“That experiment wasn’t very good,” Coach Mark Richt said. “It’s a lot to ask for a senior to do. There’s so much to learn on offense. After living through it for one day, he decided he wanted to stay on defense, which is fine.”
Dale Dixson was back at defensive tackle Tuesday.
“I was a lot happier than I was yesterday,” he said. “I was comfortable. Yesterday, I felt like a freshman. Today, I actually felt like a fifth-year senior.”
The move left Georgia looking again for an emergency center. Starting guard Fernando Velasco started learning the position Tuesday.
Backup guard Zeb McKinzey, whose shoulder injury prompted Dixson’s first position change, will not need surgery, Richt said. Still, it’s too early to tell when McKinzey will be ready to play.
“It’s got to cool down as far as the soreness, and I don’t know how long that’ll take to be honest with you,” Richt said.
Dixson’s move back to defense helped ease the mind of defensive line coach Rodney Garner, who, as usual, is displeased by the progress of his tackles.
“We aren’t mentally tough,” said Garner. “We have to find some guys who can play. That’s the bottom line. We’ve got a long ways to go.”
Senior Ray Gant and sophomore Jeff Owens are the projected starters in the middle of the line.
“I don’t know who the No. 1s are,” Garner said. “That’s a good question. If you ask me today, there ain’t none.”
Gant, Owens, Dixson, redshirt freshman Kade Weston and senior Marquis Elmore are the candidates to start, Garner said.
Freshmen tackles Ricardo Crawford and Geno Atkins “have to learn how to work at this level,” Garner said. “They have to get away from the high school mentality and develop more of an SEC mentality,” he said.
At least one of them will have to play this year, said Garner, who projects three or four of the true freshmen defensive linemen will see action this year. One of the freshmen ends – Brandon Wood, Kiante Tripp, Michael Lemon and Demarcus Dobbs – will have to be trained to play both end and tackle, Garner said.