. But line coach and the Bulldogs say he's "plenty big." (UGA photo)

ATHENS — Go ahead. Make fun of David Andrews. Make fun of his height. Call him “Shorty.”

Andrews is used to it. He hears it all the time, including more than occasionally at Georgia’s own football complex. Every once in a while the Bulldogs’ coaches and players might needle him. Andrews says he loves it.

This just in: Andrews knows he’s not very tall. He’s been in front of a mirror. He’s been to the doctor’s office. He knows exactly how tall he is, and it’s not 6-foot-2 like he’s listed on the Bulldogs’ roster.

But that doesn’t bother Andrews, and apparently it doesn’t bother the Bulldogs either. He’s their starting center heading into Saturday’s season opener against Buffalo. And according to those who have watched him up close and seen him compete against nose guards John Jenkins (6-foot-4, 360 pounds) and Kwame Geathers (6-6, 350) in practice, it’s not by default.

“[Andrews] is a fighter now,” offensive line coach Will Friend said. “He’s sharp and he’ll fight you, he’ll compete. He’s a great kid, and he cares about Georgia. He’s what you want.”

Said Jenkins: “I’m gonna be honest with you, a lot of people will be surprised about David Andrews. He’s got a lot of heart and attitude. He’s got great technique. And for him to be able to hold up in there with Kwame and me, it shows a lot.”

Georgia had three major voids to fill on the offensive line this season. Center Ben Jones and tackles Justin Anderson and Cordy Glenn all were seniors last season and were drafted by NFL teams. None of those voids loomed larger than the one left by Jones, a four-year starter and the emotional heartbeat of the Bulldogs’ offense.

Andrews was recruited to Georgia out of Wesleyan by former line coach Stacey Searels for the purpose of succeeding Jones. But there were doubts from the beginning, especially considering the Bulldogs beat out Duke for Andrews’ services.

The chief knock: Andrews’ size. He was listed as 6-2, 275 on recruiting websites.

“Coach Searels never said anything about [his size], but he had strung me along for a while [without offering],” Andrews said. “Anytime I came on a visit I’d wear my boots because they had big heels. I’d stick insoles in my shoes to make me seem taller, anything I could to make me seem bigger.”

Searels finally got serious after he learned Andrews was invited to visit Alabama. Shortly after Duke offered, and Georgia followed with an offer the same night.

“I committed on the spot,” Andrews said. “I told them I was going to commit to my first SEC offer, but I really wasn’t. This was always where I was going to go, and I think he knew that. So it was kind of a mutual understanding.”

That’s the main thing to know about Andrews. He’s Bulldog through and through. His maternal grandfather, Bill White, attended UGA. Upon first holding the infant Andrews in his arms, White proclaimed him “the next great Georgia fullback!”

“I’m not playing fullback, but that’s still pretty cool,” Andrews said.

Friend says size can be overrated at center. Longtime NFL Pro Bowler Jeff Saturday is 6-2, 295 pounds, for example. Friend said the position is more about quickness, leverage and making the right calls at the line of scrimmage. And, he points out, it’s not like Andrews is a midget.

“You’re looking at him against a couple of buildings [in Jenkins and Geathers],” Friend said. “I like standing next to those two, too, because I look skinny. But David’s a 300-pounder. He’s big enough, he’s competitive as crap, so that’s a plus for him.”

And for Georgia, they insist.

Said Andrews: “It’s always been my dream to play for Georgia. I did get to play sparingly last year, but there’s nothing like starting and hearing your name called up there.”

BONUS MATERIAL

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT ‘BOSS’ . . .

Quarterback Aaron Murray:

“I’m pumped for David. I know he’s excited and ready to go. I’ve said all the time, he’s done a great job since he got here. We call him Ben’s little son. If he does something wrong we tell him we’re going to call his father and tell on him. He’s done a tremendous job. He knows all the calls and all the checks and he and I have been working really well in this camp together being on the same page.”

Fullback Merritt Hall (a teammate at Wesleyan):

“It just shows that hard work pays off. If you want to do something you’ve got to work at it. I know for a fact that Boss is one of the hardest workers that I’ve ever seen. He never takes a day off and he’s always doing the right thing.”

Georgia coach Mark Richt:

“He’s relatively strong. I wouldn’t say he’s a beast, but he’s quick. If you’re quick and you get your hands and feet where they’re supposed to be and you run em with enthusiasm and you know what you’re doing, you can play center.” . . .

“It’s not that unusual or that bad for a guy that short to be your center. And he’s very smart. That center must be able to make the calls. He must be able to get everybody moving in the right direction. And he has a big responsibility snapping the ball. And he does all those things pretty darn good.”

