August 28, 2010

Is Dent ready to crack lineup?

Akeem Dent isn't willing to say whether or not he should start next week's opener against Louisiana-Lafayette.

That's not his decision to make.

But in his first interview since suffering a foot injury before the start of preseason camp, the senior linebacker said after Saturday morning's workout he believes he'll be able to make some sort of contribution.

"I'm close to getting back to where I was before the injury but I still have a little ways to go," Dent said. "Right now I'm trying to keep working, get my reps and see what happens."

Dent smiled but would not reveal what actually caused his foot injury just prior to the start of preseason.

"It was just something that happened," he said. "It was off the field."

Dent said he's been a patient man.

"I've been patiently waiting. The injury was something that just came about. I can only control what I can control and that was just going to rehab, going to meetings, stuff like that," Dent said. "While I was out I tried to get mental reps and things like that. I'm just glad I'm out there running around with my teammates."

Marcus Dowtin (Moe) and Christian Robinson (Mike) will open for the Bulldogs against Louisiana-Lafayette if Dent is unable to start. Dent has been working primarily at Mike.

"Again, I'm just happy to be back out on the field. When I first injured myself it was very frustrating for me because it was my senior season and I didn't know how much time I was going to have to miss," Dent said. "But the Lord works in mysterious ways and now he has put me in position to come back and play football."

Anderson doesn't know what fuss is all about

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham has gone out of his way to praise the effort put forth so far by former offensive guard Justin Anderson.

According to Grantham, Anderson is ready to make a contribution at nose for the Bulldogs this fall.

Anderson, however, said he's still got a ways to go.

"I don't think I'm close to being the player that I can be," Anderson said. "In practice I get down on myself when I mess up on certain things. I get hard on myself and beat myself down because in my head I'm thinking I've got two more years in college so I need to pick it up as fast as I can."

Grantham said that DeAngelo Tyson would likely start at nose against Louisiana-Lafayette, but indicated that Anderson would play as well.

I've still got to work on my technique," he said. "It's getting better, but there's still a lot I have to do."

Smith would love to return punts

Branden Smith appreciates A.J. Green's endorsement.

Friday, Green said that it appears that Smith is the favorite to handle the bulk of Georgia's punt return duties this fall.

Saturday, Smith said he didn't know what coaches specifically had in mind, but if granted the opportunity he'd welcome it with open arms.

"I love doing punt returns," Smith said. "I did a little of that in high school but did not get a lot of reps here because of Prince (Miller). But I learned a lot from him. I've just got to try not to fumble."

Smith, who fumbled a pair of returns last fall, said he's taken steps to keep those types of mistakes from happening again.

"I'm doing extra work every day, like putting a hand on the ground and have the coaches try to strip it from me," Smith said. "It's just something I have to get over. It's a mental mistake, that's all."

This and that

Washaun Ealey returned to the practice field, one day after being suspended by head coach Mark Richt who did not attend Saturday's workout so he could watch his oldest son Jon, who's the starting quarterback at Mars Hill College which opened its season today. … Smith said he's been alternating at Nickel back with short corner Brandon Boykin. … Sam linebacker Cornelius Washington wore a green non-contact jersey and was seen limping back to the locker room after practice.

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