October 31, 2006

Dawgs Search for a Kick Returner

The Bulldogs (6-3, 3-3) returned to practice Tuesday in
preparations for an early kickoff against Kentucky (4-4, 2-3) this weekend in
Lexington.


The Bulldogs have been searching for a replacement for
Thomas Brown on kick returns since he was lost for the season in the
Tennessee game with a torn ACL. Brown had 379 kick return yards for a 25.3 yard
per return average and one touchdown in seven games this season.


Freshman
Asher Allen returned kicks in Brown's
absence, but struggled against Mississippi State holding onto the football.


Running backs coach Tony Ball decided just before
the Florida game to give junior tailback Danny Ware the kick return
job. Ware returned his first two career kickoffs against Florida.


"I went down to pregame and the pregame was really
good because the wind was blowing and was all over the place and in pregame
I got a chance to see who could judge it," said Ball.


Ware returned two kicks for 30 yards in his first action
as kick returner.


"I thought Danny did a good job and number one he
fielded the ball and you have to be able to orchestrate, field the ball, and
make sure everybody knows what to do. He did a good job and showed some ability
to hit the seem and I just wish we could have got him free," said coach
Ball of Ware's returns.


"The first one was kind of terrible, I think we
kind of messed up upfront on the blocks and I was just trying to follow my blocks
and I made a bad decision trying to go inside. The second time I told Kregg
(Lumpkin) not to worry about faking inside and to go straight outside and we
had a little bit more success," said Ware of his two kickoff returns.


Ware is in the mix at kick returner along with cornerbacks
Asher Allen, Bryan Evans, Ramarcus Brown, and
Prince Miller.


Coach Ball mixed the personnel on the kick return this
week in an attempt to generate better returns.


"This past weekend I tried some new people at some
different spots, for example Tra Battle was out there, CJ Byrd was out there
and we were doing some different things. I had like four new guys out there
this weekend and I had some of the older guys out there in some different spots
and I thought we did a pretty good job for the most part," said Ball of
the kick return unit.


Ware had not returned a kickoff in a game since high school.


"I returned in high school every year and I have
not really done it since. I did not do it at Hargrave (Military) and I did not
do it up, but I practiced at it "I just have to go out there, communicate,
run the ball hard, and find the whole, that is all they really want,"
said Ware of kick returning.


Heading into the Kentucky game, Ware is still the odds
on favorite to return kicks against the Wildcats.


"As a kick returner you have to be able to hit like
a ram and run like a deer and the thing that Danny can do is that Danny can
see it," said Ball. "He has a burst and does he have the speed to
take it the distance, he says he does, so hopefully he will get a chance to
this weekend."


Offensive line looking for cohesion


Senior offensive tackle/guard Michael Turner
will play a lot of snaps against Kentucky this week starting in place of junior
tight guard Chester Adams and working as the back up tackle behind
seniors Daniel Inman and
Ken Shackleford. Head football coach
Mark Richt and offenisve line coach Neil Callaway made the
decision after watching Adam's performance against Florida.


"Right now we think Turner's the one to play
guard right this minute," said Richt at the Tuesday press conference.
"Some of that is just due to Chester's ankle (sprain). He is healthy
enough to play, but I do not think it is full speed ahead. I do not think he
is full speed, he is playing a little bit gimpy and Turner's just more
healthy right now, But Turner, to his credit, has done a nice job."


Coach Callaway is reluctant to give Adams a lot of work
this week because of the ankle injury.


"Chester is still not a hundred percent and he looked
gimpy, so that is the reason we made that move," said Callaway of starting
Turner over Adams.


Adams is available for work at guard or tackle if his
is needed Saturday.




The overall play of the offensive line in the Florida
game was addressed by coach Callaway after practice Tuesday.


"We had some problems and I think if you look at
the early in the game we did not play as well as we wanted to, but I overall
we played better as the game wore on," said Callaway. "We are all
frustrated because we did not execute and move the ball like we wanted to."


Georgia has two more practices to prepare for Kentucky
and improve their fundamentals before kickoff Saturday.


"We have to play better fundamentally and get lower
at times and the foot works has to be better and those are the two things that
cause the problem the other day," said Callaway. "We all make mistakes
and no game is perfect and if you ever compete you are going to get whipped,
so we will learn from it and keep on going."


Nine down, two to go


The Georgia football has not had an off week since beginning
Fall Camp on August 5th. Georgia will finish their longest stretch of consecutive
games next week on the road against Auburn.


"It is not great and it is not the ideal situation
and I would not sit there at the beginning of the year and say you got one open
date where do you want it," said Richt of the schedule issues. "I
doubt I would say lets have it after game eleven, I would want to have it somewhere
in the middle to give yourself a mental and physical break that is so crucial
for your coaches and your players."


Freshman quarterback Matthew Stafford has seen the strain
of the previous nine straight games wear on the team.


"It definitely does affect us physically and mentally,"
said Stafford of playing nine straight games. "It is something we are
dealing with pretty well though. We have to get up and play well on Saturdays."


Georgia's eleven straight games this season is the
most consecutive games they have played in a row since the 1979 season. The
Bulldogs finished that season 6-5 under head coach Vince Dooley.


Injury Report


Freshman linebacker Darius Dewberry missed his
sixth straight practice Tuesday with a hamstring injury.


Working in green jerseys in practice Tuesday were
Sean Bailey (ACL),
Tony Wilson (shoulder), Ben Wilson (knee),
Mikey Henderson (hamstring), and Knowshon Moreno (hamstring).


Junior wide receiver A.J. Bryant is available
to take contact again after the coaches limited his work on Monday due to a
lingering groin injury.


Other Notes and Quotes…


The Bulldogs are minus six this season in turnovers this
season and have turned the ball over 22 times giving up 52 points, which is
the most points off turnovers allowed under coach Richt since his first season
in 2001 when they gave up 53.


Georgia is 47-10-2 against Kentucky all-time and they
have won nine straight games over the Wildcats.


"They're getting better," said Richt
of the Wildcats. "They are winning and the games that they have lost,
they have performed much better. This is a very good football team, not a lot
different from what has been going on at Vanderbilt. Maybe not getting a ton
of wins, but making a tremendous amount of progress in how they have been able
to compete. I am saying that with respect, after Vanderbilt just got done beating
us, I think Kentucky's very capable of doing the same thing."



...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!