Spring practice No. 12: Deas returns

ATHENS, Ga. -- Looking back, Marc Deas believes he was acting selfishly when he opted to transfer away from Georgia in search of increased playing time.

The rising redshirt sophomore safety said after Tuesday’s practice that it was much easier to ask Coach Mark Richt to accept him back into the program following a weeklong hiatus than it was to tell him of his intention to leave.

“I was selfish at the beginning and I really didn’t know what I had until I stepped away from the program,” Deas said. “I feel like it’s a blessing just to be accepted back, not just by Coach Richt and Georgia, but for my teammates and everybody else -- the fans and everything. That’s a real blessing.”

Deas said he spoke to “a couple” potential suitors before deciding that staying at Georgia was his best option. Certainly looking at the Bulldogs’ depleted depth chart at his position didn’t hurt matters.

Senior All-American Bacarri Rambo could be suspended at the beginning of the season and the Bulldogs have few experienced backup safeties behind Rambo and Shawn Williams.

“It’s a big opportunity,” Deas said. “It took me to sit back and realize what I had in front of me. I kind of took it for granted at the time. I just wanted to get up and pack my bags and leave. It was rough for me going off, but I can just lift that weight off my shoulders and it’s a blessing that everybody accepted me back.”

Most of all, Deas said, Richt accepted him back with the same generous attitude that he showed in offering to help him if he did indeed follow through on his intentions to transfer.

That left an impression when Deas weighed his options.

“We talked and everything and he was saying, ‘Give it time. Think about it. If you really want to go through with this, let me know. If you say yes, you want to go through, my arms are still open. I’m still here for you,’ ” Deas recalled

“That’s one thing that I really admire about Coach Richt and this program. It really shows commitment, not just to me or any players here, but it shows something for the recruits, where they want to know that they’re going to a place that they’re going to be for sure -- they’ll have some type of comfort level going into a place where can have somebody to trust,” he continued. “It’s real genuine. I feel like that really stands out.

“I can’t even describe how much appreciation I have for just him and this program that he’s willing to help me and guide me while I wanted to leave and still accept me back. It’s really a blessing.”

Other notes and observations from Tuesday’s practice:

* Kolton Houston has worked all across Georgia’s offensive line this spring -- including left guard and even center before settling at right tackle in the last week. He progressed so quickly in the new position that offensive line coach Will Friend said he is the first-team right tackle entering Saturday’s G-Day game.

“We started working him there probably a week or two ago and he’s really progressed at that spot the last couple days,” Friend said. “I think he’s done a good job. He had a really good scrimmage Saturday and had another good day today. He’s an athletic guy. The one thing he’s done well is he’s brought some energy to the group. He’s busted his butt and done a good job.”

* Friend said he expects the first-team line Saturday to be Kenarious Gates at left tackle, Dallas Lee at left guard, David Andrews at center, Chris Burnette at right guard and Houston at right tackle.

He expects Burnette and Lee to rotate between sides in the scrimmage since they are also serving as backup centers.

* Friend said Richt’s pre-spring prediction that eight or nine offensive linemen should be capable of contributing this fall should be correct by the first game. As spring practice nears its end, “I think we’ve got five or six right now,” he said.

* Add Malcolm Mitchell to the injured list. Receivers coach Tony Ball said he thought Mitchell -- the part-time receiver and part-time cornerback -- suffered a hamstring injury, but did not know the severity. Quarterback Faton Bauta practiced in a green no-contact jersey.

* Safety Rambo (hamstring) returned to practice Tuesday. Receivers Rantavious Wooten (hip flexor) and Rhett McGowan (shoulder) were also practicing in regular jerseys Tuesday after spending much of spring practice in green no-contact jerseys.

* Former Georgia star and current Carolina Panthers standout Thomas Davis attended practice Tuesday.

* More than 100 UGA faculty members and their families attended Tuesday’s practice as part of faculty appreciation day.