April 5, 2012

Grantham taking steps

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham isn't sitting around waiting to see just how many - or how few - defensive backs he'll have available for Georgia's first few handful of games.

He's already taking steps to make sure there are no problems.

"Right now we're just moving guys around, mixing and matching and we'll just see what happens," Grantham said. "We're trying to get a plan to get as many guys on the field as we can who know what to do, play it by ear."

Grantham had the perfect opportunity to do just that during Thursday's practice, the start of which was bumped up an hour to 3 p.m. due to reports of impending bad weather.

The bad weather never came, but Grantham was without cornerback Sanders Commings, who along with safety Bacarri Rambo, were among a number of Bulldogs not at practice due to illness/academic issues.

Sophomores Corey Moore and Connor Norman were two who were getting the most of their opportunity.

"Those guys are doing a good job. Corey, his second year through is definitely showing some progress," Grantham said. "He's a physical guy and working hard to try and be a good player so I'm encouraged by him."

Grantham had equal praise for Norman, a walk-on who continues to prove to Grantham that he belongs on the field.

"Connor has shown his value back there. He knows where to be and knows how to make the adjustments we need. He's a guy with the process we're going through right now, where we give guys a chance to play and we've put him in some spots where we're going to challenge him," Grantham said. "He showed up this time last year. We had some injuries back there last year, and I think he played 100 plays in the scrimmage for us, the one we have coming up. Based on what he did there, he showed that he has the ability to help us and we put him in some spots where he could be functional for us."

Lott leaving did not influence plans

Grantham said Derrick Lott's decision to transfer doesn't seriously alter his plans for the Bulldogs' defensive line.

If anything, it just ensures that incoming freshmen Jonathan Taylor and John Atkins get even more reps come time for preseason drills.

"We wish him (Lott) well. As guys get going, they see the people in front of them and start forming their opinions. Sometimes it's early, sometimes it's not," Grantham said. "Hopefully, he can land somewhere where he will get an opportunity to do those things. We'll just give those spots - as these freshmen come in - look at those guys, too."

Grantham said Lott's decision had no impact on his decision to have Ray Drew and Cornelius Washington get the reps they're getting at defensive end.

"Not really," Grantham said. "That was already pre-determined. That was not the reason we did it."

Redshirt freshman Sterling Bailey - who is not practicing this spring while recovering from ankle surgery - will join Drew and Washington at end this fall.

"Sterling's going to be an inside guy, too. He's a guy who has really grown since he's been here. He's got really good flexibility, shows initial quickness. He's got some size to him and he continues just to get big. He's going to continue to get bigger," Grantham said. "The more he lifts, grows and eats, he's going to be a pretty big man one day and those kinds of guys create mismatches inside, and that's what you want to try and do."

This and that

Running backs Keith Marshall (hamstring) and Richard Samuel (undisclosed), each of whom missed their second consecutive workout. Wide receiver Marlon Brown (undisclosed injury) and Rantavious Wooten (hamstring) were also unavailable. … Former UAB coach and Bulldog offensive line coach Neil Callaway attended practice for the second straight day. … Incoming freshman John Theus also attended practice. … Offensive lineman Dallas Lee and linebacker Amarlo Herrera wore green non-contact jerseys Thursday. Backup running back Brandon Harton also did not dress out. … The Bulldogs will hold their second scrimmage of the spring Saturday morning at the team's Woodruff Practice Facility.