From one nose guard to another, Kwame Geathers has a good idea what John Jenkins went through in adjusting to a Georgia practice.
‚ÄúI remember I came in and I had a little bit of heat problems, too,‚Äù Geathers¬† said. ‚ÄúI can‚Äôt blame him for that. He just has to get used to it. It‚Äôs probably a different tempo than his junior college.‚Äù
Jenkins signed this winter out of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College to give the Bulldogs an immovable object at the pivotal nose position in its 3-4 defense.
Then Geathers became formidable himself with a dominant spring.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a real blessing to have two big men that can spell each other,‚Äù coach Mark Richt said Saturday. ‚ÄúEspecially when the weather is hot.‚Äù
That hot weather was too much for the 6-foot-3, 351-pound Jenkins on Thursday in the team‚Äôs first preseason workout. He had to leave in the middle of practice because of it, but he completed the past two practices.
‚ÄúI think he‚Äôs going to help the team a lot,‚Äù Geathers said. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs learning the plays more every day, getting better every day.‚Äù
If the 6-6, 350-pound Geathers continues to make plays like he did in the spring, Georgia coaches will find a way to get him on the field.
‚ÄúWe do want to train Kwame to play some end,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúWe do want to have some situations where we might can have both of them in the game at the same time, but my guess is earlier in the season they‚Äôll be kind of spelling each other more than both being in the game at the same time.‚Äù
One of those days
Branden Smith had at least five interceptions in Friday‚Äôs practice, leaving Richt to say a day later, ‚ÄúI don‚Äôt know if I‚Äôve ever seen that many picks in a day in 25 years of coaching.‚Äù
Backup quarterback Hutson Mason didn‚Äôt surgarcoat it.
He admitted he was responsible for throwing four of those interceptions.
‚ÄúI think (Friday) was my worst day ever ‚Äî in football, period,‚Äù the sophomore said. ‚ÄúIt was a rough day. There were some mistakes I made, but at the same time I‚Äôm going with the (second team). I‚Äôve got four freshman O-linemen and some freshman receivers. We have a lot of timing routes and I‚Äôm not blaming anything on anybody, but we just have got stuff to work on.‚Äù
Richt said the week before preseason camp began that Mason ‚Äúwas so impressive to me in the spring.‚Äù He added then: ‚ÄúI feel very comfortable with him as our No. 2 guy right now.‚Äù
Richt addresses Internet Kellen Moore story
A story that Richt has been telling for months on the speaking circuit relating to the Boise State game suddenly spread across the Internet on Friday, including at Deadpsin.com, after Richt told the story again in a recent radio interview.
Richt has been saying that when athletic director Greg McGarity approached him about the game initially, he told him that the Broncos‚Äô Heisman Trophy finalist quarterback Kellen Moore was a senior last season and would be gone when the game was played.
In reality, Moore is a senior this year and should start the teams‚Äô opener.
Most who have heard the story suspected that Richt was joking.
Richt elaborated Saturday: ‚ÄúI think Greg mentioned, ‚ÄòThat quarterback‚Äôs a senior anyway.‚Äô I was like, ‚ÄòThat‚Äôs good. Let‚Äôs set it up.‚Äô No, by the time we made the final decision, we knew.‚Äù
Yes, Richt said, ‚ÄúI embellished a little bit.‚Äù
Fatigue takes toll
Georgia will practice for the fourth time this preseason this morning after the team had a sometimes-lackluster practice in shoulder pads on Saturday.
‚ÄúA little bit of fatigue is setting in, a little bit of weariness,‚Äù Richt said. ‚ÄúWithout question, the fatigue affected the concentration level. The last 30 minutes of practice, we dropped more balls than we did the first two-and-a-half practices. We had more penalties. We couldn‚Äôt focus when we were tired, which was a big part of our demise a year ago. Hopefully we can be learning and fighting through it.‚Äù
Richt said players‚Äô physical conditioning was not the issue, but some weren‚Äôt as sharp mentally.
‚ÄúWe just lost focus a little bit,‚Äù receiver Marlon Brown said. ‚ÄúThe bodies are sore. You‚Äôve just got to keep grinding.‚Äù
Said Richt: ‚ÄúI think everybody‚Äôs really excited and trying to win a job or keep a job. You just see some guys that have maybe a little bit sharper focus.‚Äù
This and that
Georgia‚Äôs secondary was without three injured players on Saturday.
Cornerback Brandon Boykin and safety Jakar Hamilton have sore hamstrings. Cornerback Derek Owens rode a stationary bike during practice, but Richt couldn‚Äôt remember his injury said it was not serious. Their absences created extra practice work for several freshmen. ‚ÄúThe more reps they get, the more they learn,‚Äù Richt said. Outside linebacker
Cornelius Washington (hamstring) missed his second straight day. ‚Ä¶ Freshman cornerback Damian Swann has been a standout the last couple of days and ‚Äúis competing extremely well,‚Äù Richt said. ‚Ä¶ Starting left guard Kenarious Gates said he is also cross-training some at right tackle. Kolton Houston is backing up Gates at left guard.