UGA Football Notebook: Mason keeps hard-working attitude despite likelihood of redshirt

Hutson Mason may be headed for a redshirt season this fall, but the Georgia quarterback is practicing this spring like he isn’t.

“That’s the last thing I want to do,” Mason said. “I don’t want to take that mentality. I know if I start to take that mentality, I’m going to mentally get worse. I don’t want to get lackadaisical and decline in what I’ve learned so far. I’m not taking that approach at all.”

Mason mulled transferring after his sophomore season before deciding to return with the plan to redshirt unless starter Aaron Murray is injured.

“We hope that Aaron stays healthy, plays great, that Hutson would be able to redshirt,” coach Mark Richt said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, so Hutson really has to stay in a state of readiness.”

Georgia is getting redshirt freshman Christian LeMay and true freshman Faton Bauta the work they need to serve as the backup if Murray stays healthy this season.

“It’s actually working better for me because I’m getting a lot more reps with the ones,” Mason said. “Since the reps are being split up more, I go some with the twos, but I get a lot more reps with the ones. I love that. I love going with the first-string guys.”

Georgia’s quarterbacks also include walk-ons Parker Welch and Greg Bingham.

“We have a lot of depth at QB right now,” Murray said. “You can’t sit anywhere in our QB meeting room right now.”

Joked Mason: “We almost had to kick coach Richt out.”

Quarterback Michael Tamburo, a transfer from Boise State who walked on the squad last year, is no longer on the team as a player. Murray said Tamburo has a knee injury and Richt said that he will serve in a student coaching role.

Murray said of LeMay and Bauta: “Whoever knows the most is going to edge the spot of who’s going to get more playing time or get a certain spot on the depth chart.”

Richt expects Houston to play after being ineligible last season

Offensive lineman Kolton Houston is working at first-team left guard this spring.

There’s a good reason for that.

Richt said Thursday that he expected Houston will be able to play this season after being forced to sit out last season due to an unspecified NCAA issue.

“We anticipate him to be able to play, but it’s not set in stone yet,” said Richt, who would not offer details about why Houston was ineligible last season.

Georgia has not made Houston available when requested for interviews.

Offensive line coach Will Friend is rotating the offensive line around during practices, Richt said.

“I wouldn’t say Kolton is ahead of Dallas Lee right now,” Richt said. “On any given day or any given rotation, he may be in there and Dallas will be with the twos but they’re both moving back and forth with the ones and twos.”

Houston, who arrived at Georgia from Buford in 2010, was considered a candidate to start prior to last season before the NCAA issue arose, but he’s in the plans for the rotation this season.

“We think Kolton can play,” Richt said.

Defense ‘locked in’

Georgia’s defense got the better of the offense in Thursday’s practice in helmets, shoulder pads and thigh pads.

“The defense got to watch the offense run five extra gassers,” Richt said. “The defense is locked in pretty good right now. … It’s pretty typical to take a little while to get things going (offensively), especially breaking in some new linemen as well.”

It doesn’t help the offense that Malcolm Mitchell is at cornerback this spring.

“You definitely want Mitchell,” Murray said. “I’m still going to do whatever I can to try sneaking him back to offense, as much pleading as I can do to coach Richt this summer.”

Mitchell is “locking down everyone” at cornerback, Murray said.

This and that

Receiver Rantavious Wooten missed practice Thursday after pulling a leg muscle, Richt said. … Richt continues to be pleased with what he’s seen of first-team center David Andrews. “At one time I would have been predicting that (Chris) Burnette would be the guy,” Richt said. “I think it would be better for Georgia if David could stay inside.” … Outside linebacker Ramik Wilson returned to practice after missing the first two days following the death of his father last week.

 

Check out more photos from Wednesday’s practice.