Georgia football coaches announced several changes Thursday, and starting quarterback Aaron Murray announced one, too.
“My leg got amputated last weekend, so I’ve only got one leg,” Murray said sarcastically. “I’ve got to steal one to play the season with.”
Murray sprained his right ankle late last month in a pickup soccer game, but the Red and Black student newspaper reported that he fractured it in two places. The 6-foot-1, 209-pounder from Tampa expects to be under center next Thursday when the Bulldogs hold their first of 15 spring practices.
He also vowed to shelve soccer for a while, not that soccer violates one of football coach Mark Richt’s edicts.
“You don’t want guys to get hurt, but I’ve never put in a rule that you can’t do this or that — you can’t ride a moped, you can’t play basketball or you can’t go skiing,” Richt said. “I just haven’t ever done that. I want these guys to live their lives and enjoy it. It seems like no matter what you do, somebody can still stumble down the steps and get hurt.”
The Bulldogs stumbled to a 6-7 record last season, their first losing ledger since 1996, and have made several position tweaks before the first pads pop. The most notable is on defense, where Alec Ogletree will move from safety to middle linebacker alongside Christian Robinson in defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s 3-4 scheme.
Ogletree was the highest-rated member of Georgia’s 2010 signing class and started the last four games of last season at strong safety.
“He’s very capable, and we’ve got guys there already who are capable of making plays,” Robinson said. “The coaches are going to get the best guys out there. I’m excited, because we’ve got a lot of options.”
Said Grantham: “Moving him closer to the ball is going to allow him to make more plays and be productive for us.”
Shifting Ogletree will result in Jarvis Jones, who sat out last season after transferring from Southern Cal, practicing at outside linebacker. It will also create one of the top spring battles, with Jakar Hamilton and Shawn Williams vying for the safety spot opposite Bacarri Rambo.
Another change will be Cornelius Washington flipping outside linebacker spots, so he now will be in the prominent pass-rushing role Justin Houston occupied last year.
On offense, Richt said Tavarres King will move from split end to flanker and that the line should be 60 percent set with Ben Jones at center and Trinton Sturdivant and Cordy Glenn, a former guard, as the tackles. Justin Anderson, who has 12 career offensive starts but began last season as a backup nose tackle, has returned to offense and is a possibility for one of the guard spots.
All to protect a quarterback with an ankle that has nearly mended.
“I’m feeling great right now, and I think I’ll be good to go come Thursday,” Murray said. “It’s a short practice in helmets, so it’s not like we’re going to be doing a bunch of stuff.”
Odds and ends
Freshman quarterback Christian LeMay will wear jersey No. 16, but Richt said it could be deep into preseason camp before any decision is made regarding a redshirt year for him or Hutson Mason, who played last season as a true freshman. ... New inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti will coordinate kickoff coverage, while new offensive line coach Will Friend will handle extra points and field goals.
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 ...