August 9, 2011

Backing up the O-line

While Georgia's starting offensive line has basically already been defined, the team's second unit has been in a state of flux.

But that may be changing.

According to redshirt freshman Kolton Houston, that's starting to take shape, too.

As the Bulldogs get ready for their first preseason scrimmage Wednesday at Sanford Stadium, Houston confirmed that he and redshirt sophomore Dallas Lee are rotating at both guard spots, with true freshman Watts Dantzler at left tackle and redshirt freshman Hugh Williams seeing time at the right side.

True freshman David Andrews continues to see most of the snaps as the top backup at center behind starter Ben Jones.

"Right now I'm just concentrating on three spots (left guard, right guard and center), but if something dramatic were to happen, I'd go out to tackle," Houston said Tuesday morning. "But I definitely think my strong suit is guard."

Redshirt sophomore Austin Long will resume practicing at right guard once he is fully recovered from his recent bout with mononucleosis.

"I think we're all doing a good job," Houston said. "We're coming out and giving it as much effort as we can, we've been really physical and that's the best way to get coaches to notice you, give a lot of effort, be really physical and let them know that you are not afraid to play."

For Lee, it will be his first scrimmage since missing all of the spring while dealing with what he described as a respiratory issue.

He's ready to make a good impression.

"This scrimmage is huge for me, Coach (Will) Friend, this is the first time I've been with him. Everybody else got to make their first impression in spring," he said. "This is my chance so that scrimmage tomorrow is going to be my first scrimmage event with Coach (Will) Friend to show him what I can do so, it's got to be all out. I've got to play well."

Based on what he's seen from practices thus far, Houston believes everybody on the offensive line will be ready.
"It's been a lot more competitive and I think that's what hurt us last year. We weren't competitive enough in practices and we never really got after each other. It was sort of like slow motion.

This year, we do all these competitive drills in practice and it's almost like we're practicing at game speed. I think that's where we're going to see the biggest difference for us when it comes fall time."

Lee says illness was mystifying

Lee said doctors still aren't sure what caused the "asthma-like" conditions that kept him from participating in spring drills.

"They still haven't figured it out," he said. "It's kind of scary that they still don't know but I've got a different medicine combination that works so I'm trying not to think about it."

Still, Lee admits not knowing the exact problem made last spring all the more frustrating as he tried to recover.

"All last spring and all last fall, we couldn't figure out what was wrong with me," he said. "It was real scary, not being able to breathe and not have anybody able to give you a definitive answer with what's wrong or how to fix it."

Fortunately, Lee has had no ill-effects since May.

"I can play right now, my lungs are fine, nothing has been wrong since May," he said. "If I can go through all these 100 degree heat this summer with all the running that Coach T made us do, I shouldn't have any problems."

Bulldogs being warned of new celebration rule

Quarterback Aaron Murray said head coach Mark Richt is going to great lengths to make sure the Bulldogs keep college football's new celebration rule firmly engrained in their minds.

"Oh definitely. We actually had an incident a couple of days ago. I threw a long touchdown to one of our receivers- I'm not going to say his name because I don't want to get anyone in trouble - but he caught it and celebrated about a 70-yard touchdown," Murray said. "Coach Richt put it in the film room for the whole team to see. He paused it right where he was making the celebration, right about the 25 or 30 yard line and goes this would be 15 yards from this spot and this touchdown would not have happened."

Players have received subsequent lessons since then.

"We do a point-system where the offense and defense gets a point for a good play. We threw another touchdown, celebrated unnecessarily and we actually lost two points while the defense gained a point," Murray said. "I think Coach Richt is doing a great job of getting us to understand the consequences of us doing something that's not right."

According to the new rule, unsportsmanlike calls will either be a live-ball foul or a dead-ball foul. The new rule has the potential to actually take away scores if an official deems the celebration took place before the player crosses the goal line.

White the Twitter King

For a person as proficient on Twitter as senior tight end Aron White, the thought of him not always loving this arm of the social media seems a bit far-fetched.

Not so.

"I made so much fun of Twitter when it first came out. I was the biggest Twitter hater on the planet; I was Facebook all day, Twitter is so lame, all it is a status update," laughed White whose "camplife series" is becoming somewhat of an online phenomenon.

"But I was sitting in class one day and this girl grabbed my I-pad and said I'm starting you a Twitter account. I said, whatever, but by the end of the class I had about 50 friends," White said. "After that, I was addicted, I was tweeting all the time, kind of fell off, then at the end of summer I started talking with some of the older guys, telling camp stories and I said, OK, I'm about to start it up. I'm going to start hash-tagging this and it's going to take off."

According to White, his "camplife" series is simply a fun way to show followers some of the things that go on behind the scenes at preseason camp.

"That first day I probably sat there for an hour and half and just started thinking of everything I could and just started hash-tagging stuff, one after the other. At first, people were like if you don't stop blowing up my timeline I'm going to stop following you," he said. "It's caught on. We've got some ex-Bulldogs in the League now hash-tagging camp life and I've got friends hash-tagging in camp and it's just fun."

But don't worry. White said he's not tweeting on company time.

"What started out with me just goofing around is now a bunch of people tagging it. A bunch of fans are starting fan life, the volleyball team is starting preseason and all this different stuff. It's just funny," he said. "There were some people saying 'Oh, they're not focusing and things like that, but it's just like walking around and sending a text message to me. I'm very focused. I want my team to do well and I'm working hard and anybody who thinks it's a problem, then I'm sorry. We're not trying to offend anybody; we're just trying to have fun. We're very focused on this camp and I don't want anyone to think this is taking away from what we are trying to do this year."

• Fans can follow White on Twitter at aronwhite81.

This and that

Tuesday morning's workout was the first of two sessions for the Bulldogs who were scheduled to hit the practice field again later in the evening. "I thought we did a pretty good job today," said Richt. "We had a good tempo and the guys handled the first of two practices today well. Everyone will be doing something constructive in our second session today as we work on our fundamentals and kicking team." One of the highlights was junior nose guard Johnathan Jenkins intercepting a pass and running it in for a score. (Jenkins) tipped it to himself and then the big boy just rumbled down the field," White said. "It was only about 12 yards, but a (touchdown) for a guy that size is still impressive. He kind of reminded me of that guy for the Packers (B.J. Raji) running for that touchdown." … Richard Samuel believes his current weight (241) is going to enable him to do a better job picking up blitzing defensive ends and linebackers.

Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at dash@ugasports.com.