Coach Mark Richt didn’t say that early Tuesday afternoon when asked about the offensive lineman’s possible role after getting some work at the all-important spot in Saturday’s scrimmage.
Hours later, Theus lined up again at first-team left tackle during an early drill in a portion of practice that was open to the media.
The rest of the starting offensive line: Xzavier Ward at right tackle, Kenarious Gates at right guard, David Andrews at center and Dallas Lee at left guard.
“We’ve rotated a bunch,” Richt said. “We’re experimenting right now. A guy like Xzavier Ward, he’s really coming along. We might give him some shots at right tackle and move Theus over to left. You’ve got (Mark) Beard, you’ve got (Kenarious) Gates that can play tackle, but maybe they can play guard. We’re trying to find who our best five is for next year so we're rolling them around a little bit more.”
Theus started every game last year as a freshman at right tackle. The 6-foot-7, 293-pound Ward is a redshirt sophomore from Moultrie who played in six games as a backup last year.
Richt said right guard Chris Burnette is penciled in to return to his starting right guard spot when he returns this summer from a torn labrum.
Quarterback Aaron Murray said the only players who have consistently lined up at the same spots all spring are Lee at left guard and Andrews at center.
“Kenarious, I think has played every position but center,” quarterback Aaron Murray said. “I told him the other day he probably should start working on that. I think he’s played left tackle, left guard, right guard, right tackle. I think he’s played all of them this spring. Mark Beard’s been in and out. Xzavier Ward has played a lot. It’s an ongoing rotation.”
Murray said Georgia is starting to develop depth even with Burnette out and Austin Long sidelined now with a broken hand.
“I think we have around eight guys now that could start,” Murray said. “They’ll be able to rotate throughout camp and really be able to push each other and compete for those starting five positions.”
Ward, now healthy after an ACL injury, is one of them, is competing for playing time and perhaps a starting position for offensive line coach Will Friend, Richt said.
“I’ll let coach Friend deal with that,” Murray said. “As long as I’m not getting hit, I’m happy.”
Matthews’ hits, play still drawing wows
Receiver Justin Scott-Wesley wasn’t practicing on Tuesday.
The reason probably had to do with a big hit delivered by safety Tray Matthews in Saturday’s scrimmage. Players were still talking about it three days later.
“I’ve never seen anyone with that kind of closing speed,” Murray said. “He laid the wood. I thought he killed Scott-Wesley the other day. I really thought he was dead.”
Said tailback Keith Marshall: “He’s had so many hits, just those boom hits that everybody screams `Wow!’”
Even Richt didn’t try to tamp down the happy talk about Matthews this spring.
“It’s been impressive,” Richt said. “I’m not going to sit here and try to say it’s anything but impressive. I really don’t know if he’s assignment-wise doing everything correct, but he’s a very good fundamental football player. He’s a very good tackler. He enjoys competing, he enjoys the physical aspect of the game.”
G-Day plans coming together
Saturday’s G-Day game will have a similar format to last year. It will match a team consisting of the No. 1 offense and No. 2 defense against a team with the No. 1 defense and the No. 2 offense.
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo will be in charge of one team and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham the other, with the rest of the assistant coaches split up.
“We’re finalizing the roster so to speak,” Richt said. “I’ll probably wait until Thursday to flip a coin to see which coach gets which team. …When the “ones” are playing, they’ll be going against the “ones”, and the “twos” will go against the “twos,” which makes for a pretty even ball game.”
The game will be played with 12-minute quarters. There won’t be kickoffs or rushing on punts, field goals or extra points.
Georgia is asking fans to bring a bag of food to gain admission to the 1 p.m. event at Sanford Stadium. The goal is 15,000 pounds of food collected for the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia.
Fans are asked to bring in items listed next to their favorite players: Murray (green beans and pinto beans), Marshall (canned corn and sliced peaches), Todd Gurley (black eyed peas and chicken noodle soup), Malcolm Mitchell (early peas and canned pasta), Damian Swann (baked beans and sliced pears) and Michael Bennett (peanut butter and canned mixed veggies).
This and that
Georgia completed its 10th out of 15 practices on Tuesday. It will go again Thursday and Friday and then hold G-Day. Two more practices will be held next week. “We won’t do any tackling after G-Day,” Richt said. “We hope to get some good work out of that and learn more about our players. Right after that, our coaches will be jumping on the road recruiting in the spring, making evaluations of this coming class and the classes to come.”
Former Georgia linebacker Reuben Faloughi is Georgia’s male nominee for the Brad Davis SEC Community Service post-graduate scholarship. Faloughi is expected to graduate with a B.S. degree in psychology in May, is a presidential scholar, mentored at Athens elementary schools and coached and refereed youth Paralympic basketball teams.