Spring football: Players that are hot and not

ATHENS – With the annual G-Day game completed it's time to look back at whose spring was hot and whose was not.


D.J. Shockley – No, Shockley's performance at G-Day was not flawless; in fact his lone interception of the day was horrid, but the team is squarely behind their leader. It's not just lip service, either. Players are happy to tell you off the record that Shockley has taken over as the primary leader of the team. Shockley looked good at almost every practice this spring. Now more than ever, Shockley seems relaxed and in control. If he can escape making unnecessary throws like the interception on G-Day and instead continue his steady play, the Bulldogs might be very difficult to beat.

Thomas Brown – Brown will likely be the number one running back going into August, but he'll still have to deal with Danny Ware and a full speed Kregg Lumpkin in order to keep the job. Brown was on fire during G-Day as he racked up 67 yards on eight carries. Brown also looked unstoppable at punt return this spring. He may be Georgia's number one weapon in the fall.

Michael Turner – Seemingly out of nowhere, Turner might have had the most surprisingly impressive spring of all the Bulldogs. Coming off an arrest just before spring practice started, Turner told me in an interview that he "had something to prove" during the practices. He did just that. While healthy, Turner can play center, guard, or tackle for the program, although he will likely end up at the tackle spot rotation this fall.

Kirby Smart – The running backs seem confident they are learning new things weekly under the young position coach. Smart, who might have wound up coaching for the Miami Dolphins had Ken Rucker not left for Texas, had the attention of his talented running backs all during the spring.

Leonard Pope – It's hard to think that Pope will be around for his senior season at Georgia. He is perhaps the most dominating player at any one position for the Bulldogs. Georgia's stout defense can not handle the nearly 6-8 star - and that's saying something. Pope should be an All-American candidate this fall. He'll also be Shockley's safety net.

Georgia's cornerbacks – Demario Minter and Tim Jennings had impressive practices, even though it went against the Bulldogs' somewhat lacking receivers. Both have had their challenges on the playing field while in Athens, but I can not recall the last time the Bulldogs had two solid corners going into a season.


Martrez Milner – He had too many drops in the spring game. Pope is in front of him in his final season in Athens, so that must be discouraging, too. Milner must snap out of the dropped-ball syndrome that has haunted him for the last season.

Andy Bailey – It's not that Bailey is cold, but in a position that only plays one player, Bailey is behind Brandon Coutu and can not seem to get past him. Even when Coutu slips up and misses a kick, Bailey will as well. Bailey has the bigger leg – there is little question about that – but can't seem to get it under control. Now, Bailey must show, without question, that he is better than Coutu, otherwise the job will remain with the walk-on.

Tony Milton – Milton, going into his senior season, has Brown, Lumpkin, Ware, and Tyson Browning in front of him on the depth chart. He managed only 21 yards on 11 carries during G-Day. His days of being an active member of the offense seem numbered.


Tyson Browning – A player who had a great start to 2004, but then had too many fumbles during the season, Browning had an outstanding G-Day to cap off a good spring. He's still behind quite a few players in the running back depth chart, but he can play almost anywhere other than quarterback and lineman in the Bulldogs' offense.

Kenneth HarrisBryan McClendon and Sean Bailey might be the starters in 2005, but Harris proved that there is at least another target for D.J. Shockley to throw to next season. Harris has had to deal with dropped passes during some of spring and that kept him off of the HOT list, but his performance in G-Day – four catches for 95 yards and a touchdown – means he might be heating up.

Bryan McClendon – Four catches for 70 yards and a touchdown during G-Day means McClendon might be ready to jump out from Fred Gibson and Reggie Brown's shadow. McClendon knows there are big shoes to fill and also understands that the receivers are going to be the most questioned group coming into 2005. But he may have provided some answers with his spring practice.

Joe Tereshinski – Now certainly the back-up quarterback, Tereshinski will try to earn playing time this August. Head Coach Mark Richt said during the spring that if the number two quarterback position is settled then that player will get their chance to compete for playing time in the fall. Tereshinski's progression this spring when compared to where he was last spring is almost breathtaking. But he still had a difficult time earlier this month when he injured himself off the football field, which resulted in his missing a few practices. This was a big spring for Tereshinski, but not nearly as big as next when the starting job will be up in the air.

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