SEC: Justin Anderson

Opening spring camp: Georgia

March, 20, 2012
Schedule: Georgia begins spring practice March 20 and concludes with the G-Day Game, 2 p.m. ET April 14 at Sanford Stadium.

What's new: For the first time in a long time, the Bulldogs enter spring ball without any coaching changes. Georgia let its coaches know how much the 2011 season meant by giving extensions to head coach Mark Richt and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. The Bulldogs also went through mat drills before spring practice, something they didn't do last year. Georgia welcomed three early enrollees in running back Keith Marshall, quarterback Faton Bauta and junior college offensive lineman Mark Beard.

On the mend: Wide receiver Chris Conley could be limited this spring with a wrist injury. Also, outside linebacker/defensive end Sterling Bailey had foot surgery in December and could be limited. Receiver Rantavious Wooten is coming off of a season in which he battled concussion symptoms for most of the year after being in a car accident, but he's expected to be completely recovered this spring.

On the move: One of the biggest moves in the SEC revolves around receiver Malcolm Mitchell. After quite the freshman season, Mitchell will work at cornerback this spring, because Georgia's numbers there are so low. Mitchell was one of the best in the conference at receiver in 2011, but with Georgia needing more help at cornerback, he could see more playing time on defense rather than offense this fall. Bailey was listed as an outside linebacker last season, but there's a chance that he could move to defensive end this spring. Ray Drew will also get more reps at defensive end, after playing outside linebacker last fall. He's likely to get more reps than Bailey, considering he played more and Bailey is recovering from surgery. Richard Samuel, who moved back to running back from linebacker last fall, could get reps at fullback as well.

Questions: The cornerback spot will be very thin heading into the 2012 season. Thanks to attrition, dismissals and suspensions, Mitchell moved to corner. There is starting experience, but depth is an issue, and Sander Commings has been suspended for the first two games. With Commings and Branden Smith the only vets, Georgia will have to rely on youngsters will little experience this spring. Damian Swann, Devin Bowman and Blake Sailors will have to grow up fast. The offensive line lost starters Cordy Glenn, Ben Jones and Justin Anderson, and returns zero seniors this season. All 14 who will partake in spring practice are underclassmen. The good news is that there is depth, and a lot of players can play different positions, but it's a pretty inexperienced group. Chris Burnette, Kenarious Gates and Dallas Lee all started games last season, but they'll have to coach up a lot of younger players this spring. And you can't forget about the running back spot. Isaiah Crowell has vowed to work harder, and has had the most time since he arrived to be healthy, so a big spring is expected. He'll need it, with Marshall on campus and ready to see a lot some time this fall.

Getting defensive: The Bulldogs return nine defensive starters from a unit that ranked fifth nationally last season. Those returners include the SEC's top sack man in linebacker Jarvis Jones. Complementing Jones on what is arguably the SEC's top linebacking unit are Alec Oglreetree, Cornelius Washington, and Mike Gilliard. The massive John Jenkins is back at nose guard, and Abry Jones, who is coming off a solid 2011, is back at end. There certainly are questions in the secondary, but having starters Bacarri Rambo, Shawn Williams, Smith, and eventually Commings, will help tremendously

Don't forget about: With defense being in Mitchell's future, Georgia's offense will take a hit, but the Bulldogs aren't without bodies at receiver. Mitchell is easily Georgia's best receiver, but there is still some good talent behind him. Tavarres King hopes his bowl performance is a springboard for this season. He didn't put up stellar numbers, but became a more reliable target in the second half of the season. Then you have Michael Bennett, who really came on as a third option at receiver, catching 32 passes and five touchdowns. Conley will be limited, but proved to be a trusted target last season. Of course, Wooten and Marlon Brown are still looking to put everything together, but time is ticking for these two vets. It's time for them to step up this spring, and the coaches feel both have the physical tools and understand the offense enough to make it happen.

