Dawgs get rolling with spring practice
Mark Richt
Mark Richt
Reporter
Posted Mar 5, 2005


ATHENS - Most of the familiar numbers were back on the field Saturday for Georgia, but, in many cases, it wasn’t the familiar faces wearing them anymore.

Sophomore Andrew Williams wore David Pollack’s No. 47, and Dannell Ellerbe slipped on Odell Thurman’s No. 33 for the Bulldogs’ first day of spring practice.

No one was in David Greene’s No. 14, but it’s doubtful anyone would have noticed anyway since all eyes, and plenty of TV cameras, at the quarterback station were focused on No. 3.

“It felt good, really,” said D.J. Shockley, who took his first snaps as the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback during a morning workout that lasted almost two hours. “Coach was like, ‘OK, No. 1s, let’s go.’ I was like, ‘Hey, that’s me now.’

“I found it real easy to get up this morning.”

The Bulldogs are scheduled to hold 13 more practices and then have their spring G-Day game on April 9 in Sanford Stadium. The team will take the field again Monday.

“It was fun to be out there with the fellas again,” Coach Mark Richt said. “There was a lot of excitement out there, maybe some nerves.”

Richt experienced those nerves firsthand when he was forced to participate in a passing drill during practice. The former University of Miami quarterback wasn’t impressed with his own form.

“I really, really embarrassed myself,” he said. “I mean, it was bad. The first thing (linebacker) Tony Taylor said was, ‘I can see why Jim Kelly beat you out.’”

Two coaches made their debut in full-time positions at Georgia as John Jancek worked with the linebackers and Kirby Smart worked with the running backs.

The coach who drew the most attention after practice was defensive ends coach Jon Fabris, who resigned two weeks ago to take a job with the Oklahoma Sooners and then asked for, and received, his job back four days later. However, Fabris, who hasn’t made any public comment since returning to Athens, declined to speak with the media about his flip-flop, leaving his players to talk for him.

“We’re all adults around here, and we know you have to do what’s best for you,” defensive end Quentin Moses said. “We respected his decision when he left, and we were happy when he came back. He told us he thought it was the right way to go, but once he made the move, he realized it wasn’t the right decision.

“He’s a great coach. He may be a little wild sometimes, but he finds a way to bring out the best in us.”

The most interesting position on the first day other than quarterback was linebacker, where the first team consisted of Brandon Miller on the strong side, Taylor in the middle and Danny Verdun Wheeler on the weak side. Taylor was an outside linebacker in 2003 and then missed the 2004 season due to a knee injury.

“In an effort to get our 11 best football players on the field, it was logical to get Tony Taylor at (middle linebacker),” Jancek said.

Running back Kregg Lumpkin (knee), linebackers Jarvis Jackson (shoulder) and Jamario Smith (back), defensive lineman Marcus Jackson (blood clot) and Steve White and safety Olaulu Sanni-Osomo (knee) were all at Saturday’s practice in green, no-contact jerseys.

Offensive lineman Chester Adams wore a club-like cast on his broken hand but practiced full speed.


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