Bulldogs Blog

Freshman White adjusting to new position

Aron White has heard it since Georgia first began showing interest in him as a recruit.

You may play tight end in high school -- actually, Rivals.com rated him as the No. 1 tight end in the 2007 signing class -- but if you come to Athens, you'll start off at receiver.

He simply didn't have enough bulk on a wiry 6-foot-5 frame to play the position yet in the Southeastern Conference. He was listed at 212 pounds when he signed with Georgia, but says he's now up to about 230. That still puts him about 20 pounds less than any of the Bulldogs' pure tight ends.

"They made it very clear that I was gonna come in as a wide receiver, simply because my weight is so low for a tight end. I played tight end all the way throughout high school," White said. "I think the way it's going right now is that if I put on weight and I stay where I am and keep putting on weight, I'm gonna move back to tight end. But right now, I'm a wide receiver."

Conveniently, White is working in Georgia's three-wideout sets as the "Y" receiver, who lines up in the slot and shares the same responsibilities in the passing game as a tight end. Eventually, Georgia's coaches foresee White providing versatility at the position, as a hybrid player who can make things happen at either position.

"We think Aron one day, there'll be a time when he can be in the game and we'll have the look of a three-receiver set if he flexes and we'll have the look of a pro set when he (lines up at tight end)," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "We don't think his body's ready to be in that tight end position, but as we train him, we're training him with the anticipation that he may get big enough to slide on in and play some true tight end."

Even in his current role, White will likely provide some mismatches. He has quite a reach advantage over every cornerback in the SEC, but he'll have a quickness advantage over many linebackers.

He hasn't fully adjusted to the position change, but the possibilities he would provide Georgia's offense may allow the Columbia, Mo., native to play as a true freshman this season.

"The blocking schemes are a lot different. I'm used to coming out of a three-point stance in high school, so it's been a little bit of an adjustment, trying to come and block this guy and that guy," White said. "Plus, coming into a college system, you've got to learn so many more plays and checks and reads and stuff like that. It's just a lot of things at once playing a new position."

Knox news

Only a couple days after getting the graduation test score he needed to complete high school, Statesboro (Ga.) safety John Knox was in Athens on Wednesday and attended practice.

He'll be on the field practicing with his new teammates this morning when the Bulldogs hold their first two-a-day workouts. By NCAA rule, Knox can only participate in one practice for his first five days with the team.

"He's gotta go through the same acclimation. So he'll be off to the side probably doing things," Richt said. "There are certain drills he can do that have no contact involved whatsoever. He'll be in the meetings and all those kinds of things."

Knox has yet to make it through the NCAA Clearinghouse, which certifies each incoming freshman's eligibility to compete, but an NCAA rule allows an enrolled student a 14-day grace period to work out with the team before he has been certified as long as he doesn't compete in a game.

NCAA rule 14.3.5.1.1 says that after the 14-day period, "the student shall have established, minimum requirements as a qualifier (as certified by the NCAA Eligibility Center) to continue practicing or to compete," but the Clearinghouse will likely have made its ruling on Knox by then.

"I hope it's just a matter of time," Richt said.

Up in the air

Israel Troupe wants to play both football and baseball this year at Georgia -- and that's the plan -- but nothing is set in stone just yet.

The freshman receiver says he can't fall behind on what the football team is doing in the spring and must keep his grades at an acceptable level to walk on with the baseball team.

"(Richt) said I can do it as long as I know my football stuff and I keep my grades up, too," Troupe said.

The 6-foot-1 freshman, generally considered the top receiver prospect in Georgia this year, said redshirting this year might affect that decision, but not where his priorities will lie.

"If I redshirt, then I have to decide whether I want to do baseball or football (in the spring)," he said. "I'm still gonna do football, but it's just my priorities have to be football."

Troupe batted .410 with four home runs and 28 RBIs this spring at Tift County (Ga.) High and was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 31st round of the June baseball draft. He'll have a chance to contribute in the outfield if he chooses to walk onto David Perno's Georgia baseball squad next spring.

That would be the best-case scenario for Troupe.

"I want to be able to do both, but I understand that football comes first because that's what my scholarship's for," he said.

Injury update

Cornerback Bryan Evans again walked the sidelines in shorts on Wednesday, lunging to loosen his injured hamstring and practicing his backpedaling during the early portion of practice.

Evans injured the hamstring on Sunday and was initially expected to be out for a month, but Richt said it likely won't be that long.

"He actually jumped, which if it's severe, you can't do that. But I was like, 'Don't jump son,'" Richt said with a smile. "He's feeling good. It's gonna be a while yet because he's not ready to go full speed. But we were thinking four weeks in the beginning and maybe it won't be that long."

Tailback Thomas Brown strained his hamstring on Tuesday and was not expected to practice Wednesday, but recovered well enough overnight to do so.

Richt said the team is otherwise in good health.

"Nothing today," Richt said. "I don't think there was anything yesterday other than we did say there's a couple guys that began to cramp at the end of practice."

Quick hits

Tempers continue to flare in practice and Richt said he has been pleased with the team's competitiveness. It's cleaning up the sloppy play he's most concerned with now. "We're not disciplined enough yet, but we can always tighten the screws," he said. "Sometimes it's hard to get a team to compete, sometimes it's hard to get a team to give great effort, but we've got plenty of that. We've just got to be more disciplined." ... Wednesday represented the last day Georgia's coaches were installing their base schemes. The remainder of preseason practice will be spent reviewing what they installed in the first five days. ... Richt said the offensive line has struggled overall, with numerous plays that look ugly to the naked eye. Film review, however, often reveals some positive things. "All it takes is one guy to step the wrong way and a guy comes clean and a guy blows up the play and you're like, 'My gosh, we're terrible,' and then you look at the film and you see four of them doing it really, really well," Richt said. ... Today is the first of four two-a-day sessions the Bulldogs will undergo in the next week. The team will practice in full pads at 8:30 a.m. and return to practice in shells at 4:20 p.m.

  Comments