April 11, 2009

Houston keeps up pace

Justin Houston isn't about to proclaim himself the solution at defensive end for Georgia, but based on his last two scrimmages there's at least hope he's part of the answer.

After collecting two sacks in a scrimmage last Monday at Sanford Stadium, Houston followed up that showing with a three-sack performance in Saturday's G-Day game.

If his recent effort truly is an indication of what Bulldog fans can expect, it couldn't come at a more opportune time.

Beset by injuries throughout all of 2008, the Bulldogs lack of a consistent pass rush was one of the issues the Bulldogs have worked hard to correct. Houston said that's certainly been the case with him.

"I guess the lack of ends and more reps I'm taking is finally paying off," Houston said. "I'm just trying to do the best that I can."

Head coach Mark Richt has his fingers crossed.

With Houston just one of two scholarship defensive end on hand for G-Day, Richt and the coaches have been looking for some sort of good news regarding the position. So far, Houston has been it.

"Justin is one of the few guys who was healthy all last fall. He didn't miss any practices in the fall and he didn't miss any practices in the spring. He's getting better. I think he's really ready to be productive for us," Richt said. "I'm not going to predict a bunch of sacks or anything, but he's big, and strong and athletic and he's got those long arms and huge hands. All those things are starting to come together. I have to say he 's been the most productive guy, but we've only had two."

Fortunately, the remaining injured players are getting closer to coming back. That list does not include redshirt freshman Jeremy Longo who is expected to undergo shoulder surgery, an operation that will keep him out for six months.

Fortunately, Demarcus Dobbs, Roderick Battle, Neland Ball, Cornelius Washington, along with Kiante Tripp will all be healthy and ready to go.

"I had no choice but to accept the challenge," Houston said. 'With no other (scholarship) ends and (two) others just coming over from the offense, there was nothing else I could do."

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