March 4, 2010

Grantham makes early impression on D

There was no mistaking the shrill voice of new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham during Thursday's first day of spring practice.

No lack of enthusiasm here.

Grantham made sure his new charges stayed on their collective toes, barking out instructions and berating the defense when it didn't break the huddle with enough enthusiasm to his satisfaction.

Welcome to "Introduction to the 3-4, Grantham style."

"His personality is intense; it's like he's a player, like he's out there playing with us," safety Nick Williams said. "You can tell he's from the League and he's used to coaching grown men. I like it."

Grantham was not made available for post-practice interviews, but his players certainly had plenty to say.

That includes outside linebacker Justin Houston, who said the entire defense had been waiting for weeks to get out on the field for the first time under its new DC.

"The defense was excited to get out there, but we got a long way to go and we're far from where we want to be," Houston said. "It's all brand new material out there."

But Houston said Grantham took his time to explain every detail in precise, specific terms.

That included when Grantham worked specifically with the rest of the outside linebackers, a group that included Houston, Cornelius Washington, Montez Robinson, Chase Vasser and Richard Samuel.

"He's a teacher," Houston said. "That's what I like about him."

Nearby, new inside linebackers coach Warren Belin drilled his players, a list made up of Darryl Gamble, Akeem Dent, Christian Robinson, Michael Gilliard and Akeem Hebron.

Head coach Mark Richt liked what he saw, not only from Grantham and Belin, but also new secondary coach Scott Lakatos.

"I got a chance to walk around the field and observe the new coaches do their job and I thought they were locked in, very decisive about what they were doing," Richt said. "They looked like they had been working together as a unit for some time so I was impressed with that. All our coaches are good teachers, good motivators and to see the news guys do it felt good."

Several players held out

Defensive tackle Kwame Geathers, defensive lineman Kiante Tripp, wide receiver Marlon Brown, defensive tackle Brandon Wood and wide receiver Israel Troupe each donned the green non-contact jersey for the first day of spring drills.

Richt had no details on the injuries during his post-practice press conference.

Quarterbacks split first-team respects

As expected, Logan Gray, Zach Mettenberger and Aaron Murray split the first-team reps during Thursday's first day of spring practice.

"I thought it was pretty much even," Gray said. "We all split into first, second and third team to let as many different guys get as many reps as possible. Me, Aaron, and Zach all split the reps and just trying to focus on what we have to do to get better."

One reporter joked with Gray when he asked which of the three QBs had taken the lead for the starting job.

"I am," Gray laughed. "It was interesting. With this new defense, it's a new look for us at practice, especially for us at quarterback. When we were in pass skeleton we were seeing a lot more guys on the field. They had their standup defensive ends (outside linebackers) out there, some guys coming; some dropping. It was a little confusing but it will be a good challenge to get used to the new schemes we see every day."

This and that

Remaining spring practice dates are March 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 26, 27 and 30 followed by dates on April 1, 3,6,8, 9 and the G-Day game on April 10 which is scheduled for 2 p.m. … Approximately 20 media members were on hand for the first day of workouts. … To the casual observer, Murray appeared to have the quickest release of the three quarterbacks vying for the starting job. … Running back Washaun Ealey has been officially given the No. 3 jersey worn last year by former defensive back Bryan Evans. …Georgia Military transfer Jakar Hamilton will wear No. 23 while freshman offensive lineman [/db]Kolton Houston[/db] will wear No. 66. … Nose DeAngelo Tyson said he's got his weight down to 290 points, the exact weight Grantham wants him to play.


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