ATHENS — Georgia’s struggles in run defense this season are well-documented, and it appears the Georgia Bulldogs are making some moves to address it.
Netori Johnson, a highly-touted offensive line prospect out of Atlanta, was working with coach Tray Scott and Georgia’s defensive linemen at practice on Monday. The 6-foot-4, 325-pound redshirt freshman out of Cedar Grove High has played in only four of the Bulldogs’ eight games in 2018 as an offensive guard and has not traveled to any away games.
It was unclear whether Johnson was getting a look at nose guard or tackle or both based on Monday’s practice observation period. At the time the position groups were being put through drill work. But Georgia is seeking quality depth at both positions.
It’s doubtful that Johnson would be able to help the No. 6 Bulldogs this Saturday as they travel to Kentucky to take on the 11th-ranked Wildcats and one of the SEC’s best running backs in Benny Snell. This is the first time that Johnson has been seen working with the defensive linemen, and the transition from offensive line to defensive line is not an easy one.
Other observations from Monday’s practice, conducted in partial pads by the Bulldogs:
- Sophomore guard Ben Cleveland was observed firing off the line twice in a three-point stance during drill work with the offensive line. But coach Sam Pittman told him to step out and take a rest about the time reporters arrived at the sideline of the offensive practice field. Cleveland was the starting right guard before suffering a broken fibula against Missouri six weeks ago. He was working alongside second-team right tackle Justin Shaffer on Monday. His status for Saturday’s game is questionable but he traveled to Jacksonville for the Florida game last week.
- Georgia is not downplaying the fact that Saturday’s game is for the Eastern Division championship. On almost every rep, outside linebacker coach Dan Lanning was yelling to his charges, “The edge is for the East! The edge is for the East!”
- Junior defensive end David Marshall was not spotted at practice. He has missed the last two games with a foot injury.
- Also absent at practice was Ameer Speed. The sophomore defensive back from Jacksonville has not played in the last five games and has appeared in only two this season.
- To nobody’s surprise, head coach Kirby Smart and linebackers coach Glenn Schumann were putting the inside linebackers and safeties through some intense, open-field tackling drills.