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COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Bulldogs battle for starting spots on 'D'; Auburn scrimmages for third time; FSU building chemistry in unique ways

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

ATHENS -- The Georgia Bulldogs continued preparations for the 2010 season with a two-hour practice in jerseys, shells and shorts Wednesday.

Wednesday's session marked the 15th of the preseason for the Bulldogs with 14 more scheduled before the season opener. Bulldog defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said the battle for starting spots and playing time is an ongoing process.

"We're getting close at some positions, but there's still some time in the next week and a half as we look at our depth," said Grantham, who joined the Dogs in Athens after serving as the defensive line coach. "Defense is about making plays and getting the best players out on the field. To do that, we're moving some guys around to develop depth."

At the nose spot, Grantham was asked about the development of redshirt freshman Kwame Geathers and junior Justin Anderson, who moved to defense after two seasons as offensive linemen. Geathers is a 6-foot-6, 325-pound native of Georgetown, S.C., while Anderson, a native of Ocilla, stands at 6-5, 326 pounds.

"Kwame and 'Bean' (Anderson) have done a nice job. I noticed them in Saturday's scrimmage and that's a good thing," Grantham said. "The closer you are to the ball, the faster things happen, and as the nose, you're right there. You have to react to the blocking schemes, and they've done well."

One injury update from Wednesday's workout: junior receiver Logan Gray did not practice due to a sprained ankle. He is listed as day-to-day.

The annual Fans' Picture Day is scheduled for this Saturday at Sanford

Stadium. Interim mascot "Russ" will be available

for photos from 1-3 p.m., while the 2010 Bulldogs will be at the stadium from 3-5 p.m.

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AUBURN LOOKING SHARP AFTER THIRD SCRIMMAGE IN SIX DAYS:

AUBURN, Ala. -- The Auburn football team held its third scrimmage of the season late Tuesday evening, running approximately 80 plays inside Jordan-Hare Stadium.

Following the scrimmage, coach Gene Chizik said that much of the focus of the scrimmage was on increasing the tempo of the offense.

"Offensively, we tried to work our pace a little bit more, just trying to get a rhythm and get a fast pace going right now, which was very effective," said Chizik, whose Tigers open Sept. 4 against Arkansas State at home. "It was good for us to work on that for both sides of the ball, and we were very productive in doing that."

Chizik noted that while both the offense and defense had positives and negatives, getting more experience for the younger players was vital and will help determine which newcomers may see playing time this season.

"There was some good and some bad on both sides of the ball, but we got a lot of work with the young kids," Chizik said. "We will look at the tape and we will see where we have to go from here, and hopefully make some more decisions in the next few days on who is going to help us."

One player that coach Chizik singled out for his performance was senior receiver Kodi Burns, who moved to the position last season from QB and shined all year.

"I have to give Kodi Burns a lot of credit," said Chizik. "He has taken it as a personal thing to help us on special teams, where he has really improved. As a pass-catching receiver, he has done some nice things and I am proud of where he has come. He is just a great Auburn guy and I really appreciate his efforts, and so do his teammates."

The scrimmage was Auburn's third in the last six days and afterward Auburn coaches also awarded scholarships to three walk-ons.

Chizik said that long-snapper Josh Harris, linebacker Wade Christopher and defensive back Woody Parramore were awarded scholarships. They got the news at a team meeting the previous evening.

He says it was great to see and the trio earned it.

All three players contribute on special teams.

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FSU BUILDS CHEMISTRY:

There have been a wide range of changes made in how the football program operates under new coach Jimbo Fisher's direction and one of the most significant developments is how the first-year coach has gone about building team chemistry. That has been especially evident throughout preseason camp.

"Every night we have a guest speaker," junior tailback Jermaine Thomas said. "A few nights ago, we were all together watching a movie. It is just building team chemistry and like they say, if you get to know your teammates better you are more likely to go battle and go that extra mile for them."

In addition to appearances by motivational speaker, comedians and the like, Fisher has made a point of taking the team to church together on Sunday's. He has mixed up the locker assignments as well, forgoing the long-standing division of offense on one side and defense on the other. For instance, sophomore cornerback Greg Reid lockers alongside senior guard Rodney Hudson.

The team eats and lift weights together, as well.

"Team chemistry seems to be very good," Fisher said. "Every now and then if you see an offensive player make a play, a defensive player will yell (something encouraging), or if defensive player make a play, an offensive player will yell. It's not all split up. They're competing like heck, but I like that part of it."

In a more somber note for Seminole Nation, Fisher announced that after meeting with Nigel Carr and his family, the junior linebacker was released from his scholarship so that he can transfer to another institution to continue his playing career and complete his degree requirements.

Wednesday's morning session concluded with a three-and-out stand by the first-team defense working against the first-team offense. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes had a big hit stop of Ty Jones to help the defense prevail.