Fall Practice Tidbits, Week 1.

Trying to cover all of the news coming out of Athens this time of year is like trying to drink Budweiser from a firehose. Which is even harder than you might suppose. But I digress.

Instead, I thought it might be worthwhile to take a little deeper look at some of the stories you're already reading.

Logan Gray, Special Teams Contributor? Yes, Coach Fabris gave the redshirt freshman quarterback a shot returning punts. But don't hold your breath. I find it very hard to believe that Gray is going to have the ball skills of Asher Allen, Ramarcus Brown or any of the other contenders for that job. Be that as it may, we should be excited that one of our backup quarterbacks has the kind of athleticism to even be in this discussion.

Will Gray move from the QB slot? Not likely. Coach Richt called him the most improved quarterback since spring from what they've seen. This is very, very exciting. As much as people liked to talk about D.J. Shockley as a "dual threat quarterback", let's be honest, D.J. was never really that fast, as evidenced by his 4.6+  forty at the NFL Combine. Elusive, yes. Michael Vick? Not a chance. But as Gray demonstrated at G-Day, he may actually be the kind of quarterback who can change a game with his legs. When was the last time we had that? Hines Ward? Ray Goff?

I also think we should keep an eye on Carlton Thomas in the kick return game. If you watched him return kickoffs in the Under Armor All Star Game last year, you know what I mean. The guy is truly special with the ball in his hands.

Reason # 84 to Love Stacy Searels. Kiante Tripp saying that after he dislocated his thumb, Coach Searels "was like, 'What are you doing? Get back out there!' So I ran back out there with it all messed up and playing with one hand. My coach don't believe in injured."

A.J Green May Have To Wait. The thing that most often keeps phenomenal freshmen off the field is not lack of understanding or physical inability. It's injury. Because injuries prevent you from getting the reps you need to learn the system and develop. Hip flexor injuries are especially tricky for receivers. A.J. is going to need to avoid further hip trouble and the "dead leg" syndrome that sometimes strikes freshman receivers who aren't ready for college competition. If A.J. Green isn't on the field against Georgia Southern, it will be injury that keeps him on the sideline, not competition.

Or maybe not. Michael Moore? Bum shoulder. Walter Hill? Broken hand. Izzy Troupe? injured wrist, elbow and shoulder. It's really hard to get that type of compound injury without the aid of tequila or a belt sander. As I said about Kris Durham a couple of weeks ago, somebody's going to have to play this season. Might as well be him. Green is getting all kinds of love from the coaches and media, with Coach Richt even comparing him to Randy Moss, who Richt saw in action before he transferred from FSU to Marshall.

That's really high praise for a freshman, higher than Richt customarily gives. I think the amount of time you see A.J. Green on the field is directly tied to a) improvement in his route running and b) his ability to block effectively as a taller, thinner wide receiver. This is going to be interesting to watch. 

Monday, Monday. After taking Sunday off the Bulldogs will have two scrimmages on Monday, one special teams and one offense-defense. I think that after those you'll see some of the position battles start to shake out. One I'm watching is on the offensive line, where Tanner Strickland looks like a new football player since spring practice. I think he's going to play a good bit, even if he doesn't end up starting. With Quintin Banks MCL injury, there should also be a battle for the backup safety spot. I've liked John Knox ever since he was in high school. I'm not changing that now. I think we'll see a lot of him as well. But we'll also see a lot of senior and newly minted scholarship recipient Andrew Williams, who has quietly put together a solid career in Athens. Until later . . .

Go 'Dawgs!

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