Sanders Commings looks around Georgia’s secondary these days and doesn’t see the lineup he envisioned before the start of spring practice.
“It’s really different,” Commings said Thursday after the Bulldogs’ 10th spring workout. “One of our safeties is at linebacker now and one of our safeties is hurt, so it’s different communication with different guys talking to you. The goal hasn’t changed, though, because we’re all trying to play as one.”
Georgia had its secondary returning intact following the 2010 season, but that changed this winter when second-year defensive coordinator Todd Grantham decided to move Alec Ogletree from safety to inside linebacker. The other safety starter at the end of last season, Bacarri Rambo, sprained his right MCL late last month and will miss the rest of the spring.
Commings and fellow cornerback Brandon Boykin have been the defensive backs still standing from the expected quartet, though Commings is at a different position.
The 6-foot-2, 212-pound redshirt junior from Augusta worked at safety for a second consecutive practice because of a lack of depth at that spot and expects to stay there through next Saturday’s G-Day game. The switch of Ogletree and the injury to Rambo left three scholarship safeties, and Jakar Hamilton (concussion) and Marc Deas (hamstring) have been sidelined this week.
Playing safety is not foreign to Commings, who was at that position in 2008-09 under former coordinator Willie Martinez.
“It’s just like playing corner with a little bit more space,” he said. “I really don’t have a preference. It’s wherever the team needs me.”
The Bulldogs worked out for 90 minutes Thursday and apparently did well defensively despite several absences. Also missing were Ogletree (groin) and Christian Robinson (concussion), which left Richard Samuel and Brandon Burrows working as the first-team inside linebackers.
“The guys are starting to get tired out there,” coach Mark Richt said. “Hopefully they will get revived on Friday and then be ready for the scrimmage on Saturday.”
Commings made 12 tackles as a redshirt freshman safety in 2009. His first season at cornerback last year yielded 36 tackles, three interceptions, two pass deflections and a fumble recovery.
Should he excel these next few practices, he could enter preseason camp among Georgia’s top two or three players at two different positions.
“I guess that it is a chance to create more opportunities for myself,” Commings said. “It could happen to where I start a game at cornerback and then move to safety. That’s very possible.”
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...