Breaking out: Brown appears to be the healthiest he's been since arriving in Athens. The coaches have been waiting and waiting for him to step up and be a force in the passing game, but he's been so off-and-on during his career. He enters the spring with high expectations from the coaching staff, and his quarterback, Aaron Murray, has a lot of confidence in him. Tight ends Jay Rome and Arthur Lynch are players who could break through this spring, especially with Mitchell working on defense. Rome and Lynch will be looking to replace Orson Charles' production. Running back Ken Malcolme is another player to keep an eye on. His attitude has changed, and he will push to be the second or third running back. Defensively, linebacker Cornelius Washington is another players the coaches hope elevates his play this spring and finally reaches his potential.

All eyes on: Murray is coming off two seasons in which he broke Georgia passing records, but the redshirt junior still hears some criticism. His play in big games has been called into question because of the mistakes he's made. Georgia opened the season with two losses against ranked teams, and ended the season that way. In Murray's past four games, he threw eight touchdowns and six interceptions, including two interceptions in the SEC title-game loss against LSU, and two in the Outback Bowl loss to Michigan State. Improving the little things and trusting those around him more will help Murray tremendously this spring. He'll also have the responsibility of making sure this team is mentally ready for all the hype and the spotlight that will come with a team that will surely be a favorite in the SEC East this fall.

DawgNation links: Team mailbag

March, 5, 2012
Radi Nabulsi writes Insider: In this week's team mailbag, DawgNation addresses pressing questions from our Insiders about who might change positions or double up on positions, how the backup QB situation will shake out, and making second-half corrections.

David Ching writes Insider: Quick pro day observations from Athens.

Kipp Adams writes Insider: The Georgia Bulldogs' first Very Important Dawg Day in review.

DawgNation links: Prospect finds discipline

February, 23, 2012
Radi Nabulsi writes Insider: Not taking care of business while hoping for a college football career landed OL Trenton Brown at Georgia Military College. The disciplined lifestyle there has helped the promising lineman turn a corner he hopes will lead him to an FBS career.

Video: Brown interview

David Ching writes: A DawgNation primer for the eight former Georgia Bulldogs showing off their skills this week at the NFL combine in Indianapolis.

SEC players invited to NFL combine

February, 7, 2012
The NFL has released its list of invites to this years NFL combine. Of the more than 300 prospects taking part in the pre-draft shenanigans starting Feb. 22, 62 are from the SEC (for fun we are including Missouri and Texas A&M).

Here are the SEC representatives: School breakdown:
  • Alabama: 9
  • Arkansas: 4
  • Auburn: 3
  • Florida: 3
  • Georgia: 8
  • Kentucky: 2
  • LSU: 8
  • Missouri: 4
  • Mississippi State: 4
  • Ole Miss: 2
  • South Carolina: 5
  • Tennessee: 2
  • Texas A&M: 6
  • Vanderbilt: 2
Now that you've seen the recruiting needs for the SEC Western Division teams, it's time to check what teams in the East needed to focus on when it came to recruiting for the 2012 class:


Offensive line: There's no getting around how much Florida's offensive line struggled in 2011. Florida doesn't lose a lot from its line, but the Gators need more talent. There are a lot of questions surrounding this position and getting qualities bodies is a must.

Running back: Florida loses seniors Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps, and will enter the fall with unproven players in Mike Gillislee and Mack Brown. As Florida continues to move closer to a more traditional/pro-style offense, the Gators also need to add size to the position.

Wide receiver: Again, this is a position in which the Gators need to improve in the talent category. Florida lost just one senior from last year's squad, but unproven players lurk. What Florida needs to get in this class is a true playmaker at receiver. There is hope that Quinton Dunbar, Andre Debose and Frankie Hammond can step up, but some solid competition won't hurt.


Offensive line: Georgia loses three starters in Cordy Glenn, Ben Jones and Justin Anderson. The Bulldogs would like to add a few more big bodies up front in this class to help with all that unproven depth.

Linebacker: In Todd Grantham's 3-4 defense, linebackers are extremely important. The Bulldogs will likely lose a couple bodies at outside linebacker next year, including star Jarvis Jones, and would like to add a couple of true playmakers at that position in this class.

