April 10, 2013

Satisfaction not guaranteed



Although he still considers himself young by coaching standards, Georgia's offensive line coach Will Friend is an "old school" coach in many respects.

With Friend, it's not what you did last year or even last week but what you do with the here and now.

Take his opinion of the job his starting offensive line did for the Red team during last Saturday's G-Day game at Sanford Stadium, for example.

"I didn't think the Red team played with enough effort, we were disappointed in that. It looked like they were just trying to get through the day, we started out early and thought the day was over. I thought the Black team really gave good effort," Friend said after practice Tuesday. "I saw some guys who wanted to compete, so that was good, but overall we didn't play like we wanted to. We weren't physical enough. We didn't play with the kind of effort that we expected out of them."

Friend plays no favorites, either, when offering up is critique.

That includes his for veterans like senior Kenarious Gates, junior Mark Beard and sophomore John Theus.

"They're challenged every day. They know that they'd better be one of the top five or they won't play," he said. "If that's going to be kind of the way you go about things, if they're not one of the best five, they don't need to be in there. They've both got to play better, they know that and we'll go from there."

But don't get the idea that Friend is displeased with the way Theus is going about his daily duties.

On the contrary.

Friend said his effort is not the issue, but if Theus wants to realize his ultimate potential, he's still got some growing to do.

"John gives a good effort, John plays hard, but his technique has got to get better, he's got to get stronger and he's got to get better with the little technique things," Friend said. "You can't just strong on somebody anymore, you've got to do those types things and that's these next couple months of guys working on their own, doing a lot of drills on their own and 30 practices to get fixed out. But no, it has nothing to do with effort or anything like that."

Exactly where Theus will line up in the season-opener against Clemson is also up the air.

Although he practiced the previous two weeks at left tackle, Theus was back at right tackle during the three periods were allowed to watch Tuesday's drills.

"I think he's done it enough where he could do it (left tackle) but I would like to go into the game kinda knowing, and maybe get him in there mid-camp, to have a good feel," Friend said. "But one of those guys needs to step up and lets us know, he we're going to be one of those guys to count on. We'd like somebody to do that pretty early and get a group going. There will be always guys who would change, but I'd like to get that first group together as soon as possible."

Center David Andrews, right guard Chris Burnette and left guard Dallas Lee will once again comprise the middle of the Bulldog offensive line.

"I think Boss (Andrews) has had a good spring and I think Chris Burnette played well for us last fall. If he comes back from that, those guys will be in the lineup. Dallas Lee gotten better, he's moving better and Dallas has won a lot of games he's played in, so I think those guys will be in the middle," Friend said. "No guy has ever got it for sure, as we need those guys to keep improving and be guys we can count on."

Redshirt sophomore Xzavier Ward has earned his stripes as well this spring while working predominantly with the first team at right tackle.

Friend said he's been pleased with the progress of the former Colquitt County standout, although he feels he still needs to get stronger.

"He's done some good things," Friend said. "Watts Dantzler has been better and Austin (Long) was doing good. We've just got to keep him from breaking mirrors or whatever he does," said Friend, referring to Long, currently out after recently undergoing hand surgery. "I think Greg Pyke has a chance if he does what he's supposed to do this summer."

Friend also had some positive words for freshman Josh Cardiello who worked with the second team at left guard on Saturday.

"Josh did some good things Saturday, he played with some energy and got after it. We saw him with some pop in his hips, and I was fired up about it," Friend said. "Aulden's (Bynum) done some good things but he needs to get stronger. He's a year away from being able to contribute but he does some good things naturally."

Friend said both Bynum and Cardiello will work at work guard moving forward, with Cardiello also getting some looks at center.