Earlier this week former MaconDawg's Blog correspondence and FOB Darius Dawgberry had the distinct pleasure of being able to observe a bit of practice in the Classic City. Needless to say my first reaction upon learning that he would have this opportunity was pure green jealousy. My second reaction was to put him to work gathering nuggets for this blog. Obviously, DD is too good a Dawg to let slip anything truly mission critical. Even if he told me something strategical, I still wouldn't write it, because Frank Beamer probably has this blog in his Google Reader, and you know that old coot still wants to get back at us for the 2006 Chick-Fil-A Bowl. But Dawgberry was able to give me his impressions of some players Dawg fans and Dawgsports readers have been curious about. Below are DD's impressions from one glorious spring afternoon in Athens.
Caleb King: Running through people faster than habanero frijoles. Dawgberry swears that there's not a man alive who can beat him to the corner on the toss sweep. Should have some highlight film moments this season.
Richard Samuel: I think our intrepid correspondent's words were something akin to "runs like a bull moose and will never play a down at linebacker." Dawgberry projects Samuel as the third tailback if we were to play Georgia Southern tomorrow. He's a big back in the Lars Tate/Tim Worley mold, who is hard to catch once he breaks through the line. This makes me smile.
Dontavius Jackson: Extremely athletic and elusive, gets through small holes very, very well. This seems to back up what we saw on film last year. He's just not the physical specimen at this point that Richard Samuel is.
Kiante Tripp: Flipping huge. He's put on 25 pounds or so since the end of last season, and none of it appears to be fat. He's also probably our most agile tackle. Again, smiling.
Chris Little: In much better shape than last season. He's still not there yet, but he's rounding into shape, hopefully.
Ben Jones: Not physically ready just yet. DD reports that Jones was clearly gutting it out at practice, but he's just got too much baby fat at 305 pounds to manhandle the likes of Kade Weston and Jeff Owens.
Justin "Bean" Anderson: Just as physically dominating as you've heard. Also spent most of his afternoon on the receiving end of a steady stream of profanity from Coach Searels that would make Andrew Dice Clay blush. The impression you get is that the coaches sense that he could be really good, if he pushes himself to play every snap. They're willing to help with some, shall we say "mild encouragement.
Tavarres King: Will play as a true freshman. Gave Ramarcus Brown unholy fits in coverage with his speed and change of direction. Has a lot more trouble with guys like Asher Allen who can physically jam him, though. Still looks skinny enough to get a modeling job at New York Fashion Week, which needs to change.
Matt Stafford: In the best shape of his career. In Dawgberry's words "There's not an ounce of fat on him. He's just a big, big dude." He's also clearly worked on his footwork, which I think we can all agree is a good thing. Didn't have his best day of practice while DD looked on, throwing some WTH??? level picks. But he'll be fine.
Our correspondent also made great notes on how the coaches are faring this spring.
On Coach Fabris: Possibly the most intense human being on Earth. One reason he has coached so many NFL caliber defensive ends is that by the time you survive five years with the guy you'll either be very disciplined or you'll end up crying in the fetal position in your dorm room every night. Does not suffer loafing. Like, at all.
Coach Martinez: Like Coach Fabris, only he yells at everyone. Seems intent on personally turning Vance Cuff into an All-American cornerback or killing him in the process. This also makes me smile.
None of this of course is really gravity shifting news. But it's spring and we gotta do something after all. Thanks to DD for being our eyes and ears, and thanks to the coaching staff for having him. Until later . . .