April 10, 2012

Starting OL takes shape?

After several weeks of speculating, Georgia offensive line coach Will Friend shed some light on who's running with his first team.

One name may surprise you.

Redshirt sophomore Kolton Houston, who began the spring working out at left guard, will go into Saturday's G-Day game as the starter at right tackle.

"We started working him there the last week or two, and he's really progressed at that spot," Friend said after practice Tuesday. "I think he's done a good job. He had a really good scrimmage Saturday and another really good day today. The one thing he's done well is he's brought some energy to the group. He's busted his butt and done a good job."

Houston is technically ineligible due to his "NCAA issue" which has kept him off the field for the past year, although sources tell UGASports.com that he will be eligible for the start of fall practice.

The rest of Georgia's starting offensive line shapes up like this:

Junior Kenarious Gates remains the starter at left tackle, with Dallas Lee at left guard and Chris Burnette at right guard. Sophomore David Andrews remains the starting center, with Lee and Burnette both listed as his backups.

Early enrollee Mark Beard is the top backup at left guard, with Austin Long, Hunter Long[/db], Zach DeBell and Watts Dantzler among those working with the second unit.

Friend said Andrews, who had to battle for the starting center job, is making good progress.

"He's done some better things. He's gotten better," Friend said. "He's doing a pretty good job right now, we've just got to keep grinding him and he needs to start becoming a little more vocal, but he's done a good job."

Injury update

Safety Bacarri Rambo (meniscus) returned to practice Tuesday, but later, wide receivers coach Tony Ball revealed that cornerback/wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell is currently out with a hamstring issue.

Ball did not know the severity.

Mitchell joins starting safety Shawn Williams (meniscus) and running back Keith Marshall (hamstring), who remain sidelined and are doubtful for Saturday's G-Day game (3 p.m.).

Lynch enjoys "fullback" role

No, Arthur Lynch is not moving to fullback full time - but he's learning the position as fast as he can.

"I'm not moving to fullback, but in regards to changing and play and not have to change personnel … that's more what we're talking about," Lynch said. "It's a great idea in theory; we could do some nice things with it."

At 265 pounds, Lynch makes an imposing blocker. But it's been no piece of cake.

Tuesday, Lynch bore a quarter-sized gash on his forehead, the result he laughed of too many head-first collisions.

But it's a challenge he's definitely embraced.

"In terms of down the road, the more you can do as a football player, the easier it is for the offense to succeed and any way I can help the offense, is what I want to do," Lynch said. "If they can move me around and create mismatches, I think that's awesome. Hopefully I'll catch the ball, but I don't think they'll let me run it."

Deas happy to be back

Yes, safety Marc Deas is back as a member of the Georgia Bulldogs after announcing last week that he wanted to transfer to another school.

But his choice hasn't come without repercussions.

"I'm taking discipline runs, early in the mornings (5 a.m.). It's hard to wake up, but it's all worth it," said Deas said Tuesday. "After that, with classes at eight - it's made for a long day, but I can't stop smiling. I'm happy to be back."

Deas said he considered transferring either to UCF or Georgia Southern before deciding to return to the Bulldogs.

"I had got to thinking back to my times as a redshirt freshman, my first year playing last year and going into the spring, I just started second-guessing myself whether or not I deserved to be in the program," Deas said. "I had become disappointed with myself and started thinking it was time to start over, instead of working through things, fighting back and chasing adversity. That time off helped me to see things through."

This and that

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said his quarterbacks will see time with both the Red and Black teams during Saturday's G-Day contest. … The Bulldogs welcomed a large contingent of more than 100 faculty members and their families to Tuesday's workout at the Woodruff Practice Field. The full pads session lasted just over two hours and included multiple periods of 11-on-11 drills. "We had a good fundamental day," Richt continued. "It was solid across the board. There will be one more fundamental day, but it will be relatively short." The team will take Wednesday off before returning to practice on Thursday. … The UGA Athletic Association will be teaming up with the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia during G-Day to host a canned food drive. Fans are asked to bring in a bag of canned food to be admitted to the annual game. Bins will be set up at the Main Gate as well as gates 2, 4, 6 and 9 to accept the canned goods. Donation stations will also be in place for monetary contributions, as one dollar equals four pounds of food. All canned food and proceeds will go to assisting families in Northeast Georgia.