Georgia newcomers make quick impression on Mark Richt

semerson@ledger-enquirer.comAugust 3, 2013 

ATHENS, Ga. -- The expectation was that a couple of Georgia's freshman cornerbacks could vie for immediate playing time, and so far it's looking that way.

Shaq Wiggins and Brendan Langley were among the players coach Mark Richt has been impressed with during the first two days of practice. Wiggins and Langley have been working with the second-team defense, and Wiggins had an interception Friday.

"He's learning how to defend without holding, and grabbing and snatching and all of that," Richt said. "But he's a very fiery competitor."

There's playing time available at cornerback. Reggie Wilkerson, a freshman who impressed in spring practice, is out for the season after knee surgery. And with Josh Harvey-Clemons suspended for the Clemson game, that could move top cornerback Damian Swann to the nickel back, leaving the No. 2 cornerback job open.

Richt also pointed to a couple of other newcomers, outside linebackers Davin Bellamy and Leonard Floyd, as getting off to a good start.

"Just long, rangy athletes that can move," Richt said. "You get excited about that."

Floyd, a former Dodge County standout, has done well in some drills that emphasize raw ability.

"You see a really good upside with him," Richt said. "Just long and athletic, and he seems to be in great condition. And he's got some good strength for a big, long, lean guy like that. So he's got really some nice potential for us."

A few veterans also bore mentioning. Swann had a couple on interceptions in Friday's practice. And inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera, who lost weight during the summer, has shown some quickness and stamina that stands out.

Houston adjusting

Kolton Houston might have been in good physical shape, but practicing somewhere other than scout team is still new to him.

"Kolton hasn't played football for three years, and I think for that he looks pretty good," said junior center David Andrews, who is also Houston's roommate. "I was talking to him (Thursday) night laying in bed, and he was saying he's gotta get used to the speed of it, which I understand. He's practiced, but he did scout team, which is a little slower pace. He hasn't seen this live speed in a while.

"But I think he looks great, and I'm glad to have him back."

"He's competing for playing time and a starting position," Richt said. "We're trying to find the best five and where to put them, too. You could ask me on any given day who's in the top five; I can't really tell you right now."

So is the emphasis on finding the best five and sticking with them in games? Or will the Bulldogs legitimately try a rotation? Richt indicated it was more about finding the top five.

"I think we'll sub some. I don't know if you can sub a lot on the offensive line and keep that cohesiveness," Richt said. "It's such a big communication game, guys playing side-by-side. If you're constantly changing that every game, every series or so, you worry about your continuity."

Last year the offensive line did well with its assignments, according to Richt, and he worried that too much subbing would affect that.

"You've got to be careful in how you sub. My guess is we'll sub more than we did a year ago," Richt said.

Dawson moves down

Sophomore Josh Dawson is working with the defensive linemen, after working with the outside linebackers last year.

Dawson played in 13 games last year, mostly on special teams or at the end of blowouts.

"He's put on some really good weight. Very strong," Richt said.

"But he'll be capable of doing both, but right now his primary position will be end."

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