Questions, Questions: Dawgs' Spring Football

ATHENS - Josh Kendall takes a look at the top questions of Georgia's spring.

Does the Dogs' defensive end tradition end now?

Last year's starters – Quentin Moses and Charles Johnson – are preparing for the NFL Draft. Taking their place will be 6-foot-4, 250-pound Rod Battle and 6-2, 220-pound Marcus Howard, or perhaps 6-5, 275-pound junior college transfer Jarius Wynn. "The concern is (Battle and Howard) are lighter guys," defensive coordinator Willie Martinez said. "Obviously size is going to be an issue. We've just got to help them at certain times. We're not sure how they'll perform. I don't think we're going to be able to answer that question (until the fall)."

Who'll play linebacker?

Tony Taylor, last year's defensive MVP, Jarvis Jackson and Danny Verdun Wheeler are gone. Starter Brandon Miller is back and moving from the strong side to the starting spot in the middle. Junior Dannell Ellerbe and sophomore Darius Dewberry are penciled in as the starters on the outside, but three redshirt freshmen, Akeem Hebron, Akeem Dent and Darryl Gamble will get a chance, too.

Miller's move to the middle will allow him to stay on the field even when Georgia is in its nickel defense, something he didn't do on the strong side.

"We've been training him there for a year now," Martinez said. "It's not like it's a new thing for him. It will be a new position for him in a game-type situation, but we've been slowly doing it, and I just think it's a good move for us."

How will the offense look under first-year coordinator Mike Bobo?

Not a lot different in the spring. Bobo, the Bulldogs' quarterbacks coach for the last five seasons, has been handling the spring play-calling duties for a while. The change for him came in the lead up for this month, when he had to organize meetings and the offensive coaching staff.

"It's been a little more time consuming on my part," he said, "but all the other coaches have been great and we've worked well together."

How long can the Bulldog wide receivers underachieve?

The good news is senior Sean Bailey, a star in the 2005 SEC Championship Game, is back after missing all of 2006 due to a knee injury. The bad news is the Bulldogs have underachieved at wide receiver in every previous year of the Richt era. Mohamed Massaquoi, Kenneth Harris, A.J. Bryant, Mikey Henderson, Kris Durham and Michael Moore will get another chance this year and be joined by redshirt freshman Tony Wilson.

"We've got to get around putting so much pressure on yourself and (thinking) every play is do or die," Bobo said. "If we drop a ball, we have to come back and play the next play. Hopefully, we'll find a couple guys we can count on as playmakers."

Who will be the standout among the newcomers?

Georgia has seven new faces this spring – Wynn and fellow defensive lineman Corvey Irvin and the five offensive linemen. Any or all of them could be a starter by the end of the spring.

Who will actually be on the field?

Tailback Thomas Brown (knee) will do very little in the spring, but the team's coaches expect him be ready to go in the fall.

"I wouldn't be surprised one bit to see him ready to go full speed in the last scrimmage or two," Richt said. "I definitely would not count him out at all because of how strong he is and what a hard worker he is. I'd never say (it's 100 percent), but I'd say it's very, very likely."

Tight ends Na'Derris Ward (shoulder) and Coleman Watson (groin), wide receivers T.J. Gartrell (knee) and Demiko Goodman (knee), safety Antavious Coates (knee) and defensive linemen Brandon Wood (shoulder) and Kiante Tripp (knee) also will be out or limited this spring.

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