Wide receiver: Come 2013, Georgia will have taken some hits at its wide receiver depth. There is young talent in Malcolm Mitchell, Chris Conley and Michael Bennett, but veterans like Tavarres King, Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten will be gone. Adding a couple standouts at wide receiver in this class would be nice.


Offensive playmakers: Whether it comes at quarterback, wide receiver, running back or tight end, the Wildcats need to find players who can make plays when they get the ball in their hands. Kentucky's offense was hard to watch all season because there was no one who could consistently move the ball.

Offensive line: Kentucky loses three starters -- Chandler Burden, Stuart Hines and Billy Joe Murphy -- from its offensive line and needs to load up here in this class. There is a handful of young players at each offensive line position, but the Wildcats need to think about adding more for the future.

Defensive back: Veterans are leaving the Wildcats' secondary, so it's time to stock up. Winston Guy, Taiedo Smith, Randall Burden and Anthony Mosley will all be gone, meaning the Wildcats are in need of adding some depth to both the cornerback and safety positions.


Running back: Leading rusher Henry Josey suffered a severe knee injury toward the end of the 2011 season and the Tigers have some veterans jam packed at the top of the depth chart at the position. Getting help to add to future rosters would really help this offense as it moves to the SEC.

Defensive line: The Tigers are losing three starters along the defensive line and 10 players from 2011 will be gone by the end of next season. There are some youngsters there, but it's time to getting into restocking mode along the defensive line. Also, this is where games are won and lost in the SEC. Finding more athleticism here is crucial.

Offensive line: Like the defensive line, Missouri will lose three starters here. There are some bodies to fill in for now, but you can never have too many offensive linemen and now that the Tigers are headed to the SEC, getting some bigger, more athletic linemen will be key to survival in this jungle.


Defensive line: The Gamecocks have gotten a ton of production from here lately, but South Carolina will lose two starters in Melvin Ingram and Travian Robertson. South Carolina might want to add to defensive end the most, with Ingram leaving and Devin Taylor getting ready to depart in a year.

Linebacker: Over the next two years, the Gamecocks will lose some quality players at linebacker and even the spur position. A handful of veterans occupy the depth chart at linebacker, so that means South Carolina needs to add a few quality bodies for the future.

Defensive back: South Carolina's depth in its defensive backfield could be considered thin. The Gamecocks are down two starters at cornerback and will lose solid players in D.J. Swearinger and DeVonte Holloman in 2013.


Running back: The Vols never figured out how to run the ball last year and will now turn to a group of unproven running backs. Marlin Lane has the talent to excel, but he needs to be more consistent. Finding a couple talented backs in this class would help this position tremendously.

Defensive tackle: The Vols need some help inside, and now that they are moving to the 3-4, getting quality nose guards is a must for Tennessee. Adding some girth inside will be very important in order to improving this position.

Defensive back: Tennessee will say goodbye to quite a bit of their defensive backs in the next couple of years, so getting a head start on adding to players to both safety and corner would be a plus.


Offensive line: The Commodores return the bulk of their offensive line next year, but after that, Vanderbilt will be pretty thin and very young up front. Adding four or five bodies to the offensive line would go a long way for Vanderbilt.

Linebacker: Vanderbilt loses one starter, in Chris Marve, here for next season, but the year after will see a lot of turnover at the position, with four rising seniors on the roster.

Defensive end: Two starters — Tim Fugger and T.J. Greenstone — are gone and Vanderbilt will lose a handful more after the 2012 season. Getting some help at this position is another must for coach James Franklin.

Lunchtime links

January, 2, 2012
Those January bowls are just about to start, but we've got some SEC links to help you pass the time before kickoff.
HOOVER, Ala. -- Entering spring practice, Georgia's offensive line seemed like one of its strengths. Now, it's an injury away from being a major weakness for the Bulldogs.

Things started with a devastating ACL injury to veteran tackle Trinton Sturdivant and have continued with attrition, as tackles A.J. Harmon and Brent Benedict left the program.

Coach Mark Richt, who has plumped down onto a hotter seat in Athens this season, isn't worried about the players who have left or the Bulldogs' diminished depth. He insists he's fine with the bodies he has up front, as long as they are healthy.

