THE TEN AT 10:
1. Georgia is just four days into preseason camp and injuries are starting to become part of the 2014 storyline. The latest name added to the list is Shattle Fenteng.
Fenteng, a junior college transfer from Hutchinson Community College, was having his shoulder and arm attended to by head trainer Ron Courson early in Monday’s practice before leaving Woodruff Practice Fields for the day. UGA was unable to supply an injury update after the 90-minute workout and the hope is that there will be one at some point Tuesday.
In the meantime, inside linebacker Ramik Wilson sat out Monday’s practice for undisclosed reasons and outside linebacker Leonard Floyd participated but wore a green, non-contact jersey. All this, of course, followed last week’s news that star receiver Malcolm Mitchell injured his troublesome right knee just days before the first practice. He had to undergo arthroscopic surgery last Thursday and his timetable for a return remains undetermined.
The one bit of good news on the injury front was that tight end Jay Rome didn’t suffer a major setback when he left practice after hobbling off the field on Sunday. Rome, who had foot surgery last December, was back on the field on Monday.
Nevertheless, tight ends coach John Lilly great reservations about the junior’s ability to contribute as significantly early in the season as the Bulldogs had hoped.
“You have to be a little concerned with his conditioning and how ready he’s going to be when we play in less than a month,” Lilly said after Monday’s practice. “He just hasn’t practiced much, He’s been out some, and he’s not able to go some. It’s hard to evaluate a guy when that’s the case. But it’s a process. We’re not playing tomorrow, so we’ll see.”
2. Georgia’s situation behind Rome is pretty precarious because nobody else has played. Redshirt freshman Jordan Davis and converted fullback Quayvon Hicks would appear to be the next in line. But the Bulldogs brought in freshman signee Jeb Blazevich, who has been impressive in the early going, and got a late addition in converted basketball player Joseph Ledbetter, who transferred in from Pfifer University
“It could end up being any of them right now, quite frankly,” Lilly said.
Well, probably not Ledbetter. Asked how the transition was going for the 6-foot-5, 240-pound junior after not playing football for more than three years, Lilly laughed.
“It’s like if you stuck me in Spanish class right now and expected me to go somewhere they speak Spanish fluently in three weeks or whatever,” he said. “I’d struggle. I’d have a hard time doing anything. So it’s a process.”
3. Meanwhile, camp carries on for the rest of the Bulldogs, and they’ve gotten in a lot of work so far. Tuesday afternoon they’ll take the field for their fifth practice of 29 before the Aug. 30 opener against Clemson. It will be the first full-contact workout.
At this early juncture, none of the Bulldogs’ issues have been resolved. They’re still looking to settle on a left tackle and left guard, the competition rages on for a backup quarterback and they continue to shuffle players around in the secondary. Fenteng had shown enough promise at boundary corner that Jeremy Pruitt had been giving previous starter Aaron Davis a look at safety. We’ll be watching today to see if this mean Davis moves back outside.
But the Bulldogs will move toward solidifying the rotations toward the end of the week. The first scrimmage is at 5 p.m. Saturday at Sanford Stadium.
4. By the way, the grass practice fields that were conspicuously missing for the first few days of camp have been seamlessly replaced. In fact, if you didn’t know that Georgia had to scrape them up and replace them on the eve of camp — literally — you’d never know it by the current looks of them.
Rolls of “lay-and-play” Bermuda sod were brought in on 12 tractor trailers this past Friday night and the grass was in place by Saturday morning. On Monday, grounds crews finished lining the three 70-yard long fields while the Bulldogs practiced on their new field-turf fields.
Athletic director Greg McGarity said the grass fields would be ready to practice on by early this week. Whether they’ll try to break them in with the first full-contact practice of the summer remains to be seen.
5. As the Bulldogs prepare for the present, the coaches continue to work on the future, and that endeavor seems to be going well. Georgia on Monday locked up their 17th commitment for the Class of 2015 and, by all accounts, it was another good one.
