September 19, 2011

Drew not worried

Freshman Ray Drew doesn't know why defensive coordinator Todd Grantham waited until Saturday's game against Coastal Carolina to let him get on the field for the first time in his collegiate career.

Frankly, he doesn't care, nor does he feel like it's his place to wonder why.

"I'm not sure what was behind that," Drew said after practice Monday. "But I'm not worried about it. It's not like I'm going to dig to find out or anything. Coach Grantham knows what he's doing; I'm trusting in him."

But that hasn't kept many in the Bulldog Nation from wondering about that for him.

"I got a message on Facebook the other day where someone said 'Well, you should have gone here, the Coach is not playing you,'" Drew recalled. "All I had to say was I did what's best for me. The coaching staff, the position I'm in, I'm happy with it; I'm happy with everything here, so I don't worry what other people might say. They're not out here doing it, they're not out here at 6 a.m. going to the academic building, doing everything throughout the day and going to practice. It's all on me and I'm happy with the decision I've made. I'm going to continue to roll with it."

Apparently, Grantham was happy with what he saw.

After Drew recorded two tackles in just over a quarter's worth of play, the Bulldog defensive coordinator made sure he gave the Thomasville native an assuring word.

"Coach Grantham texted me that same day and told me he thought I did a good job," Drew said. "He congratulated me, told me to enjoy it and be safe."

Fellow freshman Corey Moore was happy to see his fellow Dream Team member finally get his chance.

"When Ray got on the field, the only thing I could do was smile," Moore said. "We played together during the (Army) All-American game, so I was happy to see him out there. He's worked hard on and off the field; he deserved it."

Actually, Drew concedes there was a perfectly legitimate football reason as to why it took him until the third game of the year to see his first playing time - Georgia's 3-4 scheme.

At Thomas County Central, Drew was a standup defensive end in a base 4-3 set. Since coming to Georgia, he's been asked to play Will linebacker, which although similar, is still a different position from what he's had to play before.

Learning the new role has simply taken some time.

"The most challenging part was when we first got here and over the summer, is we were given pretty much the entire playbook and asked to learn as much as we could so when we got here, we'd have a better idea of what was going in," Drew said. "But it hasn't been easy. The playbook was the hardest thing for me personally."

Slowly but surely, Drew believes he's coming around.

In fact, head coach Mark Richt commented recently that he expects Drew's role to increase as the season wears on.

"We're going to need him," Richt said.

Drew says he'll be ready.

"When you've got a guy like Cornelius Washington in front of you who is a monster at what he does, you wait your turn, just like you do in high school," Drew said. "I didn't jump right in and get the starting position then and I didn't really have the mindset that I was going to get the starting position here right away. I hoped to play, but as far as coming in and being the guy - if it happened, if happened. If it didn't, it didn't."

NOTES: Georgia practiced for one-hour on Monday afternoon in preparation for Saturday's game at Ole Miss (12:21, SEC-TV). "I thought practice went well," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "It was nice and cool. That helps. We got 25 minutes of kicking done and another 25 minutes of corrections. I know on offense we spent time on blitz pickup and a little bit on the running game. We're just slowly beginning to put the plan in." … The league announced Monday that next week's game in Athens between Georgia and Mississippi State will kick off at noon and be televised by FSN.

Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at [email protected]