The Work 7-30 (pre-camp notes)
**The expectation less than a week away from camp is that Marquez Williams, the new scholarship fullback from D-II program Mars Hill (NC), will win the starting spot at his position. At about 5-11, 275, Williams is an absolute bruiser who Mark Richt badly needed for I-formation sets. He is already on campus and has been well received by the locker room. If he takes the starting role, it will have a ripple effect at the tight end spot, where you will likely see Chris Herndon featured more as the second tight end with David Njoku. Could that mean less Standish Dobard? I think so, because of Herndon’s versatility. Dobard will still have a role. Richt could elect to show I-formation with Herndon at fullback, and then Kaaya would have the option to flex Herndon out wide and switch to shotgun.
**I posted on the site last week that Ahmmon Richards was running in the 4.3s in testing. Not only was he showing his speed, but during strength testing last week, he was one of, if not, the strongest in the receivers group. That is stunning for a true freshman, but also an incredible sign for his chances to see the field early and often. He emerges very early in the season as a threat to opposing defenses.
**One thing I’ve gathered on offensive line coach Stacy Searels is his understanding of the game from every position. Multiple people have touted his knowledge and one source noted that he teaches the linemen “why” they have to do something according to what is happening in the play. Searels is big on his linemen understanding the concepts and reacting to what the defense is playing. Communication between the group seemed to be much improved over the spring and the hope is that it will continue now into the season.
**Similarly, I’ve heard that safeties coach Ephraim Banda and cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph have a portion of practice where the safeties play cornerback and vice versa. The idea of that is they want to get everyone comfortable in situations covering a player-type that they maybe aren’t used to covering. For example, you ideally don’t want Jamal Carter matched up against a quick slot receiver – you’d rather him cover a tight end or running back. But in game situations, Carter may be forced to cover someone who motions out to the boundary. Banda and Rumph hope that eventually most of them are versatile enough to play in any spot depending on the situation.
**Shaq Quarterman and Mike Pinckney…It’s time to let the dogs loose. Every single person around the program that I’ve spoken to fully expects these two to have little-to-no learning curve, especially since they have a grasp of the defense. The biggest part of the transition for them is over and Manny Diaz is entrusting them with two of the linebacker spots. They will not play like freshmen. These two are built differently mentally – they showed that during their first semester on campus. The lack of depth behind them is concerning, but Quarterman and Pinckney are ready to explode onto the scene.