ATHENS, Ga. - Georgia appears to be developing good depth at linebacker, thanks some young players competing for time behind established starters Boss Bailey, Tony Gilbert and Chris Clemons. Sophomore Arnold Harrison is working as the top backup to Gilbert at middle linebacker. Derrick White, a redshirt freshman, is behind Bailey at strongside linebacker. Two players, true freshman Tony Taylor and sophomore Derrick Holloway, are competing for time behind Clemons, the starting weakside linebacker.
"It is kind of based on situations,'' said defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brian VanGorder of the plans for Taylor and Holloway. Either way, it seems likely that Taylor, from Oconee County, will be part of a long list of true freshmen who will play this year. A defensive back and running back in high school, Taylor is the son of former Georgia linebacker Nate Taylor. Another true freshman, Marquis Elmore, was expected to compete at middle linebacker before he had surgery to repair a slightly herniated disc. VanGorder said Elmore might be ready to play by the Sept. 14 game at South Carolina. Coaches face a potentially difficult decision about whether to play Elmore this season. "Right now he's coming along pretty good,'' said VanGorder, who added he thinks Elmore would play "if at any position he could help us.''
- Coming up: Friday night was the final scrimmage of the preseason. Coach Mark Richt plans a lighter practice today in shorts and shoulder pads, and the team will enter its normal game-week schedule on Monday for next Saturday's 7:45 p.m. opener against Clemson, to be televised by ESPN.
- Answering the challenge: Richt says he has seen sophomore Sean Jones "pick up the pace'' since redshirt freshman Thomas Davis moved past Jones as the starting rover earlier in the week. "(Jones) didn't have a problem with effort before, but you can see he doesn't like (being pushed out of the starting job) and he wants to do something about it,'' Richt said. At the same time Richt announced the change at rover, he said freshman Kedric Golston had moved past Ken Veal at nose tackle. Richt said Veal has not been able to answer the challenge from Golston due to injuries. Veal currently is slowed by bruised ribs. Richt and his staff will take another look at the depth chart after studying film of Friday night's scrimmage.
- Bailey, Gilbert on Butkus Award list: Gilbert and Bailey have been named to the preliminary list of 67 candidates, including nine from the Southeastern Conference, for the Butkus Award given every year to the nation's best linebacker. Bailey was a preseason first-team All-America pick by The Sporting News and a first-team All-SEC pick by SEC media and several publications. Gilbert was a preseason All-SEC second-team pick by the SEC media and a first-team pick by The Sporting News. He is trying to become only the second player in Georgia history, after Ben Zambiasi (1975-77) to lead the team in tackles three straight seasons. Ten semifinalists for the award will be named on Oct. 17.
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