June 13, 2009

Vance ready to assume any role

He's played every position but center on the offensive line and is supposedly headed for right tackle in 2009.

However, Vince Vance isn't ready to pigeonhole himself quite yet.

"I could play anywhere, you know how Coach (Stacy) Searels is," Vance said. "You never know where I might end up. It might be guard, it might be tackle. I can play both so I'll be fine."

No doubt Searels is just happy to have him back.

Georgia's most versatile linemen was on his way to having a banner season before tearing his ACL while playing left tackle against Tennessee.

Out for the year, Vance's absence put a real crimp in the Bulldogs' ability to mix and match their lineup in the offensive line. But now that he and Trinton Sturdivant are back, spirits are high among Georgia's Big Dawgs who Vance said can be as good as they want to be.

"Coach Searels tells us all the time that we have an opportunity to be a great offensive line. We have all the keys," the senior said. "We've got all the ability and all the smarts. We've just got to put it together on game day."

As long as there are any more injuries, Georgia's versatility could be the envy of the league. It will certainly be one of the deepest.

From all indications, Sturdivant (6-5, 305) is back at 100 percent and should return at left tackle with sophomore Ben Jones (6-3, 300) at center. Junior sophomore Clint Boling (6-5, 295) is virtually assured of starting and can play both guard spots and right tackle. That leaves Cordy Glenn (6-5, 320), junior Chris Davis (6-4, 295), sophomore Justin Anderson (6-5, 328), Vance (6-8, 325) and redshirt sophomore Tanner Strickland (6-5, 325) expected to fight for the remaining two starting spots. Redshirt freshman A.J. Harmon (6-5, 330), freshmen Dallas Lee (6-4, 305) and Chris Burnette (6-2, 300), sophomore John Bodin (6-5, 300), sophomore Ben Harden (6-6, 313), redshirt freshman Jonathan Owens (6-4, 312) and junior Kevin Perez (6-3, 290) are others who will be battling for playing time.

Junior Josh Davis (6-6, 295) will figure into the mix once healthy. Head coach Mark Richt said that probably won't be until Week 7 against Vanderbilt, although Vance said Davis currently going through summer practice with no limitations.

Ditto for Chris Davis, who underwent off-season hip surgery back in February.

"Josh is out there running, doing everything with us. He' s not braced up at all," Vance said. "Chris is out there every day working out too. Everybody is pretty much fine."

There are no problems for Vance, either.

After undergoing surgery on Nov. 11, Vance wasted no time with his rehabilitation and credits that quick turnaround with getting him back and ready to play.

"I'm doing drills and everything. I'm doing everything full speed," Vance said. "I actually got my flexibility back pretty fast. The strength took a little longer and was a little aggravating, but now everything is fine."

Vance said he can't wait to see what the line can accomplish this fall.

"We're definitely taking the responsibility that we're the ones who need to set the tempo for the offense," Vance said. "If we're blocking well, working hard, we think everything else will kind of bind together off of that. If the line does well, most likely the team will do well. We're taking this is a big deal."

The season-opener at Oklahoma State is foremost on his mind.

While some have questioned why the Bulldog would want to play on the road against a team likely to be ranked in the Top 10, Vance said that's a challenge he and the rest of Georgia's line is happy to face.

"I think everybody is going to be very anxious. It's the first game, but regardless of who we're playing, everybody's going to be anxious to put the pads on and hit somebody, including myself," Vance said. "It doesn't matter if it's Oklahoma State, Valdosta State, whoever. Our mindset is we've got to win."

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