August 8, 2013

Fluker must be wary


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Shaquille Fluker from Anthony Dasher on Vimeo.

During his career at East Mississippi Community College, Shaquille Fluker had a penchant for the kind of hits meant to separate an opposing player from the ball.

"I love to hit," said Fluker, his eyes widening. "That's what I like to do."

Unfortunately for the safety, there's now a little issue with the NCAA's new targeting rule now in place to hopefully eliminate potentially dangerous shots to the head.

"They've (coaches) talked to me and Tray (Matthews) about where the refs will let us hit," Fluker said. "But it's going to be hard because I came here to hit. I'll just have to make sure I hit the shoulder instead of the head. I just need to do like Coach (Mark Richt) says."

Coaches have wasted little time to see what Fluker can do.

Although strong safety is his primary position, Fluker said "I can be anywhere" when he's on the field.

He made an early impression during Wednesday's scrimmage when he snared one of the three interceptions off of starting quarterback Aaron Murray.

"That was big for me," Fluker said. "It made me feel like I was part of the team."

Coming in spring a boon for Atkins

Former Thomson High star John Atkins doesn't know where he'd be if he had not been able to come to Georgia as an early enrollee.

"Getting to come in really helped," he said. "I mean, I didn't know the plays, I didn't know anything. I'd probably just be getting in shape now."

At 6-foot-4 and 322 pounds, Atkins continues to get most of his work at nose in the Bulldogs' base 3-4 scheme.

"Like I said, I struggled when I first got here. My head was spinning," Atkins said. "But once Garrison (Smith) broke it down, showed me everything as concepts, I've been able to learn and been building on that ever since."

Versatility key for Johnson

Junior college transfer Kennar Johnson said cornerback appears to be his main position, but concedes he is getting the occasional look at safety - just in case.

"Really, it's wherever the coaches need me to play; where they ask," Johnson said. "I've just been learning what I can, because the more you know, the more value you are to the team."

The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder feels he plays each one effectively.

"I think I can," said Johnson, a Miami native, who played his JUCO ball at Gulf Coast (Miss.) Community College. "I'm very confident in what I can do."

Langley learning from mistakes

Freshman cornerback Brendan Langley will be the first to tell you that there's a huge learning curve coming from high school to football in the SEC.

But with so many opening currently in the Bulldog secondary, he's had no choice but to learn on the fly.

"I've made some plays here and there, and done some not-so-great things here and there," Langley said. "I'm like the rest of everybody else, just work toward our goal."

Bulldog coaches are giving Langley looks at boundary corner, field corner, along with star.

"It's pretty much everything," he said. "They've got me moving around a pretty good bit."

At 6-foot-2 and 181 pounds, Langley said he feels he's able to hold his own, although getting used to covering bigger receivers like Jonathon Rumph and Justin Scott-Wesley has proven quite challenging.

"It's a little different when you have a receiver as big as Rumph coming down on you full speed looking to get off the block," he said. "It's definitely a big challenge."

However, he feels strides are being made.

"Physicality-wise, I think I'm doing a good job. There's been a couple of holding calls here and there, but we're not going to worry about that right now," Langley said. "Everybody is going to be physical, I like that. I like being a physical corner and to make a big hit. I'm definitely still learning but I feel good about where I am."

Injury update

Georgia's post-practice injury report still included 18 names Thursday, but at least it appears some are getting close to returning to action.

That includes linebacker Davin Bellamy (thumb), James DeLoach (thumb) and Leonard Floyd (hand), who were each back at practice with teammates, although they were limited mostly to running and non-contact drills.

The same was true for defensive backs Tray Matthews (shoulder) and Shaq Wiggins (groin), along with wide receiver Blake Tibbs (right shoulder sprain), offensive lineman Greg Pyke (ankle), safety Quincy Mauger (hamstring strain) and offensive guard Chris Burnette (shoulder) who were each listed as "limited" in the team's daily report.

Not all, however, made it back on the field.

Safety Marc Deas (elbow), defensive lineman Chris Mayes (concussion), safety Corey Moore (right knee sprain), tight end Jay Rome (left ankle sprain), linebacker Chase Vasser (left ankle sprain) and wide receiver Rantavious Wooten (right hamstring strain) remained out with their respective injuries.

This and that

Georgia practiced in shorts and shoulder pads for two and a half hours following Wednesday's lackluster scrimmage, and apparently the results were markedly improved. "I thought they were competing and getting after it pretty good," Richt said. "They cranked it up and decided to have a little fun. We got a lot of really good work in. I'm certain we got better today." … Georgia will practice again Friday morning before the final two-a-day on Saturday culminating with the annual watermelon cutting in the afternoon.

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