ATHENS – Reserve tailback Michael Cooper continues to sit out of Georgia’s spring practices, and incoming freshman Danny Ware continues to take advantage of his absence.
Ware was the offensive highlight of the Bulldogs’ afternoon scrimmage on Friday at Sanford Stadium and has solidified his spot as a tailback for 2004. He was recruited out of Rockmart High School as a fullback but quickly caught the eye of the coaching staff with his running ability.
“He’s a very physical runner,” Coach Mark Richt said. “He looked like the toughest player we had on offense today.”
Ware, 6-foot-1, 210 pounds, is the Bulldogs’ second-team tailback this spring behind Kregg Lumpkin.
“(Ware) has got to know what to do. When he does, I’m confident he’ll help us this year,” Richt said. “If he just keeps progressing, he’ll play.”
Cooper sat out the scrimmage and has missed almost two weeks now due to migraine headaches. However, he will have a chance to compete with Ware for the No. 2 job in the fall, Richt indicated.
“Until they compete in the fall, we’ll reserve that judgment,” he said.
Ware definitely isn’t playing well enough to push Lumpkin for the starting spot. Lumpkin, a sophomore, has quietly solidified his hold on that job this spring. He impressed coaches earlier this month by practicing despite a hip flexor injury.
“He’s growing into the kind of man we need him to be,” Richt said. “We’re looking at him as a veteran and a leader, not a second-year player.”
WRONG DIRECTION: Until Friday, Richt was pleased with the progress of his patchwork offensive line, but it seemed clear he was talking about that unit when he said this: “Everybody played hard. Some guys just didn’t play with a lot of heart offensively. That really bothered me.”
Due to injuries, the Bulldogs have sophomore Fernando Velasco and converted defensive lineman Darrius Swain at first-team guard.
“Today was not very good, pretty ugly,” Richt said. “I thought we were turning a corner until today. Today we went backward.”
SCRIMMAGE REPORT: The defense continued its spring trend of dominating the offense.
“Defensively, you could name off the usual guys,” Richt said. “They basically shut down the offense.”
Joe Tereshinski did salvage some pride for the offense by leading the No. 2 offense on a touchdown scoring drive against the No. 2 defense. The No. 1 offense finally found its rhythm late by scoring three out of four times in a goal line drill late in the practice.
Richt singled out the play of the reserve defensive ends, particularly Quentin Moses.
“What he’s doing is earning himself a lot of playing time,” Richt said. “And Marcus Jackson is having a great spring. The d-ends have had a really fine spring as a group.”