August 3, 2012

New position for JHC

Georgia coach Mark Richt said Friday that safety just might be Josh Harvey-Clemons' permanent home.

Signed as an outside linebacker, the 6-foot-5 Harvey-Clemons still only weighs 207 pounds, too small for the rigors of playing the position.

"His body right now is more ready to do that (safety). I don't think he's thick enough at this moment and strong enough to play the outside linebacker position," Richt said after practice. "He can do it (play safety) athletically, without question. He can play safety, I think he can play nickel and I think he could even play corner. He's just very athletic with very good ball skills. He's got a lot of good quickness and burst and I think he could be a pretty good receiver if he wanted to be."

Richt didn't totally rule out the former Lowndes standout moving back to linebacker if he is able to get bigger.

But right now, safety is where he will stay.

"We want to see what his body does. I'm for guys getting as strong as they can get and as fast and quick as they can get," Richt said. "But if he's got the body type that won't let him, we may let him stay in the back end a little bit."

At 6-5, Harvey-Clemons automatically becomes one of the tallest safeties in the SEC.

"Leonard Pope was 6-8 and played some safety in high school, although I wasn't able to see it," Richt said. "But (Harvey-Clemons) plays very fast and he and the other freshmen are very attentive. I don't see a lot of messing around."

Busy month for Murray

Along with conducting his own team's summer workout program, quarterback Aaron Murray also took some time to hone his own skills by taking part in the both the Elite 11 quarterback camp in Redondo Beach, Calif. and the prestigious Manning Passing Academy in Thibodaux, La.

"I got a lot of work in during those two camps. It wasn't a vacation by any means," Murray said. "It was a lot of grind and a lot of work."

The Manning Passing Academy, which hosted 40 of the nation's top collegiate quarterbacks, gave Murray an opportunity to learn from some of the best.

"I worked on a little fundament work," he said. "I learned some new drills and I feel great with the stuff that we did."

Murray acknowledges there's still plenty he needs to learn.

Despite tossing a school-record 35 touchdowns, 18 turnovers (14 interceptions) took some shine off his final totals, mistakes he knows can't be repeated this fall.

"My foot work is the biggest thing that I've worked towards improving this offseason. I'm working to be able to move around the pocket more fluidly; to be in a position at all times to make accurate throws; to make sure my eyes are looking down the field at all times and I'm not looking at the rush or getting haunted by guys, so that I can stay in a good base and making an accurate throw."

Experience, he hopes, will prove a beneficial factor as well.

"I think it's a lot of maturity, I think it's a lot of repetition. I've got two seasons under my belt, I've had a lot of reps, I've watched a lot of film on myself and I think that's helped out a lot," he said. "I know when to tuck and run, when to slide, when to throw it away, when to take a sack. It's all repetition; it's all about getting experience and learning those kinds of things. I think I've had a ton of experience, I've learned a lot in my first two seasons and I'm looking to build on that."

Richt feels Dawgs off to a good start

The Bulldogs practiced in shorts and helmets Friday in a workout that left Richt feeling good about his team's beginning.

"Yesterday I thought everybody was really willing to put in a hard day's work and started off well, and right at the very end I think the heat got to them a little bit," Richt said. "We didn't finish as strong as we should. Today was much better all the way around. We did get some cloud cover that helped, but I thought we had tremendous energy all the way around and it was a good second day. Everything went like clockwork, although the heat played a role later on. Eighty-five percent of the practice we were really good; the last 15 percent we didn't finish that well."

Richt also noted that he and his staff have been able to get a feel for the Bulldogs' true freshmen after two practices.

The Bulldogs will practice in shorts and shoulder pads Saturday and Sunday morning before donning the full pads for the first time on Monday.

"We are pleased with the talent base and the attitude and willingness to be learned and coached," Richt said of the freshmen. "Their skill sets are outstanding, and the athleticism is outstanding. I heard a lot of coaches talk about the explosive ability of the defensive players that play on or near the line of scrimmage. "

Drew "playing his way" into new role

Many fans figured that since Ray Drew came to Georgia as a five-star talent, early success would be guaranteed.

Not quite.

A preseason scooter accident hampered his development at outside linebacker, a position the former Thomas County Central star never quite got comfortable with before coaches moved him to defensive end this spring.

So far, Richt likes what he's seen.

"I thought Ray handled everything well (last year). He's always been a guy with a great spirit about him. He's been a positive guy for us,"Richt said. "He didn't play a lot, but he's working his way into that position and into that role."

He's certainly starting to look the part of a defensive end in the 3-4 scheme.

"I think he's hovering somewhere around 290 pounds and he's in great shape, and I think he understands much better what we are trying to get accomplished on defense," Richt said. "I don't think there's any doubt he'll play better than he did a year ago."

This and that

Running back Ken Malcome said that he, Richard Samuel, Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley are each receiving equal reps with the first team. … Richt said that starting right guard Chris Burnette is currently the top backup at center to David Andews, but that Dallas Lee and Hunter Long are also getting reps at the position. … John Theus and Watts Dantzler are splitting reps with the first team at right tackle. … Richt said freshman Jordan Jenkins, Josh Dawson and James DeLoach are "looking really good." Richt also said fellow freshman John Taylor "looks the part."