September 1, 2009

Two-deep depth chart has plenty of youth

Georgia's pregame depth chart for Saturday's game at Oklahoma State has a definite youthful flair.

When the Bulldogs kick off Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET in Stillwater, eight of the 44 positions on Georgia's two-deep depth chart will consist of redshirt or true freshmen.

"We're going to take a lot of freshmen," head coach Mark Richt said during Tuesday's weekly pre-game press conference at Stegeman Coliseum. "We've got some young guys who are going to have to play, and I'm very interested in seeing how they will respond."

Tight end Orson Charles and cornerback Branden Smith represent the true freshmen currently listed on the two-deep, with Charles listed behind Aron White at tight end and Smith behind Brandon Boykin at short corner.

Seven redshirt freshmen are also in the mix and could get playing time against the Cowboys.

That list includes left guard A.J. Harmon, split end Tavarres King, tailback Carlton Thomas, defensive end Cornelius Washington, strong safety Bacarri Rambo and free safety Sanders Commings. Although he's listed as the third-team free safety, Makiri Pugh figures to get extensive work at nickel back.

"Our young safeties really got some good work with all the hamstring issues we had at the position," Richt said. "They've come along well and I think are ready to make a solid contribution."

The rest of Georgia's starting lineup shapes up like this:

At split end, the Bulldogs will open at split end, with A.J. Green at flanker. Richard Samuel is the man at tailback, followed by Thomas. Caleb King on paper is listed as the third-team back, although it has yet to be determined if he will travel with the squad.

Trinton Sturdivant (left tackle), Davis (left guard), Ben Jones (center), Cordy Glenn (right guard) and Clint Boling (right tackle) make up the offensive line.

On defense, Roderick Battle and Demarcus Dobbs will open at defensive end with Geno Atkins and Jeff Owens at defensive tackle.

Darius Dewberry (Sam), Darryl Gamble (Mike) and Rennie Curran (Will) are the starting linebackers with Bryan Evans (free safety), Reshad Jones (strong safety), Boykin (short corner) and Prince Miller (wide corner) getting the nod in the secondary.

"I'm excited about what (Boykin) has done," Richt said. "Darryl Gamble has played well and is much improved. Dobbs to me is in the best shape of his career and has played and practiced extremely well."

Dawgs need pressure on Robinson

If Georgia expects to have success against Oklahoma State, finding a way to slow down quarterback Zac Robinson will be foremost on the Bulldogs' list.

One of the country's top dual-threat quarterbacks, Robinson has passed for more than 6,200 career yards and has rushed for more than 1,500.

"It's going to be very important to have pressure on Robinson. Any quarterback if you can squeeze his pocket it's going to make things difficult for him," Richt said. "If you don't do that, give him a lot of space he's just going to stand back there and throw strikes. We don't necessarily have to sack him every time, but we're going to need to make it tougher on him by getting some guys in his face."

That's where Dobbs and Battle come in.

Last year, defensive ends accounted for just 8.5 sacks in 2008 and will need to do better than that.


"I've been very pleased with Battle and Dobbs," Richt said. "But we've also got a bunch of younger guys trying to prove that they can do it, too. It's just going to be crucial that we squeeze that pocket. We'll need to get pressure off the edge, but when he steps up, we'll still need o be able to take away the inside, so that's where Geno (Atkins) and Jeff (Owens) come in."

This and that

• Richt said he's seen a different focus from kicker Blair Walsh. "I think the competition with Brandon (Bogotay) has helped a lot with that," Richt said.

• Richt said although Vince Vance and Justin Anderson are listed as backups on the offensive line, Richt said that both can expect considerable playing time. Also, Richt said that offensive lineman Josh Davis (shoulder) is getting closer to returning to practice and could be ready within a week or two.

• Oklahoma State has led the Big 12 in rushing in each of the past 12 seasons.

• OSU kick returner Perrish Cox is just 110 yards shy of the Big 12 mark for kickoff return yardage of 2,265 set by Josh Davis of Nebraska.

• The Cowboys' two-deep depth chart includes 15 senior starters. Only three redshirt freshmen are listed among the top 44 players.


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