November 12, 2009

Richt pleased with redshirts' progress

Not all of Georgia's freshmen have been able to make an impact like running back Washaun Ealey and Orson Charles.

Others, like defensive tackle Kwame Geathers, offensive linemen Chris Burnette and Dallas Lee, along with linebacker Chase Vasser are learning the ropes by playing integral roles on the Bulldogs' scout team.

Head coach Mark Richt said he has liked what he's seen - especially from Geathers.

The big defensive tackle was late getting to Athens while waiting to get the OK by the NCAA Clearinghouse. Geathers arrived obviously overweight, but in the weeks that have passed, has apparently addressed those concerns and that had Richt singing his praises prior to practice Thursday afternoon.

"I don't know the number of the poundage that he dropped but it was probably in the 30-pound range, if not more," Richt said. "That guy really did a phenomenal job of getting his body weight down where he could run and show some stamina."

Richt credits strength and conditioning coach Dave Van Halanger and assistant Clay Walker for that.

"I know Clay Walker and Coach Van have both worked with him. He specifically works with Clay, who works with the big men," Richt said. "Sometimes you get a guy who needs to get bigger and sometimes you've got a young man who needs to trim his body and then get strong. He's done a very good job."

Apparently, so has Vasser, who Richt said has done a "good job" on the scout team despite the fact he was slowed by a mid-season scooter accident that caused him to miss some practice.

Burnette and Lee have also seen extensive work on the scout team offense.

"We've actually had one of our better scout team offensive lines in a while," Richt said. "We've also had (Jonathan) Owens and (Ben) Harden in there so we've been able to give the defense a better picture than we've been able to do in some years."

Big recruiting weekend for Dawgs

Richt said he's very excited about this weekend, not only because of Saturday's game against Auburn, but also for the number of top recruits scheduled be in town.

"It's a huge weekend. It's very big, about what you'd expect for a Georgia-Auburn," Richt said. "We've got a long list of outstanding players that make up the 2010, 2011 and some cases, and the 2012 class. It's going to be a day that's going to be very difficult to manage. You want to spend as much time with them and let them know how much you care about them. When there's such a massive number, it's difficult to give everyone the amount of love they deserve. But that's a good problem to have, although you can't do as well as you'd probably like to."

Among the players schedule to attend are Treasure Coast teammates Jeff Luc and Deon Rogers (a Georgia commit), along with five-star performers Lamarcus Joyner and Matt Elam.

Richt tries to keep proper perspective

Richt said he's been pleased with how his players have been able to handle the season, one admitted publically for one of the first times, has seen its share of adversity.

"You've got to have men of integrity. I think our seniors and leaders have done a good job. I like that part of what has happened and I guess you could call it adversity," he said. "But what it (integrity) does is give you a chance to turn it around. Without that you have no chance; so we feel like how we've been able to stay strong together it gives us a chance to turn this thing around."

Richt noted that this season is one of the first times many of his young players have been in a situation where things have not always gone their way.

Losing isn't easy, it's not fun, but in helping his players through the tough times, Richt said he's tried to keep the season in the right perspective.

"You always a little concerned with how people are going to handle tough times. When you look at the grand scheme of life, let's face it, it's not a family member finding out they've got cancer or something like that so we've got to have some type of perspective," Richt said. "But it is something that we work very hard at. We spend countless hours at, coaches and players. They put their bodies through the workouts, the mat drills, the practice sessions, all the things that they do: the treatments for injuries. Therefore, I'm not trying to belittle it in any way, because it is very, very important for all of us to excel in what we do. But again, thankfully, you get a chance to do it every week, and here we go again."

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