Notebook: Beard excited for homecoming

Notes on Mark Beard, John Theus, Mike Thornton and more below.

Georgia offensive lineman Mark Beard is eager for Saturday to arrive.

He certainly has plenty of reason to be.

Georgia's matchup at Auburn will be a homecoming of sorts for Beard, who hails from Adamsville, Ala. With right guard Chris Burnette sidelined since last week's victory over Ole Miss with a shoulder injury, Beard may also receive his first start of the season.

"It's real exciting," said Beard. "Especially going against the home team, it's real exciting."

Beard originally signed with Troy University in high school but chose to attend Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College instead. Beard enrolled at Georgia in January and has played in every game thus far for the Bulldogs, rotating in at left tackle.

"It took me a while to learn the plays, but a lot of hard work got me in the position I am in now," said Beard. "The coaches wanted to make a rotation, so that makes me feel good."

Beard is looking forward to playing against some familiar faces that now play at Auburn. With a win over the Tigers, Georgia will clinch the SEC East division and put the Bulldogs back in Atlanta, battling for an SEC title. Beard hopes that can happen, so he can finally quiet his friends back home.

"They (Auburn) throw their rings in my face, and my boys that play at Alabama have their rings," said Beard. "It's time for Georgia to get our rings."

OL Theus doesn't feel like a freshman anymore

John Theus no longer considers himself a freshman.

After enrolling in the summer, Theus was quickly pegged as Georgia's starting right tackle, and the former five-star prospect has started every game for the Bulldogs this season.

"I definitely feel that I've come a long way, as far as the playbook," said Theus. "I can't consider myself a freshman anymore. I can't use that as an excuse."

Still, the Jacksonville native has had his share of growing pains this season. In last week's 37-10, the Bulldogs allowed a season-high five sacks, and Theus doesn't shy away from taking the blame for some of those troubles.

"On one of the sacks I gave up, I just simply got beat," said Theus. "I was sitting inside and the guy beat me outside...There were a lot of plays where I didn't execute what I was supposed to do."

In spite of his miscues, Theus has a better understanding of his role and his skills than he did earlier this season.

"Without a doubt, getting playing time and the more experience you get the more confident you are," said Theus. "I feel a lot more confident than day one and more confident week four or five."

Backup Thornton waiting for his time

No one likes to play second fiddle.

Serving as a backup along Georgia's defensive line, however, isn't so bad when you consider the amount of talent and experience that the Bulldogs boast.

Currently, Mike Thornton is listed as a backup defensive end behind senior Cornelius Washington and sophomore Ray Drew, but the redshirt sophomore from Stone Mountain is not getting down on himself.

"It's tough sitting behind those guys, trying to wait for my turn," said Thornton. "I go out and I work. I do everything I can to prepare in the same ways they do."

The former Stephenson standout has worked at both nose guard and defensive end this season at practice and has become a contributor on fifth-ranked Georgia's special teams this year.

"I'm playing whatever I can play right now, whether it's special teams, field goals, or defense," said Thornton, who serves as a personal punt protector for punter Collin Barber. "I just play wherever they need me."

Quick Hits

For the second consecutive year, quarterback Aaron Murray and snapper Ty Frix were named to the Capital One Academic All-District football team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) this week.

To be nominated, a student-athlete must be at least a sophomore with at least a 3.3 GPA and have participated in at least 50 percent of their team's games. Georgia and Auburn led the SEC with two selections each on the 22-member All-District 4 team...

Since the SEC began in 1933, Georgia and Auburn have played each other 20 times for either a division crown or conference championship. Georgia is 11-8-1 in those games...

The Georgia-Auburn rivalry is the seventh most played rivalry in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, with the two teams having met 115 times. This year will be mark the 120th anniversary since the first Georgia-Auburn game in 1892.

Georgia is behind in the series by one game, 53-54-8, but the Bulldogs have won five of their last six against the Tigers. The Bulldogs have outscored the Tigers 1,854-1,778 in the series...

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