August 24, 2007

Eason shakes things up at WR

The Georgia Bulldogs had a massive thunderstorm halt their practice after only 35 minutes on Friday afternoon and Head Coach Mark Richt decided to cancel practice for the rest of the day and practice twice on Saturday. The Bulldogs will have an early morning practice and then a late afternoon practice totaling four hours of overall practice time Saturday.

“By going twice tomorrow we will be at 28 and we are allowed 29. We are allowed four hours tomorrow, so we will not meet tomorrow. We will practice in the morning at about eight o’clock and we will practice again at 6:45. We will not, we are just going to practice. We will go about an hour and fifty minutes in the morning and about two-hours with a little cushion if we need it in the evening,” said Richt. “Sunday will be off because they have to have one full day off, so this keeps us within the 20-hour rule this week, the four-hour rule tomorrow, and keeps us in the 29 practices overall, so we are in compliance if anybody wants to know that.”

Despite the rain and lightning some important news regarding the depth chart for Oklahoma State occurred. Wide Receivers Coach John Eason announced his three starting receivers for the first game. Seniors Sean Bailey and Mikey Henderson will start at the split end and flanker positions and junior Mohamed Massaquoi will start in the slot or Y-receiver position. Eason said he will only use seven receivers in the game unless they have an injury. The four backups are junior Kenneth Harris (split end), redshirt freshman Tony Wilson (flanker), Kris Durham (slot), and Mike Moore (third flanker).

“I feel really good about the three “Z’s” and it was closed and it was based on grades. Some of them eliminated themselves with a dropped pass and basically that eliminates you. I feel good about those guys,” said Eason of his top seven. “Some guys I did not name basically threw themselves out of the mix at this point. They have got to kind of earn their way back in and they have to do a better job to earn playing time.”

Noticeably absent from this list are two of Georgia’s four senior receivers, T.J. Gartrell and last season’s starting flanker A.J. Bryant. The other three flankers are very close to each other at this point according to Eason.

“Mike Moore has kind of been the surprise of preseason with his effort and the way he has competed. He has really run some nice routes and done a nice job of catching the football. Tony Wilson is a tough kid and that is the thing that really helps him. And Mikey is very explosive, so I feel all three will play and throughout the course of the year you may see all three start at some point. I think that is healthy for us and it will be based on performance,” said Eason.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Tony Wilson has emerged as Georgia’s toughest receiver and Coach Eason thinks his playing time will increase this year.

“I think his toughness is something we missed last year and I that is something I talked about in the meeting,” said Coach Eason following team meetings. “I said Tony Wilson is the toughest guy in the room and I feel that he is and it is based on the way he blocks. He really gets after it. I think that is what we need and he does a really nice job of catching the football.”

Don’t look for any other receivers to play unless Georgia is playing the second unit in a blowout situation. Coach Eason has his seven and he wants to stick with them for the rest of the year.

“We may end up dressing about ten, but in terms of who gets in the game, basically we have just about determined that. They last opportunity was last night,” said Eason.

Third QB

Coach Richt also announced that freshman Logan Gray will be the third team quarterback and dress out for Oklahoma State ahead of walk-on redshirt freshman Jonathan deLaureal. Junior quarterback Blake Barnes is suspended for the first game and Gray could remain the third quarterback for the rest of the season ahead of Barnes and deLaureal.

“I guess it would be our boy, Bobby Reid, I mean Logan Gray,” joked Coach Richt when asked who the number three quarterback is. “Logan would be the three if we got in that crisis.”

Tight End Battle

Redshirt freshman tight end NaDerris Ward lined up as the starting tight end on Friday, but he does not think he has earned the starting nod from Coach David Johnson yet.

“We are just mixing it up everyday,” said Ward of the depth chart at tight end. “That was a different alignment and it could totally different tomorrow. Coach Johnson has not told us who will start against Oklahoma State yet and I think we are still very close.”

Senior Coleman Watson was lined up as the third tight end with Ward with the ones and true freshman Bruce Figgins working with the twos.

Junior Tripp Chandler will probably remain the starter when he returns from his one-game suspension for the South Carolina game. It appears the other tight end/receiver, Aron White is probably heading toward a redshirt, so he can get bigger.

Coach Eason thinks a redshirt may be in White’s future saying, “that is a possibility and we are not ruling anything out at this point. Obviously we have up until the third game to decide it and he is progressing very well. I think he will be an excellent football player. It is just a matter of time. Whether he gets an opportunity this year will be based on injuries or lack of production by some of the other guys. We have to wait and see how things go.”

Injury Report

Darius Dewberry[/db was in green on Friday due to a slightly injured shoulder. He is expected to start against Oklahoma State, but they may limit his contact for the next couple of days. [db]Scott Haverkamp was also in green Friday, but he has going through all of the offensive line drills and not favoring his ankle. Coach Richt expects Haverkamp and Tripp Chandler (ribs) to be back in normal colors on Monday. Chris Little (wrist), Tanner Strickland (foot), and Caleb King (hamstring) were also in green Friday. King could be back as early as Monday.

Other Notes and Quotes…

Coach Richt was not sure who will be the main kick returner for game one. Thomas Brown, Asher Allen, and Knowshon Moreno are all vying for the position.

“I really and truly don’t know who Tony Ball has slotted back there,” said Richt of the kick return battle.

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