Dogged recovery for Georgia offensive lineman Chris Davis

dhale@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 10, 2009 

ATHENS, Ga. — Six weeks removed from surgery to repair his injured hip, offensive lineman Chris Davis still is doing only light workouts to strengthen his legs. But that’s a lot more than what he had been doing for the past year-and-a-half, and he’s just excited to be pain free for the first time in a long time.

“It definitely hurt a lot and slowed me down,” Davis said. “I basically haven’t done any leg strengthening for a year-and-a-half now. I never did squats or power cleans, so I was just getting weaker every day.”

That didn’t stop Davis from staying on the field throughout the season for Georgia. Although he said the injury likely would have sent him to the surgeon midyear under normal conditions, Georgia’s run of injuries to its offensive linemen forced Davis to play through the pain.

While Davis suffered through the season with minimal workouts, the injury — which he initially suffered in middle school — never got any better. With the pain gone, he hopes to be back to 100 percent by June and hopes he’ll be able to take a step forward in his conditioning this season.

“It was an old injury that progressively got worse,” Davis said. “It was inevitable that it was going to have to be fixed. So they went in and delayed the process of it getting worse, so hopefully I’ll be able to get stronger and be better next year.”

Coaching impact

Three of Georgia’s assistants have turned down jobs with other schools this offseason, and head coach Mark Richt couldn’t be happier. But while Richt said the consistency on his staff has been invaluable, the one major change he has made could pay some dividends, too.

After John Eason moved to an administrative position, Tony Ball moved from running backs coach to wide receivers, and while the change hasn’t been too traumatic, wideout Kris Durham said, Ball’s new approach has re-energized the players.

“It shakes things up a little bit,” Durham said. “He brings a different philosophy, and you’ve got to try to learn what he wants us to do. Even if you know the offensive system, it’s going to be different in the mentality and the way he tries to coach you.”

Freshman impact

Marlon Brown and Rontavious Wooten won’t arrive on campus until this summer, but offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said both are getting some early studying done from afar. Bobo said he has sent a handful of plays to both players to get them accustomed to the offense, but he has been careful not to overwhelm them.

“You send a whole playbook to a young kid, there’s no way they can decipher that,” Bobo said. “You send them bits at a time, and they can talk to their position coach over the phone, so they can learn gradually.”

With three seniors gone from last year’s receiving corps, Brown and Wooten may need to prove they’re fast learners. Despite their lack of experience, Bobo said both could be in line for playing time immediately.

“Receiver is a position where even if you’re not completely sure about the playbook, you can still come in and play,” Bobo said. “Both of those guys are going to have a chance to come in and play.”

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