Offensive tackle Kenarious Gates:

“He might be a little small, but he’s got a big heart. … I’ve got great confidence in my center. He’s smart. He knows what to do. He’s going to work hard. You’ve got to have a great center, and he became a great center over the summertime, fall camp. I enjoyed playing with him, because he works hard.”

Quarterback Hutson Mason:

“He’s very similar to Ben Jones. His determination and just the way he functions and the way he goes about practice, the demeanor that he carries. Ben was real nasty and didn’t really care what people thought about him. That’s a lot like David and that’s what you want on your line, somebody who’s not going to take anything from anybody. . . .

“When he first got here he was going against Big John and you could tell he was getting frustrated. And I was like, Dude, just keep going, that’s going to pay off. There’s not many guys like Big John anywhere, even in the SEC. I mean, 360 pounds. It can only get better for you. Him blocking Big John and Kwame is really going to be a big benefit for him.”

ANDREWS ON ANDREWS

Emotions for opening game as starter . . .

“I’m anxious, definitely, excited, nervous. Pretty much everything. But I’ve prepared for this a while and I’m ready.”

Recalling for first time he played for Georgia. . .

“It was against Coastal Carolina last year. I came in about middle of third quarter. The stadium had died down a little during the game. But it was my first chance to play college football, and my first play was a touchdown. That was awesome. . . .

“It was a play to Orson across the middle. Hutson threw it. Pretty funny” Hutson says in the huddle, ‘this play’s about to be a touchdown. Let’s go.’ I was like, ‘OK, whatever.’ Next thing I know I’m sitting there blocking and I see Orson catched the ball about the 5-yard line in front of the end zone and he runs it in.”

Why he was able to earn the start. . .

“I have more knowledge of the offense now. I’ve become a better player since I’ve been here under Coach Friend. There’s still a lot of things I’ve got to work on. Personally I feel I’m better in the run game. So I’m trying to work on pass pro. But the coaches have kept pushing me and building their trust in me and I didn’t let them down.”

Most important part of playing center . . .

“First, getting the ball to the quarterback, then making the calls. But I’m up there with two experienced guards and that is a very comforting part of it. So I’m not having to tell everybody what they’re supposed to do. I can make a declaration and I know people to my backside are talking. So that helps having those guys up there that have played in some football games. But knowing what to do is a huge part of it in general.”

Growing up a Georgia fan . . .

“I remember watching [David] Greene and [Fred] Gibson and Musa [Smith] play. My first game was the 2002 SEC Championship, that was my first Georgia game I was able to go to. So that was a good experience. We started coming over sparinghly. It was hard because I was always playing little league football. But I tried to make it as much as possible. By the time I was in high school I was over here almost every weekend, up at games and stuff.”

On Ben Jones . . .

“He’s helped me a lot, not only in football, but just being there, inviting me over to his house and stuff like that. I was really fortunate to play with one of the greatest centers to ever play the game. That’s what I think. I’m still trying to do the things he did. I grew up watching him so it’s been great to learn from him and have that type of relationships.”

MORE GEORGIA FOOTBALL

36 comments Add your comment

Dawwg87

August 29th, 2012
9:56 pm

Dawwg87

August 29th, 2012
9:56 pm

Wow I finally did it!!!!!!!!

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

August 29th, 2012
9:57 pm

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

August 29th, 2012
9:57 pm

dang oh well

Dawwg87

August 29th, 2012
9:58 pm

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

August 29th, 2012
9:59 pm

Wish this kid the best

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

August 29th, 2012
10:01 pm

Glad to see a kid starting that actually cares and wants to do good for the team and the fans instead of wanting to be an embarrassment to the program

Bama in Atlanta

August 29th, 2012
10:01 pm

You never said how tall he actually is.

Grantham's The Man!

August 29th, 2012
10:03 pm

Looks like Andrews is going to be ALL RIGHT! Go Dawgs!!!

OkieDawg

August 29th, 2012
10:05 pm

Andrews is a DGD. I like what he says. Go Dawgs…May he have as big an impact as the last Boss…BAILEY!!!!

Brian

August 29th, 2012
10:13 pm

Size isn’t everything. I thought Geathers was going to destroy Boise’s center, who I believe was 6′. Needless to say, I was wrong about that, though both Geathers and Jenkins played better once they got some playing experience.

Brian

August 29th, 2012
10:16 pm

From all reports, it sounds like Andrews is exceeding expectations. But we need Burnette and Gates to hold up as well. Theus should eventually be great and I’m not worried at all about Dallas Lee.

Henry

August 29th, 2012
10:23 pm

I was gonna mention the same thing Brian. I thought surely that Geathers and Jenkins were just going to tear Boise’s center up who is actually 5′11 and only 280 lbs. But I was so wrong. Boise’s center held his own for most of the game. It’s not always about size. If you have heart, and are willing to fight, you’ll win everytime. Outwork your opponent. Andrews will do just fine.

