August 20, 2006

Q&A with Coach Johnson


UGASports caught up with Georgia's tight ends coach David Johnson to
ask him a few questions about the tight ends heading into the season.



UGASports: How is Martrez Milner and the other tight ends
doing in practice so far?


Johnson: They look good and we are healthy so that is a positive
thing. Milner has had a tremendous camp and we rely on him for leadership being
our senior and having played in a lot of big games. He has a very significant
role in our special teams, so we are looking for him to be a large contributor."


UGASports: Who is number two at tight end?


Johnson: "Tripp Chandler is our number two tight end,
followed very closely by Coleman Watson, Watson has had a tremendous camp. Coleman
came into the summer in great shape and he has a little more familiarity with
the offense and he has been making himself work hard and he has a good attitude,
so he is making progress. Tripp is very consistent player day in and day out
and he works hard. He does not do anything flashy, but he runs good routes,
blocks well, and continues to work on his footwork and pad level."


UGASports: What about the players behind Chandler and Watson,
lower on the depth chart?


Johnson: "Behind them, we have Trahern Holden who is
a senior and gives us some stability and he knows the offense pretty well and
contributes on special teams. NeDerris Ward is our freshman, who for the first
eight or nine practices when we are installing, has had a tough time. Everyday
there is something new for him and now we are going back and reviewing and the
installation part of practice is over. He is getting caught up on some things
and doing well and he has a bright future."


UGASports: Do you think the team will redshirt Ward this season?


Johnson: "We have not determined that yet and we will
make that determination at a later point. Right now we are just practicing hard
and he is in the rotation getting a lot of reps, so we will make that determination
later."


UGASports: How often are you running two tight end sets?


Johnson: "Quite often we are running them, but we are
not heavy into them. We run two tights and three tights, so we have a very flexible
offense, and the biggest thing we are looking for is balance. It will vary from
game to game based on what defenses we see and if it is to our advantage to
run two or three tight ends. We have it in our offense and it is something coach
(Mark) Richt can use at any point. I think he feels very comfortable using it
this season."


UGASports: Will there be more of an emphasis on blocking with
the quarterback situation and depth issues on the offensive line?


Johnson: "We are ready to block and that is one thing
that we do. It all depends on how coach calls the game, so that might be something
he would have to answer. We are prepared to do whatever he wants and we are
prepared to run the football if he wants. As far as tight ends go, I spend equal
time working on passing and blocking so we are prepared for whatever happens."


UGASports: How has Milner's injury to his finger affected
his fall practice?



Johnson: "Very little and he has done very well with
it. It may have been a bit of a blessing in disguise because he has really had
to focus on the football and has done a tremendous job with it. He got the sutures
out this morning, it is feeling a lot better, and he will start to back down
the dressing on it and get more flexibility. By game time September 2, he should
be fine."



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