August 10, 2013

Depth chart decisions

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Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said Saturday that following this Wednesday's second scrimmage, it will be time to start finalizing some depth chart decisions for the Bulldogs' Aug. 31 opener at Clemson.

"We'll probably settle and start lessening, executing and start repping some guys a little less and the guys who we feel are in the two-deep will start getting more reps," Bobo said. "For example, right now we'll rep three to four quarterbacks a lot, 12 or 13 linemen, 12 receivers so that's a lot of reps, which you've got to do and you've got to give opportunities to move up on the depth chart to show they can play. But after this next scrimmage we'll grade the tape and have some personnel meetings to decide which direction we go, barring any injury or anything."

Although nine starters return, there's apparently a number of decisions yet to be made.

That includes the third team quarterback and what two running backs will serve as the top backups to Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall.

"A.J. (Turman) has a little injury (ankle/knee sprain) and has been out a couple of days, but Branden Douglas has done a nice job. He's got good balance when he runs and he's got good vision," Bobo said. "He's been an excellent pass protector, not necessarily knowing what to do with a block all the time but when he does it he does it with a good pace and a good punch."

Still, it appears former Camden County standout J.J. Green continues to have the upper hand for the job.

As an early-enrollee, Bobo said Green has retained most of, if not all of the knowledge he picked up during the spring and continues to make plays in camp.

"He's not the biggest guy in the world but when he's touched the ball he's made plays for us and has been productive," Bobo said. "(Turman, Green and Douglas) are conscientious kids, but we're still trying to settle on who that third or fourth running backs will be. We could play all three and not redshirt any of them."

Freshman Brice Ramsey is showing Bobo enough that he's still be considered for the third-team quarterback job, along with Christian LeMay, Parker Welch and Faton Bauta.

"Brice has had a good camp. He's a guy who has been productive and has made plays when he's in there. Does he understand all of what we're doing? No. But he is a guy who has picked up on some things," Bobo said. "They're all competing and he's been pushing for that spot. One day one guy's been three and the next day the next guy's been there. But at the end of the day we'll have to make a decision with what we're going to do for the year, but right now they're all competing and trying to move up on that depth chart."

Last Wednesday's scrimmage notwithstanding, Bobo said he's been overall pleased with what he's seen with the offense during camp.

"It's a grind and learning how to fight through, learning how to play when you're a little banged up, tired but still be able to do it fundamentally right," Bobo said. "That's the part of camp that's hard for them, but it's not supposed to be easy. But they're fighting through and I've been proud of that. I've been proud of the guys' effort every day, and every day has gotten a little bit tougher because you've got to be physically and mentally tough in this league."

Bobo added he was not terribly concerned with the three interceptions starting quarterback Aaron Murray[/d]b threw in last Wednesday's scrimmage at Sanford Stadium.

Still, turning the football over is never a good idea.

"The second play of the scrimmage we threw a deep ball to [db]Malcolm Mitchell but just didn't get it out there. The receiver didn't hold his point and kind of drifted a little bit and Sheldon (Dawson) made a great play," Bobo recalled. "The second pick, the receiver rushed his route a little bit and it was a little different coverage than we thought. The first two were kind of just freak picks but the third one in the one-minute offense I was pretty upset about. But that's why you practice, those situations you learn from. Other than that, he had a really good scrimmage, both of those guys (Murray and Hutson Mason), but you can't turn the ball over and expect to win."

Bobo also addressed the myriad of injuries that have hit the offense, most notably the ankle sprain suffered by tight end Jay Rome which has caused the Valdosta native to miss most of this week.

"Jay not being there is hurting his reps but I feel comfortable with what he knows of the offense," Bobo said. "He and Artie (Arthur Lynch) are good players, and Artie and Jay really impressed me with their knowledge of what they're supposed to do so I feel comfortable with that."

Rome's absence has also created an opportunity for freshmen Jordan Davis to receive more reps than he ordinarily would have with the second team.

There have been growing pains.

"Tight end's a tough position to play because you're heavily involved in the run-blocking and in the pass game, too. You're asking your tight ends to do a little more protection and that's tough for a freshman. Plus, Jordan is kind of like Brice, he comes from a Wing-T and some of this stuff is foreign to these guys so it's an adjustment," Bobo said. "But anytime you get reps over and over, it's going to help him and it's going to help him in the long run. Right now he's swimming, lost and thinking he's never going to get it, but we're pleased with him how he's coming along. Now, there are things he needs to smooth out. He's raw in a lot of areas but we believe because of his effort and size, he's going to be a good player."

Wide receivers Jonathon Rumph and Reggie Davis are also catching Bobo's eye.

After a slow start in the spring, Rumph has started to pick up the Bulldogs' offensive scheme.

"Rumph's improvement from the spring is a big jump, he's smoothing out. He's still raw a little bit, learning how to run routes but at the same time using his size," Bobo said. "Going into the spring game he never made any plays in practice but made some in the spring game but now he's made some plays in fall practice which is good to see."

Davis, meanwhile, has an attribute you can't coach - speed, which is something Bobo wants to take advantage of this fall.

"That's (speed) is something you can't coach," he said. "We've just got to coach him on how to run his routes and stuff, but there will be a place for him just because of his speed."

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