2006 Spring Practice: Day 1 O and O

ATHENS – Observations and opinions from Georgia's first day of spring practice.

Georgia opened its spring practice on the field turf fields on the lower end of the football facility. This has been typical for Georgia in the last four seasons. The Bulldogs are sporting grey (or silver) shorts during practice.

Brannon Southerland is out, and Des Williams is returning from a season-ending injury, so Jason Johnson – known as "Chicago" on the team – has been taking reps at that spot. Johnson has done well in springs and G-Day games, but he's never made a splash in a big-time game. He might get some looks this fall as a backup fullback.

Some players are out for the spring: Sean Bailey (knee), A.J. Bryant (shoulder), Antavious Coates (knee), Dannell Ellerbe (shoulder), Demiko Goodman (shoulder), Charles Krouth (shoulder), John Miller (shoulder), Orry Mitchell (knee), Ian Smith (cervical strain), Brannan Southland (shoulder), Danny Verdun Wheeler (wrist), Drew Williams (knee) and Ben Wilson (shoulder).

Marquis Elmore (wrist) and Jeremy Lomax (shoulder) were listed as "out of spring" but had limited practice today. Coleman Watson was out today on crutches with an ankle injury.

If Danny Ware is unhappy at Georgia – as has been rumored – it's hard to tell. His personality has not changed much since he arrived in Athens two years ago. He's not quite as boisterous as he was in the past with the media, but he's very energetic with his teammates.

Max Jean-Gilles is gone, but Georgia still has several huge lineman. Daniel Inman and Ken Shackleford are mammoth tackles – redshirting Fernando Velasco seems to have been the right move. Velasco will likely start alongside Nick Jones as center and Chester Adams at the other guard. I would be surprised if any of the linemen listed above are passed in the depth chart this spring.

Mikey Henderson, Thomas Flowers and Asher Allen were getting looks at punt returner. Obviously Flowers will be the guy to beat at this spot – it seems very unlikely that he will lose it to anyone.

The quarterbacks, obviously, got most – if not all – of the attention Saturday morning. Joe Tereshinski is the number one followed by Blake Barnes, Joe Cox and Matthew Stafford.

If was amusing to see so many different media outlets that do not normally cover the Bulldogs' opening practice of spring football. There must have been at least seven cameramen standing around the quarterbacks' workout for the 30 minutes that practice is open to the media. To say that it was getting close to being a spectacle would not be a stretch. I'm not sure if you can have a spectacle in spring football, but if you can it will be this year's battle of the quarterbacks.

Tereshinski has several strengths – he knows the offense and he's a veteran with game experience. He seemed the most eager to go retrieve a poorly thrown ball, which is required by the coaches. Tereshinski has certain advantages built into being the number one guy going into the spring – he gets to work with the number one unit more, and during drills he works mainly with Nick Jones and that matters.

As far as throwing the ball is concerned – today Joe Cox seemed to be the most consistent. Cox is the smallest of the quarterbacks, but he gets it right more often than not. Blake Barnes struggled to find targets at times today; it will be a real fight for him to win the starting job this fall. Matthew Stafford – the player that was most watched by far – was getting used to his settings. He had trouble with one-handed snaps and drills like that, but once he gets his hands on the ball it's hard not to notice the velocity at which he throws the ball.

Stafford throws a very fast and to-the-point ball. It's going to take some getting used to for the wide receiver's supple hands. Cox is going to get the ball where it needs to go – it seems that Stafford can do the same thing even if a wall where in front of the target. Tereshinski and Cox appear well in control of their bodies right now. Stafford was not quite to the level they were with being comfortable at practice and that seemed to affect him.

As of this morning, it spears the quarterback race is a three-man affair. It's hard to know how Stafford will react once he gets used to his settings. He has the best physical skills of all four quarterbacks. Also, he's lost weight since Signing Day – mat drills have made him more in shape.

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