August 27, 2012

Young CBs confident

With the exception of senior Branden Smith, cornerback figures to be one of the youngest and least-experienced positions on the team - at least for the first two games.

That's the length of the suspension Sanders Commings must serve as punishment for his January arrest for simple battery and domestic violence after allegedly hitting a female acquaintance during an altercation in downtown Athens.

As a result, sophomore Damian Swann, redshirt freshman Devin Bowman, freshman Sheldon Dawson, junior Blake Sailors and sophomore receiver-turned-cornerback Malcolm Mitchell[/db[ figure to be tested early and often, not only by Buffalo (12:21, SEC-TV) Saturday at Sanford Stadium, but especially during next week's SEC opener at Missouri.

Swann knows he and his young counterparts will be marked men. But that's OK with him.

"I know they'll be looking, but we'll just have to show them that we're ready, that we came to play in this conference or a reason," Swann said after practice Monday. "It shouldn't be easy and it's not going to be easy."

It definitely will be different.

For the first time in four years, Brandon Boykin won't be a part of the mix at corner for the Bulldogs, a fact Smith admits has taken some getting used to.

"Boykin was the leader and everybody would follow behind him," Smith said. "(Swann) had a good role model, we all had good role models. He helped teach us how to play fast, and that's what we're trying to do."

Dawson has apparently made quite the impression.

"He's made a lot of progress, he's young, athletic, very fast learner and he's playing fast. He knows what to do," Dawson said. "When you know what to do you play fast and that's what we need from a young guy like him - when his number he's going to have to step up."

There's apparently no doubt that Mitchell will be ready for whatever role he's asked to play.

When asked about the Valdosta sophomore's adjustment back to defense, Bowman simply smiled.

"Malcolm is going to always be Malcolm," he said. "He's ready."

Swann, meanwhile, is brimming with confidence.

"Coach (Todd) Grantham gives me a lot of confidence, but also knowing the playbook allows me to play fast," he said. "Knowing what to do and where to be on every play - that gives you confidence. But it's not just me or one individual guy - it's everybody, and we take pride in what we do."

Injury update

Nose [db]Kwame Geathers and defensive end Cornelius Washington were both limited Monday while recovering from respective injuries.

According to the Bulldogs' post-practice injury report, Geathers was limited with no contact with a left shoulder contusion while Washington was limited with no contact while recovering from a cervical (neck) strain.

Other injured Bulldogs on the list include wide receiver Taylor Bradberry (right thumb sprain), backup punter Cody Johnson (right groin strain, out), offensive lineman Hunter Long (left foot fracture, out), tight end Jay Rome (right hamstring strain, limited) and tight end Cole Trolinger (concussion, out).

Scott-Wesley says he still has the speed

Although he currently weighs in at 215 pounds, wide receiver Justin Scott-Wesley said Monday he hasn't lost much - if any - of the speed he possessed as a high school senior when he set the state of Georgia record in the 100 meter dash at 10.35 seconds.

"I'm about 15 pounds heavier. In high school I was 200, but I feel good, I feel stronger. I feel like I can move," Scott-Wesley said. "I ran track and ran close to my personal best at 215."

So how much action might the redshirt freshman see Saturday?

Last week, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo suggested the former Mitchell County standout still had some bugs to smooth out before he can be considered a consistent part of the Bulldogs' current wide receiver rotation.

"I'm still having to work a lot on my route running, reading defenses and going against man coverage," Scott-Wesley conceded. "That's something I rarely saw in high school, so I have to work a lot on getting off the jam, getting off the press and beating guys 1-on-1."

That's not to say the Bulldogs won't try to take advantage of the redshirt freshman's natural talents.

"We've got plays like that," Scott-Wesley winked. "Whatever Coach Bobo wants to dial up while I'm in the game, we've got to have confidence and run the plays that we've been practicing."

He's also one of a handful of different players being considered as a possible candidate to return kicks.

"I'm back there, I'm getting some looks, but we've got good guys who can do it, too," he said. "I'm just waiting my turn. We'll see how it turns out."

New rules regarding video replays

This year, fans at SEC stadiums will witness more game action on stadium video boards, including replays of officiating reviews, the league announced Monday.

Starting with games this weekend, schools are not limited in the use of replays except when a stoppage occurs for an official review. The time during which replays may be shown is from the end of a play until the beginning of the next play, except when a stoppage occurs for an official review.

During official reviews, stadium video boards will be able to show replays from the television network that is broadcasting the game. During an official review, the video feed from the television network will be shown on the stadium video board only between the referee's announcement to stop play for the review and his communication of the review's outcome. In previous years, the SEC had a standard one real-time replay policy for all plays in a game for all sports.

Replays of touchdowns not stopped for official review can be shown following the point-after-touchdown attempts until the ensuing kickoff begins.

Another policy change approved by the Athletics Directors and recommended by the Working Group, permits bands to be amplified when playing during designated times. Bands will not be allowed to play once the center takes his place over the football until the play is whistled dead. Previously, bands were not allowed to be amplified during the game and were not allowed to play once the offensive team broke the huddle.