Yes, the foot injury to starting Moe linebacker Akeem Dent puts Georgia's inside linebacker corps in a bit of a quandary, but according to defensive coordinator Todd Grantham there won't be any excuses made.
"Akeem has done a good job and we are expecting him to get back as soon as he can contribute in both our base and our sub packages," Grantham said. "It's obviously unfortunate that he can't come out and get to work, but he can be in the meetings, the walk-throughs and doing it from that aspect. But that's part of football, nobody feels sorry for us, they're not going to stop the season so the next guy has to step up, perform and be ready to go. That's what I expect us to do."
If the season were to start today, junior Marcus Dowtin would be starting in Dent's place with Christian Robinson getting the nod at Mike.
Grantham also mentioned sophomore Michael Gilliard and junior Richard Samuel, who worked behind Dowtin at Moe.
"Richard's got ability. He has the want to and he can do it but it's one of those things when you play linebacker you've got to key and diagnose," Grantham said. "But you've got to react to what's happening with the ball coming at you. It just takes reps and it takes fundamental work. The guy is progressing, but he's got to keep working hard every day."
The same holds true for freshmen linebackers Brandon Burrows, Dexter Morant, T.J. Stripling, Demetre Baker and Alexander Ogletree.
"They're very raw. They're willing, but they're raw. Hopefully, as we go into pads and the way we've got it step up, today was the first day of installation which was really the first day of spring for those guys," Grantham said. "We're going to go five days like that installing then come back and start all over again with the idea that we put it up there and whatever sticks, sticks. After that, we'll come back Day 6, and throw Day 1s installation at them again and hope something else sticks. We've got some work to do with those guys."
Garner says Smith, Thornton "gets it"
Assistant coach Rodney Garner isn't ready to crown freshmen Garrison Smith and Mike Thornton the "next big things" on Georgia's defensive line.
But for a first day, Garner said he saw some positive play from the two youngsters.
"They've got a long ways to go and I'm sure their head is swimming," Garner said. "But they've got the right attitude and think they will work."
Garner said Smith is currently working out at defensive end while Thornton is focusing solely at nose.
"I definitely think both guys get it. Both are pretty sharp from a fundamental standpoint, but they're still going to have to get used to the physicality because that is going to be different."
Green impressed with Gray at receiver
Among those giving Logan Gray a passing grade his first official day at wide receiver was none other than standout A.J. Green.
According to Green, the former quarterback is a natural to the position and someone who he believes can make an impact this fall.
"He's smooth, man," Green said. "Logan was running routes and I was telling someone else how smooth I thought he was. He's going to help us out pretty good."
Gray worked out at both flanker and split end during Monday's first practice session.
"It's just Day 1 and a lot of guys are working different positions," Gray said. "As go through camp, we're just installing, we're flying, just doing the best that we can."
King wants to win starting role
Caleb King and Washaun Ealey are expected to share the bulk of the carries for Georgia this fall.
But make no mistake, when the Bulldogs open the season Sept. 4 against Louisiana-Lafayette, King said he's wants to be the first back on the field.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to start, we both want to be the starting running back," King said. "We always joke when we're going in and out during practice, but we'll see what happens. We definitely want to be 'that' guy."
King, who said he weighed 223 pounds as a redshirt freshman, checks in now at 215.
"It's a good weight. I feel good," King said. "I just want to play."
This and that
Green had no comment regarding the NCAA inquiry after his name was linked to the party allegedly thrown by an agent in South Beach during the Memorial Day weekend. Green has publically denied attending the event.
Head coach Mark Richt called off the final two periods of Monday's opening practice after cutting access off to reporters who were originally going to be allowed to watch the entire workout session.
The Bulldogs return to practice Tuesday afternoon.
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