Dawgs continue work
Mark Richt
Mark Richt
Posted Aug 14, 2005

ATHENS — Mark Richt has addressed over the first week of practice nearly every aspect of his football team.

There's little depth and/or experience at wide receiver and linebacker, some of the newcomers are rising up the depth charts, the tailbacks look as good as expected, and all is well at quarterback.

One part of the team getting little mention is the offensive line. Which appears in this case to be a good thing. Like referees and umpires, the offensive line gets little love if it's doing its job.

"You'd like to hear more," said Russ Tanner, the senior center from Johnson County. "We'd like to do such a good job to get called out a little bit. If we're not giving up sacks and having penalties, that's good. We're doing our job."

The line caught plenty of grief - a fair share unfairly so - for the 47 sacks of UGA quarterbacks two years ago. But the unit more than rebounded last season and allowed only 21.

"About a fourth, it seemed," Tanner chuckled. "If we make the same improvements we did two years ago to last year ..."

But it remains, as is the case with the big guys up front, a pretty humble group, even with the high expectations and praise from last year's progress.

Tanner won't even list a starting unit, but line coach Neil Callaway before practice started was pretty certain that Tanner at center, Max Jean-Gilles and Nick Jones at guard, and Dennis Roland and Daniel Inman at tackle.

And he's noted the Bulldogs' depth with tackles Chester Adams, Ken Shackleford, and Michael Turner plus guards Fernando Velasco and Josh Brock. Senior Ryan Schnetzer is versatile at center or guard.

The line did lose an experienced tackle when Bartley Miller's constant shoulder problems forced him to give up football last week.

Still, the first five have a combined 106 starts, with Brock adding 15, Schnetzer two and one each for Shackleford and Velasco.

Richt did note the line's performance at Saturday afternoon's scrimmage.

"The blocking up front most of the day was very good," he said. "I thought quarterbacks had a good bit of time."

Quarterback D.J. Shockley takes over his role at a perfect time, and he knows it.

"We've added some things," he said. "And they've accepted it really well, and they run it like it's old stuff.

"There's plenty of time for me to throw, plenty of time for me to sit back and make my reads. They're picking up everything. They're seeing everything."

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