Kregg Lumpkin, TheInsiders.com All-America pick from Stephenson High School, has made a strong first impression on the Georgia coaching staff as practice has opened this week. The team has its first day in full pads Saturday, and that will be the time more will be known about Lumpkin and other first-year players.
Even though running backs are not yet having to run through tackles, Coach
Mark Richt says Lumpkin already has shown good quickness with the ball.
"He's a real natural in seeing the hole and getting to it, and he's got the
ability to get there in a real smooth-looking way,'' Richt said.
Added Richt: "You could tell he seems to have good vision. It's one thing
see (the hole) and now you have to get there. Some guys have stutter steps
and all. He kind of slashes up in there pretty nice. We'll see what happens
when they really start hitting.''
Lumpkin is gaining confidence even as he is losing weight in the first week
of drills. The 6-foot-1 back checked in with the freshmen at 211 pounds
already is down to 206. He says he had been as heavy as 220 this summer.
"I'm trying to keep on weight and not lose it,'' Lumpkin said.
Even closer to 200 pounds, Lumpkin still boasts the combination of size and
speed Georgia has lacked with such recent power backs as 2002 starter Musa
Smith and Verron Haynes.
The big key for Lumpkin is learning the offense in time to have a chance to
contribute as early as the Aug. 30 season opener at Clemson.
"I'm catching up pretty fast,'' said Lumpkin, adding that he is working
to learn the blocking responsibilities in pass-protection schemes.
Lumpkin said that earning a starting job is a goal but added "right now I'm
just trying to get my feet wet and trying to get accustomed to the offense
and pick up the plays.''
Rated by TheInsiders.com as the second-best high school running back in the
nation and by the same service as the top player in Georgia, Lumpkin likely
will play immediately, if only in a backup role.
"He's going to get his chance to prove what he can do, along with (Michael)
Cooper and (Ronnie) Powell,'' Richt said.
Still, Richt's starter is Tony Milton, who served last year as the top backup
behind Smith and made one fill-in start.
Milton (5-10, 198), a third-year sophomore proved his toughness by playing
through injuries - including a stress fracture in his leg. Despite the
injuries, Milton played in every game last season.
"I've played through so much stuff it's not funny,'' Milton said.
how I am. I'm a blue-collar guy. I try to get the job done. It may not be as
fancy as people like, but I'm going to do it.''
Milton has Richt's confidence as a strong blocker, and he finished spring
practice with a firm hold on the starting job - even if he says no coach has
told him that.
"I think I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing,'' Milton said.
worked hard since I've been here. I'm very nonchalant about stuff like that.
It's not really a big deal to me as long as I get out there and I work
Cooper was last year's top signee at running back but was redshirted after a
slow showing early in practice. Powell, a junior from Jacksonville, was
listed behind Milton and Cooper at the end of spring drills.
Tyson Browning is suspended for the first three games and so will not
compete for playing time before the Sept. 20 game at LSU. That helps to
create an opening for Lumpkin, who says he does not feel the pressure of the
expectations that accompany his billing as a top recruit.
"Not really,'' Lumpkin said. "I just want to get my feet wet and at
get a chance to get in the first game so I can see what it's like. From then
on I can know what to to and what not to do when I'm out there.''
NOTES: Richt said Thursday he continues to be impressed by how hard the team
is working. "If we can stay together when we cross some adversity, we're
going to be all right,'' Richt said. "I don't have any question that
work hard. They're really trying to do what we say the way we say to do it.
You can't ask for much more right now.'' ...
Offensive tackle Max Jean-Gilles returned to practice Thursday. He was held
out Wednesday when he did not gain back enough weight lost in Tuesday's
practice. Players are weighed before and after each practice.
RB Competition: Blue Chip vs. Blue Collar
Dawg Post Top Stories
Gators Listed as 6.5-pt Favs over UGAATHENS - Georgia will enter the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party an underdog for the second year in a row.
Dawg Post7:39 PM
Georgia commit bulldozes his way to 7 TD'sGeorgia commit D'Andre Swift had missed two games before coming back this past weekend.
Scout Penn Preps12:24 PM
Dawg Post Sunday Recruiting Update:Dawg Post takes a look at last weekend's game between rivals Brookwood and Parkview
Dawg Post5:18 AM
Dawg Post Thursday Recruiting Update:Dawg Post takes a look at some of the top games in Georgia this upcoming weekend.
Dawg PostThursday at 12:56 PM