Posted: Tuesday, August 5th 2008 at 8:30pm
Davis happy to play where needed along Bulldog OL
By Morgan Lee Editor
Georgia offensive lineman Chris Davis (No. 63) blocks for quarterback Matthew Stafford during the 2007 season. Davis could find himself in a leadership role for a young Georgia line this season. / photo: UGA Sports Communications
ATHENS -- The hulking figures of tired offensive linemen trudged toward blocking drills on Monday -- the opening day of Georgia football practice.
“Come on guys, move it! Get over here!” came the yells as they pulled themselves away from water trays, baking in the 97-degree sun.
But the urging wasn’t from offensive line coach Stacy Searels -- at least not this instance -- this time the shouts were coming from fellow lineman Chris Davis.
“I was just trying to get them to come over for the drill,” said Davis, a red-shirt sophomore from Jefferson, when asked if he was trying to take on a leadership role within the group. “I didn’t want them to be late.”
While Davis didn’t succeed this time -- Searels commanded the linemen to run sprints for being tardy to the drill -- he could often find himself in a leadership position this fall for the Georgia Bulldogs as the team’s starting center and one of the more experienced players along a very talented but young line of scrimmage (one junior and no seniors amongst the depth chart).
That is, of course, if he maintains a starting position.
Davis, who started all 13 games at left guard for the Bulldogs in 2007, is now listed as the team’s starting center -- a move made during spring practice -- but is competing with true freshman Ben Jones to hold the spot.
“There’s a good battle at center right now,” Georgia head coach Mark Richt said. “Ben Jones and Chris Davis are really going at it.”
That Jones is even being mentioned as a candidate to start as a freshman shows that the Centreville, Ala., native has talent. But Davis says it’s Jones’ demeanor that has made the biggest difference.
“He has a great attitude and a willingness to work and learn,” Davis said. “I love him to death, and I’ve really gotten to be good friends with him.”
That doesn’t mean that Davis isn’t working as hard as possible to maintain his position however – even in the blistering heat of August.
“It was a little rough the first day back out in the heat like that,” Davis said. “It wasn’t really even that hot – I’ve seen hotter.”
And it's likely to get hotter as the competition for playing time up and down Georgia’s offensive line increases with the season just around the corner.
Along with Jones, a handful of red-shirt freshmen are also competing for a starting positions this season, including guard Justin Anderson -- who is penciled in to start for suspended sophomore Clint Boling in the Bulldogs’ season opener against Georgia Southern on Aug. 30 in Athens. Boling will miss the game after being charged with reckless driving.
After two seasons of watching and playing on a paper-thin unit, Davis says it’s a treat to finally have some depth in numbers.
“It’s a luxury we haven’t had for the past couple of years,” Davis said.
And with coach Searels’ policy of cross-training players, an injury in one spot could open up chances for any number of linemen.
“Coach Searels likes everyone to know all the possible positions, be able to play anywhere,” said Davis, who noted that he’d be happy doing just that.
“Wherever I’m needed is my preferred position,” he said. “I’ll play tackle, center, guard; it doesn’t matter.”
After spending a full season at left guard, is there a possibility Davis could move back to the position should Jones fights his way into the center spot?
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