Pat Allen, is a 6-foot-5, 285-pound offensive lineman from Reisterstown, Md., committed to the Bulldogs on Monday afternoon. He carries a 4-star rating in 247Sports.com’s composite rankings. He was holding offers from 25 other schools, including Florida, Florida State, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
That’s the third offensive lineman so far for next year’s class. That’s a good thing considering the Bulldogs will lose four seniors off this year’s team in David Andrews, Mark Beard, Watts Danzler and Kolton Houston.
6. The Lady Dogs basketball team left this past weekend for a 10-day playing tour of Italy. Asked before they left what he knew about that country, Georgia’s coach Andy Landers said: “The Mafia kind of resides there, and spaghetti. Oh, and I found out some of the best pickpockets in the world reside there.”
Clearly Landers wasn’t earning the favor of Italy’s board of tourism. Of course, he was kidding. And whatever Landers didn’t know, he asked his players to fill him in on.
Landers had each one of his players research one of the areas the team would be visiting during its trip and give an oral report.
“With all the technology we have these days, why wouldn’t we punch a few buttons and get a little scouting report,” he said. “You know, why IS that tower leaning?”
Added to their already hefty workloads, Landers’ players weren’t thrilled about another academic assignment.
“We were like, ‘man, are you kidding me, Coach?,” junior forward Merritt Hempe said. “But it actually was good for us. It’s good to have a little background before you go there so you can appreciate what you’re seeing.”
7. Getting to know Italy was part of the attraction of the trip. But the main impetus for Landers and the Lady Dogs is to get a leg up on the competition. In addition to the four or five games they’ll play against club teams overseas, Georgia was able to conduct 10 additional practices stateside before it left.
During that time, the Bulldogs worked almost exclusively on playing zone defense. Normally a man-to-man team, Landers said zone is all they’ll play in Italy. It’s not a strategic decision, but a logistical one given time and preparation restraints.
“That’s allowed us to break down the zone, go through all our developmental drills for the zone and I suspect that when we get back and start practice, we’re not going to spend any time on zone,” Landers said.
8. Rick Pauly was hired this week by Georgia coach Lu Harris-Champer as an assistant softball coach by coach . Pauly comes from USC Upstate, where he has served as a volunteer assistant coach the past three years.
“I am thrilled to have Rick as a member of the staff,” Harris-Champer said. “He has a proven track record of success and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the program. With his guidance, I believe that our players, specifically our pitchers, will continue to grow in every aspect of the game.”
Pauly’s hiring completes an overhaul of last year’s coaching staff under Harris-Champer. Associate head coach Gerry Glasco resigned after this past season to take a similar position at Texas A&M and the contract of his daughter, Tara Archibald, who served as an assistant coach the last three years, was not renewed. The Bulldogs hired Tony Baldwin from North Carolina in June.
Meanwhile, Geri Ann Glasco, who hit .330 and clubbed 29 home runs with 103 RBI over the last two seasons at Georgia, has enrolled at Oregon. The rising junior from Watkinsville decided to leave after her father’s resignation. So that closes the door on the Glasco era at UGA.
9. UGA held it’s summer commencement ceremonies, and a couple of “Damn Good Dogs” were among the graduates. Former star defensive back and kick returner and 2011 Paul Hornung Award winner Brandon Boykin graduated with a degree in journalism. And NBA veteran and former Georgia basketball star Jarvis Hayes graduated with a degree in financial planning, housing and consumer economics.
Hayes’ graduation came 10 years after that of his twin brother, Jonas Hayes, who is a UGA assistant coach. But, of course, Jonas didn’t play in the NBA for seven seasons.
10. And finally, congratulations is in order for Irwin Stolz of Athens. The 85-year-old former UGA swimmer won a gold medal this past weekend in the 2014 Fina Masters World Championships in Montreal, Quebec. Special thanks to “Mowgli the Man Cub” for pointing out this accomplishment on Twitter, @MowglitheManCu1.