March 26, 2010

Richt said first scrimmage 'should be fun.'

Mark Richt has held his fair share of intrasquad scrimmages in his nine-plus years as the Georgia football coach, but he's not sure he's looked forward to one any more than Saturday's at Sanford Stadium.

"This should be really exciting to see," Richt said after practice Friday afternoon. "I'm glad we waited this long to have the first scrimmage because I think our defense is better prepared than it would have been had we tried something any sooner. It ought to be fun."

It will also be important.

The entire two-our scrimmage will be live, except for the quarterbacks - Zach Mettenberger, Aaron Murray and Logan Gray - who Richt said will continue to split the reps with the first team offense just as they have done in Georgia's seven previous practices this spring.

"I think it will help us. Every time we practice we get more of an evaluation," Richt said. "What we've done is basically taken turns each day allowing one of those guys be the lead quarterback and just rotating every day. I really haven't talked to Mike (offensive coordinator Mike Bobo) about how we're going to script this practice but we'll give these guys as many opportunities with the ones as we can."

Saturday's scrimmage which is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. is closed to both the media and the public. The Bulldogs are also expected to scrimmage next Saturday, followed up by the third at G-Day April 10.

Houston, Figgins injured

Defensive end Justin Houston and tight end Bruce Figgins sat out Friday's practice session and will likely miss Saturday's scrimmage.

According to Richt, Houston's shoulder "flared up" but did not believe the injury to be serious. Richt said Figgins had a sore hamstring.

Wide receiver Marlon Brown will also sit out after bruising his shoulder last Saturday but Richt hopes to have him back for practice Tuesday.

Anderson fine with move to DL

Justin Anderson said Friday he's yet to play his best collegiate game.

He hopes this week's move to nose will afford him that opportunity.

"I felt I got better as I went along," Anderson said of his work on the offensive line. "But injuries have kind of set me back."

But he's not complaining.

Anderson said he was recruited as a defensive lineman by a number of schools, including Georgia Tech.

Bulldog coaches first approached him about the move right after the team came back from Christmas break.

"Right when we got back was when we first talked about, but I didn't think it would happen because we were so thin on the offensive side," said Anderson, who said he will need to drop around 13-14 pounds. "But Coach (Richt) called me on Monday and said I could help over there. I said 'OK, I'll do it.'"

Anderson, who is unable to practice this spring due to a bad shoulder, said the injury is due to some nerve issues which resulted in damage to his rotator cuff.

He is expected to be ready for preseason drills.

Could Hamilton play some cornerback?

When Jakar Hamilton first signed with the Bulldogs he indicated that he felt he could play some cornerback if Georgia coaches were to offer the shot.

Could it be?

"It's still being evaluated. But right now they just want to get me to learn all the plays at safety and get that down pat right now," Hamilton said. "I've got the whole rest of the spring and summer to get better at safety and then hopefully get some work in at cornerback."

At 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, Hamilton believes he has the versatility to add the position to his repertoire.

"I talked to Coach (Scott Lakatos) about it and he told me just to get my plays down," Hamilton said. "We'll see."

Smith still trying to gain weight

Sophomore cornerback Branden Smith admitted Friday it's becoming harder for him to gain weight than he first imagined.

"I've been up and down with the weight gain. I'm still trying to eat more but I'm still right around 170," he said. "That's all right, but I'd like to get up to 180 before the season."

He admits it's been frustrating.

"It's been hard, real hard," he said. "But I'm working on it. That's really all I can do, keep working."
Smith had a wrap on his left elbow following practice Friday but said the injury is not serious.

Chapas didn't have to sell Benedict on UGA

Senior fullback and former Bolles alum Shaun Chapas was on hand when Brent Benedict - then a rising senior at his alma mater - took his first tour of the Georgia campus.

Although he might have had an initial urge to expose the virtues of being a Bulldog, Chapas bit his tongue.

"I knew that going through the recruiting process that Georgia would sell itself," said Chapas. "We talked about the process, I told him I had loved my experience up here but it was up to him to make up his own mind. But I knew if he looked around he would get excited about playing here and that has me excited because I look forward to taking him under my win."

Benedict committed to the Bulldogs shortly after his visit and held true to his word, signing with Georgia last month.

"After I went home last May, I would work out at the high school (Bolles) and I gave him my number, told him to text me the next time he was coming up," Chapas said. "These days, he pretty much lets me know every time he's on his way. He's just a great kid. I'm really excited to get him up here."

NOTE: Benedict is still recovering from the torn ACL he suffered last season, but Richt said Tuesday he is hopeful the young tackle will be able to practice when preseason drills begin in August.

This and that

Over 500 coaches from as far away as Utah attended Georgia's annual Coaches Clinic which wrapped up Friday. "I thought the clinic was a gigantic success," said Richt. "It was the largest turnout we've had in my ten years at Georgia with over 500 coaches in attendance, and I do think that's because a lot of them were excited to see the changes we've made defensively," Richt said. "Tony Dungy was tremendous in speaking to us today, and he talked about his career and the obligation we as coaches have to these young men. I'm incredibly grateful for Coach Dungy and am thankful he came as our main attraction." … Sam linebacker Cornelius Washington has bulked up to 260 pounds. ... Richt said Friday he attends most of the quarterback meetings.

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