"I'm not worried about the depth if nobody gets hurt," Richt said.

But in college football -- and especially the SEC -- that could be a pretty big "if."

Across the offensive line, the Bulldogs have a few veterans wedged in. Senior Ben Jones has the potential to win the Rimington Award -- presented to the nation's best center -- while converted tackle Cordy Glenn should hold up the left side fairly well. Sophomore Kenarious Gates is solid at left guard and the Bulldogs expect big things from Justin Anderson at right tackle.

Figuring out right guard is the next step. There are players to plug in, but inexperience is an issue.

So, the Bulldogs aren't insufficient when it comes to the big uglies, but Jones agreed that health is the main priority for this group.

"We've lost guys every year and that hurts as an offense because we're so close," Jones said. "Seeing one of your brothers go down, you're like, 'Man, what if that was me?' That really hurts you as a whole offensive line."

As the offensive line stands, Jones said he's pleased with the makeup. To him, there is more talent than people think and Jones is convinced right guard won't be an issue come the fall.

"We have a great offensive line," he said. "We have a lot of players who have played a lot of snaps.

"Our right guard, it could be anybody. We have five or six guys who could play right guard. The job is up for grabs and anybody could play it."

Brent Benedict leaves Georgia

June, 27, 2011
Before the spring, Georgia would have put its offensive line up against just about anyone's in the SEC.

There was size, strength, experience, and most importantly, there was depth.

Now, as the season slowly draws near, the Bulldogs said goodbye to yet another lineman when redshirt freshman tackle Brent Benedict decided to leave the program Sunday for what coach Mark Richt said were personal reasons.

Benedict arrived at Georgia as a highly touted recruit, but he suffered a devastating knee injury during his season year of high school. Benedict not only tore his ACL but had nerve damage as well.

The injury cost Benedict his first season on campus, but he returned this spring expecting to push for time on Georgia's line. While Benedict had the potential to be a star for the Bulldogs, he struggled to move ahead in his playing progression this spring. He arrived as a tackle, but left spring as the backup right guard.

The 6-foot-5, 301-pound Benedict is the third offensive lineman that won't make it through the season for the Bulldogs. Senior tackle Trinton Sturdivant went down this spring after suffering his third ACL-related knee injury. Sturdivant, who started seven games last season, was battling converted guard Cordy Glenn for one of the tackle spots before his season-ending injury.

In May, junior tackle A.J. Harmon also transferred for personal reasons. Harmon competed for time at tackle during his first two years, playing in just seven career games.

The Bulldogs are left with a crippled offensive line. Heading into preseason, converted defensive lineman Justin Anderson is to start at right tackle opposite Glenn. Center Ben Jones is arguably the most reliable lineman the Bulldogs have, and Kenarious Gates, who started three games in 2010, is listed as the starting left guard. The young and inexperienced Chris Burnette is the starter at right guard.

Behind them, things don’t look much better. Offensive line coach Will Friend will have to accelerate the development of a handful of freshmen during preseason camp. One other option will be taking a look at moving Gates around to help with depth at tackle. This spring, Richt said that with Gates' athleticism, he could cross-train at tackle.

Kolton Houston and Dallas Lee are also options at guard, but Houston was a member of the scout team last season, while Lee played in just three games.

Sophomore Austin Long is listed as a tackle, but injuries have hurt his progression. Long had back surgery and missed the 2009 season. He was a member of the scout team last season and missed this spring after tearing a pectoral muscle in practice.

The Bulldogs signed six offensive linemen in the 2011 recruiting class and the staff will have to push these youngsters even more heading into the season. Three players that could come in and compete for time immediately are Watts Dantzler, Zach DeBell and Xzavier Ward, who are all expected to play tackle.

Even with the talent the Bulldogs possess on both sides of the ball, they are an offensive lineman injury away from having a rough 2011.
The big uglies up front on the offensive side are our focus today. There are some quality veterans out there, but teams all across the league are looking to replace some quality linemen in the trenches.

