Rumph stands tall on G-Day

semerson@macon.comApril 6, 2013 

ATHENS -- Jonathan Rumph was one of the few players on offense who had a big day Saturday in Georgia’s G-Day game. Now the question is whether the highly skilled receiver can build on it.

Rumph, a junior college transfer, had two touchdown catches and 98 receiving yards in Georgia’s spring football game. That might not have been surprising entering spring practice, considering the hype around the 6-foot-5 South Carolina native. But Rumph struggled most of the spring, and coaches occasionally scolding him for loafing.

“That’s really the first time all spring he’s made some plays,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “That was good to see, and hopefully, that’ll give him some confidence.”

Rumph is the Bulldogs’ tallest receiver, which should give him a chance to have some plays drawn up for him. It encouraged coaches to see him take a pass over the middle and run in for a 20-yard touchdown Saturday. Now it’s just a matter of doing that during the final two spring practice this week and into the summer.

“It was his best day, no doubt, and it was good for him to have that type of day,” head coach Mark Richt said. “(Saturday’s) the kind of day that helps give a guy confidence, and helps him feel like he belongs. ... But to be fair to him he’s got a ways to go; he’s got a lot to learn as well. He’s getting there. I’d like to see him become a bit more physical in some of the jump-ball type situations and take advantage of the height and the strength that he has.”

O-line in flux

As spring practice nears an end, a lot remains to be decided on Georgia’s offensive line.

John Theus, last year’s starter at right tackle, and Mark Beard alternated at left tackle Saturday. But the tackle most coming on is Xzavier Ward, who rarely has played in his two years with the team.

“Right now the best tackle we’ve got playing is Xzavier Ward. And (Kenarious) Gates would be the best, but he’s playing guard,” Bobo said.

The only spot that appears set is David Andrews at center, where he started every game last year. Chris Burnette should also be set at right guard as long as he returns fine from shoulder surgery. Theus is also expected to start somewhere, but otherwise the team leaves spring with many questions to be answered.

“It’s great that we have more than five guys we feel good about,” Bobo said, pointing out that Theus missed five practices with a foot injury and Burnette was out the entire spring. “That’s two starters from last year’s team. Burnette’s gotta get healthy, and so does Theus; he’s still not 100 percent.”

LeMay struggles again

It wasn’t a good day for Christian LeMay, who didn’t complete any of his six pass attempts and had one intercepted. LeMay, who will be a sophomore this fall, still appears behind walk-on Parker Welch, who had 103 passing yards and a touchdown.

But Richt wasn’t quite calling the No. 3 quarterback job for Welch just yet.

“Even though Parker did have a good day, I wouldn’t sit there and say that he’s nailed down that spot,” Richt said.

The defensive MVP

As expected, Josh Harvey-Clemons alternated between safety and the nickel-back position. The latter spot is a hybrid linebacker-safety role, where Harvey-Clemons plays very close to the line.

Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was pleased with how he did.

“He’s a guy that's moving forward towards the line of scrimmage that can cause plays and do some things,” Grantham said. “There’s certain guys on your team that you look for explosive plays out of, and I think he’s one of those guys.”

There were no explosive plays out of Harvey-Clemons on G-Day, but there apparently have been enough leading up to it. On Saturday he was named the defensive MVP for spring practice.

“I was shocked when they gave me that; I didn’t expect it,” Harvey-Clemons said. “It really does boost my confidence for this spring.”

Gurshall quiet

Star tailbacks Todd Gurley (four rushes for 25 yards) and Keith Marshall (six rushes for 6 yards) lived up to the low expectations for the game. Neither expected to be used much, and they weren’t, as coaches let others run rather than risk their health.

That said, Bobo did say they should have run the ball more. Freshman J.J. Green was given a chance (eight carries for 27 yards) and walk-on Kyle Karempelis (13 carries for 89 yards) was the rushing star.

As for Gurley, Bobo thought the sophomore-to-be had a good spring “mentally” and in the passing game. But Bobo didn’t like Gurley’s weight, which players has said is around 230 pounds.

“He’s gotta trim down a little bit, get ready to go this fall,” Bobo said.

Injury updates

The only noticeable injury to come out of the game was defensive lineman John Atkins, who was seen on crutches during the game. But Richt didn’t get an update from the training staff on the injury.

Receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who had his knee scoped on Thursday, is expected to be ready for workouts in a few weeks. Fellow receiver Michael Bennett, who had ACL surgery in October, is also set to be a full-go by preseason practice.

Then there’s freshman receiver Tramel Terry, who tore his ACL in December. Richt said Terry could be back with “no limitations” by late July but indicated the staff will remain cautious with him.

“Even though he’ll have a clean bill of health to go, will he really be in good enough condition at that point, and know enough, have enough reps to really help us,” Richt said. “We’ll have to see.”

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service