Georgia Bulldogs: Georgia spring football

G-Day notebook: Malcome steps up 

April, 15, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia’s coaches hardly would have predicted last September that Ken Malcome would rank among the Bulldogs’ top options at tailback following spring practice.

For a period of one whole day last Sept. 28, Malcome wasn’t a member of the team at all. He informed coach Mark Richt of his intentions to transfer because he was buried on the depth chart following a spate of injuries, only to return a day later.

[+] EnlargeKen Malcome
Daniel Shirey/US PresswireMark Richt said at G-Day that it does his heart good to see a player who has previously struggled -- such as Ken Malcome -- turn around his game and excel.
Malcome didn’t play for another five games after rejoining the team -- he missed the last of those games, against New Mexico State, for failing a drug test -- but began to make an impact by the end of the season, leading the Bulldogs in rushing in each of their last three games. His progress continued this spring as coaches complimented him for an improved focus and attitude. That helped him move up the depth chart.

DawgNation's G-Day game download 

April, 15, 2012
After a little beauty rest, the DawgNation writers took a look back at Saturday's G-Day game and put together some overall impressions of the final spring scrimmage. Here are their takeaways:

[+] EnlargeJustin Scott-Wesley
Radi Nabulsi/ESPN.comSeveral players who were expected to showcase themselves in the G-Day game certainly did, including speedy receiver Justin Scott-Wesley.
David Ching: My impression of G-Day is about what I would have expected beforehand. The starting defense controlled things for the most part when that was the goal, and things opened up more as coaches swapped around lineups in an effort to get everyone on the field (and on film).

In particular, I enjoyed seeing more of the redshirt freshmen I've been writing about this spring, including Jay Rome, Devin Bowman, Christian LeMay and Justin Scott-Wesley. I also enjoyed watching the various quarterbacks attempting to lead drives, as that will be a storyline to watch well into the season. Hutson Mason looked great on a couple of series, and I thought LeMay had two or three drives where he made some excellent throws.

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LeMay makes strides in backup QB race 

April, 14, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. -- On a largely drama-free G-Day, Christian LeMay and Jay Rome combined to provide a reason to pay attention in the waning moments of Georgia's spring game.

[+] EnlargeChristian LeMay
Daniel Shirey/US PresswireAlong with his passing stats, quarterback Christian LeMay said after the G-Day game that his confidence is increasing.
The two redshirt freshmen connected on a 66-yard touchdown pass with 59 seconds to play, pulling their Black team within a point of the Red team at 32-31. LeMay's two-point pass attempt to Rhett McGowan glanced off the receiver's fingertips, allowing the Red to escape with a victory, but the sequence was big for LeMay, who hopes to become the Bulldogs' backup quarterback this fall.

"It doesn’t matter if I'm playing checkers, I want to win," LeMay said. “I was like, 'Hey, guys, we're about to score.' I believe that if we have any time left on the clock, we can score -- especially with the offense that we have and the players.

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Spring practice No. 13: G-Day nears 

April, 12, 2012

ATHENS, Ga. -- Typically by this point in spring practice, Coach Mark Richt expects a fairly listless performance from his players with the G-Day game only a couple of days away.

Richt said after Thursday’s final practice in full pads that he was surprised by the level of intensity the Bulldogs displayed.

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Tune in for Saturday's G-day game

April, 12, 2012
Don't forget to check out Saturday's culmination of spring football, the G-day game, live from Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga. Note: Telecast is subject to blackouts. Watch on ESPN3.
ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia’s defensive players have already started preparing for their Sept. 8 game at Missouri. They just might not know it yet.

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said after Thursday’s practice that the coaching staff is already introducing some of the defensive concepts they will use when they prepare for Missouri’s high-scoring offense in the fall. They’re working in more general terms right now.

“We’ve already worked on some of the things that we’re going to see,” Grantham said. “Players might not necessarily know that with what we’re doing, but I’ve always been a believer in [wanting] to develop during the spring, but at the same time you want to take a look at some things you may want to do against teams coming up early. We’ll do that now, and what we’ll do is we’ll come back in the fall and start the same process with training camp as far as developing guys, getting guys comfortable at whatever spots they need to, but also working on a couple opponents that we’ll see early in the year, to get ready.

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Video: Georgia LB Jarvis Jones

April, 4, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. -- Devin Bowman sees the opportunity before him at cornerback, but the redshirt freshman knows he has plenty to learn before he can seize some of the playing time available in Georgia’s secondary.

[+] EnlargeDevin Bowman
Radi Nabulsi/ESPN.comRedshirt freshman Devin Bowman is making up for the crucial time he lost last year, when his official collegiate status wasn't clear until the day before the Bulldogs started fall camp.
With senior starter Sanders Commings out for the first two games on suspension and fellow senior Branden Smith possibly joining him for at least the opener against Buffalo, youngsters like Damian Swann, Malcolm Mitchell and Bowman will have a chance to play.

