August 10, 2012

Theus starting at RT?

Freshman John Theus wants to make one thing perfectly clear - he's just one of the guys.

So what that he was a former five-star performer, an offensive lineman basically every team in the country wanted to sign?

"It doesn't mean anything. I'm out here just like everyone else," Theus said after practice Friday. "We're all out here, doing just as much as we can and pushing each other."

However, Theus appears to be making quite the impression as he continues to get most of the reps with the first team at right tackle.

So will he definitely start?

Head coach Mark Richt isn't quite ready to say that, although it certainly appears that will eventually be the case.

"I don't know if he's solidified (the starting right tackle job)," Richt said in his post-practice press conference. "I don't know if I'd name him the starter right now, but he's definitely lining up at right tackle right now and is getting better every day."

Theus believes improvements have been made.

Since arriving in early June with the rest of the freshman class, Theus said he put in extensive work with the Bulldogs' strength and conditioning staff to get bigger, stronger and faster.

Now that he's actually on the field, the results are starting to show.

"We've been busting our butts," he said. "It's grind time, my first time out there with the big boys. I'm learning, just trying to get better."

Theus credits some of Georgia's defensive vets for pushing him a little extra, too.

Among them is senior defensive end Cornelius Washington, who regularly matches up with Theus during offensive line versus defensive line drills.

"CW is a man, no doubt about it. He's a big, strong powerful guy," Theus said. "It's a different level up here. This isn't high school anymore."

All-American linebacker Jarvis Jones has also been offering some tips.

"Me and Jarvis have had some good conversations. He's helped me along; he's helped the entire O-line along," Theus said. "He's always telling us what he does, what he looks for, what we should look for."

Richt said the rest of Theus' development will be acquired by repetition and building continuity with the rest of the offensive line.

"Right now, Theus is at right tackle, (Chris) Burnette at right guard, Boss (David Andrews) at center, (Dallas) Lee at left guard and (Kenarious) Gates at left tackle, that's been the lineup that's probably been together the most snaps with the ones and they're beginning to play well," Richt said. "Overall, guys I think are improving. The more reps you get, the better you get."

Richt added that Burnette is currently the No. 2 center behind Andrews. Sophomore Watts Dantzler - who continues to work with Theus at right tackle - would move to right guard should Burnette move to center.

Sophomore Hunter Long suffered a fracture in his left foot during Friday morning's practice and will require surgery. He is expected to miss between 6-8 weeks.

Freshmen backs will play

As if there were any doubt, Richt confirmed that both freshmen running backs Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley will play this fall.

"They're playing," Richt said, without hesitation. "I'm not afraid to play them; I'm definitely playing them."

Marshall, who missed much of the spring with a hamstring issue, said he's ready for whatever role coaches may have in mind.

"I've been to practice (full go) for about a month now," said Marshall, who wears a small protective brace over his left knee for precautionary measure. "It (the hamstring) might get a little sore every now and then, but I'm fine. I'm ready to do whatever the coaches need me to do."

After arriving in Athens at 195 pounds, Marshall said Friday he's up to 214.

"I feel really good," said Marshall. "I'm still as fast as I ever was."

Richt said his confidence in Marshall and Gurley continues to grow every day, adding he's getting to the point where he's willing to trust the pair in any situation.

"They're getting there. You can't really get experience until you get in a game but they'll know enough to function. There's no doubt about that," Richt said. "Would I be totally comfortable in certain situations, certain plays, probably not, but they're getting there. There was a really nice pickup of a blitz today, one of those deals where the defense made a last-second change and they got their hat on the ball and the quarterback was able to complete the throw."

Lack of schollys no immediate concern to Richt

Richt was again asked whether or not he thought the fact his team has just 69 players who signed scholarships with the Bulldogs still with the program was a concern going into the 2012 campaign.

"The depth we have right this moment I think is fine," Richt said. "Bottom line, we can only bring 70 guys on a (SEC) trip and the reality is most every year, two, three or four of those cats may be walk-ons anyway, you actually may be taking just 65 scholarship guys that are ready to play football in an SEC game. What would hurt if we got a lot of injuries to have an issue, but we've been pretty fortunate so far in camp."

Other than Long, Friday's injury report featured no additional members, although defensive end Ray Drew (concussion), safety Marc Deas (hamstring strain), backup running back Brandon Harton (right hip contusion) and backup linebacker Dexter Morant (right shoulder sprain) remain out.

This and that

Richt said that Connor Norman and Corey Moore are the top two backups at safety behind Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams. Richt said that "more than likely" freshman quarterback Faton Bauta will redshirt The Butts-Mehre Building was evacuated for 37 minutes Friday morning after water seeped into an area on the fourth floor, setting off a fire alarm. The Bulldogs will wrap up camp with their final two-a-day on Saturday.




 

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