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Davis ready to be leader on offensive line
Georgia red-shirt sophomore offensive lineman Chris Davis, a Jefferson High graduate, runs through drills Monday at Bulldogs football practice in Athens. Davis started at offensive guard for Georgia in 2007. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Chris Davis is quickly emerging as a leader for the Georgia Bulldogs offensive line. During the first day of practice, the Jefferson High graduate was quick to encourage his mates on the offensive line as they ran sprints across the practice field.

This season, the red-shirt sophomore is now listed as the starting center after starting all 13 games last season at left guard. Bulldogs coach Mark Richt made it clear that Davis may move back to guard with the arrival of incoming freshman Ben Jones.

Davis spoke with Times sports writer Bill Murphy after practice Monday about a range of subjects covering the first day of practice, off the field issues that have surrounded Georgia’s football team and the depth of the offensive line?

Question: How was the first day of practice?

Answer: It was a little rough, I’m not going to lie, out there in that heat. But it really wasn’t that hot today. I saw a lot of good things in people, and for a while the intensity was there. We have to get in shape and keep the intensity throughout all the practice. Overall it was a productive day.

Q: Is it a luxury with the two-deep depth on the offensive line?

A: It’s a luxury we haven’t had in the past couple of year. I know freshman year we were kind of beat up there. We have some young guys that can step up and contribute here and there. They just need to show their toughness and willingness to learn. Like I said, that’s just going to come with time.

Q: Are you more comfortable playing at guard or center?

A: Wherever I’m needed to play is my preference. If (freshman) Ben Jones can pick up center and they need me at guard, that’s fine with me. If they need me at center that’s fine as well. I’ll play tackle, center, guard, just whatever is best for the team. It wouldn’t matter to me to play both center and guard if they needed. That’s all up to the coaches.

Q: What is the main difference playing guard and center?

A: There isn’t a huge difference. (Offensive line) Coach (Stacy) Searels likes for everybody to know every position. Center you have to make your declarations, but other than that, center and guard are basically the same.

Q: Why is Ben Jones in the position to be an immediate starter as a freshman?

A: He has a great attitude and just the willingness to learn. I love the kid to death; he’s a good friend of mine. His attitude is amazing and he has high expectations, and I think he’s going to be pretty good.

Q: How do you feel about the team’s No. 1 ranking heading into the season?

A: That’s all fun and everything, but that’s all that it is, is a ranking. The only ranking that really matters is after Jan. 8. Every team starts out 0-0 and you just have to take it one game at a time, but the No. 1 ranking is something that I’m proud of. It’s a tremendous responsibility to try to uphold, but it also puts us in the driver’s seat if we can take care of business like we can.

Q: Have the off-the-field issues been a distraction to the start of practice?

A: I don’t think so. It’s unfortunate that we have had these off-the-field issues. I don’t know much about them. All I’ve said is that it’s unfortunate and it’s something that we have to build around. I think that overall we’ll be fine. I guess people were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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