Anderson picked it up over the spring

ATHENS – On the practice field, Justin Anderson often looks frustrated. It's the same look he had on the Sanford Stadium sidelines last season as he sat out a redshirt season.

It's hard to say for sure if Anderson is frustrated that he hasn't played yet or excited that his chance is on the horizon or overwhelmed at the complexities of college football. Since his arrival in Athens almost a year ago, Anderson has been off-limits to the media per order of offensive line coach Stacey Searels.

The only thing we know for sure is Anderson, a redshirt freshman, was working as the starting right guard heading into last Saturday's G-Day game.

"I wouldn't put it past him to stay there," head coach Mark Richt said. "He's strong; he's got size; he's the quickest guy we've got off the football. He's still a little inconsistent. When he does it right, you get jacked up and you realize that not many guys can do it as well as he can do it."

Anderson's promotion to starter came by default due to a case of mononucleosis contracted by Clint Boling, but it's the role Georgia's coaches have been projecting for him since he first signed out of Irwin County High School in 2006. Anderson was a USA Today first team All-USA selection and a second team All-American on the EA Sports team.

Those kind of accolades got Bulldog fans excited about Anderson even though he had to spend a year at Hargrave sorting out his academic eligibility, but Anderson's transition has been slow and painful at times. Searels refuses to talk to the media about any subject, leaving others to elaborate on Anderson's progress and potential.

"You can tell he gets frustrated sometimes because it still hasn't clicked completely," backup quarterback Joe Cox said. "When it clicks for him, he's going to be scary."

Anderson is the Bulldogs' most athletic offensive lineman despite weighing 330 pounds, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said.

"He moves a lot of bodies," tight end Bruce Figgins said. "Once his feet get moving, he's not going back."

That's the teammate perspective. The coaches' perspective is a little different.

"The word on him is consistency fundamentally and effort," Bobo said. "When he can play at a more consistent level fundamentally and play with the effort that we want, he'll have a chance to be a good football player. Until then, he'll never reach his potential."

If Anderson does reach his potential, he will give the Bulldogs something they haven't had since the departure of Max Jean-Gilles, a physically dominant offensive lineman.

"We definitely need somebody like that, especially with how much we run the ball and in this conference," Cox said. "You've got to have a tough lineman like that, and once he gets it down pat, he's going to be the prototype guy we like to run the ball behind."

"He's progressing," Richt said. "He's not staying the same or getting worse, and that's the whole thing. If we just keep moving forward, we think he's going to be a great football player."


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