ATHENS — When he first heard the news that Scott Lakatos had been hired as Georgia’s secondary coach, cornerback Brandon Boykin did a quick image search on the Internet, just to find out what his new coach looked like. Beyond that, however, Lakatos remains a mystery.
The same is true of new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who, like Lakatos, has yet to meet any of his new players, despite extensive anticipation on the part of the current crop of Bulldogs.
“The anticipation comes and goes, but I’m ready for the coaches to be here and ready for everybody to settle down and get rolling,” defensive end Demarcus Dobbs said. “I’m ready to know what position I’m going to be in, what position I need to play, so I can try to be the best at that and learn as much as I can.”
Dobbs’ eagerness is understandable. With a brand new set of coaches and a brand new defensive scheme, the 2010 season could look a good bit different from the 2009 version of the Georgia defense, and like the rest of his teammates, he’s anxious to learn how he’ll fit into the big picture.
While Dobbs is a senior wondering what his final year has in store, freshman Jakar Hamilton arrived on campus just two weeks ago without even knowing who his first college coach would be.
“It was difficult but I knew Coach Mark Richt was going to get the job done,” Hamilton said. “Fortunately we got (Grantham) from the Cowboys who has been in the league for 11 years, and I’m just excited and ready to meet him.”
Georgia has a team meeting scheduled for Friday, which is likely to be the first time most of the players meet their new coaches in person. With recruiting season coming to an end and Georgia’s staff playing catch up, time has been limited for the coaching staff as a whole, and Grantham just wrapped up his NFL season with the Dallas Cowboys last weekend.
So while it will no doubt be a busy few weeks before offseason conditioning shifts into high gear in early February, the excitement and the jitters are both evident, defensive tackle Abry Jones said.
“It’s a little bit excitement and nerves,” said Jones, a former Northside star. “It’s exciting that we finally got a new coach and a new scheme but we’re also nervous because we’ve never run it before, so it’ll be like a first time.
On the move?
Grantham brings with him a brand new scheme on defense, and many of Georgia’s players are still a bit up in the air about where they’ll fit into the 3-4 defense.
One player who is a bit more excited than concerned, however, is Jones, the former Northside star, who thinks the changeover in scheme could mean a move to a position he played extensively in high school.
“I could play defensive end because I played in high school,” Jones said. “It wouldn’t be much of a jump.”
Jones said he hasn’t heard any indication of how the depth chart will shake out in Grantham’s new 3-4 look, but he said if it’s up to him, defensive end would be his preference.
Either way, Jones said his role will change a bit in 2010 with an increased responsibility in stopping the run with just three down linemen. Still, it will be a new experience for the sophomore.
“I played in high school in a three down linemen type of scheme, but never in a real 3-4,” Jones said. “Seeing that I came in as a freshman and had to learn one new defense, the only bear would be learning a whole other defense. Other than that I don’t see a problem with it.”
A new attitude
After two arrests and an indefinite suspension in early December, the future looked bleak for rising sophomore defensive end Montez Robinson. But Georgia announced last week that Robinson had been reinstated — except for a two-game suspension to open the 2010 season – and teammate Demarcus Dobbs said the time away has worked wonders for Robinson’s outlook.
“You can just tell the guy has a total change of attitude,” Dobbs said. “I don’t know if it was him going home for the bowl game and talking to his family or whatever it was, he has a great attitude.”
Robinson played sparingly last season but was named to the SEC’s All-Freshman team at year’s end. He was arrested on multiple charges last month, however, and was immediately suspended from the team.
Since his return, however, Dobbs said Robinson has worked hard and shown a far more outgoing personality.
“He’s happy. He’s upbeat. Before he was never like that,” Dobbs said. “He was just kind of a mellow guy, walking around finding his way. But now you can tell there’s a complete difference in him, and I’m excited to see what he can do this season.”
On the mend
Three Georgia players underwent offseason surgeries last week and will be limited during the spring.
Offensive lineman Justin Anderson and fullback Fred Munzenmaier both had shoulder surgery and will be limited during spring practice. Defensive end Jeremy Longo had surgery on his knee. He will miss all of spring practice.
All three are expected to be fully recovered by the start of fall practice in August.
Quote of the day
“There was actually no other open rooms. It was him or like two baseball players and a tennis player. So I was like, ‘I’ll just live with A.J.’ ” — Georgia early enrollee Kolton Houston on how he ended up roommates with offensive lineman A.J. Harmon.