Spring practice begins for UGA: Video, notes and observations

semerson@macon.comMarch 2, 2013 

Chris Wilson, new defensive line coach, works with his unit

ATHENS - Georgia held its first "spring" practice in 40-degree weather on Saturday. which surely had players and coaches wistful for bowl practices in Orlando. Everyone except tight end Arthur Lynch, the pride of Dartmouth, Mass., who was going with a bare-sleeved look.

As usual, the team was split in two for the opening periods of practice: Offense to the left, defense to the right. So the left side of the field had a pretty similar feel to last year, while the right side ... well, there were lots of new faces.

Some observations:

- Let's get the Josh Harvey-Clemons watch out of the way first. The rising sophomore was with the defensive backs during early drills, and then lined up as a safety during some team defense drills. That doesn't mean Harvey-Clemons won't play outside linebacker - he could have moved there once the media left, after the sixth period. But you couldn't help but notice that Harvey-Clemons hasn't put on a lot of weight yet.

After practice, head coach Mark Richt admitted that Harvey-Clemons looks "slim," but said the player is actually pretty strong when he makes contact. So they feel comfortable with using him at outside linebacker, when necessary.

- It may not mean much at this early juncture, but for what it's worth during that team defense drill the first-team lineup was Harvey-Clemons and early enrollee Tray Matthews at safety, Jordan Jenkins and James DeLoach at outside linebacker, Amarlo Herrera and Ramik Wilson at inside linebacker, and Damian Swann and Sheldon Dawson at cornerback. (The drill didn't included the defensive linemen.)

- The tailback spot so is thin that Kyle Karemepelis, a walk-on, was taking second-team snaps behind Todd Gurley. We already knew Keith Marshall (hamstring) would be out the first week, but Brandon Harton (who's been on scholarship the past two years) was also in a green non-contact jersey.

- J.J. Green, the early enrollee who is listed as an athlete, was working with the tailbacks, as Mike Bobo indicated earlier in the week. Bobo said they would look at Green in sort of a "scat-back" role, which means a combination receiver and running back. Green's positioning will be interesting to watch going forward, because during his recruitment he was mainly considered a defensive back who could see time at receiver. But now he could spend his first spring primarily on offense.

- Injured player watch: Marshall and Harton were running around on the side, so their injuries don't appear too serious. Marshall looks on track to return after spring break, which means he should get a full three weeks of practice. Receiver Michael Bennett, coming back from ACL surgery, also did some running around on the side, which is an encouraging sign. He won't participate in spring practice. And receiver Tramel Terry, who tore his ACL in December, was standing with the receivers during drills. His status for the preseason is uncertain.

- A bunch of former players were in attendance: David Pollack and David Greene. (Did you know they played pee wee football together? Really!) Ben Jones. And Christian Robinson.

Follow Seth Emerson at @sethemerson.

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