August 3, 2010

Which players are stepping up early?

Two days in helmets and shorts may not be enough time for Georgia coach Mark Richt to give a true opinion of what players might be stepping up their respective games, but he gave it a shot during Tuesday's post-practice press conference with reporters.

Although most of the early attention has been focused on the likes of Aaron Murray and projected defensive standouts like Justin Houston, it was another seldom-mentioned name that drew some unsolicited praise - sophomore safety Shawn Williams.

"Shawn's probably dropped 10 pounds, he's much quicker and you can tell he's really studied. He's gotten the attention of our coaching staff," Richt said. "He's just one example of that. There are a lot of guys who look like they wanted to learn as much as they could in order to compete better and his name just comes to mind."

Richt was also asked about which true freshmen were giving some early glimpses of possible success.

Again, it was a name that might come as surprise.

Offensive lineman Kenarious Gates was one of the last players taken by Georgia after the former Greenville star de-committed from Kentucky in order to sign with the homestate Bulldogs.

"I'll preface this by saying they've all got a long way to go, but I have seen some sparks," Richt said. "I think Kenarious is moving around pretty well; he's picking things up relatively well. None of these guys have mastered anything, but he looks like he will be a good one down the road."

Richt also praised quarterback Hutson Mason and safety Alec Ogletree, who the head coach shot down the notion that the former Newnan High standout would be moving to linebacker anytime soon. Twin brother Alexander Ogletree received some kudos as well.

"I like the Ogletree brothers. They came in good condition, they're moving around quickly and you can tell they're just football players," Richt said. "I like what I see there."

He added that Alec Ogletree could play just about anywhere on the field.

"He's big enough and talented enough to play at just about anything he wants to play - offense or defense. He's a very talented kid," Richt said. "Everybody's trying to get him and Zander on their special teams. They were guys we were targeting to get in there."

Richt also mentioned cornerback Derek Owens, noting his quickness and how he's "made some good breaks on the ball."

Sturdivant holding up well

Two days in preseason camp and Richt said offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant continues to look good in his comeback from a second torn ACL.

"So far, he's looked very well. As a matter of fact Ron (head trainer Ron Courson) said there was no swelling at all in there yesterday, which was good," Richt said. "If there is a little swelling it's pretty normal, but it's nice to get that much work and not have anything swell up on him."

For the second straight day, Sturdivant worked out with the first team at left tackle with Clint Boling moving over to right tackle.

Be like Demarcus Ware?

During sessions with recruits, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham hasn't been shy about whipping out video of former Dallas pupil Demarcus Ware.

Apparently, Grantham's current students are paying close attention, too.

When asked if there was a danger of Georgia's outside linebackers trying to be like the Cowboys' All-Pro, Grantham said absolutely not.

"Naw, if they play good we'll all be better, I can tell you that," he said. "The thing with those guys at Dallas, especially the second year, I thought we were mentally and physically very technique oriented, so there's a lot of learning that you can learn from those guys. We've got it broken down where they can watch each different technique and see this is how the guy did it."

Richt pleased with start

Georgia worked out for approximately two and a half hours on the Woodruff Practice Fields Tuesday afternoon.

The Bulldogs practiced in jerseys, shorts and helmets for the second-straight day as part of the NCAA's five-day "acclimation period."

The team will don shoulder pads Wednesday in preparation for the first session in full pads Saturday.

"It's been a very good start," Richt said. "I think it was very evident that a lot of guys worked very hard physically but also worked hard mentally. A lot of guys made progress from a mental standpoint, so you know they were studying playbooks and improving. "

This and that

Akeem Dent (foot) worked out on a stationary bike during Tuesday's practice session … Junior guard Tanner Strickland's shoulder flared up Tuesday, forcing him to sit out practice. … Safety Chad Gloer (hamstring) sat out Tuesday's session as well. … Georgia returns to practice Wednesday afternoon.

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