ATHENS, Ga. — Will Friend’s first impression of his new players was what you would expect from someone who just went from coaching in Conference USA to the SEC.
“We’ve got a lot of size, a lot of big guys,” he said.
Friend added that his offensive linemen have to “improve a lot.” Anybody who watched the Georgia football team last year would agree.
For the moment, Friend still has to figure out who is going to play where. The former UAB offensive line coach, who accepted the same job at Georgia in February, is experimenting with a lot of options in spring practice.
The center spot, occupied by rising senior Ben Jones, appears the only set spot. While tackles Cordy Glenn and Trinton Sturdivant are almost certain to start, Friend is working each player on the left and right side.
Glenn shifted from guard after last season, and Sturdivant, who has had two knee surgeries, has played only left tackle in his career. But for depth reasons, Friend said one or both of them will have to be able to play both tackle spots. Because quarterback Aaron Murray is right-handed, the left tackle spot is considered the most important.
As for the guard spots, Friend said Chris Burnette — who has been the backup center — has impressed him. Burnette worked at first-team right guard Tuesday. Kolton Houston, who is working at multiple spots too, also has impressed Friend.
Justin Anderson has moved back to offense after one year at guard. The year on the other side of the ball has Anderson catching up a bit, Friend said, and the rising senior also isn’t completely healed from his turf toe injury. Brent Benedict, another option at guard, also is getting back up to speed after knee surgery 19 months ago.
Alec Ogletree update
Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said Alec Ogletree, who has shifted from safety to inside linebacker, will have an easier adjustment because he already is familiar with the play calls. Grantham issued reminders Tuesday as to why the change was made.
“The reason we made the moves we made was to create depth and to get some guys that we feel can make plays, closer to the ball,” Grantham said. “It’s also created an opportunity for someone in the secondary to step up and take that position.”
Secondary coach Scott Lakatos said he didn’t fight the move of Ogletree, saying he deferred to what made the defense better overall. Last year, Shawn Williams and Jakar Hamilton couldn’t hold off Ogletree for the starting safety spot; now, they have another shot at it.
Washaun Ealey didn’t practice on Tuesday because of a left hamstring injury. The team called his status day-to-day. Nose tackle Kwame Geathers got a positive review for his play so far. “I think like anything competition makes us all better,” Grantham said, alluding to the impending arrival of junior college nose tackle John Jenkins.