Thursday, March 10, 2011
Opening spring camp: Georgia
By Chris Low
Schedule: The Bulldogs will practice once on Thursday afternoon and then take next week off for spring break before returning to spring drills. The spring game is April 16.
What’s new: Will Friend takes over for Stacy Searels as offensive line coach, and Kirk Olivadotti is the new inside linebackers coach. In addition, Joe Tereshinski was promoted to director of strength and conditioning.
On the mend: Linebackers Dexter Morant (shoulder) and T.J. Stripling (knee) will be held out of spring practice.
On the move: Sophomore Alec Ogletree is moving from safety to inside linebacker. Senior DeAngelo Tyson is shifting from nose guard to defensive end. Senior Justin Anderson is moving back to the offensive line and will compete for one of the starting guard spots after spending an injury-marred season at nose guard a year ago. Senior Cordy Glenn will move over to right tackle after starting for three years at guard. Christian Robinson will slide into Akeem Dent’s middle linebacker spot. Sophomore Jarvis Jones heads into the spring as the starter at strong side outside linebacker.
Key battle: Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is looking for more consistency at the free safety position. Senior Jakar Hamilton and junior Shawn Williams will battle it out this spring, although Grantham said another possibility could be junior Sanders Commings moving from cornerback to safety.
New faces: He’s not entirely new, but Jarvis Jones will be on the field for the first time this season. He practiced last season but couldn’t play in games after transferring from Southern California. Also, signees Chris Conley, a receiver, and Christian LeMay, a quarterback, enrolled early and will go through spring practice.
Breaking out: After catching 23 passes as a freshman and 26 passes last season, junior tight end Orson Charles is primed for an All-SEC season in 2011. He’s had a great offseason and is pushing a chiseled 250 pounds. The Bulldogs plan to move him around and use him in a number of different ways. He’s athletic enough to split out wide and make things happen on the perimeter and is an impossible matchup for linebackers down the middle of the field.
Don’t forget about: Cornerback Brandon Boykin elected to come back for his senior season after checking out his draft stock. Getting him back was huge for the Georgia secondary and also solidifies the Bulldogs’ special teams as the best in SEC. Boykin returns as one of the most polished cornerbacks in the league and is also one of the SEC’s most dangerous return specialists. He’s returned four kickoffs for touchdowns during his career.
All eyes on: Quarterback Aaron Murray had a terrific freshman season with 3,049 passing yards, 24 touchdown passes and eight interceptions. But gone are his top two receivers, including A.J. Green. More than ever, this is Murray’s offense now, and establishing the right kind of chemistry and timing with his new corps of receivers this spring will be critical.