There's a lot of 'old-school coach' in Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.
When breaking down the Bulldogs' first day of fall camp Tuesday, the former quarterback definitely preferred to air on the side of caution, careful not to build expectations beyond a comfortable level.
That was certainly the case when discussing the offensive line.
Hailed by most as one of the team's strong points for 2009, Bobo said he and offensive line coach Stacy Searels are taking a wait-and-see approach before making any predictions regarding how the unit may actually fare.
"You've got some experience coming back but you don't have five guys who have played the same position next to each other. I know a lot of people are thinking we're going to be awesome on the offensive line but we've got to find some continuity," Bobo said. "Right now we've got Josh Davis and Tanner Strickland who are out, guys who have played while Chris Davis coming off a hip surgery and two guys (Trinton Sturdivant and Vince Vance) off an ACL. We've got some guys but they haven't played together. That's our goal but we've got a long way to go and right now it's tough to answer some of those questions."
Equally as difficult for Bobo was trying to predict which of the true freshmen on offensive might be ready for prime time against Oklahoma State.
Again, Bobo had no idea about that but admitted he spent considerable time watching how freshmen like Marlon Brown, Rantavious Wooten and Washaun Ealey would respond to their first official day on the practice field.
He was not surprised with what he saw.
"They were a little overwhelmed. They do a lot this (practice) in the summer but it's done at a player pace. When you get out here you're running plays fast pace, you're breaking the huddle and everything is happening so fast," Bobo said. "They're lining up in the formation then forgetting the play on the way out there. There's some adjustment but the thing is we want to practice fast, give good effort and when the ball comes your way show the ability to make a play. We'll fine tune all that other stuff when the time comes if we feel like they'll be able to get on the field for us this year."
Still, all three skill position players still managed to have their moments.
Both Brown and Wooten made some nice catches while Ealey showed good speed and good effort during offensive drills.
"As a player you can still make a first impression. You want to see guys that are hungry, guys that are eager that get in there and get reps. There are one-on-one drills for skill guys, routes on air when you see how smooth a guy his and how he changes directions," Bobo said. "Mistakes in some kind of team sessions you're not going to sit there and say this guy is not ready. There are some veteran guys who are making mistakes (Tuesday) and that's due to fatigue, going out there you're now practicing with coaches getting after you, there's a little nervous energy and mistakes happen.
"But the big thing is we still want to practice fast and establish a pace as an offense. They have to trust us as coaches that we're going to know when to pull back a little bit. Mental mistakes right now don't bother me; effort mistakes are what bother me. We had way too many loafs for a first day. Hopefully, it was just a little bit of nervous energy, guys getting over-excited. Hopefully it will calm down today and play more consistently fast every day."
As for his quarterbacks, Bobo said he was extremely pleased with the way senior Joe Cox took control of the huddle and ran the offense during Tuesday's first day.
He also had praise for backups Logan Gray, Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger who are vying for the No. 2 job, a decision Bobo said will be made no later than Georgia's second scrimmage.
"It's definitely easier when you can walk into a meeting with a freshman and they were here in the spring and have an understanding of what's going on. They did a good job studying this summer and getting reps with each other as a group," Bobo said. "Like I said, you're not going to have a whole day between practices like we do in the spring. (Tuesday) it's going to be a whole different set. It's going to be a whole lot faster than the spring. (Tuesday) will really show how much they really learned."
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