ATHENS, Ga. -- Suddenly, Justin Anderson is in a more prominent role. First, by the Georgia football player’s own admission, he has a lot of catching up to do.
The injury to Trinton Sturdivant has thrust Anderson, who was working at right guard, onto the first team at right tackle. After playing last season on defense and then getting hurt, Anderson admitted he was “just rusty right now.”
“I’ll play either (guard or tackle). I just want to be comfortable,” Anderson said. “Right now, I’m just a little frustrated, because I’m not comfortable with either.”
But Anderson is getting the chance, largely because he has the experience. He made 12 starts and appeared in 25 games as an offensive lineman before the short-lived move to nose guard last year. Anderson -- known as “Bean” on the team -- played in just one game before incurring turf toe, which required season-ending surgery.
Then he pressed coaches to allow him to move back to offense and got his wish.
“I didn’t realize how much taking time off, how much it changes things,” Anderson said. “Man, I regret getting hurt, I’ll tell you that.”
But the Bulldogs are depending on him.
Sturdivant had surgery Tuesday. Teammates and coaches said they have no idea what Sturdivant’s plans are or wether there is any chance he could come back late this season.
That doesn’t seem likely. So new offensive line coach Will Friend is doing a bit of adjustment.
Cordy Glenn, who was alternating with Sturdivant at both tackle spots, now will be the left tackle. The right tackle spot becomes a competition between Anderson and junior A.J. Harmon (who has seven appearances but no career starts.
“I feel good about those two guys, as far as seeing potential and seeing the things that they can do,” Friend said.
Redshirt sophomore Austin Long also was in the mix before a back injury put him out of practice recently. He is unlikely to play in Saturday’s G-Day game.
The guard spots are also in a bit of flux. Sophomore Kenarious Gates is in good shape to play left guard, while right guard could be sophomore Chris Burnette, Anderson or someone else.
“Bean may be that at guard, he may be that at tackle,” Friend said. “The best five are the ones you go with.”
When Sturdivant was injured in Saturday’s scrimmage, many players thought it might be a minor meniscus injury, said center Ben Jones.
“We didn’t even think nothing was wrong,” Jones said. “We thought it was just a sprain. When he called me that night, I was like, ‘No you’re kidding.’”
Quarterback Aaron Murray called Sturdivant’s injury “a huge loss.”
“Trinton’s a tremendous player -- I mean, protecting my backside for 13 games last year. I’ve built up a lot of trust in him,” Murray said. “And just those guys working together up front. But (I’m) definitely happy that Cordy’s been taking a lot of snaps at left tackle.”
G-Day rosters set
The spring game rosters were split in an unusual way this year: They were drafted by captains appointed for each team -- linebacker Christian Robinson and center Ben Jones for one team, Murray and cornerback Brandon Boykin for the other.
The draft took place Monday afternoon and lasted less than an hour.
“It got a little intense, but it was fun,” Murray said. “Boykin and I were definitely pumped up with a couple of our picks. It got a bit rowdy in there. They didn’t like us jumping up and down, screaming in his face.”
Boykin and Murray got together at 3 p.m. Monday, before practice, meeting in a conference room to prepare for the draft. There was a member of the training staff in the room, an important note since so many players have been sitting out practice with injuries. For that reason, Murray said his team’s best pick is Shawn Williams, because he’s one of the few healthy safeties.
“I texted him after that, and said, ‘You better produce,’” Murray said.
But Boykin felt his team’s best value pick is wide receiver Taylor Bradberry, a walk-on.
“He’s sure hands, similar to A.J. Green, just not as fast,” Boykin said. “He always makes plays on G-Day, and that was the steal of the draft.”