It has long been said and written that no news is good news during college football's offseason.
During the preseason, however, that changes to some extent. Injuries certainly can dampen expectations each August, but players welcome hearing their names as pleasant surprises, moving up the depth chart or solidifying starting roles.
There has been very little news this month regarding Georgia redshirt freshman cornerback Devin Bowman, but that silence appears to be neither golden nor troubling.
"I think he has gotten stronger, and physically he is more prepared than he was in the spring," Bulldogs secondary coach Scott Lakatos said this past weekend. "He had a great summer in terms of preparing himself, and he's going through the package installation stuff for the third time. He got it last season, he got it in the spring, and he's getting it again.
"There is some familiarity with what he's supposed to do, and now he's a little more comfortable and knows what the expectations are, and he's able to function within those parameters."
The 6-foot, 180-pound former Ridgeland High standout seemed to have an opening earlier this year when Georgia's two projected starting cornerbacks, Sanders Commings and Branden Smith, ran into off-the-field problems. Commings was suspended for the first two games for a January arrest on simple battery and domestic assault charges, but Smith is not facing a suspension following his April arrest for marijuana possession.
Malcolm Mitchell has made a smooth transition from receiver and is expected to start for Commings in the first two games, while Damian Swann has received a lot of praise this month and should get a lot of playing time in extended coverage packages. Head coach Mark Richt even cited true freshman corner Sheldon Dawson following Monday's two-hour practice for being physically ready to play now.
"I really don't know if I'm going to get to play or not," Bowman said. "I'm just waiting on my turn."
Bowman is not starting on any special teams but has worked on the kickoff and punt-return teams.
Listed behind Commings and Mitchell on the depth chart, Bowman readily appreciates the experience he is getting in learning from those two. Commings has had 103 tackles, 15 pass deflections and five interceptions in 42 career games with the Bulldogs, while Mitchell was rated by Rivals.com as the No. 1 cornerback prospect in the 2011 signing class.
Lakatos insists that determining playing time for Bowman is still a ways off simply because the Bulldogs remain in the early stages of implementing game plans for Buffalo on Sept. 1 and the trip to Missouri the following week.
"He's a guy who I think is going to have some sort of role," Lakatos said. "We're still developing him, but he's making progress that we're happy with."
Said Bowman: "We will just have to wait and see what happens."
Odds and ends
Receivers Tavarres King and Rantavious Wooten returned to Monday's practice, but center David Andrews sat out with an illness. ... Richt said Mitchell has been working with receivers coach Tony Ball after practice. ... Freshman tailback Keith Marshall was shaken up during practice but returned, according to teammates. ... Richt said freshman safety Josh Harvey-Clemons will play this season in the secondary and on special teams.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.