published Saturday, August 20th, 2011

Georgia cornerback Commings doubling up in secondary

Meet Georgia cornerback Sanders Commings. Meet Georgia free safety Sanders Commings.

Commings isn't so talented that he can play two positions at the same time, but he's valued enough to where he'll play one when he isn't playing the other.

"I'm still working at both of them right now," Commings said this week. "One day I work at corner, and one day I work at safety. I guess it's one of those things that the coaches believe I'm athletic and that I'm the size of a safety."

The 6-foot-2, 217-pound junior from Augusta started nine games at cornerback last season but finished spring practice at safety due to a plethora of injuries. His role has been somewhat curious this summer, after second-year defensive coordinator Todd Grantham described Commings as "a cornerback who can play safety."

Or was it the other way around?

"He said I'm a corner that can play safety," a smiling Commings said at the start of preseason camp.

He started this month at corner but halfway through began working more at safety.

"There are going to be certain games we want him to play safety," head coach Mark Richt said then, "and there are going to be certain games we want him to play corner. He is smart enough and versatile enough to do that."

What's crystal clear is that Commings will be busy in two weeks when the No. 22 Bulldogs face No. 7 Boise State in the Georgia Dome. He could open as the starting corner opposite Brandon Boykin, the starting free safety alongside Shawn Williams or somewhere in the nickel package.

The emergence of Branden Smith and Jordan Love at cornerback to go along with Boykin has helped facilitate Commings playing more at safety, as has the lower-leg fracture that has shelved safety Jakar Hamilton. Then there is the most mysterious of Bulldogs -- junior Bacarri Rambo -- who started at safety all 13 games a year ago but hasn't been made available for interviews all month.

Georgia typically keeps a player off-limits to the media when he is facing a suspension, but no suspension for Rambo has been announced.

Commings doesn't seem to mind juggling acts. He worked out for the San Francisco Giants as an outfielder earlier this year and considers Deion Sanders, who played football and baseball professionally, among his most admired athletes.

He prefers cornerback.

"I'm willing to do whatever helps the team, but if I had to pick one, I think I like being in a guy's face," Commings said. "I like to get my hands on a guy coming off the line of scrimmage. In college they give you a 5-yard cushion, but at safety you're lined up anywhere from 6 to 12 yards back, so you can't really bump anyone coming off the line."

Odds and ends

The Bulldogs practiced for two hours Friday in full pads, a workout that included tailbacks Richard Samuel (strained quad) and Isaiah Crowell (groin) in noncontact jerseys. ... Backup nose Jonathan Jenkins is day-to-day with a hamstring injury. ... Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo told reporters that senior Israel Troupe (groin) is having a tough time breaking into the top five or six receivers and that freshman Malcolm Mitchell is pushing for a spot in the top three.

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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