Here's how we see the league stacking up:

[+] EnlargeBarrett Jones
Mark J. Rebilas/US PresswireBarrett Jones has been one of the mainstays of Alabama's offensive line the past two seasons.
1. Alabama: Four of Alabama’s five linemen from a year ago return, making this one of the team’s strongest units. The returners have combined for more than 70 starts at Alabama. Barrett Jones is the star of the show. The junior has been the Tide’s starting right guard each of the past two seasons, but took reps at left tackle and could be asked to move. William Vlachos is back at center and could be the best at his position in the league. Fellow starters D.J. Fluker and Chance Warmack are back and took reps at left tackle this spring.

2. Ole Miss: The Rebels’ offense isn’t getting much respect this offseason, but its offensive line returns All-SEC candidates in tackles Bradley Sowell and Bobby Massie. Seven of Ole Miss’ linemen started two or more games each on the offensive line in 2010. Last season, the Rebels were first in the league in sacks allowed, giving up just 14. Alex Washington should stay at left guard after starting eight games there and A.J. Hawkins will likely get the nod at center after playing eight games there as well. Arkansas transfer Matt Hall will compete for time at center.

3. LSU: Joseph Barksdale might be gone, but the Tigers have a very talented group of linemen returning. Tackle Alex Hurst seems primed to be a star in the league and senior Josh Dworaczky is arguably the Tigers’ top lineman with 25 career starts. Patrick Lonergan is solid at center, while T-Bob Hebert is valuable at both center and guard. Sophomore Chris Faulk has the tough assignment of replacing Barksdale, but made quite the impression on his coaches this spring.

4. Kentucky: The Wildcats return four starters on their line. Right guard Larry Warford headlines the group after gaining second-team All-SEC honors a year ago. Kentucky also returns two-year starter Stuart Hines at left guard and Matt Smith at center, who was solid in his first year there. Left tackle Chandler Burden missed spring practice, but is expected back by fall practice. Finding a suitable right tackle is the next step for Kentucky.

5. Tennessee: This group could be one of the most impressive units for the Volunteers this season. It’s deeper and more experienced in Derek Dooley’s second year and he was very pleased with its performance this spring. Junior Dallas Thomas is solid at left tackle, and sophomore Ja’Wuan James really came on strong in his first year and is one of the top linemen in the SEC. James Stone also returns at center. The surprise of the group was true freshman Marcus Jackson, who held down the left guard spot for most of the spring.

6. Mississippi State: The Bulldogs must replace All-American left tackle Derek Sherrod, but most of the line is somewhat on point. Center Quentin Saulsberry will anchor the line and is versatile enough to play just about every position on the line. Left guard Gabe Jackson and right tackle Addison Lawrence return and the Bulldogs will have junior Tobias Smith lining up at right guard. Blaine Clausell and James Carmon, who moved from defensive tackle, will compete at left tackle.

7. Georgia: This was supposed to be one of the strongest offensive line units in the league, but the Bulldogs lost tackle Trinton Sturdivant to a season-ending knee injury this spring and fellow tackle A.J. Harmon transferred. Georgia’s most-reliable options are Cordy Glenn, who moved from guard to left tackle and Ben Jones at center. Kenarious Gates is at left guard, but he’s athletic enough to play tackle if needed. Former defensive lineman Justin Anderson will start off at right tackle. Right guard is the next area of business and the depth all around is a problem.

8. South Carolina: The Gamecocks have questions here, but there is talent across the line. Rokevious Watkins is one of the most talented guards in the league and he’ll be assisted by returning starter at center T.J. Johnson. Senior Kyle Nunn has made strides at left tackle and redshirt freshman A.J. Cann took over duties at left guard this spring. Still, the younger linemen will be counted on to contribute this fall.

9. Arkansas: The Razorbacks must replace three starters on the offensive line. Center Travis Swanson and left guard Alvin Bailey are the only returning starters. Just a sophomore, Bailey impressed his coaches last season and will be one of the top linemen in the league this fall. After that, the Hogs will have to turn to youth for help. True freshman Brey Cook could be thrust into the starting role at right tackle, while sophomore Anthony Oden could get the job at left tackle.

