published Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Dalton's Watts Dantzler second string for Bulldogs

In this file photo, Watts Dantzler sports a University of Georgia cap after announcing his signing for UGA at a press conference at Dalton High School.
In this file photo, Watts Dantzler sports a University of Georgia cap after announcing his signing for UGA at a press conference at Dalton High School.
Photo by Jake Daniels.

BULLDOGS UPDATE

Georgia completed the camp portion of preseason practice Saturday with a two-hour morning workout and a shorter special-teams session in the afternoon that was followed by the annual watermelon cutting.

Top tailbacks Richard Samuel (strained quad) and Isaiah Crowell (groin) did not practice, but each could return as soon as Monday. The only tailbacks available were Carlton Thomas, who is suspended for the opener, and Brandon Harton, who was placed on scholarship Thursday.

Also sitting out Saturday was freshman inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera, who has a shoulder contusion.

Former Dalton High offensive tackle Watts Dantzler has quickly assumed a spot on Georgia’s two-deep chart as the backup to senior left tackle Cordy Glenn.

The 6-foot-7, 310-pounder is rooming with fellow freshman linemen David Andrews, Hunter Long and Nathan Theus. That adds up to 1,149 pounds, give or take a Skittle, but the quartet hasn’t had much time to bond away from the field and team meeting rooms.

Here is Dantzler’s assessment of his first 10 days with the Bulldogs:

Q: Are you surprised to have secured a second-team spot so quickly?

A: “There was an opportunity coming in with a couple people getting hurt and then a couple people transferring, so I knew there would be a chance. So I just came in working hard and learned as much as I could as fast as I could. When they told me I was second string, I just tried to get in there and work even harder.”

Q: What have you been able to learn by watching Glenn in practice?

A: “Tons of stuff. He’s really good, and he’s a really good teacher. Whenever I’m doing something in a rep, he’s always behind me, so after the rep he’ll tell me to take a smaller step or a bigger step or whatever. He helps me out a ton. He’s one of the best in the nation, so it’s good to learn from the best.”

Q: What has been the biggest adjustment from Dalton to Georgia?

A: “The plays are tough, but I’ve always been able to understand plays pretty good. I think the biggest adjustment for me has been the speed and the size of the defensive players. They’re all really good, so that’s the hardest part.”

Q: Who has been the toughest guy you’ve had to block so far?

A: “Jarvis Jones is really, really good. He’s fast, but he’s really strong. I think the outside linebacker is harder than the defensive end because the outside linebackers get real wide, and they’re coming off the edge super fast.”

Q: Have the coaches said they definitely need you this season?

A: “They haven’t said anything really. The coaches are just trying to get the players to learn as much as they can as fast as they can. They definitely want me to be ready, and if they need me to play, I’ll do my best. If not, I’ll do whatever is best for our team.”

Q: What do you do with any down time you get?

A: “I try to get back to the dorm as fast as possible to take a nap. I try to get a little sleep in, because even if you go to bed as soon as the meetings are over every night, you’re only getting about seven hours of sleep, and I like getting nine or 10, so I like getting a nap in to get a little bit more energy for the afternoon workout.”

Q: So has the Georgia experience been everything you thought it would be?

A: “I knew coming in here it wasn’t going to be easy and that there would be lots of challenges. I think one of the greatest things about playing at Dalton was how we worked really hard and had hard camps, so coming in I felt pretty prepared. It’s been fun, but it’s been really tough. I know in the end that there will be a good payoff.”

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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