August 5, 2009

Gray surprised to hear of battle for No. 2

Head coach Mark Richt raised some eyebrows when he announced to the media that Logan Gray would have to compete with freshmen Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray to hold onto his position as the backup quarterback to Joe Cox.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo echoed those statements as well.

Trouble is nobody apparently told Gray.

"Honestly, I'm not real big on reading the newspapers or looking online, but I had heard about it through the grapevine," Gray said. "But nobody from the coaching staff said anything to me about anything. I'm just doing what I do. I'm going to try and perform the best that I can. Obviously, I can only control what I do, focus on myself and helping this team get better."

Bobo said Tuesday that he would likely not wait past Georgia's second scrimmage to make the decision official.

Gray hopes he'll be the man.

"I feel with the playbook, running the plays that we design I'm as comfortable as I've ever been and as confident as I've ever been," he said. "I think it's translating onto the field. I had a pretty good spring, the best since I've been here and hopefully I can keep that on through camp."

Whatever happens, Gray feels like he gaining the respect of his teammates, much like Cox did for the three years he backed up former starter Matthew Stafford.

At least he hopes so.

"I feel like everybody's confidence is growing with how I practice," he said. "Obviously I haven't played any quarterback yet in a game that matters yet so I've still got to prove to the coaches the things that I'm able to do."

Defense sets the tempo

It's only been two days, but already Richt says Georgia's defense is opening his eyes, particularly where turnovers are concerned.

On Tuesday, Sam linebacker Darryl Gamble accounted for four turnovers all by himself when he intercepted two passes and recovered two fumbles during drills.

"One of those would have been for a touchdown," Richt said of the initial workout which took place in 95-degree heat. "He was around the ball and made the play."

Although the overall effort Tuesday, left a lot to be desired for the Bulldog coach. Wednesday's workout was much better.

"It was excellent," he said. "We got a lot of things done."

Again, the defense stole the show.

Sanders Commings and Prince Miller both came away with interceptions while redshirt freshman Bacarri Rambo made a great play on a ball that drew praise from the head coach.

"We've got guys who are just making some real athletic plays," Richt said. "We haven't had too many drops, which is a great sign."

Richt impressed with freshmen

Richt says he will know a lot more about his true freshmen, but through two days he certainly likes what he sees.

"I like our freshmen - a lot," Richt said. "Tuesday I saw Marlon Brown go up strong for a catch, guys trying to rake the ball out of there but couldn't do it because he's got such strong hands. I saw Rantavious Wooten running routes, looking like he's been doing it for quite a while."

They weren't the only ones.

According to Richt, tight end Orson Charles made some nice catches as well.

"Orson just needs to get more precision in his route running but he just got here. He's getting a feel for what to do; we just need to refine his route-running skills. We'll see how he blocks. Arthur Lynch has made a couple plays in our skeleton drills," Richt said. "I like how Washaun (Ealey) looks. He's a good-looking guy. He runs with a great center of gravity and doesn't look like he's going to get knocked off his feet that easily. We don't know yet, but he looks like a running back. He's still got a long ways learning what to do."

Richt also commented on cornerback Branden Smith, calling him "lightning quick" but reserved comment on the linemen due to their fewer reps.

"All those guys (linemen) are trying to figure it out," Richt said.

Not so with Wooten and Brown.

"I was talking to Mike Moore about how much farther along that Wooten and Marlon Brown are compared to when he and Mohammed (Massaquoi) came to Georgia after that first summer," Richt said. "He (Moore) was halfway bragging on himself that the veterans had done a nice job of teaching the young guys. He said we did a better job of teaching those guys than those guys (Moore's predecessors) did of teaching us."

Richt not playing around with penalties

Silly penalties were a bugaboo for the Bulldog on numerous occasions last fall.

Thus far, Richt is doing everything in his power to keep that from happening again.

"There are certain penalties that I will address on the spot. Any line of scrimmage infraction, jumping into the neutral zone I'll take them out of the drill and they will miss the rep that they were hoping to get to compete for a job," Richt said. "They'll be with me, do some up-downs. If I see anything else foolish like a guy getting a pick, spike it or do something that would definitely be an unsportsmanlike penalty, I'll grab them on the spot."

The punishments won't stop there.

Each side of the ball also has a staff member charting every penalty. At the end of practice, the respective coordinators are given the list to they can deal with the offenders.

"Sometime they deal with it individually and sometime they deal with it as a team," Richt said.

Bulldog assistants have been told to lay off the officials who work Georgia's practices as well.

"I've made it real clear to our entire staff - not even in practice - to tell them (the officials) that it wasn't a good call," Richt said. "It's 'Yes sir, thank you for the call.' Now go discipline your players. Teach them and coach them."

Football broadcasts to feature familiar names

Georgia officials announced Wednesday that the school's new pre-game radio show will now total four fours prior to kickoff followed by a two-hour post-game call-in show.

As previously announced, longtime Bulldog radio personality Scott Howard will provide the gameday play-by-play with former Georgia All-America quarterback Eric Zeier adding color analysis. The pair has done road games the last two seasons and handled home games after the early season retirement of Larry Munson last year.

Longtime "Tailgate Show" co-hosts Loran Smith, who also provides in-game sideline reporting, and Neil "Hondo" Williamson will continue in those roles along with Howard and Zeier. New to the broadcast will be several familiar faces and voices: WSB TV sports director Chuck Dowdle will conduct the post-game locker room interviews; long-time versatile Georgia radio personality Jeff Dantzler will co-host the new first hour of the pre-game show and also the post-game call-in show; former Georgia quarterback David Greene will co-host with Dantzler the first hour of the pre-game show and post-game call-in for road games; and former Bulldog All-America placekicker Kevin Butler will fill the same role for home games.

This and that

Christian Robinson wore a wrap over his left thumb but Richt said the injury is not serious and it will not require surgery.

• Richt said that Jeff Owens and Trinton Sturdivant first two days on the practice field have been a marked success. "You don't see them favoring anything, although until that first day of contact you won't really know how those guys are going to do on the inside. I'm sure they're a little anxious about that first hit," Richt said. "But they're practicing full speed right now. There been no limitations on either."

• Richt said Richard Samuel's wrist has not given him any problems. Dontavius Jackson's knee is also 100 percent.

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