Weather conditions for the first spring practice in Athens seemed more like the type you would expect in the Mid-West on Saturday. Yet, Mark Richt had his team on the field for their first practice since the Capitol One Bowl win over Nebraska.
Coach Richt described the first practice as a very energetic and even joked that maybe the brisk temperatures contributed to that high energy. That said, he was very impressed with the work shown by some of the newer faces like Sophomore outside linebacker James DeLoach out of Jenkins County.
“He’s really in tremendous condition,” Richt said. “He’s a great athlete and it’s gonna be interesting to see how he can do.”
DeLoach was not the only young player that caught Mark Richt’s eye on the first day. He also mentioned second year linebacker Jordan Jenkins as a player that could be poised to have a huge 2013 season.
“He’s just very coachable, teachable, he wants to do it 100% right all the time,” Richt said. “I think he’s probably more advance that most (Sophomore’s) because of that attitude and the fact he got a lot of reps.”
In 2012, Jenkins started six games at outside linebacker and even got the starting nod for the Florida game last season. During this past year, Jenkins racked up eight tackles for a loss, five sacks, and forced one fumble.
This spring the Dawgs also have 13 of their 33 player signing class already enrolled in school and participating in Spring Practice. Players like linebacker Reggie Carter (South Gwinnett HS), safety Tray Matthews (Newnan HS), and defensive tackle John Atkins (Thomson, GA/Hargrave Military) are getting good reps in practice. This Spring Mark Richt says he’s trying to give players as much work on the field as possible.
“Our goal is not to have any scout team type work in the spring,” Richt said. “We want everybody a chance to get some reps.”
Right now, Georgia Football will have about 15 practices in total between March and April (including the G-Day Game on April 6th). They will also have two more practices after the G-Day game is played.
Quarterback Aaron Murray of course is back for his fifth season with UGA and his presence is very much welcomed by Mark Richt and the rest of the Bulldogs team.
“He is another coach on the field,” Richt Said “He’s having fun out there right now and he knows what he’s doing. He’s out there making plays and when he’s not he’s helping other guys figure it out.”
Georgia will get back on the field for their next practice on Tuesday. At which time offensive players like Aaron Murray are expected to speak with the media.
– A Few Practice Notes-
• RB Keith Marshall missed practice with a hamstring injury he got while running on the Georgia Track Team. Mark Richt doesn’t expect the rising Sophomore running back to be out past Spring Break.
• WR Michael Bennett is conditioning on the side coming back from his ACL surgery last fall. He will not participate in the spring workouts. But, should be able to work out without any limitations over the summer and be ready for the start of fall camp.
• Ramik Wilson and Amarlo Herrera got most of the reps at inside linebacker. Both players got significant playing time last season. Herrera started in nine games in 2012.
• This 2013 defense already has two players stepping up in a leadership role according to Mark Richt. They are cornerback Damion Swann and defensive end Garrison Smith.
• Early Enrollee linebacker Ryne Rankin out of Orlando, Florida is another player that caught Mark Richt’s eye on day one. In fact, so much that Coach reportedly had to give him the lay of the land on the rules at Georgia Football practices. Because, Rankin got a hand on one of the quarterbacks during on-field drills. That is a no-no in most high level Pro and College practices.
For updates during this spring and going into next season on the Georgia Bulldogs Football Program. Follow me on Twitter (@DanMathews929).