Rambo's starting spot no longer secure

August 18, 2011 

 

ATHENS - When the preseason began, the given at safety was that Bacarri Rambo was a starter. That's in doubt now.

Rambo, a junior who started every game last year, was working second-team in Wednesday's practice. That was according to junior Shawn Williams, who said he and Sanders Commings were working first-team at safety.

And what about Rambo? Head coach Mark Richt was asked after Thursday's practice whether Rambo was now fighting for his starting spot.

"They're all fighting for the starting job right now," Richt said, not saying anything more.

The situation is muddied a bit also because Rambo has not been made available to the media so far this preseason.

Commings, a junior, has been first-team at cornerback. But Branden Smith has had a strong preseason, and Commings has been working at both corner and safety.

"I think he's ready right now to play safety," Richt said.

A few other notes:

- Smith would be the team's punt returner if the season started now, according to Richt.

"I would line up Smith right now No. 1. I would probably line up Boykin No. 2. And then between Malcolm Mitchell and Damian Swann, I'd probably have them still battling for the No. 3 spot," Richt said.

"The freshmen are very talented, but as always they've not done it before. And Boykin and SMith have both handled the ball in big-time games, whether it's as a punt returner or a kick returner."

Richt answered "not right now" as for how they would rotate the punt return men.

Boykin is also expected to be the lead kick returner, but Richt wouldn't divulge whether they would use one or two men back.

"That's classified information," Richt said.

- The team will break into scout team "pretty soon." Wednesday will be a practice game against Boise State.

- They worked on special teams in the stadium. Almost all punt and punt return. Then they did 20 minutes of 11-on-11 to catch up on some reps that were missed during a previous practice. (They're limited to the 20-hour practice rule, so every hour is precious.)

- I asked Richt a question several readers have asked: how much preparation the team would do on turf leading up to the opener, which is in the Georgia Dome.

"I'm sure we'll spend a little bit of time on some turf before we play the game on our turf," Richt said. "It is different. Especially I'd say more for the kckers than anybody."

- Tailback Isaiah Crowell got some snaps on Thursday, and could get more on Friday.

"I hope so," Richt said. "He didn't look full speed, but he was healthy enough to get out there in a green jersey and get a few reps."

- Sophomore defensive end Derrick Lott is practicing full speed. He has no limitations. Lott lacerated his leg in a scooter accident last month.

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