Rundown: Ward in Athens

ATHENS - News and notes from Georgia's fifth spring practice Tuesday.

The Lead:

Former Georgia and Pittsburgh Steelers star Hines Ward was at practice Tuesday. Ward, who recently retired from the NFL after a 14-year career, paid close attention to the wide receivers and spoke to players and coaches during the practice.

Ward could offer no instruction due to NCAA rules.

While Ward and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo didn't play pitch-and-catch on the practice field, the two did relive some memories from their playing days together in the mid-90s.

"We pulled up something on Youtube," Bobo said. "We were talking about a seam throw and how we use to run it and watched it."

A particular backside seam in the 1996 Auburn game is what sparked the interest.

Bobo joked that he wished Ward could have put on a jersey and "blended in" with the rest of the receivers.

"NCAA says he can just stand and watch," Bobo said. "Wish we could have him help coach, but he can't do that."

Battle Lines:

Richard Samuel is cross training at tailback and fullback, running backs coach Bryan McClendon confirmed. Ken Malcome is strictly a tailback at this time, McClendon added.

Dallas Lee was seen taking reps with the No. 1 offense at center Tuesday, but offensive line coach Will Friend said that's no indicator of how David Andrews is performing.

"(Lee)'s done OK, and he's done it before," Friend said. "He's still got a long way to go because he didn't do it at all last year. He snapped for us, but he didn't in live action. I think he's got to get used to exchanging the ball to the quarterback, and after that it's blocking."

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham pin-pointed Damian Swann as the leading candidate to play the nickel role that Brandon Boykin occupied last year. That lines up with what Swann said he was working on the most this spring: "I've gained weight," he said, adding he's up to 187 pounds. "I think helping in the run game and coming up and being a better tackle is going to be a strong point for me."

Injury Update:

In green: Zach DeBell (ankle) and Xzavier Ward (knee).

Not practicing: Sterling Bailey (foot), Rantavious Wooten (leg muscle) John Jenkins (academic obligation).

Defensive line coach Rodney Garner indicated Jenkins missed practice to take care of something in the classroom. Nothing to worry about.

Bailey is not expected to practice this spring, Grantham said. He had surgery to repair ligaments in his right foot in December. It was originally believed he could take part in some drills and contact this spring. That's no longer the case, Grantham said, adding that the staff will try to catch Bailey up to speed in August.

Newcomer Update:

McClendon on tailback Keith Marshall: "Just a super guy, you know, just very conscientious. Very smart, he's a smart kid that wants to know everything – wants to do well at everything. Obviously he has all the ability to match it. When you say the sky is the limit for a person, I really think that phrase was made for him."

Friend on JUCO transfer Mark Beard: "It's a lot going on right now. We didn't pull back on everything we're installing. It's a good thing for a mid-year guy to come in early, but at the same time when you're the only one the show keeps going for everybody else so it's kind of hit him a little bit. He'll get better as the spring goes on. It's kind of spinning fast, but he's just got to keep competing and it will all come to him."

Hutson Mason on quarterback Faton Bauta: "For Faton right now it's like every other quarterback that comes in; his head is probably spinning a little bit just like mine was. Faton is an extremely bright kid. Just sitting in the meeting room with Faton, he picks up like that (snaps fingers), which speaks highly of his intelligence. Any guy that can pick it up quick can get on the field as soon as possible."

Quote of the day:

"Definitely. I definitely have the best hair on the team. Me and Chase (Vasser)." – Outside linebacker T.J. Stripling

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