10. Florida: Florida’s offensive line struggled throughout the 2010 season -- and that was with a senior-laden group. This fall, the Gators will start over with a ton of inexperience. Right guard Jon Halapio and right tackle Xavier Nixon are the only returning starters. Halapio struggled at times last season and Nixon battled injuries. Florida’s line spent most of the spring in the infirmary, so little is known about the overall talent. Freshman Chaz Green left spring as the starter at left tackle, Jonotthan Harrison will battle former Notre Dame lineman Dan Wenger at center. He transferred in after spring, but has health concerns.

11. Auburn: The Tigers will go from having one of the top offensive line groups in the country to having a major work in progress in 2011. Senior Brandon Mosley is the lone returning starter, and while he was solid on Auburn’s line last season, he came from junior college as a defensive end/tight end. The good news is that tackle A.J. Greene should be fine this fall after sustaining a season-ending leg injury last year. The rest of Auburn’s linemen are very young and inexperienced. Don’t expect many redshirts from this group.

12. Vanderbilt: The Commodores might return all five starters, but this unit had trouble keeping things together last year. The offense needs this group to improve mightily. Wesley Johnson is Vanderbilt’s best option, despite only being a sophomore at left tackle. There will be size on the right side, with 300-plus pounders Kyle Fischer and Ryan Seymour over there. Simply put, this unit has the experience, but it requires a lot of improvement.
Georgia has released a post-spring depth chart and there were few surprises on it.

One interesting move is that redshirt freshman Ken Malcome is listed as the fourth-string tailback. Senior Caleb King is the starter, followed by Carlton Thomas and Brandon Harton. Malcome had a decent spring game, and though he dealt with injuries this spring, it seemed as though he was making strides. He was not the best option at the position, but his fall is a bit of a surprise.

Malcome could fall even farther down the pecking order after incoming freshman Isaiah Crowell gets on campus.

Where you can really see where the Bulldogs will have trouble is on the offensive line. Senior tackle Trinton Sturdivant went down this spring with his this third ACL-related injury, while junior A.J. Harmon transferred for personal reasons, leaving some holes to fill.

Senior Cordy Glenn took the spot at left tackle and will be backed up by redshirt freshman Hugh Williams. Sophomore Kenarious Gates is the starter at left guard, Ben Jones is at center, Chris Burnette is at right guard and Justin Anderson is at right tackle.

Redshirt freshman Brent Benedict has moved from tackle and is behind Burnette. Kolton Houston and Dallas Lee are both behind Gates and Austin Long is behind Anderson.

Staying healthy on the offensive line will be critical for the Bulldogs.

At wide receiver, junior Marlon Brown will start opposite flanker Tavarres King. Brown showed signs this spring that he's ready to be a major contributor to the offense and will need to take some pressure off of King, who should be quarterback Aaron Murray's primary target. Junior Rantavious Wooten is listed behind King.

The defense looks steady, especially up front.

Abry Jones, Kwame Geathers and DeAngelo Tyson are the three down linemen. Once junior college transfer John Jenkins arrives, the battle between him and Geathers for the noseguard spot should be exciting to follow.

Jarvis Jones is the starting Sam linebacker, Cornelius Washington is at Will, Christian Robinson is the Mike and Alec Ogletree is inside at the Mo. This is sure to be one of the fastest linebacker groups in the SEC.

Georgia spring wrap

May, 12, 2011
2010 overall record: 6-7

2010 conference record: 3-5

Returning starters

Offense: 6; Defense: 7; Kicker/punter: 2

Top returners

QB Aaron Murray, OL Cordy Glenn, C Ben Jones, WR Tavarres King, TE Orson Charles, LB Christian Robinson, CB Brandon Boykin, S Bacarri Rambo

Key losses

OG Clint Boling, OT Josh Davis, WR A.J. Green, WR Kris Durham, DE/LB Justin Houston, DE Demarcus Dobbs, LB Akeem Dent, LB Darryl Gamble

