April 2, 2011

Theus eyes a Friend

John Theus has been to Athens numerous times before.

But according to the five-star offensive tackle from Jacksonville, Fla., Saturday's trip to the Classic City and the University of Georgia was just a little bit different as Theus wanted to do some scouting of his own.

"The biggest reason I came up here this time was Coach (Will) Friend," Theus said. "I wanted to see him on the field coaching, teaching the kids and I wanted to see how he was directing everything so I spent the majority of my time with the offensive line. I wanted to see how he interacted with the players."

Theus certainly picked an opportune time.

The Bulldogs held their first scrimmage of the spring Saturday morning at Sanford Stadium, the perfect opportunity for Theus to form his first real opinion of Friend, who took over for Stacy Searels after he left to join the staff at Texas.

Theus said he liked what he saw.

"I like his coaching style a lot. He's a good teacher and I saw him teaching stuff while they were watching film and on the field. He got after it, especially in the scrimmage," Theus said. "He was calm and cool, but when he needed to he got after. I thought he was a great teacher."

With 16 other schools having already offered Theus, Georgia certainly needed Friend to make a good impression.

Theus had grown close to Searels, who recruited the 6-foot-6, 292-pounder while at Georgia, although the Bolles School standout insisted he was not in Athens to see how Friend stacked up to the former Bulldog assistant.

"I wasn't really trying to compare them but I was talking with my dad and I could definitely see some similarities between the two because there are a lot," he said.

Such as?

"They've both got that country accent, they both get after it and the techniques that they teach, the calls are very similar if not the same," Theus said. "I liked what I saw."

Theus said he was also impressed with the way the Bulldog offensive linemen responded to their coach in the scrimmage.

"I thought they responded well. They started out a little slow but come about halfway through the scrimmage they were really getting going," he said. "In talking to Brent Benedict, Austin Long and some of the players, they really like Coach Friend a lot."

But despite another satisfying visit to Athens, Theus said he's no closer to making a decision regarding his college destination.

Instead, he still heeds the advice of Benedict, his former teammate at Bolles, while leaning on his family to help him through what's been a hectic recruiting process, although it's one he still tries to enjoy.

"I'm still enjoying it but it can get a little overbearing at time," said Theus, who added he doesn't have any visits planned in the immediate future. "I still have my family that helps me out, so it hasn't gotten too overbearing yet."

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