Changes up front could be coming for the Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl against Nebraska.
Coaches have opened up the competition on the line for the eight on-campus bowl practices.
“We felt like with Mark Beard and Austin Long making improvement this year, they ought to be given an opportunity to earn a starting job going into this ballgame,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said Monday.
Offensive line coach Will Friend said left guard and right tackle were the most heated position battles. Bobo also mentioned left tackle.
“Those three spots are kind of moving (parts) to see who the best five are going to be,” Friend said.
Kenarious Gates started every game at left tackle except when Burnette was out. Gates then moved to left guard and Beard, the junior college transfer, stepped in at left tackle. Freshman John Theus has started every game at right tackle.
“I’m definitely proud of the way Theus played this year, but I think all of those guys can play a little bit better,” Bobo said. “It could be Gates over there and Beard at left tackle. I don’t know what it’s going to be.”
Dallas Lee and Gates are competing at left guard.
Friend “wants to keep everybody sharp and keep everybody competing,” coach Mark Richt said last week. “Sometimes there’s guys that don’t play because they don’t quite know it as good as another guy. There’s some guys that have been coming along. I don’t know if they’ll win a job this game, but there’s still going to be some pretty good open competition in the spring for that O-line.”
Bobo on his coaching future
Bobo, a finalist for the Broyles Award for the nation’s top assistant coach, declined to comment on whether he’s interviewed for any other jobs since the end of the season.
He did say that he would like to be a head coach eventually.
“You aspire to run your own program one day,” Bobo said. “Just constantly trying to learn and get better. If stuff like that happens, it happens. If not, I’m just really worried about what I can control and that’s coaching here right now.”
A couple of Bobo’s offensive assistants are spreading out on social media, but Bobo is moving at a slower pace.
“I think some guys are on Twitter,” Bobo said. “Not me. I just learned how to do the Facebook thing. I’m not on Twitter yet. …It’s a way to communicate (with recruits) and keep in contact with what they’re saying. It’s another means to communicate with the guys and stay in touch with them.”
Bobo isn’t ruling out starting his own Twitter account.
Receiver commitment facing comeback from ACL
Georgia receiver commitment Tramel Terry from Goose Creek, S.C., “almost definitely” sustained a torn ACL in the Shrine Bowl game on Saturday, his coach, Chuck Reedy, told WCIV-TV in Charleston.
Terry is slated to have an MRI and then go to Athens for surgery. Terry, who won the Mr. Football Award in South Carolina, tweeted that he spoke with Georgia receivers Michael Bennett and Marlon Brown on Sunday night and it “made me feel a lot better.” Both tore ACLs this season.
Terry, expected to enroll early to Georgia, hopes to be full speed by June.
Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham mentioned four players who have stood out in the four practices in which younger players have scrimmaged: defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor, defensive end Sterling Bailey, safety Josh Harvey-Clemons and cornerback Sheldon Dawson. Bobo singled out offensive lineman Greg Pyke and tight end Ty-Flournoy Smith. Of Pyke, Bobo said: “He’s a guy that’s a big, strong guy, that’s very athletic, just doesn’t know what to do right now. We liked what we saw out of him. He’s a guy that showed up and did some good things".
Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones was one of six defensive players to be named unanimous All-Americans this year. The others were defensive linemen Jadeveon Clowney of South Carolina and Bjoern Werner of Florida State, linebacker Manti Te’o of Notre Dame and cornerback Dee Milliner of Alabama and safety Philip Thomas of Fresno State.
After giving the players Sunday off from practice to play whiffle ball, Georgia practiced indoors on Monday due to inclement weather. The team will practice today through Friday on campus and resume workouts in Orlandon on Dec. 26.