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August 13, 2008

Not Just a Backup

Freshman Ben Jones was already on head coach Mark Richt's radar way back in the spring. Now, with the season just over two weeks away, the Centreville, Ala. has virtually guaranteed himself playing time this fall.

"Ben has been practicing very hard, he knows what to do and he's competing very well," Richt said following Wednesday evening's practice. "I think he'll certainly play. Ben's probably more comfortable at center. We've talked about the possibility of putting him at guard, but I think that center is more natural for him."

Richt said it wouldn't necessarily be for backup purposes, either, suggesting there might be times when offensive line coach
Stacy Searels elects to give Jones some playing time while shifting Davis to left guard. Davis started all 13 games at left guard last year.

"Guard would be a more natural transition for Chris if we need to do that. I'm not talking about the starting five necessarily, but we may put him in and bump Chris out a little bit as we go," Richt said. "I think Ben has proved that he's ready to play."

As for left tackle, Richt said that redshirt
Josh Davis continues to get the bulk of the work with the No. 1 unit, but that
Vince Vance, Kiante Tripp and Clint Boling also got their share of reps as well.

"We like the way that Josh is playing," Richt said. "He's progressing and showing a little bit more energy in his step, feeling like hey, here's my chance. He doesn't feel good about Trinton getting hurt, but he also sees this as an opportunity."


Suspension won't hang over Boling

Richt said that Boling's one-game suspension will not preclude him from regaining a starting role once he returns to action in Week 2 against Central Michigan.

"There are no gimmes, although we'll have to gauge who we started based on what Clint might have done a year ago and compare it to who would be the left tackle, that would probably be the deal," Richt said. "Once a guy comes off discipline, it's forgotten. It needs to be anyway. When you pay your price, when its over you're back in good graces if you handle it right, which Clint has."

Boling has continued to
work at four of the five offensive line positions thus far.


Shave pays off for Ellerbe

All summer, linebacker
Dannell Ellerbe wore a neatly cut goatee, which is no problem during the off-season as it does not conflict with Richt's in-season policy of no facial hair. But when Sports Illustrated requested him to be a part of its cover shoot, a line had to be drawn.

"In the summer we don't have the hair rule, but if you want to be in Sports Illustrated, the grooming regulations are in effect," Richt said. "I think he resisted it a little bit with one of Claude's (Felton) people."

But not for long: "I told him he doesn't have to cut off the hair if he doesn't want to, but if not he won't be on the cover of Sports Illustrated. It's up to him," Richt said. "He showed up the next day all clean-shaven with a smile on his face. It was pretty exciting for him."


This and that

Ellerbe (shoulder) wore a green non-contact jersey, while
Cornelius Washington wore a brace to correct a stiff neck. . … Backup running back
Kalvin Daniels also wore a green jersey, as did Prince Miller, although he was able to participate in conditioning drills. … Wide receivers
Michael Moore (hamstring) and Tavarres King (ankle) both returned to practice after sitting out the past six days. … Running back
Knowshon Moreno also wore a green jersey for the ninth straight day. Richt said the shoulder continues to be just a little sore and his not 100 percent, although he insists it's strictly for precautionary reasons. "I think Coach (Tony) Ball feels better when he's in green."



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