UGA Notebook: Richt says TE Rome talented, but still learningBy Marc Weiszer
Morris News Service
Tight end Jay Rome had a big G-Day showing, but Georgia coach Mark Richt was somewhat critical Saturday of the redshirt freshman's preseason practice habits.
"Jay's made more plays in the passing game than he has in the run game," Richt said. "I don't think Jay has practiced as hard as he needs to to really become a great player. He's learning. He's like a lot of young guys.
"As the fans have seen, he's shown up in the stats," Richt said. "He's got ability, but it's got to be an every-day, every-play-type thing to get to the point where he can master his position.".
• Washington still an option at OLB
Cornelius Washington worked at outside linebacker, his old position, in practice Saturday.
Washington was moved to defensive end in the spring, but he was expected to cross-train at linebacker, too.
"We want versatility," Richt said. "We know by cross-training people, you have depth if you have injuries and things of that nature." Things like the two-game suspension of projected outside linebacker starter Chase Vasser for a May DUI arrest, which Richt mentioned when talking about Washington.
"We just got to make sure we've got enough guys that know what to do at different positions," Richt said. "We're just trying to get the best 11."
• Different look for No. 2 line
The No. 2 offensive line had a different look two weeks before the opener:
Mark Beard at left tackle, Watts Dantzler at left guard, walk-on Preston Mobley at center, Austin Long at right guard and Kolton Houston, who remains ineligible by the NCAA for testing positive for a banned substance, at right tackle.
Long had not secured the backup left tackle spot and offensive line coach Will Friend "wanted to see Beard on the edge a little bit," Richt said. "We know he's athletic. We thought maybe going inside would help Long, we don't know. We thought we'd just take a peek." Richt said his early impression of Beard, a junior college transfer, is that he showed quickness to pass protection plays but has to improve at blocking defenders in space.
• Getting ready for opener (and Missouri)
Georgia began scout-team work for Buffalo on Saturday morning.
It's the opener, but it isn't the game that's been the focus of offseason talk.
That would be the Week 2 game at Missouri, the debut Southeastern Conference game for the Tigers.
"We always prepare for the first two games," Richt said. "All summer long, we're game-planning Game 1 and Game 2." Missouri freshman receiver Dorial Green-Beckham led Missouri's scrimmage Thursday with six catches for 68 yards.
Georgia coaches got a look at him by viewing some of his high school video.
"We pulled some stuff up," secondary coach Scott Lakatos said earlier this summer. "You can get all that stuff online now. Recruiting stuff is easy to get. When you're looking at a guy that's going to play as a true freshman, you've got to take a look and see what you're going to get."
• Quick hits
Richard Samuel, who is working at tailback and fullback this preseason, said he expects to play mostly tailback early this season. The top-three tailback order early in practice Saturday was Ken Malcome, Keith Marshall and Todd Gurley ... Richt said he doesn't know if there will be a preseason team trip to the pool at the Ramsey Center. "They keep humming and singing that going to the Ramsey song, but it's just not working," he said. "It hasn't been that hot and we need to get better. Georgia has made an annual trip for swimming and diving in recent years. ... Freshman Sheldon Dawson has been among those getting a look at kick returner. ... Receivers Tavarres King (lower leg strain) and Rantavious Wooten (hip strain) remained out of practice Saturday.