2010 statistical leaders (* returners)

Rushing: Washaun Ealey (811 yards)

Passing: Aaron Murray* (3,049 yards)

Receiving: A.J. Green (848 yards)

Tackles: Akeem Dent (126)

Sacks: Justin Houston (10)

Interceptions: Bacarri Rambo*, Brandon Boykin*, Sanders Commings* (3)

Spring answers

1. Murray’s team: There’s no question that this is Aaron Murray’s team. He developed a ton of respect from his teammates and coaches last season, but this spring he really took hold of the Bulldogs. He spent more time meticulously studying film and came away with improved footwork and better timing on his passes. He also spent more time working with a group of unproven receivers this spring attempting to not only enhance his play on the field but he wanted to better his teammates as well. Without a target like A.J. Green out there to take some of the pressure off, things won’t be easy for Murray, but the coaches don’t seemed concerned. Murray is the leader this team needs going forward.

2. Strong linebacker corps: Georgia has one of the fastest, most athletic groups at linebacker. The Bulldogs added USC transfer Jarvis Jones to the strong side, while converted safety Alec Ogletree is the new face in the middle. The loss of outside linebacker/defensive end Justin Houston hurt, but Jones helped ease the stress of not having him by being a force on the outside this spring. Some even think Jones might have more physical ability than Houston. Ogletree adds tremendous speed to the unit and should be able to fly all around the field for the Bulldogs. Christian Robinson is back in the middle as well and has the mindset of the perfect leader for this defense.

3. New flanker in town: A.J. Green is gone, but Tavarres King did a pretty good job of filling that void this spring after moving into Green’s flanker spot. Obviously, King doesn’t have the outright talent of Green, but he should be Murray’s go-to-guy this fall and he’s ready to step up and accept that responsibility. Having King step up is certainly a good thing for Murray. There aren’t any other proven receivers for Murray to throw to. Coaches are hoping King will draw some double-teams, which should open the offense up for other players to get involved. There’s talent at the position, but King is the only one who seems immediately ready to make an impact.

Fall questions

1. Finding a running back: Things became more complicated for the Bulldogs when junior Washaun Ealey decided to transfer Monday. Ealey was equipped with the most skill to be the feature back, but his off-the-field issues finally caught up with him. Caleb King is a senior, and while he had a solid spring, he has never taken hold of the position. Ken Malcome and Carlton Thomas dealt with injuries this spring, but Malcome had a solid spring game. The one who should get most of the attention when he arrives this summer is freshman Isaiah Crowell. He was one of the top running back prospects in the country and head coach Mark Richt made it well known that he won’t hesitate to immediately give Crowell the ball on Day 1.

2. The right side: The Bulldogs suffered a major hit to its entire offense this spring when senior Trinton Sturdivant suffered his third severe knee injury. He’s expected to miss the 2011 season, so converted guard Cordy Glenn has moved to left tackle. Glenn should be fine there, but the right side could be an issue. Guard Justin Anderson, who moved from the defensive line, and tackle A.J. Harmon split reps at right tackle this spring, but neither surpassed the other. Tackle Austin Long could also play there, but dealt with a shoulder injury this spring. Guard Kenarious Gates could play tackle if needed as well. The Bulldogs will have to cross-train linemen at guard and tackle and will have to accelerate the development of a handful of incoming freshmen.

3. Championship mindset: Every year it seems like Georgia has the talent to compete for the SEC East crown, but the Bulldogs haven’t made it to Atlanta since 2005. Richt’s seat in Athens is hot and it won’t cool down anytime soon if the Bulldogs don’t get over the hump of underachievement. With the East in disarray at the moment, this is the perfect opportunity for the Bulldogs to strike. Finding a running back and at least one more wide receiver will be crucial, but this team has to escape the habit of not getting the most out of its players. If Georgia doesn’t make a strong run this fall, Richt might be out of chances to get something done in Athens.
Figuring out the offensive tackle situation at Georgia should be an interesting task for coach Mark Richt.

The loss of Trinton Sturdivant, who is expected to miss the 2011 season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee this spring, put a dent in the Bulldogs‘ offensive line plans.