Rudy

August 29th, 2012
10:30 pm

Fight them Andrews! Fight every D-linemen that lines up across from you! Fight! Fight! Fight! Every snap, every play. He’s trying to hurt your friend back there (Murray), he’s trying to beat you and make you hurt. He’s trying to hurt your pride. That D-lineman across from you wants to embarrass you. Here’s my message to you David…don’t let him!

GATA!!!!!!

sUGAr_daddy_DAWG

August 29th, 2012
10:37 pm

Sounds like he is “Man Enough.”

Jimmy

August 30th, 2012
1:28 am

Size (height wise) doesn’t mean squat at center. It’s all about leverage. If you can get underneath the tackle/guard lining up across from you, you can steer him in any direction you want, which is the name of the game.

I like this line, but as they say the proof will be in the pudding. Can’t wait for Saturday, with Navy/Notre Dame beginning at 9am, I’ll be watching ball from early morning until way past midnight. The first college football Saturday is upon us boys. Awesome!

Tide Roll's Tutor

August 30th, 2012
8:42 am

Where is Tide Roll? This article is tailor-made for him to write one of his obsessive UGA rants. I will be watching and ready to critique his work if he posts.

Red Clay Hound

August 30th, 2012
9:04 am

Tide Roll’s Tutor, we are glad you are on the job and appreciate your efforts.

JB

August 30th, 2012
9:16 am

Sounds like Andrews and Crowell cut from the same cloth…………..KIDDING…..Great to have a guy like this playing his heart out for thr Dawgs…..

Tide Roll's Tutor @Red Clay Hound

August 30th, 2012
9:30 am

Thanks, and a question. Are you the same Red Clay Hound that was involved in one of the first UGA blogs years ago? Grapevine maybe?

Nick

August 30th, 2012
9:38 am

Being someone who is 5′10″, I have to laugh about someone 6′2″ being called a midget!

Rudy

August 30th, 2012
9:46 am

@ Nick he’s not 6′2, more like 6′1 or maybe eve 6′0 even. But ask William Vlachos (Alabama center last year) how that goes. Being short actually works to your advantage at center. Vlachos blocked Michael Brockers who was a 14th overall pick in the draft, Nick Fairley, etc. Great center at Alabama and he was around 6′1. So, being “short” can be to your advantage by getting underneath the defender and controling him by the shoulder pads.

Tide Roll

August 30th, 2012
10:07 am

Andrews was y’all’s last line of defense on Honey Badger’s punt return for a TD. The funniest thing I’ve ever seen!

Tide Roll

August 30th, 2012
10:10 am

You guys are kidding about this kid, right? I wonder what these players quoted would be saying about Michael Thornton if he were at Center. They wouldn’t be talking intangibles, just that ” He’ll kill you.” You fellows have an All-SEC center at 3rd team nose guard. 32 years

CHDawg

August 30th, 2012
11:32 am

We had the biggest O line on planet earth last year–even bigger than any pro lines–and we allowed more sacks than every SEC team except KY! TFLs were terrible, too. We did play four top ten Ds, so that didn’t help. Maybe having smaller and quicker guys will help. I like the fact that the line is getting all of this attention. They are the key to UGA’s ‘12 season imho.

Tide Roll's Tutor

August 30th, 2012
1:22 pm

Your posts’ brevity is a step in the right direction. On the negative side, you are known to dislike UGA intensely, so us Dog fans will trust our coaches in deciding who plays what position, rather than a “Bama” fan.

The real "BankerDawg"

August 30th, 2012
1:29 pm

The only comfort I take away from this article is that Jenkins and Geathers have been working him out and that he says he’s better at run blocking than pass blocking. If he’s staying with these guys, we should be alright. My main concern is getting the ball to Murray and the snap count. Look at TN and FLA’s struggles over the years. We need him to play mistake free.

BG

August 30th, 2012
2:19 pm

GATA Boss!!!!!!

Red Clay Hound

August 30th, 2012
2:36 pm

No not me. I got the name from the Old Leonards Losers show that us to be on the radio.

Red Clay Hound

August 30th, 2012
2:37 pm

Dawg Tired

August 30th, 2012
7:00 pm

I’ll take someone with a heart and desire and is playing for the school he loves like this kid any day. Keep your “5 star it’s all about me” players. I don’t want ‘em.

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

September 2nd, 2012
4:49 pm

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

September 2nd, 2012
4:50 pm

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

September 2nd, 2012
5:03 pm

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

September 2nd, 2012
5:05 pm

Flat Tire on I-95 in Jacksonville

September 2nd, 2012
5:05 pm