Going to a bowl game means extra practice time for coaches to get longer looks at unproven players.
Backup offensive lineman Watts Dantzler impressed coaches on Saturday while filling in for teammate Chris Burnette, who missed practice with an illness.
UGA Sports Communications
For Georgia, that includes on the offensive line, where the Bulldogs will lose senior starters Cordy Glenn, Ben Jones and Justin Anderson after the Outback Bowl.
Freshman offensive tackle Watts Dantzler from Dalton has drawn praise from coaches this week.
He worked with the starting unit on Saturday at right guard in place of Chris Burnette, who has missed practices the last couple of days because of an illness, according to offensive line coach Will Friend and director of sports medicine Ron Courson.
The 6-foot-7, 310-pound Dantzler played in just three games this season.
“I’ll tell you what, he had a good day today and a good day yesterday,” Friend said after Saturday’s practice. “He’s working some at guard and tackle. He’s just got to get tougher and more physical.”
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said that Dantzler “has shown some improvement, is willing to put his face in there.”
Redshirt sophomore left tackle Austin Long, who has dealt with injuries throughout his career, has “done a really nice job,” in bowl practices,” to work himself into a position to play,” Bobo said. Freshman David Andrews, who could replace Jones next year at center, is “a fighter and continues to get better.”
Decision time for Mason
The time is coming closer for backup quarterback Hutson Mason to decide on his future at Georgia.
He said earlier this season that he will come up with an answer after the bowl game about whether to transfer or remain with the Bulldogs behind Aaron Murray.
Mason has played in just four games each of the past two seasons.
“I still have two years left,” he said Saturday. “I would like to play those two years. There’s some different options.
One option might be to take a redshirt season for class separation with Murray. Both will be entering their junior seasons in 2012.
“We’re going to talk about things after the season,” Bobo said. “I’d rather not get into it right now.”
Murray, Jones play coach
While Bobo was on the road recruiting after the Southeastern Conference Championship game, he told two of the offensive leaders to get ahead on scouting Michigan State.
The message to Murray and Jones was to “pretend they were the coaches and come up with a gameplan.”
That included suggestions in certain situations, formations and down and distance.
“I haven’t gotten that much from them,” Bobo said, “but they like to think they’re coaches. Them two, they do a great job. They come in and sit over there (and say), ‘This is going to be us one day.’ They think they’re going to be two coaches.”
This and that
Receiver Rantavious Wooten is back at practice for the first time in three months after suffering a concussion in a car accident. He’s practiced in a non-contact jersey. “You can tell he’s got fresh legs,” Bobo said. “He’s run by the DBs two or three times.” Georgia plans on Wooten redshirting this season so he won’t play in the bowl. …Inside linebacker Mike Gilliard (ankle) and defensive end DeAngelo Tyson (ankle) remain out, but Tyson jogged on the side during practice.