Ellerbe creating buzz in Athens

ATHENS - Dannell Ellerbe knows he has created some buzz around Georgia's practice fields.

He's heard it. What he hasn't heard, or hasn't paid any attention to, is the talk from Coach Mark Richt that he could play safety or linebacker.

"I never would or will (play safety)," Dannell Ellerbe. "I don't want to."

Whether Ellerbe, a redshirt freshman from Hamlet, N.C., gets to make the final decision on that is yet to be determined, but for now at least the 220-pounder is practicing at weak side linebacker, where he's working with the second team.

"Dannell Ellerbe has a lot of potential, but that's what it is right now -- potential," linebackers coach John Jancek said. "This spring is going to be huge for him. He has a lot of talent but a long road ahead."

Ellerbe already has a vote of confidence from one former Bulldog. Odell Thurman asked Ellerbe to wear his No. 33 this year, and Ellerbe has complied.

Ellerbe's blend of size and speed have led many people to suggest he could have a big impact this season, but he's not willing to make any predictions.

"I'm just trying to do good and get more playing time right now," he said. "I'm no so much worried about starting right now."

That laid-back attitude doesn't fit well with Jancek.

"He's lucky I didn't hear him say that," he said. "He better want to start and he better want to play."

BATTLE INJURED: Mary Persons graduate Tra Battle, who worked out at first-team safety on Saturday, was injured in a car wreck Sunday night and may have a serious back injury.

"He wasn't wearing his seat belt, so..." Richt said.

Battle may have either a bulging disc or a ruptured disc, he said. He will know after an MRI today, he said. If it's a ruptured disc, he will need surgery and could miss significant time.

"I don't intend on anything keeping me out that long," he said.

Either Kelin Johnson or Antonio Sims would move into the first-team role if Battle can't return.

BACKUP BATTLE: Joe Tereshinski has taken the early lead for the No. 2 quarterback position, but Richt expects the competition to get closer as the spring progress.

"You could see Joe T is much more comfortable in the offense than Blake (Barnes)," Richt said. "Blake just got a taste of it last year, now he's getting a lot of work. He's a quick learner, hopefully by somewhere in the middle of spring, he'll get where he's not quite as mechanical in his throwing."

Richt wouldn't commit to how much his backup will play this year, but he said he would like to get the No. 2 into games in the first half when he can."

THIS AND THAT: Former Bulldogs David Greene and David Pollack took time off from their NFL Draft preparation to visit Monday's practice. ... The Bulldogs will return to the field Thursday night and will put on their pads for the first time this spring. ... Wide receiver Demiko Goodman said he will miss Thursday's and Friday's practice to compete with the track team, but he expects to make the rest of the workouts.

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