Bulldogs ranked No. 21 in preseason USA Today coaches poll
By SETH EMERSON
ATHENS, Ga. — Darryl Gamble’s move to outside linebacker this spring forced him down on the depth chart. This week, the senior appears to be playing his way back up it.
Gamble is pushing third-year sophomore Cornelius Washington to be a starter at one of the outside spots, Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said after Friday’s practice.
“Gamble’s having an excellent, excellent camp, and really Cornelius has really improved the last couple days,” Grantham said. “So we’ll just see how those guys go when we start playing.”
The secondary spots also remain up for grabs.
At safety, Grantham named Nick Williams, Jakar Hamilton and Baccari Rambo as having had good camps so far.
Cornerback will be in flux, especially since the team is likely to rotate in three players and use three corners against three-wide receiver sets.
Drawing a 21
Georgia will open the season at No. 21 in the USA Today coaches poll, which was released early Friday.
It’s the lowest preseason ranking for the Bulldogs since head coach Mark Richt’s first year, 2001, when they were unranked.
Richt is a voter in the poll.
“It’s always good to be ranked and it’s a starting point for us,” Richt said in a statement. “Hopefully, we’ll play good enough to merit moving up in the poll as the season moves along.”
What Brown can do
Sophomore split end Marlon Brown is impressing so far, and not just for his pass-catching. The 6-foot-5, 219-pounder has also been one of the team’s best blocking receivers.
“Marlon looks like a different player to me,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “In just how he’s running, he looks smoother, he looks more flexible, he’s done a nice job with his body. I’m excited about Marlon Brown. … I think Marlon has a bright future — I know Marlon has a bright future.”
This and that
Bobo pronounced himself “very pleased” with No. 2 quarterback Hutson Mason, especially since the true freshman just arrived over the summer.
“He doesn’t know everything right now, but he’s a very poised young man that doesn’t get rattled, and has shown a lot of composure and ability to make plays,” Bobo said. …
Grantham also named three freshmen who have impressed him so far: linebackers Alec Ogletree and Demetre Baker and cornerback Derek Owens.
The defensive players are picking up the system pretty well, according to Grantham.
“I think the guys have really bought into what we’re doing,” he said.