December 21, 2009

Banks receives good news for a change

Quintin Banks has had his share of bad injury news over the course of his career.

The junior appeared in just three games this year, thanks to a preseason knee injury that hampered him basically all season.

Sunday, it appeared the backup safety was in for some more bad news when he was taken from the practice field by ambulance following a collision during drills.

Banks was placed on a spinal board for precautionary reasons and taken to St. Mary's hospital. But this time the, Banks caught the right kind of break. He was released later Monday evening.

"He had a neck sprain and all his extremities are moving just fine," head coach Mark Richt said after Monday morning's practice. "He actually got discharged from the hospital last night, but they did evaluate him and everything looks positive."

Richt listed Banks as "questionable" for the Independence Bowl game against Texas A&M.
"I wouldn't count him out right now," Richt said.

Banks spoke to UGASports late last week before the injury.

"I just try to keep my head, keep working and whatever happens, happens," Banks said. "You can't control the injuries, but I can control my attitude and try to be a leader n the team."

Richt says Houston can get even better

Justin Houston didn't receive much consideration for postseason honors due to the fact that he only played in nine of Georgia's 12 games.

Given a full season in 2010, Richt expects that will change.

"His production per game was outstanding," Richt said. "You get him for an entire season, there's no telling what he might do for us as a team, but also he would do a lot for people to notice him for some of these post-season awards."

Houston, who was suspended for Georgia's first two games after violating team rules, missed a third game due to an elbow injury.

But in the nine contests that he did play, Houston collected 38 tackles, including 7.5 sacks.

Richt also had good things to say about rising senior Demarcus Dobbs, and Cornelius Washington, who will be a redshirt sophomore in 2010.

"I really think our D-end position is ready to take off because, you've got them (Houston and Dobbs) and I see Cornelius really starting to come on," Richt said.

Gilliard making plans for next year

Freshman linebacker Michael Gilliard is thrilled that he got to play in all 12 games for Georgia this year, but he's got even bigger plans for 2010.


"I weigh 215 pounds right now, but I'd like to try and get up to 230 by the spring," said Gilliard, who got in on seven tackles for the Bulldogs last fall.

"I want to get bigger, faster and stronger," the Valdosta native said. "I hope to get on the field more than I was last year."

Meanwhile, Gilliard is like the rest of his defensive teammates, wondering who their next defensive coordinator might be.

But moreso than that, Gilliard is more interested to see what kind of scheme Georgia's new defensive boss will bring.

"The scheme is probably going to be the most important thing that I'm looking at," said Gilliard, who admitted he would not be opposed to playing a 3-4 set.

"That would be even better right there," he said. "If you get four good linebackers on the field, maybe one a standup defensive end, that would be even better."

Bobo says freshmen quarterbacks improving

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo had kind words for both freshmen Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger[/db[, who along with [db]Logan Gray, will battle it out for Georgia's starting quarterback position this spring.

"They're two guys who come out and compete every day in practice, there is competition among them, which is good and they come out and try to be the best quarterback on the field," Bobo said after practice Monday evening. "You do like to see guys like that, who are hungry and out there competing every day, so it's going to be a fun spring."

Granted, there are areas both youngsters need to improve.

For Murray, it's getting used to working under center.

"We do enough shotgun where we're not totally under center. But another would be just knowing what we do, understand the concepts, seeing it faster and that will come with reps," Bobo said. "He moves in the pocket, he makes plays with his legs and has a really quick release. He's got a lot of intangibles, a lot of confidence and believes that he can get it done."

Bobo isn't counting out Mettenberger, either.

The 6-foot-5 native Oconee County native arrived at Georgia weighing a hefty 249 pounds, but has gotten his weight down to 230 and continues to make important strides.

"He's still got some work to do with his footwork, and not just stand back and try to depend on his arm," Bobo said.

Although Bobo said that Murray has been the more accurate of the two during practice, he said both can throw the football well.

"Both of those guys have talented arms," said Bobo, who concedes that Murray has been the more accurate of the two. "Both can get it out there; make any throw you ask them to make."

One more practice to go

Georgia wraps up its bowl practice in Athens Tuesday morning before arriving in Shreveport Thursday.

Monday, the Bulldogs completed an hour and 15-minute practice on Monday afternoon to wrap up the team's final two-a-day session.

Georgia started the day with a 45-minute special teams practice in the morning in frigid conditions as the team continues to prepare for its matchup versus Texas A&M in the Advocare 100 Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La., next Monday.

Richt was pleased with his team's effort following the afternoon practice considering this was the sixth straight day of practices.

"It wasn't quite as intense as (Sunday's) practice, but still a good one," Richt said. "There wasn't quite the juice out there as there has been but we've been going every day for a while now so that's expected. We'll have one final practice tomorrow morning and after 10:30 or so in the morning, the guys will start getting out of town and heading towards Shreveport. We are looking forward to getting out there and getting to work."

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