Swann earned more playing time with his performance in limited work last fall, while the raw athleticism that made Mitchell an SEC All-Freshman receiver last year has helped him pick up his defensive responsibilities.

Bowman, meanwhile, is still working to learn the technical details involved in playing his position after spending last season on Georgia’s scout team.

“My biggest [area of emphasis] right now is just getting the plays down,” Bowman said. “That’s the only thing I can say that’s really gotten better with me. Just knowing different coverages, hand signals, that’s the only thing I can say is my biggest area of progress.”

Bowman was already behind by the time he arrived on campus last season.

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Notebook: Coaches aim to stack DE

March, 22, 2012
ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia’s coaches told Ray Drew they envision him playing at 285 to 290 pounds, which essentially removes any mystery about the position at which they believe he will settle.

But as he steadily progresses toward that weight -- Drew said he weighed in last week at 269 pounds -- the rising sophomore is preparing himself to split time between the position he played last season, outside linebacker, and the position where he might one day play exclusively, defensive end.

[+] EnlargeCornelius Washington
Radi Nabulsi/ESPN.comCornelius Washington (above), who played at DE pre-Grantham, will occasionally slide over to that position again, along with Ray Drew.
“As of right now, my mindset’s not so much being a full-blown defensive end,” Drew said. “If that happens, it happens. But since I’m going to be playing there no matter what, I would like to put on the weight so that I can hold my own whenever I’m down there -- because when you get down there closer to the center, you have to be a man to play down in the trenches.”

Drew and rising senior Cornelius Washington are both making such a transition, learning more about the end position this spring after mostly lining up at outside linebacker a season ago in defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s 3-4 base defense.

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Butler to walk-ons: Consistency is king 

March, 20, 2012
To get ready for the start of Georgia’s spring football practice today, DawgNation will do a position breakdown each day and feature a player to watch in that personnel group. Today we look at special teams and walk-on kickers Jamie Lindley, Scott Eichler and Adam Erickson.

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia signed punter Collin Barber and kicker Marshall Morgan to immediately step in and replace departed seniors Drew Butler and Blair Walsh -- two of the best ever to play the kicking positions at Georgia.

That hardly means that plan is set in stone, however. Just ask Butler.

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Spring look: Special teams

March, 20, 2012

To get ready for the start of Georgia’s spring football practice today, DawgNation has provided a position breakdown for each of the last nine days. In today’s final installment, we analyze the special teams.

2011 starters: P Drew Butler, 2011 senior (58 punts, 2,566 yards, 44.2 yards per punt); PK: Blair Walsh, 2011 senior (21-35 field goals, 46-46 PAT, 109 points); PR: Brandon Boykin, 2011 senior (14 returns, 180 yards, 1 TD, 12.9 yards per return); KOR: Boykin (38-850, 22.4 yards per return); SN: Ty Frix, Sr.

Key losses: Butler, Walsh, Boykin, PK Brandon Bogotay (1-2 FG, 6-6 PAT, 9 points)

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Grantham on 680 The Fan

March, 19, 2012
Georgia’s defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was a guest on Atlanta’s ESPN Radio 680 The Fan today and discussed some of the topics related to the Bulldogs’ spring camp, which starts Tuesday. Here is a transcription of a few of his comments:

On the first priority for the Bulldogs’ D this spring

Grantham: We are going to give everyone that is on our defensive side of the ball an opportunity to earn a position, whether it be a starting position or a backup position. We will start out on Day 1, just like last year, going through basic fundamentals. We will move some guys around just to give us flexibility because last year we had about 11 different lineups for 14 ballgames and we had to move guys around then to get our best players on the field.

On how offensive coordinator Mike Bobo feels about Malcolm Mitchell moving from receiver to cornerback

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To get ready for the start of Georgia’s spring football practice Tuesday, DawgNation will do a position breakdown each day and feature one player to watch at that position. Today we look at the secondary and sophomore Malcolm Mitchell.

[+] EnlargeMitchell
Scott Cunningham/Getty ImagesAs a receiver last season, All-SEC freshman Malcolm Mitchell had 45 receptions for 665 yards and four touchdowns.
ATHENS, Ga. -- One of the breakout performers on Georgia’s offense last season now hopes to make a similar impact on the Bulldogs’ defense.

Malcolm Mitchell emerged as arguably the Bulldogs’ most valuable receiver in his first year on campus, ranking second on the team with 665 yards on 45 catches, despite missing three games with a hamstring injury.

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Peach State: Top Tier Recruiting Ground?
California, Florida and Texas are largely considered the "Big Three" in college football recruiting. But national recruiting analyst Gerry Hamilton joins ESPN's Phil Murphy to explain why Georgia deserves to be in the top tier and has numbers to prove it.