What we learned from Spring: Weak Cornerback

Tim Jennings

Georgia spring practice concluded with its annual G-Day game. Here is a look at the Weak CBs:

The weak cornerback position is one that already has an entrenched starter, Tim Jennings, and two other players that are just learning the position at the college level.

Jennings, like all cornerbacks have happen to them, was burned badly last season during the LSU game. That play cost Georgia the game. Jennings, who also worked out at several different special teams spots including punt return this spring, should have the plays from last season in the rear view mirror by the time that Georgia suits up for the Georgia Southern game.

Still, Jennings is now the leader of the cornerbacks. That's a spot that Jennings has never been in before this season. He will have to show leadership qualities that Bruce Thornton and others did last year. He has a heavy leadership burden on his shoulders.

One of the players that Jennings might need a little support from in the leadership department is Mike Gilliam. The converted running back is still learning how to play the position but by all reports his transition has been a positive one. Gilliam stood little chance of seeing the field with the likes of Lumpkin, Cooper, Milton, and the rest of the stables of runners that Georgia has. He requested a change last season and is one of the oldest players at the cornerback spot. Leadership is not always about what you do on the field. Sometimes leaders are in the locker room.

Mikey Henderson is yet another candidate at the punt returning spot but his primary position is weak corner. Henderson had a pretty good spring, getting attention early by intercepting three passes on the first day of spring ball, but most of his notable highlights were on special teams.

Henderson needed to get bigger over the last year and he accomplished that. However, he is still one of the smallest players that Georgia has on its roster at 160 pounds. One of Henderson's biggest strengths is his "ball handling skills", as Secondary coach Willie Martinez puts it.

Key to this position:

Jennings is the number one cornerback at Georgia now and he must consistently play well in 2004 rather than just showing flashes of brilliance. If he can do that, if he will become a "shut down" cornerback, the Bulldogs will be able to do things on defense that Brian VanGorder wants to do. Jennings has the potential to do that; will he?

Depth chart shuffle:

None. There could be some flip-flopping at the start of the fall between Gilliam and Henderson, however.

2004 Prediction:

Jennings' first true test won't be until LSU rolls into Athens in October. By then he will be ready to enact revenge on the Tigers for getting burned last season against Skyler Thornton in Baton Rouge.

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