ATHENS, Ga — When walking into the Butts-Mehre building today, I could smell it in the air. It was the smell of football season and it’s getting closer and closer.
Counting today, there will only be four Saturday’s left without SEC football.
It’s almost here.
There are plenty of story lines surrounding this 2011 Georgia Bulldog team, and a lot of questions that will be answered in the first two games against Boise State and South Carolina.
Who will fill the void left by A.J. Green and Kris Durham in the receiving game?
Will Isaiah Crowell live up to the hype? What about Richard Samuel this time around at running back?
What about that offensive line, who will step up add depth? How good will Ben Jones and Cordy Glenn be?
Will John Jenkins be all that he’s made out to be and how much better will that make the defense?
How will Alec Ogletree adjust at inside linebacker? What about Jarvis Jones? Will Sanders Commings play corner or safety?
Oh, and those freshman, how good will they be?
While those questions won’t be answered until Sept. 3, those will be the main question marks heading into the 2011 season.
One of the major question marks will be how running back Richard Samuel reacts to moving back to the running back position. He made the transition back to the offensive side of the ball following the losses of Caleb King and Washaun Ealey and he says “it’s just like old times”.
“I feel more mature,” Samuel said. “I’ve seen things from both sides of the ball, so I know what to look for, know what to expect. It’s a whole new mindset.”
Although Samuel is taking the first reps of running back drills, he is impressed with what he has seen out of freshman Isaiah Crowell and redshirt freshman Ken Malcome.
“I’ve seen good impressions,” the junior running back said. “[Crowell and Malcome] have shown the coaches that [they] want to play.”
“A lot of people are trying to not get in his way,” tailback Ken Malcome said. “Even in walk-throughs, they’re trying to scoot to the side or whatever.”
Another battle that will receive a lot of attention will be the fight for the starting nose position between Kwame Geathers and John Jenkins.
“Competition is going to make everyone better,” Geathers said. “We’ve been doing pretty good, [Jenkins] is going to help out the team a lot. He’s getting better every day.”
Geathers remembers that in the first conversation between them he said, “let’s push each other and make each other better.”
Sophomore linebacker T.J. Stripling practiced again for the Bulldogs after suffering a raptured patella tendon last year against Colorado in Week 5. The sophomore says that he feels about 85 percent and hopes to be at full strength come Sept. 3 for the season opener against Boise State.
Brandon Boykin, Derek Owens, and Jakar Hamilton did not practice today, but it didn’t look to serious.
During practice, all the assistant coaches were really getting after the players, yelling and screaming. Of note, Todd Grantham told the defense, “You can be as good as you want to be.”
Graduation was held at Stegeman Coliseum this morning with current Bulldog wide receiver Israel Troupe (Housing) receiving his degree, former Bulldogs Thomas Davis (Consumer Economics) and Darryl Gamble (Housing) also received their degrees.
The Bulldogs will continue to practice in shoulder pads and shorts tomorrow morning before putting on full pads for the first time Monday morning.
It’s still 15 more seconds than you got to see of him before.