Spring football game
When: 2 p.m. today
Where: Sanford Stadium
On TV: CSS
The G-Day football game at the University of Georgia is a dress rehearsal for fans to see how the changes, especially to the depth chart and coaching staff, will improve or do the opposite to the product on the field in 2010.
We all know about the shake-up coach Mark Richt made to the coaching staff on the defensive side during the offseason. The departure of former defensive coordinator Willie Martinez was welcomed news to most of the Bulldog Nation.
Also, the Bulldogs will have a new starting quarterback for the third consecutive season.
That said, here’s the five biggest things for fans to watch during today’s G-Day game at Sanford Stadium. (Here’s a hint: it mostly revolves around the defense).
1). With the new 3-4 defense, the nose tackle becomes the focal point of the defensive line. Who’s ready to step up and be the anchor? Most believe that junior DeAngelo Tyson (6-2, 295) — also a defensive end candidate — is the most natural fit with his long arms and ability to move in space.
However, the Bulldogs will have plenty of big bodies that can do the job with Abry Jones (6-3, 290) and newcomer Kwame Geathers (6-6, 310) well suited for the demands of the position.
2). Will the defensive backfield flourish or look foolish with its new attacking and blitzing mentality under defensive backs coach Scott Lakatos? The new DB’s coach has made it clear they are going to go after the ball and try to knock wide receivers off their routes.
We all saw the Bulldogs look way too passive last season (think back to Arkansas). The safety position will be particularly interesting to follow in the spring game with Jakar Hamilton (one of the nation’s top junior college transfers) and Bacarri Rambo the clear frontrunners to start in the fall.
Converted linebacker Nick Williams and Quintin Banks will play a more visible role this season.
3). Georgia finally has depth ay cornerback. Having a rotation of players that can come in and out of the game will make it harder to throw deep against the Dogs, and will also allow the linebackers to do their jobs. Sanders Commings, Vance Cuff, Brandon Boykin and Branden Smith are all exciting athletes to watch.
4). Richard Samuel is now playing linebacker. It seemed like a bit of a stretch at first. Samuel, a junior, and Caleb King had the makings of a good 1-2 punch at running back, but King clearly started to separate himself as the go-to guy with a big performance against Georgia Tech last season, along with the emergence of Washaun Ealey.
As a linebacker, Samuel is still having to learn the ropes, even though he was a linebacker in high school. The good thing is that he can learn the playbook like everyone else on the defensive side now working in a 3-4 set: from scratch. Richt has left the option of a red-shirt season on the table for Samuel.
5). Fans will come to the spring game to watch the quarterback battle between Logan Gray, Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray, but don’t expect too many answers in terms of finding a starter based on a controlled scrimmage.
Richt said he’ll rotate the three starters on both teams during the spring game to try to even out the snaps. Right now, most people believe that Aaron Murray, a red-shirt freshman, has the inside track to earn the starting job, but it’s really too early to tell.