As the Georgia Bulldogs' second week of spring practice winds down, all signs point to progress. Depth concerns are being addressed, competition is fierce and drills are—by all accounts—spirited.
Here are a few updates heading into Week 3 of spring ball.
News from Week 2
While the arrest of four Bulldogs stole headlines on the eve of spring practice, the Dawgs' second week of spring activity brought a welcomed quiet. This week, head coach Mark Richt told Chip Towers of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution some of the punishment for Tray Matthews, Uriah LeMay, Jonathan Taylor and James DeLoach is being handled internally, but he did not rule out the chance of suspensions. "Ah, I wouldn't put anything out of the realm of possibility right now," he offered.
According to Towers, Richt did announce that sophomore cornerback Shaq Wiggins will not face discipline for driving on a suspended license in January.
Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, wide receiver Chris Conley was honored on Tuesday at the annual Peach of an Athlete Role Model Banquet presented by the Atlanta Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, according to GeorgiaDogs.com.
In football news, the Bulldogs had their first practice in full pads on Tuesday, but wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell was noticeably uninvolved. Mitchell participated last week for the first time since tearing his right ACL in the season opener last season. A left leg injury is expected to keep him out for the remainder of spring practice.
Georgia will hold its first scrimmage on Saturday, and Richt expects a bit of a depth-chart shake-up following the battle. "Usually after the first scrimmage we'll have a little bit better feel of depth chart moves," Richt told GeorgiaDogs.com. "There is some depth chart movement going on at different spots, but we'll know a lot more after that first scrimmage."
Two position battles in particular stand out.
Look for this guy to push for playing time on UGA 0-line. pic.twitter.com/hTxPfqQtD8— Marc Weiszer (@marcweiszer) March 22, 2014
Along the offensive line, redshirt sophomore Greg Pyke replaced sophomore Brandon Kublanow at the right guard position on Thursday according to Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald. Kublanow played substantially more thank Pyke in 2013.
On the defensive side of the ball, cornerback Branden Langley has returned—at least for now—to the same starting spot he occupied in each of Georgia's first four games last year. After opening his true freshman season as a starter, Langley was supplanted last year by Wiggins (also a freshman) in the starting lineup, but he appears to be taking advantage of new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt's open-competition approach.
As newly converted defensive back J.J. Green told Seth Emerson of Macon's Telegraph, "But it really doesn't matter who's on first team, it's just putting guys where they can play right now, just seeing who can ball out."
Storylines for Week 3
Week 3 should be a week of shifting and refining. Following Saturday's scrimmage, the coaching staff—particularly on the defensive side of the ball—will have a better guess as to what the starting lineup could look like. At that point, the emphasis will shift to refinement and cohesion.
Offensively, it will be interesting to see how a player like Greg Pyke, who has very limited in-game experience, gels with more weathered veterans along the offensive line. After all, Kublanow (who has loads of potential) and senior Watts Dantzler are in hot pursuit of the starting job.
On the defensive side of the ball, the secondary should soon begin to take shape. Langley has an edge at the corner position opposite of senior Damian Swann, but don't count Wiggins out. Wiggins plays best under pressure and a strong showing in the scrimmage could reshuffle the depth chart.
Meanwhile, the safety positions are still seemingly up for grabs. According to John Roark of the Red and Black, Quincy Mauger and Corey Moore currently occupy the two starting spots. While both players have starting experience, Tray Matthews' backup assignment is surprising. Granted, this order could be a lingering punishment for the aforementioned arrest.
Once some of the depth charts are adjusted, look for both sides of the ball to refine players on a more individual basis. In other words, Saturday's scrimmage may serve as a transition from the evaluation phase to the planning phase as both units focus more on situational improvement and eliminating weaknesses.