ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia has a long history of having talented tight ends, but this year’s crop might be the most diverse group the Bulldogs have had at the position.
While freshman Arthur Lynch and junior Bruce Figgins (Shaw High) fit the more traditional tight end mold as bruising blockers, sophomore Aron White and freshman Orson Charles offer a new dynamic as athletic receivers, too.
“Orson can run and jump; he’s a tremendous athlete,” White said.
While White and Charles give Georgia a few new wrinkles in the playbook, White said he thinks the new look they bring to the offense is simply part of a trend for tight ends.
“I think this kind of hybrid tight end is definitely catching on across the nation,” White said. “There’s a lot of great tight ends out there, and you just look down the Mackey (Award) list and it’s guys who can run and jump. It’s not just the guys who mash people all day anymore.”
Junior linebacker Darryl Gamble has two seasons behind him, but consistency has remained elusive. This preseason, however, he has taken a step forward in his development and thinks he might be in for a career year.
“I had a good offseason working out and weight training,” Gamble said. “I’m just trying to carry it over into this camp, and I think it’s my best so far.”
Coach Mark Richt praised Gamble’s leadership this offseason, and with linebackers Akeem Dent, Marcus Dowtin and Darius Dewberry missing practices because of injuries, Gamble has had plenty of time to show he is ready to be a consistent contributor on defense in 2009.
“He’s got a great attitude,” Richt said. “He just seems like he’s over the hump. He’s a veteran now, watching those other puppies suffer, which is fun for those guys. He’s really done a good job.”
Freshman defensive end Montez Robinson got a helpful bit of advice before coming to Georgia to play for ends coach Jon Fabris.
“My high school coach was similar to Fab, and he told me before I left, there will be people 10 times worse than me — not as a negative, but as demanding and wanting the best,” Robinson said. “Coach Fab just wants the best for me, and I soak it in and I’ve been enjoying it.”
Freshman defensive tackle and Northside-Warner Robins product Abry Jones said of his position coach, Rodney Garner, “It gets tough at times, and we don’t really want to hear it, but we get through it and try to do it better next time.”