Dawgs get physical in Sanford

ATHENS – Georgia's spring practices will take a break after today's practice at Sanford Stadium.

The practice in full pads was the first of the season at the stadium. It was also the last of the two-day coaching clinic put on by the staff for high school coaches around the South.

"Hopefully they'll have a better view of Georgia as a result of their time here," said head coach Mark Richt. "They seemed to appreciate it."

Richt said his offense must protect the football. He was not pleased with the number of fumbles in last night's practice. "Offensively we fumbled the ball too much – the defense may have knocked it out, but it happened too much," said Richt. Danny Ware had several fumbles last season, as did Tyson Browning.

Richt met with reporters before practice and spoke most frequently about two players – Brannan Southerland and Charles Johnson.

"Brannan was very physical last night (in pads), but I saw that coming last season," said Richt. "Charles Johnson is already starting to become a dominant player. He is starting to show signs of being special."

"Southerland looks good blocking and running with the ball. He's really a fullback with halfback skills," said Richt.

"Charles is going to play in a lot of different places. He's a defensive end, but he can pop in and out. We don't have enough depth at certain positions. Instead of waiting, we are trying to cross train some players now," said Richt.

Richt also mentioned that Dale Dixson would be a nice addition to the defensive tackle rotation, but that he was taking it slow due to injury. "He was doing some nice things in our mat (drills) program. It would be nice to see him healthy," said Richt.

Richt also said Thomas Flower was the player from last night's practice that stood out the most in terms of playing physically.

"One of our goals was to get more physical, and he did that," said Richt of Flowers. Richt also mentioned walk-on Drew Williams as a player that caught his eye last night.


Green Jersey report (Injured players and all quarterbacks) – Marcus Jackson (DNP), Jarvis Jackson (DNP), Jemario Smith (back), Steve White, Olaolu Sanni-Osomo (DNP), Kregg Lumpkin (Knee), Tra Battle (back), Quinton Moses (hamstring), Bartley Miller (shoulder – precautionary), Tony Milton (lower left leg – precautionary)

Richt said Bryan McClendon was the only receiver who was really ready to play right now. "He's stepping up," said Richt. "I think the biggest difference is that Fred and Reggie are gone. He's one of the most physically ready receivers. He's further along as a full receiver."

Richt also said senior cornerbacks Tim Jennings and Demario Minter were making life difficult for the receivers on the team. "They are stepping up and making things hard on the receivers," said Richt.

Marcus Howard could get a look in the near future as a pure pass rusher. "He's doing it in particular situations," said Richt. The head coach said those situations were long-distance downs. Howard is one of the fastest linebackers on the team, but has not yet gotten much playing time in his career.

The most impressive offensive lineman so far this spring (save Max Jean-Gilles) has been Dennis Roland. Roland, the team's number one tight tackle, was considered a project a few seasons ago. Now, however, he has caught Richt's eye. "He has done well so far," said Richt.

Tailback Tony Milton is still dressing in the green non-contact jersey, but only as precautionary item. "When we go thud (meaning hitting, but not tackling), he goes. It's more of a precautionary thing on Ron Courson's part," said Richt. Richt said Bartley Miller was in the same situation.

EYE ON 2005: When asked about the 2005 season Richt responded quickly – "I just hope we beat Boise State"


"I'm a little tender, but it feels pretty good. They are holding me out of a couple things. But I am excited right now. I just want to get my feet under me in the spring." – Junior offensive lineman Bartley Miller

"It's cool – I'm not really used to playing inside." – Charles Johnson on playing both inside and outside of the defensive line. Richt is concerned about the amount of depth on the defensive line and is cross training some players.

"I'm going to the country – I'm a country boy." – Johnson again; this time talking about his plans for spring break which started at the conclusion of tonight's practice.

"I was talking with David (Greene) the other day and he said he was still learning things his final year in Athens." Blake Barnes on how long it takes a quarterback to develop.

"I have to bring it up." – Sean Bailey on how much he and his father talk about football. Bailey's father played in the NFL.

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