June 11, 2009: What We Are Hearing

ATHENS – Dean Legge gives you some inside scoop in this edition of What we are hearing.

The Bulldogs completed their first pass skeleton of the summer earlier this week, and it seems the program – finally healthy and a bit rested – is rolling in pretty good.

As always the discussion turns to younger players, and no one has impressed more than Orson Charles. That should not be a huge surprise. Charles was a stellar player in space for Plant. If he can block at all, and I mean at all, he will be the starter by the end of the season… if not earlier. Dude is a star.

I have also heard positive things about Rantavious Wooten and Derrick Lott. Lott has been described as a "monster"; whereas Wooten brings a different element to the Dawgs' attack.

It should be noted, too, that Joe Cox had a pretty good throwing day earlier this week. The rising senior had a good day. Cox's arm had been a little sore earlier this year. Perhaps that's the reason, on the 15th practice of the spring, Cox didn't have the greatest G-Day ever. Then again, Cox is not known for his G-Day performances – also, too, who cares about G-Day? Not me.


QB Joe Cox is said to be rested and sharpe

Don't doubt Rod Battle. Yes, Justin Houston might be the go-to guy as it relates to the pass rush by the end of the season, but Battle is a fighter. He's a smart player, and he's dependable. Put Battle down, in pencil, as a guy to watch early this fall.

One Georgia player commented just how impressive it was to see everyone back healthy earlier this week. "It was a ‘wow' moment," he said. I guess seeing everyone all in one spot and with crutches and band-aids at a minimum is likely inspiring confidence in the Dawgs.

Mark Richt has been saying for some time that he's eager to see just what the program will be like when everyone is healthy, and that's where Georgia is at right now – pretty much healthy. Yes, the superstars are gone, but the beef may make up for that. Getting Jeff Owens back will be great. Coaches are totally enthused about the rotation at defensive tackle. The Dawgs, with Owens, Geno Atkins, Kade Weston and DeAngelo Tyson, are in good shape at that spot.

SAYING NO TO NIKE?

Baseball may not have had as good a year in 2009 as they did in 2008, but one thing is certain, the private complaining about the baseball bats produced by Nike must have been true. Even though Georgia has a contract with the apparel maker for all things sports, Georgia was allowed to use Easton bats this season. The switch paid off in terms of power.


Evans didn't think the bats mattered, but they did.

The Bulldogs hit a school record 101 home runs this year – even with fewer at bats and games. Last season Georgia hit 96 home runs during 2,547 at bats (or a home run one in every 26.53 at bats). This season the Dawgs pounded 101 homers in 1,922 trips to the plate (or a home run one in every 19.03 at bats). I would say that is a much more noticeable. Every single player who started this season and last had an increase in home runs – sometimes the gear matters... end of story.

Earlier this year, Damon Evans told the AJC's Chip Tower's "Nike was kind enough to work with us on this". I guess Evans will have to reconsider the scientific data he said didn't exist last season because it is quite obvious the new bats are better than the Nike ones. More home runs in less games? Ballgame. Then again, why can't Nike, the most respected athletic brand in the world, just make a better baseball bat? Why should Georgia have second rate things (oh boy)?

Evans' scientific data

FOXY

As I wrote earlier this week, the days are still long, and the future seems far away, but I really do think Mark Fox has gotten off to a good start. The Dawgs' first camp of the year had at least one impressive recruit – Damien Leonard from Mann in Greenville, SC. Leonard is considered a four-star prospect by Scout.com – the fourth best shooting guard in the nation. If the Dawgs need one thing for sure it's points. Again, however, 2011 is some time away.


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