Spring Preview: Centers

ATHENS - Georgia's 2006 spring practice opens soon – the Bulldogs start their camp on March 4 – so here is a look at Georgia's situation at center.

2005 Starter: Russ Tanner and Ryan Schnetzer

Both Tanner and Schnetzer are gone, but underrated Nick Jones will slide to center to take over starting snapping duties this fall. Jones has played guard most of his career at Georgia, but the departure of a four-year starter and his backup means that someone must do it, and Jones is the most capable.

Ian Smith, who redshirted in the fall, will be the most likely candidate for backup at center. Smith missed some time last fall with a concussion as well, and spent most of his work on the scout team.

Michael Turner has made significant progress on the gridiron, but he's not seen a ton of action. Turner was featured as an extra lineman in Georgia's jumbo packages for short yardage situations in 2005. He won't challenge Jones for the starting job, but will be in the mix for backup. However, it's more likely Turner will be concentrating on the tackle job he'll be trying to win more than center.

Head Coach Mark Richt and offensive line coach Neil Callaway have indicated that newcomer Kevin Perez, who enrolled in January, will also snap the ball this spring.

With the four quarterbacks fighting for the number one job this spring and fall, there's little doubt that all of Georgia's centers will work with each candidate and become familiar with all of them. Backup centers will get a lot of work this spring.

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