August 29, 2012

Beard growing on Friend



Sophomore Mark Beard was a stoked young man when he received word from position coach Will Friend that he was moving back to left tackle after beginning his Bulldog career at guard.

"I couldn't have been happier," Beard said after practice Wednesday. "It's where I felt more comfortable. I've played left tackle all my life."

Beard enters Saturday's opener against the top backup to starter Kenarious Gates, at least as far as the Bulldogs' Week 1 depth chart is concerned.

"He's started to do some things better," Friend said. "But like a lot of our guys, he's still got a long ways to go."

Beard said he's worked exclusively at the position for the past two weeks.

"I think the biggest the biggest thing with me is just coming to practice every day, practicing hard and doing what Coach (Friend) tells me," he said. "I'm definitely understanding things better."

Only two stats matter to Richt

Don't get head coach Mark Richt wrong.

He's thrilled that his defense is building a solid reputation, based largely on the fact the Bulldogs ranked fifth-nationally in total defense as season ago.

However, when it comes to numbers that really count, there are two statistics define championship teams better than anything else.

"Points (allowed) per game is probably a better stat and whether you win the championship is probably the best stat," Richt said after practice Wednesday. "I think our defense has absolutely gotten a lot of attention, positive attention for the job they've done and I think they're building a reputation, a positive reputation. I think there's a lot of anticipation for this group."

But numbers mean little if you can't produce when the game is on the line.

Making a play when it counts - be it on the offense, defense or special teams - is what separates great teams from mediocre ones.

"I've said it a lot and I'll try to put it in the context of the entire team with this comment - you can be No. 1 in America defensively, at least statistically, but if you get in a game where you've got to have a stop right now - this drive you need a stop - great defenses get the stop when you need the stop," Richt said. "But the same thing is true for the offense. If the defense gets that ball one last time and you need to kick a field goal to win the game, you've got to do it at that moment of truth. That is what's going to define in my mind whether we're a great defense, a great offense, a great special teams or a great team in general."

Injury update

There was some good news on the injury front Wednesday as Kwame Geathers and Cornelius Washington both resumed practice and are expected to play in Saturday's opener.

In fact, of the scholarship players, only sophomore offensive guard Hunter Long (broken foot) is the only one who has been ruled out for the game, set to kick off at 12:21 p.m. (SEC-Network).

Tight end Jay Rome (hamstring), however, remains questionable with a right hamstring strain.

Quotable

• "Our goal is to win the game, then we'll go from there. Our goal is to win the game." - Richt on whether or not he will play as many players as he can.

• "One of the best, that's what you want. You want to be considered one of the best." - Richt on how he wants his team thought of on a national scale.

• "The update is we'll have to wait till Saturday to find out. Sorry about that." - Richt when asked during the SEC teleconference regarding whether or not Bacarri Rambo or Alec Ogletree will play.

This and that

Freshman Marshall Morgan will handle field goals and extra points on Saturday, but apparently the job as to who will handle kickoffs is still up for grabs. "I know it's down to two, it's between Marshall and Jamie Lindley. Very honestly, I'm not sure. I'll tell you after the game, but not now," Richt said. "We like mystery. No, I don't know. I haven't asked Coach (Kirk) Olivadotti. They've both kicked well enough to do it." … Sophomore Watts Dantzler said he's worked at every position on the offensive line except center. … Backup cornerback Blake Sailors said he's seeing most of his time on special teams.