March 23, 2010

Anderson moving to defensive line

Justin Anderson has a new home - on the defensive side of the ball.

The junior's "move" has been rumored for the better part of four months, but Tuesday head coach Mark Richt made it official when he told reporters that "Bean" - currently unable to practice due to a shoulder injury - will be moved to nose in the fall.

"We're not going be able to see him do what we need to see but at least he will be able to learn the terminology and learn the position," Richt said. "He knows that if we lose a tackle or two offensively that he would have to move back. But right now, if everybody who is projected to be healthy will come in healthy and make it through camp we will keep him on defense."

At 6-foot-5 and 330 pounds, Anderson appeared in all 13 games for Georgia last fall including five starts at right guard.

"He's a real explosive athlete, a big strong kid and we think this will fit him real good," said Richt "I'm going to say he'll play D-line right now but I think nose will be his starting point. I told Rodney (Garner) and Todd (Grantham) I don't want to pigeon hole him to a spot but I want them to decide what's best. But I think he will start out as a nose."

Richt said he actually considered moving back Anderson back in January around the same time that Grantham was hired as the Bulldogs' defensive coordinator.

"That thought came up relatively quick for us but because he couldn't practice I didn't know if we should try to move him," Richt said. "But the more I thought about it, the more I believed it would be in his and our best interest."

Whether or not Anderson stays on defense remains to be seen.

How healthy the Bulldogs can remain at tackle will determine that.

"If Trinton (Sturdivant) is back healthy, if Tanner (Strickland) is back healthy … Josh Davis has come along and we know Clint Boling can play tackle and Cordy (Glenn) can play tackle," Richt said. "That's at least five guys who can play tackle not counting any of the young guys where you've got (Brent) Benedict, Austin Long, Kenarious Gates coming in."

Richt said the decision to move Anderson had nothing to do with him underperforming on the offensive line.

On the contrary:

"That wasn't the case at all. His strengths is that he's big, strong, quick, powerful and in this scheme he's the type of body we think can help us," Richt said. "Whether he stays there, I don't know, but let's let him learn it, go into camp and see how it goes and hopefully we can stay healthy on the offensive line to allow him to be able to do that."

Benedict, Long improving

Richt said that both Benedict and Long have a chance to start practicing with the team once the Bulldogs being preseason drills in August.

Benedict tore his ACL midway through his senior season at Bolles, while Long is coming off back surgery.

"I think he's (Benedict) got a real shot," Richt said. "His leg is starting to come back and as long as he keeps progressing we think he will be able to practice. Hopefully, we're getting healthy for a change."

Ditto for Long.

"I think he'll be able to practice when camp starts; I'm hoping so anyway," Richt said."I don't know for sure, but he's made a lot of progress."

Mettenberger may miss one game

When asked about the status of quarterback Zach Mettenberger, Richt said he still hasn't come to final decision.

But he's close.

"What I'm looking for is to see if there is any other report that I can get my hands on. A lot of times with the initial reports, there's another one that comes with it and I haven't seen it. It may not exist, so if it doesn't exist it doesn't exist," Richt said. "I'm pretty certain it's just going to be a one-game suspension, plus all the internal stuff we're in the process of doing right now. But I think it's doubtful that it would change from that."

Mettenberger was arrested in Remerton back on March 7 and charged with five misdemeanor counts, including the possession of two fake IDs.

This and that

Caleb King missed Tuesday's practice due to a "gastric" issue, according to Richt. Marlon Brown also missed practice with a shoulder bruise, while wide receiver Israel Troupe is suffering from a hamstring injury. … Former Bulldog receiver Fred Gibson attended Tuesday's practice. … Sturdivant spent the early portion of Thursday's drills jogging around the practice field. … Georgia returns to practice Thursday afternoon.

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