ATHENS, Ga — Mark Richt met with the media following the Bulldogs first practice in full pads. Below, he talks about the freshman, Branden Smith, and other observations.
ATHENS, Ga — The Georgia Bulldogs continued fall camp Monday morning with their fifth practice, but it had a little different feel with this being the first practice of the fall with full pads.
Of the players making some noise during the Bulldogs first day in full pads, junior running back Richard Samuel and junior cornerback Branden Smith.
Following the loss of Caleb King and Washaun Ealey, Samuel made the decision to come back to the offensive side of the ball after switching to linebacker last year.
Samuel rushed for rushed for 395 yards and two touchdowns on 88 attempts in 2009, before switching to defense for 2010, but s
Now as a junior, the Atlanta, Ga. native has a new mindset and approach for the upcoming season.
“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.”
As fall camp continues, Richard Samuel is getting reps with the first team offense, and even with Isaiah Crowell, he is the early favorite to get the first carry against Boise State.
In the first day of full pads, Richt mentioned that Samuel ran over an unnamed young defensive back at practice today.
“When he runs,” Richt said to the media following practice. “It’s almost like the ground shakes.”
Also adding depth to the running back position, is true freshman Isaiah Crowell, who safety Shawn Williams says is the real deal.
“Isaiah’s a very good back, very athletic,” the junior safety said. “You look at him and you think he’s just a small kid, but he’s not, he’s 220, and he can put a move on you, or run right over you.”
“Richard is a power back, but I’m starting to look at Isaiah as a power back, and he has the speed to play,” Williams said.
Cornerback Branden Smith, a versatile player that has played mostly defense, along with offense and special teams the last two years, has impressed players and coaches during the first week of fall camp.”
“Smith continues to impress me,” Richt said. “He’s practicing with a greater focus than I’ve ever seen. He is playing with more confidence, he’s more physical.”
Safety Shawn Williams was asked if there was any big hits of note during the Bulldogs first day in full pads.
“All I know is that our smallest DB, came up and knocked someone’s helmet off,” Williams said of the 5-foot-11, 176 pound defensive back. ”
Branden Smith started nine games in 2010 and finished with 17 tackles and two interceptions. Also a threat on offense, he rushed the ball six times for 46 yards and caught the ball two times for 17 yards. If playing offense and defense isn’t enough, he also returned 10 punts in 2010 averaging 14.3 yards per return.
Georgia nose John Jenkins is wearing the No. 66 after practicing with the No. 6 during Georgia’s first few practices. He is not switching numbers, it’s just that Georgia doesn’t have a big enough No. 6 jersey for Jenkins to wear. Once it arrives in Athens, Jenkins will wear it.
Redshirt sophomore running back Brandon Harton did not practice today due to a concussion suffered yesterday during practice, Richt said that he hopes to have Harton back later this week.
Georgia will next practice Tuesday morning in a practice designated as a special teams practice. The entire practice will be closed to the media. Also on Tuesday, the Bulldogs will have their first two-a-day with another practice scheduled for Tuesday evening in preparation for their first scrimmage Wednesday morning at Sanford Stadium.
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Being and staying a head coach in the SEC in 2011 isn’t necessarily about your accomplishments or credentials, but a lot more about “What have you done for me lately?”
Richt will enter the 11th year as head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs with more pressure to win than ever before.
After leaving Florida State to coach the Bulldogs in 2001, Richt became the first head coach in SEC history to win two SEC Titles and record four straight 10-win seasons during his first five years at the helm.
That is quite impressive considering the coaching legacy in the SEC, but there is one thing absent from his resume that Gene Chizik, Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, and Les Miles added within the last four years.
A National Championship.
ATHENS, Ga — The Georgia Bulldogs held their first practice in full pads, here is a photo gallery of the action.
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If there was one bright spot to the 6-7 record the Georgia Bulldogs finished with in 2010, it was the quarterback position and freshman Aaron Murray.