ATHENS — Brandon Boykin isn’t interested in tempering expectations heading into the 2010 season. Instead, he’s raising the bar just about as high as possible.
After a stellar sophomore campaign in which Boykin off three passes and returned three kickoffs for touchdowns, he’s not just looking to surpass those numbers. Boykin wants to obliterate them.
“My goal is, I’m trying to get to 10 picks this year,” Boykin said. “That’s a pretty high goal, but if I get anywhere near it, I think that’s pretty good. Kick return I want to get at least three or four (touchdowns). I’m setting it pretty high, and we’ll see what happens.”
Only three players in Georgia history have intercepted at least 10 passes in a season — Ben Smith was the most recent in 1989 — so Boykin knows he’s aiming high. And realistically, he said, there probably won’t be enough opportunities for him to top that mark if he starts the season on a hot streak.
“I figure by the time I get about five or six they’ll probably stop throwing my way,” Boykin said.
Finally feeling good
When Josh Davis hit the weight room in January, it had been nearly a year since he had done any serious weight training. Two offseason shoulder surgeries following the 2008 season kept him from lifting weights, and when he was finally recovered last fall, the season was already in full swing, and there was little time to catch up.
Despite the setbacks, Davis stepped into the starting lineup on Georgia’s offensive line midway through the season, and the Bulldogs’ running game was instantly transformed. Georgia averaged more than 100 yards more on the ground per game after Davis was inserted at right tackle, and the offense finally began to click.
Now firmly established as a cornerstone on the Bulldogs’ line, Davis is bulking up and feeling good for the first time in nearly two years. He has added nearly 20 pounds to his frame from his playing weight of about 290 last year, and the shoulder feels as good as new.
“I’m absolutely 100 times better than last year because last year I had shoulder surgeries,” Davis said. “I feel much better, my body feels healthy and I feel stronger.”
One of the biggest questions of the offseason still doesn’t seem to have a definitive answer.
For the past two months, Richt has said he expects junior Logan Gray to get most of his summer reps at wide receiver after Gray failed to win the starting quarterback job in spring practice. But after the first few days of drills and voluntary practices, Aaron Murray, the likely starting quarterback, said he’s still not sure what Gray’s future might hold.
“We’ve only had a week-and-a-half of workouts and only done (pass drills) twice, and he’s been back and forth,” Murray said of Gray. “So I wouldn’t say he’s favoring one or the other at this point. I guess he’s going to feel it out the first couple weeks and see what he wants to do from there.”
Finding a home
Of Georgia’s new batch of linebackers, only Demetre Baker appears destined for a role in the middle.
Recent transfer Jarvis Jones said he will open practices at outside linebacker but could switch down the road. Justin Houston said that Stripling, Brandon Burrows and Dexter Morant — all three of whom played defensive end in high school — are also working at outside linebacker this summer.
“I think Baker is at inside right now,” Houston said. “Pretty much the rest of them are at outside.”
Freshman Alec Ogletree, Georgia’s highest-rated recruit, might also have a future at linebacker, but for now he’s working at safety, Boykin said.
“I saw him break out up a pass the other day, and just seeing that I’ll know he’ll be able to compete with the speed,” Boykin said. “As he learns the technique I think he’ll be fine.”