March 29, 2011

Improvement needed on OL

Although offensive line coach Will Friend sees good potential, he's going to need to see some marked improvement before he starts making any final declarations about how good his troops will eventually be.

"We'll put the tape on and see today but I thought today was the worst day we've had," Friend said after Tuesday's fifth day of spring drills. "But they have shown some signs. I am interested in seeing them in a true scrimmage situation."

Friend will get his chance on Saturday when the Bulldog scrimmage for the first time this spring.

Meanwhile, Friend will continue taking a close look at just what he has at his disposal. That groups includes senior Justin Anderson, who is back on offense after playing a season on the defensive line at nose, despite missing most of the year with a turf toe injury.

"That's a whole year of missing out on things and you know, just hearing it over and over and repetition - he's behind in that. But if he can get that together, he's got all kinds of tools," Friend said. "He's not all the way healthy. He's just coming off the surgery so he's just now starting to get back to that since he hasn't been able to do a whole lot of running because he just got cleared to run.
"As he gets tired, he's not all the way in great shape that he needs to be in, but he's powerful, he's big and I think he wants to do well. We've got to stay on top of him, but that's our job."

Redshirt freshman Brent Benedict is getting his chance as well after blowing out his knee during his senior season at The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla.

But interestingly enough, on Tuesday, neither Benedict nor Anderson worked with the first team. That honor went to redshirt freshman Chris Burnette, who Friend said has been quite impressive during the early portion of spring drills.

"Chris worked with the ones today at right guard," Friend said. "We grade everything that goes on and Chris has graded pretty good every time out, so because of that he worked with the ones."

Meanwhile, Kolton Houston is also working out as the backup center behind starter Ben Jones as redshirt freshman Dallas Lee (asthma-like condition) still has not been able to practice this spring. Friend said he did not know when Lee might return. Kenarious Gates continues to work with the first team at left guard while Austin Long continues to get a look at right tackle.

The starting left tackle spot is also apparently up for grabs.

According to Friend, he's been rotating Trinton Sturdivant and Cordy Glenn at right and left tackle, respectively.

"We're going to play the best five, so right now we've got some guys playing some different spots and keeping other guys at spots to just leave them there and kind of see," Friend said. "Cordy and Trinton have flipped at the tackles and really with our number at tackles in the spring, we've got to do that. Whoever wins the job will be the left tackle."

At 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds, Sturdivant started seven games at left tackle for the Bulldogs last fall, while Glenn (6-5, 348) started four games at left tackle his sophomore year in 2009.

"Cordy's rusty there but he's got a lot of potential," Friend said. "He can be a dominant player and we need him to be that way."

This and thatRunning back Washaun Ealey sat out Tuesday's work out with what UGA officials described as a strained left hamstring. He is listed as day-to-day. … Running backs coach Bryan McClendon said running back Ken Malcome was back 100 percent after being "banged up" for Georgia's first four practices of the spring. … The Bulldogs worked on their punt returns during the four periods allotted to the media for viewing with Brandon Boykin, Carlton Thomas, Derek Owens and Branden Smith each alternating at the return. … Georgia will practice three straight days beginning Thursday, which will coincide with the annual Coaches Clinic. Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith will be the featured speaker.

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