Athens — Benjamin Boyd buckled as if Tim Tebow had just bulldozed him for the game-winning touchdown.
He could only wonder, why is Mike Bobo, Georgia’s offensive coordinator, yelling my name?
“He said, ‘Look I got one question for you,'” Boyd said. “I was like, ‘Ohhh man.'”
When Bobo asked if Boyd would make the switch from linebacker to fullback, the senior was stunned. He agreed to the challenge once he found out Georgia had lost two fullbacks and was seriously lacking depth for the upcoming season. Starter Brannan Southerland was out with a fractured left foot that required surgery and extensive recovery time. Fred Munzenmaier was hit with a two-game suspension for underage consumption.
“Bobo came to me because I played a lot on special teams. I knew how the speed of the game works.” Boyd said. “I just want to help the team out. Linebacker is real similar to fullback any way. All you got to do is run around and hit somebody.”
Boyd started two years at linebacker for Thomasville High School, joined the Bulldogs in 2004 as a walk-on and redshirted. He has made 13 tackles in 38 games during the last three seasons.
After a body transformation and a lot of studying this offseason, Boyd is in a three-way competition for the backup fullback spot behind Shaun Chapas. The other two contenders are linebacker-turned-fullback Justin Fields and redshirt freshman Josh Sailors.
Boyd played a handful of snaps at fullback as a freshman in high school. For a position he says is foreign to him, he seems to be learning quickly. His effort convinced coach Mark Richt to give him a scholarship Tuesday night. The next day, Boyd made an impressive block during a light scrimmage.
“Kind of christened himself picking up the blitz, which was very nice,” Richt said.
Getting to this point hasn’t been easy. Boyd worked on developing his shoulders to brace himself for impact and gained 18 pounds, bulking up to 228. In order to gain the weight, he stuck to lean meats and sought the advice of Munzenmaier, whom he calls the team’s nutritionist.
Boyd’s favorite meal consisted of chicken fried on a skillet, rice, and sautéed green peppers, onions and mushrooms. He’d also throw in a salad with vinaigrette or Italian dressing.
“I love to cook,” he said. “My dad taught me. I can cook up a steak or bake a casserole. … If there’s any single ladies out there, give me a call.”
Boyd will stop at nothing to earn playing time. He’s even tried to make deals with Chapas and quarterback Matthew Stafford.
If he secures the backup spot, he told Chapas he might need to fake an injury for the first game so Boyd can start in his place.
“He said he’ll think about it. I might have to slip him a little cash or something,” Boyd said grinning.
His deal with Stafford is more like a pact that two childhood friends would spit and shake hands on.
“If we get down real close and we’re [winning], he said he’ll audible a little pass to me so that way he can get a touchdown and I can get one too,” Boyd said.
Even if the deals don’t transpire, Boyd won’t be disappointed as long as he finds his way onto the field.
“I would love to get out there, especially in the first two games when we have a lot of people out. It’s the perfect opportunity to get some playing time.”
– Courtesy of AJC.com