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Blog: Bobo and Grantham talk preseason Georgia football

Georgia football players have been on campus for most of the summer.

They officially report on Tuesday and hit the practice field for the first preseason practice two days later.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham met with the media late this afternoon to talk about their units heading into August.

Here are some tidbits:
–Grantham addressed the loss of Josh Harvey-Clemons to a one-game suspension.

At strong safety, Corey Moore, junior college transfer Shaq Fluker and Connor Norman are candidates, he said.

“We’re going to evaluate all of those guys at the safety position,” Grantham said.

Harvey-Clemons also played the nickel spot.

Damian Swann has played the position ‚Äúand we‚Äôll continue to give him some snaps there and just see how some of the newer guys between (Shaq) Wiggins and (Brendan) Langley come along.”

If Swann is the nickel, Wiggins and Langley would get looks at cornerback.

–Nose guard Mike Thornton had a ‚Äúgood spring and he‚Äôs done a solid job this summer,‚Äù and will enter preseason ahead of Chris Mayes and John Atkins at the position.

“That thing was written in pencil, though,” Grantham said. “There’s nothing that says we couldn’t erase a guy and put Jonathan Taylor in there if we wanted to.”

How other guys progress at end could determine if Taylor can slide to nose.

“We’re going to find a way to get him on the field and make some plays,” Grantham said.

–Junior college transfer lineman Toby Johnson, coming off knee surgery and an unspecified minor procedure this summer, will practice ‚Äúfrom day one.‚Äù

Plans are still for him to play defensive end.

–Grantham addressed the emphasis on targeting defenseless players.

“It’s obviously there,” he said. “I think it’s a good thing for safety of players. You still want to play aggressive and physical because you’re still trying to protect yourself also. I think you’ve just got to understand the rule, the target area and how they’re going to call it.”

Grantham said his players need to understand the boundaries of an emphasis that can cause a player to be ejected from the game.

“I think they’ve put a lot of pressure, a lot on the officials,” Grantham said. “I think they’ve made their job very difficult. …I think they’re in a tough spot. I think we’ve just got to work through it to make sure everybody gets on the same page.”

–Freshmen Tim Kimbrough and Johnny O‚ÄôNeal will join the inside linebacker mix. Shaun McGee, another freshman, probably will begin working at outside linebacker but will cross-train at inside linebacker, Grantham said. Leonard Floyd is the other freshman joining the outside linebackers.

–Bobo addressed the competition between Xzavier Ward and John Theus at offensive right tackle: ‚ÄúWe‚Äôll see when we have practice. After spring practice, Xzavier Ward was No. 1. We‚Äôll practice the first day and Xzavier Ward and John Theus will both get reps with the first team at right tackle. And it will be an ongoing battle there and an ongoing battle at a lot of our places and positions. ‚ĶNobody‚Äôs guaranteed anything just because they started so many games last year. You‚Äôve got to earn what‚Äôs on the field.‚Äù

–One change from the depth chart that‚Äôs released is at fullback.

Bobo said 257-pound sophomore Quayvon Hicks “overtook Merrit (Hall) as the starter in the spring, but I see both guys competing this (preseason) to see who will be the guy.”

–Bobo said of freshmen running backs Brendan Douglas and A.J. Turman: ‚ÄúWe‚Äôve got to get those guys ready to play. We‚Äôve got to have depth at that position.

Freshman tailback J.J. Green is No. 3 after Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall following the spring. Bobo said he would like to have a third and fourth tailback established this preseason.

Bobo wasn’t certain if Green is going to be at tailback for the long haul.

“I think he’s going to be where needed,” he said.

–Receiver Tramel Terry, the freshman coming off a torn ACL, will practice ‚Äúin a limited basis,‚Äù next week, Bobo said.

“He’s going to be limited and doing as tolerated,” Bobo said. “Just take it slow. We don’t want to rush him back, but just work his way back.”

—Bobo certainly likes this group of receivers.

“It’s a complete group,” he said.

He was on staff when Georgia had Reggie Brown, Fred Gibson and Terrence Edwards at receiver.

“I wouldn’t trade this group for any group that I’ve had since I’ve been here just because you’ve got so many guys who can do so much,” he said.

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