August 7, 2011

Battlefield promotion

Georgia won't be in full pads until Monday morning, but already David Andrews has shown position coach Will Friend enough over the first four days of preseason drills to earn a battlefield promotion.

Sunday, Friend said Andrews is currently his No. 2 center behind starter Ben Jones, adding that the former Wesleyan standout has been the most impressive of his freshmen offensive linemen.

"Andrews has really done the best so far. There's so much learning that's going into it all at once but he's done a good job of picking it up pretty quick," Friend said after Sunday morning's practice. "David's had a good camp. A lot of it has to do with what goes on from this point on but if he can continue to grow and learn what to do like he has the first few days then he's got a chance to be a good player and got a chance to play this year probably."

Friend said that freshmen Watts Dantzler is "showing signs" and along with starting left guard Kenarious Gates is working as one of the backups to left tackle Cordy Glenn.

Redshirt sophomore Dallas Lee and redshirt freshman Kolton Houston also received positive marks from Friend for their work on the second unit at offensive guard.

When the full pads come on Monday, Friend said he'll be pushing his group as hard as he can, despite the notion that a lack of depth will be an issue for his offensive line.

"We're gonna work. It's our job to block so we're doing to do the same drills if we had 20 of them or five of them so we'll continue to do those things," Friend said. "All you need is five, nobody's fretting."

McClendon keeping tabs on Crowell

Running backs coach Bryan McClendon said he takes time every day to remind running back Isaiah Crowell that being a Georgia Bulldog means a lot more than scoring touchdowns on autumn Saturdays in Sanford Stadium.

It's much more, and as a high-profile athlete for a big-time college program he needs to be mindful of that.

"You've got to talk to him about it every day. You talk about it to him as much as you can and just let him know - and everybody else on this team - as far as what you represent," McClendon said. "Even when you're out pumping your gas you're representing your family, yourself and everybody's watching you."

McClendon claims the message has been received.

"I think definitely early on not so much as he does know," McClendon said. "We're working through a lot of thing, realizing you're not in Columbus anymore, everybody's watching you, everybody's watching what you do."

On the field, McClendon echoed what teammates and head coach Mark Richt have said about the former Carver star - he's been a quick study off the Bulldogs' offensive scheme.

"He's picking it up quick. He's an intelligent guy and he definitely wants to do well. A guy that wants to do well and loves the game of football is always easy to work with," McClendon said. "It's easy for him, but the great thing that you see with him is you see a guy that doesn't necessarily accept that 'Hey, I've been this good so far.' He's constantly working, constantly trying to get better so that's very encouraging."

Jenkins has work to do

Defensive line coach Rodney Garner is never one to go around throwing very many personal bouquets toward his players.

That includes any comments toward junior college transfer Johnathan Jenkins, who Garner said is currently at No. 2 nose behind redshirt sophomore Kwame Geathers.

"John's a very talented big man, just very inconsistent. He's got to learn how to work and how to compete at this level," Garner said. "It's a different level, we'll not kid ourselves. Some of the things he might get away with there, he can't get away with here and be successful. I think he's a great kid, they're all great kids, so I think he will continue to work and as he gets a better grasp I hope his fundamentals will improve. But he's going to have to improve his fundamentals to play at his level."

Injury update

Brandon Boykin (hamstring), Jakar Hamilton (hamstring), Cornelius Washington (hamstring) and Derek Owens (unknown, but not serious per head coach Mark Richt) remain out of practice. Freshman Sterling Bailey (shoulder) remains in a green non-contact surgery after undergoing surgery on his labrum last March.

This and that

When asked to give the top five goals for his defense this fall, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham offered only one. "We just want to win. Whatever the situation is we just want to win. If we're up 6-3, if it's 30-30 in OT, we just want to stop them," Grantham said. "If they're in the Red Zone, we've got to make them kick field goals. If they're on third down, we've got to stop them. But the most important goal I have is to win." … Both Grantham and Garner had high praise for senior defensive end DeAngelo Tyson. "He's been tremendously so far. I've seen some stoutness out of him; I've seen some athletic ability. He's been kind of what I envisioned him being. I think he's a lot more comfortable there and I expect him to be productive for us. I've been pleased with his progress." … Richt said he felt much better about his team's energy in practice Sunday than he did Saturday morning. "I thought we had great energy today," Richt said in a statement. "We caught a break with the weather. We're practicing in the morning not only to try to beat the heat but also to try to beat the afternoon showers." Richt was especially pleased with the offense. "The offensive skill guys had a good day," Richt said. "There was very good running, throwing and catching. If we were keeping score today, I think the offensive guys would've gotten the best of it." That didn't make Grantham very happy. "We've got some players who are competing and some players that need to learn how to compete" Grantham said. "The guys I'm counting on, I like what I'm seeing, but it takes 11 guys and it takes depth. If you're on our team and play defense, you have to know how to compete."

Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at dash@ugasports.com.