August 6, 2011

Turf toe 'no joke'

Turf toe may not sound like much of an injury, but just don't suggest that to Georgia right tackle Justin Anderson.

Anderson, who was moved back to the offensive line after a season on the defensive line, only played in the 2010 season-opener against Louisiana-Lafayette before coming down with the injury that cost him the entire campaign.

Surgery has since corrected the problem allowing the 6-foot-5, 342-pounder to settle in at right tackle for the Bulldogs, although the memory of last year's pain is something Anderson said he will never forget.

"It doesn't sound like much but that's the hurteness (sic) thing. That's no joke. That hurt worse than when I hurt my shoulder," Anderson said. "It started off as bad, then in practice one day I was taking on a double team and I felt something pop. I couldn't walk on it no more. Then I got an MRI and found out I tore some ligaments. That was some pain right there."

Anderson could not even begin to describe how painful the injury was. "It's not a death pain, but I couldn't walk," he said. "I would have to walk on the side of my foot the whole time."

So far, Anderson says his switch back to the offensive line has been a seamless one.
With the turf toe injury now history, the senior said he's ready to make his senior season a successful one. He also couldn't be any happier to be back on the offensive line now that Johnathan Jenkins and Kwame Geathers will hold down the nose, Anderson's former spot on the defensive side.

"I'm back on the side of the ball where I belong and those guys are where they belong," Anderson said. "I'm just ready to start the season to see what we've got."

Dawgs hit with "mental fatigue"

Three days into preseason camp and head coach Mark Richt said the Bulldogs hit the wall during Saturday morning's session at the Woodruff Practice Facility.

"It's day three and a little bit of fatigue is setting in, a little bit of weariness," Richt said. "Without question, the fatigue affected the concentration level. We started the last 30 minutes and dropped more balls than we had in the first two-and-a-half practices and had more penalties. We just did not focus once we got tired, which was a big part of our demise a year ago, so hopefully we can learn to fight through it."

Despite the fatigue, Richt added that he did not see a lot of loafing.

"I thought they fought through it pretty good, but mentally I thought were just not as sharp," he said. "Again, we had some dropped balls, a few penalties and I'm sure there were a few missed assignments. But that's why you practice in the heat; that's why you have camp."

Special teams sharp

Richt had high praise for the Bulldogs' special teams, stating the execution Saturday was as good as it could be.

"We were very, very sharp." Richt said. "The snaps, the holds, the kicks - I think we were 100 percent in every way. Just about every kick split the uprights. It was a good start in the extra point-field goal department today."

This and that

Richt singled out freshman Damian Swann for his performance both Friday and Saturday. "I thought Swann made a couple of outstanding plays Friday and made a couple of good ones today. I think he is competing extremely well." … After watching Branden Smith pick off five passes during Friday's competitive drills, Richt had this to say about the junior cornerback. "He looks like a different player to me," Richt said. … Richt cited wide receiver Tavarres King, safety Shawn Williams and linebacker Mike Gillard for being in excellent shape. Ditto for defensive end Abry Jones. "He seems to be in really good condition and he's asserting himself more," Richt said. "He's just more confident. You can see it."

Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at dash@ugasports.com.