Boykin at Nickel?

ATHENS - With his play last season cornerback Brandon Boykin essentially locked up a starting position for this season.

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Nothing is guaranteed, but Boykin doesn't plan on relinquishing the spot he grabbed three interceptions from in 2009.

With his play, Boykin also earned added responsibility.

When Georgia employs nickel coverage, with an added defensive back, it's Boykin who slids down to cover the slot receiver.

"It's not much of a difference because when the corner moves into the slot, it's just like the nickel," Boykin said.

The real change, Boykin said, is learning the blitzing packages. From his nickel spot, Boykin will be asked to cover bigger receivers in the slot, and at times, to rush the quarterback. The added tasks matches Boykin's style, since he says he loves to plays physical.

"There's a lot of similarities, but for me personally, it's learning the nickel," Boykin said. "My freshman year I played the nickel, but it was in coach [Willie] Martinez' scheme and it was a little different. In this scheme, we have more blitzes and man-to-man schemes, so that's what's changing."

A friendly rivalry

It might be the least intriguing spring practice battle, but even if being the nominal starter at tailback isn't particularly riveting material for fans to discuss, it's something Washaun Ealey and Caleb King are following closely.

"It's a friendly rivalry," said Ealey, the rising sophomore who thrived down the stretch last season. "We try to outdo each other in everything we do, whether it's playing basketball or playing video games or just hanging around. We just always like to kid around about stuff like that, about who's the best."

In Saturday's scrimmage, both tailbacks impressed, but neither exactly separated himself. King carried six times for 79 yards, while Ealey ran nine times and picked up 64 yards.

At this point, however, head coach Mark Richt isn't exactly worrying about who the starter will be. Instead, he's simply enthused by the effort both runners have turned in.

"Caleb and Washaun have a very good friendship, and I think they both want to be the starter," Richt said. "They both want to prove they deserve the most carries, and I really like they way they're practicing. Both of them, you can tell they enjoy each other's friendship, but they are really practicing with a lot of tempo."

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