Both he and converted guard Cordy Glenn were rotating back and forth between the right and left tackle spots.

With Sturdivant gone, Glenn has assumed the starting role at left tackle, but right tackle and a backup for Glenn remains a bit of a mystery.

Wednesday, Richt threw out some names for both spots.

He said guard Justin Anderson and tackle A.J. Harmon are candidates for the right tackle spot. Both split reps there this spring. Tackle Austin Long is a candidate as well, but dealt with a shoulder injury this spring.

Richt said guard Kenarious Gates, who has been solid in the middle of the line this spring, is athletically gifted enough to play tackle if needed.

After that, it’s a bit unclear. Redshirt freshmen Brent Benedict and Kolton Houston will both get a shot. Benedict missed all of the 2010 season after suffering a severe right knee injury during his senior year of high school.

Georgia will also look to accelerate the development of incoming freshmen tackles Zach DeBell, Xzavier Ward and Watts Dantzler.

The key to figuring fall positions will be finding the correct fit at right tackle, Richt said.

“A lot of it’s going to depend on who is going to be the starting right tackle,“ Richt said. “My guess is whoever we think the third best tackle is he may end up having to cross train between the left side and the right side.”

New look for Georgia's offensive line

March, 4, 2011
Not only will Georgia have a new offensive line coach, but the Bulldogs will also have a new look up front when they open spring practice next Thursday.

Will Friend takes over for Stacy Searels as the Bulldogs' offensive line coach, and it goes without saying that a lot of eyes will be focused on that part of the team. Georgia fans have been frustrated each of the past two seasons with the offensive line's performance, and the general feeling has been that the Bulldogs haven't played up to their talent level.

One of the things that's changing is senior Cordy Glenn moving from guard to right tackle, and Georgia coach Mark Richt said he envisions Glenn staying at tackle. Senior Trinton Sturdivant returns at left tackle.

Senior Justin Anderson, a nose guard last season, is moving back over to offense and will be one of the leading candidates to win one of the starting guard spots. Kenarious Gates, who started three games last season as a true freshman, is the front-runner to win the other starting guard spot, but Richt said both spots are open. Brent Benedict, Dallas Lee and Austin Long will also be vying for playing time there.

Senior Ben Jones is the other returning starter at center.

SEC lunch links

September, 23, 2010
Taking a stroll around the SEC to see what all is out there:

Georgia's defensive front taking shape

August, 26, 2010
One of the first orders of business this preseason for first-year Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was to get his rotation settled up front.

Grantham believes deeply that if you’re going to play winning defense, you better have fresh defensive linemen in the game in the fourth quarter.

Doing that requires establishing depth and being able to rotate guys in the first three quarters.

Along those lines, one of the most encouraging stories for the Bulldogs defensively this preseason has been Justin Anderson’s adjustment from offense to defense. He’s played well enough that he may be the starter at the nose position when Georgia opens the season Sept. 4 against Louisiana-Lafayette.

Even if he doesn’t start, the 6-foot-5, 330-pound Anderson has given Grantham the versatility that he’d hoped for going into the season. Ideally, Grantham wanted to be able to play DeAngelo Tyson some at end and not just nose all the time. It looks like he’s going to be able to do that now.

“Having some flexibility with Tyson is only going to help us,” Grantham said. “A rotation system up front is the best way to be relentless, and that’s what we want to be.”

Senior Demarcus Dobbs would be the starter at the other end, giving the Bulldogs three starters across the front that weigh at least 285 pounds.

“It’s all about us continuing to come together,” said Dobbs, who missed some practice time earlier this week after spraining his ankle. “We have the talent. We have the size. We have the speed and strength. We have everything it takes to be a great defensive line. It’s just that everybody has to be on the same page and know their responsibilities.”

One thing’s for sure, according to Dobbs.

“Nobody’s holding back,” he said. “This [3-4] defense is going to expose some of our guys’ talents that they didn’t really have a chance to show in a 4-3. We have a bunch of talented guys on this defense that I think you’re going to see explode this year.”