As if a concussion, dislocated patella and torn MCL weren't enough for Georgia offensive guard Chris Burnette to endure last football season, he had to live through Auburn winning the national championship.
"That has been rough," the 6-foot-2, 310-pound redshirt sophomore from LaGrange said Thursday night. "Especially when I go back to my high school, because all my teachers graduated from Auburn. I pretty much tell them that our time is coming and that Georgia will be back."
Burnette was Rivals.com's No. 3 guard and No. 81 overall prospect when he signed with the Bulldogs in 2009 out of Troup County High. He redshirted that year, and his start to last season was sidetracked by a concussion late in preseason camp.
That forced him to sit out opening games against Louisiana-Lafayette and South Carolina, and after being cleared to play the third game against Arkansas, he suffered the knee injuries.
"It was another year of no game time," Burnette said. "I think God was showing me last year that I needed to be patient, and I'm going to trust him, but I am so ready to play. I've been chomping at the bit."
The Bulldogs went through their sixth spring practice Thursday, with Burnette continuing to work as the first-team right guard and the second-team center. This hasn't been a spring filled with position changes in Athens, but an exception occurred earlier this week when new offensive line coach Will Friend announced that Burnette was working with the first group.
Justin Anderson and Brent Benedict also are in the running to be the right guard starter, and all three are coming off injuries.
"I've graded everything that goes on," Friend said, "and Chris has graded pretty good."
Burnette has grown to appreciate the center position but prefers his more natural spot at guard. He has options off the field as well, as the mature 19-year-old plans to major in finance but thinks he could get called into ministry.
His certainties for now are "giving 110 percent in practice every day" and the team he most wants to defeat later this year.
"We've got to pay Auburn back," he said.
Odds and ends
Junior tailback Washaun Ealey remains sidelined with a strained hamstring. ... The Bulldogs will hold their seventh spring practice this afternoon and scrimmage for the first time Saturday morning.