August 6, 2009

Wooten expects to play a big role

Rantavious Wooten said he wasn't expecting to come to Athens and put on weight right off the bat.

But that's just what he's been able to do.

Wooten said he weighed just 162 pounds when he arrived on campus back in June but has bulked up to 173.

"That surprised me," Wooten said. "I didn't think I'd be able to come in and gain weight like that. I thought I might gain weight, run, then lose it back. But I've just kept getting bigger."

Wooten laughed not to worry about his speed.

"I think I stack up pretty good," Wooten said. "I didn't do the 40 (yard dash) here, but I feel like whoever they say is the fastest here, I can compete right up there with them."

Wooten said coaches have already talked to him about some of the ways they plan on using him this fall.

According to Wooten, that includes bubble plays, quick screens, deep routes and shallow routes.

"I feel I run all those plays very well," he said.

That's not all. Apparently Wooten has a future on special teams as well.

"Right now I'm working on punt and kickoff return right now," he said. "I'll be on field goal block and punt block. Pretty much I'll be all over the field."

Green jersey watch

Thursday's third day of preseason drill brought out the green jerseys, signifying players being held back due to injury.

Highlighting the group was starting strong safety Reshad Jones, who tweaked a hamstring.

Others green-jersey clad (non quarterbacks) included linebacker Charles White, defensive tackle Ricardo Crawford and offensive lineman Jonathan Owens.

Richt did not have information on their status but one of the injuries appeared serious.

Owens: 'We've all got great assets'

Defensive tackle Jeff Owens pondered the question carefully.

Between he, Geno Atkins and Kade Weston, which of the "Three Amigos" on the defensive line brings the most to the defense.

"I think we've all got great assets to our game. I think Geno does a tremendous job at both run-stopping and pass-rushing, Kade also," Owens said. "Me, I'm just trying to compete with those guys, trying to follow them and get better. There were here this whole spring so I've got to step my game up."

Owens is seeing his first action since tearing his ACL in last year's season-opener against Georgia Southern.

Although workouts in helmets and shorts have been a breeze, Owens says he'll know a lot more after Monday's first of three two-a-days, which will include the Bulldogs' first day in full pads.

"That's the day we'll really be able to tell where I stand," Owens said. "We'll be going full pads in the morning, shells in the afternoon and we're going to get after it. I've got to get the most out of it that I can. I've got to keep pushing, keep trying to get better."

Washington back in the groove

Three days into preseason practice and senior Mike linebacker Marcus Washington is feeling right at home.

After missing all of 2008 following shoulder surgery, the former Burke County standout is back on the field and anxious to make up for lost time.

"The first couple of days it's just trying to get acclimated to the heat," Washington said "We've been here all summer, but it's nothing like camp. But that's expected. Once everybody gets in football shape we'll be ready to go."

While most people point to Owens and offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant as Georgia's two key returnees from last year's injured list, don't overlook Washington.
At 6-foot and 256 pounds, Washington stands to be imposing force at the Mike position, where Akeem Dent is currently listed as the starter.

"Right now I'm about 85 or 90 percent," Washington said. "But I feel good."

Spellman giving it one more try

Vernon Spellman can laugh about it now.

Although the walk-on receiver is entering his fifth season with the Bulldogs, fans most likely remember Spellman for what happened during the post-game celebration at Vanderbilt in 2007.

Spellman was the player Richt yanked off the "V" at midfield following the Bulldogs' 20-17 win.

"Oh man, that was so wild," Spellman laughed as he recalled the moment. "I got back on the bus, called home and asked 'Did y'all see that?' They said, 'Yeah, we're coming up there.' I had to calm everyone down, but the whole thing was pretty funny. It got on YouTube and everything."
Initially, Spellman was concerned that the incident might cost him more than a scolding from his head coach.

Flash forward to 2009.

As the Bulldogs continue preparing for the season-opener against Oklahoma State, Spellman finds himself in a position he has yet to be in since arriving on campus from Sprayberry High, where he played quarterback before moving to wide receiver at Georgia - he may actually get to catch the ball.

With only six scholarship receivers on hand, Spellman acknowledges there's an opportunity for walk-ons like himself and Marquise Brown to eke out some playing time on the offensive side.

"That's my No. 1 goal this year," Spellman said. "I've waited a long time to get in this position. I put in a little time on special teams, now I'm trying to get in some offensive time."

He's got his fingers crossed.

"That opportunity is really why I decided to come back. Getting to play (wide receiver) would be a dream," Spellman said. "I just feel like God has a purpose for me and I just want to try and see if I can fulfill it."

This and that

• Junior Chris Davis was running with the first team at left guard Wednesday. The rest of the first team -Sturdivant (left tackle), Ben Jones (center), Cordy Glenn (right guard) and Clint Boling (right guard) - remains the same.

• Sophomore Nick Williams, who was recently moved from linebacker to safety, was back working out with the linebackers Thursday. Williams had to leave practice briefly for an unspecified injury but later returned.


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