Ganus making effective transition from UAB to UGA

Linebacker Natrez Patrick and Linebacker Jake Ganus combine for a tackleduring Georgia's annual G-Day football game at Sanford Stadium on Saturday, April 11, 2015 in Athens, Ga.

Jake Ganus is not one for sitting still.

After leading the UAB Blazers in tackles last football season, the 6-foot-2, 215-pound inside linebacker was the tackles leader for Georgia during each of the first two spring scrimmages. Including the April 11 G-Day game, Ganus tallied 23 tackles, a tackle for loss and an interception in the three most game-like practices.

"Overall I thought it went well," Ganus said after G-Day. "For me, there were a lot of questions as far as what would I be able to do and if I could contribute. I think I've come in here and worked hard and showed that I can compete at this level and help this team win."

Ganus called the signals and compiled most of his numbers with the second-team defense, with juniors Reggie Carter and Tim Kimbrough holding down the first-team spots inside. Fellow newcomer Chuks Amaechi, who played last fall at Arizona Western College, worked alongside Ganus with the second unit until he moved outside, but Amaechi's void was quickly filled inside by the impressive play of freshman Natrez Patrick.

Richt said last week that Ganus will "help us win," but the adjustment from Conference USA to the Southeastern Conference is far from over for the Chelsea, Ala., resident.

"I've played in big-time games and had the pressure of being down in the fourth quarter, so that does help," Ganus said, "but we've got some really big-time players here. The guys next to me can make me look so much better because of how fast and physical they play. They've welcomed me with open arms, and I can't begin to explain how nice everybody has been to me.

"These guys are my brothers now, and I'm looking forward to being with them all summer."

The Blazers played at Mississippi State and at Arkansas last autumn before UAB officials closed the program in December. Ganus wondered once he stepped on campus in Athens if he could face that kind of competition on a weekly basis, and this spring was the first test to pass.

Considering he still has new teammates, a new defensive coordinator with Jeremy Pruitt and a new challenge overall, will these next few months be about improving more mentally or physically?

"That's a good one, because mentally on defense you have to be locked in on every play," Ganus said. "You've got to know the personnel, formation tendencies and all that, so I have got to be in the film room. Yet physically, every week you're taking a pounding from really big bodies that are hitting you.

"This summer will be good for me to be in the weight room and the film room to get stronger mentally and physically."

Indoor facility update

The "UGA Day" tour containing Richt, Bulldogs basketball coach Mark Fox and university president Jere Morehead has seven scheduled destinations this spring and summer and made its second stop Thursday night in Rome.

Morehead said construction for Georgia's indoor football practice facility could begin as early as January 2016.

"We don't want to interfere with the current football season," Morehead said, according to the Athens Banner-Herald. "It's hard for me to tell you a firm date until our construction engineer evaluates everything and gives us a plan. I would expect we'll have more to say about it at the athletic board meeting in May."

Richt told the audience that outside linebacker Gary McRae of Cuthbert could be the lone academic casualty in the 2015 class and that touted defensive lineman Trenton Thompson will start out as a defensive end.

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524.