ATHENS – During Georgia’s two weeks of preseason camp – practice but no classes – players are holed up in dorms with temporary roommates. I the case of Natrez Patrick, a junior and established starter, he shares a room with Nate McBride, a freshman, but also a fellow inside linebacker.
It’s the brainchild of inside linebackers coach Glenn Schumann, who paired each of his three freshmen with a veteran: Monty Rice rooms with junior Roquan Smith, and Jaden Hunter rooms with junior Juwan Taylor.
“This year coach Schu kind of put an older guy with a younger guy to help with the playcalling, and the toughness of camp,” Patrick said. “Just a young guy being able to lean on us.”
The Bulldogs have had four practices, out of 29 total, but Patrick and outside linebacker Davin Bellamy have had some time to get to know some members of the team’s highly-ranked recruiting class. They offered some thoughts after Thursday’s practice:
– McBride scouting report, via Patrick: “Nate’s a great guy, honestly, I love him. You guys know he’s athletic, but what I’ve learned is he’s really smart. He’s a really smart kid, he’s picking up things really fast.”
– Hunter (who had an interception during Thursday’s practice) scouting report, via Patrick: “Just like I said about Nate, man he’s smart. In this defense the faster you learn the plays the faster you’ll be able to get on the field.”
– Rice scouting report, via Patrick: “He’s coming along. He doesn’t look like a freshman. We don’t even consider Monty a freshman anymore. He’s got a whole semester under his belt. So he’s one of us right now.”
– Outside linebacker Robert Beal, a late arrival because of academics, who joined the team Tuesday. Bellamy’s when asked if that was a disadvantage: “You don’t get this type of conditioning in high school, and he didn’t go through the summer conditioning (program). So he has to get that first,” Bellamy said. “And also adjusting to the speed of the game. He missed a lot. But like I said, he’s out there, he’s working hard now. He’s a fast learner. But it is kind of a disadvantage.”
– Redshirt freshman Chauncey Manac, who’s been working with the defensive line as well as the outside linebackers. Bellamy’s thoughts: “He’s a versatile player, and stuff changes,” Bellamy said. “With his versatility it’ll work best for him. He can play inside, he can play outside. He’s a big kid and he can move. We’re going to use him all over.” – Bellamy
Finally, Bellamy was also asked about the freshman offensive tackles, especially the massive Isaiah Wilson. The response was a bit interesting.
“We’ve got the best O-line coach in the world (Sam Pittman), so I’m pretty sure he’ll get Isaiah Wilson right,” Bellamy said. “And the sky’s limit for his potential. To be that big and can move the way he can is very impressive. But like I say, I’m a fifth-year senior, and he’s a young guy. So you kind of know where I’m going with that.”