Little by little, freshman linebacker Jordan Jenkins continues to be more of a staple in the defensive lineup for 6th-ranked Georgia.
Jenkins started opposite Jarvis Jones in Saturday's 17-9 win over Florida due to an injury to Chase Vasser and according to defensive coordinator Mark Richt said Wednesday there's more of that to come.
In fact, when the 6th-ranked Bulldogs entertain Ole Miss (5-3, 2-2) Saturday on CBS (3:30), Jenkins will do as the Bulldogs new starter at Sam.
"In base, yes," Richt said. "But when we get into some of our nickel looks we still like Cornelius, Jarvis (Jones) and Jordan playing some of the edge stuff. Those three will kind of roll, but he's doing well. He's been a good freshman."
Jenkins versatility is the reason why.
"He's a guy who can play in our base package, he's a guy who can play in our nickel package, he can play for a number of guys and we're going to play him as much as we can," defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. "He's shown he can produce. He really had a chance for a sack the other night, and he's done some other good things so we'll continue to play him."
Although from a statistical standpoint Jenkins finished with only two tackles (including one for a loss of .5 yards), the former Harris County standout was praised for always being in the proper position, and came within a whisker of picking up his fourth sack of the year.
"I'm still mad about that one sack I let (Jeff) Driskell get out of my hands," Jenkins said. "But there are still four or five more games to go. Hopefully, I can get some more."
Grantham said Jenkins on the edge opposite Jones in more of a full-time manner could pay huge dividends the rest of the year.
"They're the kind of guys you want from the standpoint of setting the edge standpoint and a run standpoint. From the pass standpoint, those two guys have a pretty good pass rush, a good twitch, a good get-off and it allows them to say that they don't totally have to go to this guy and if they do, there's going to be somebody else 1-on-1," Grantham said. "By doing that, a guy like Cornelius Washington on the inside, and that was really big for us. I thought Cornelius did a good job inside so at times, that's three outside backers in there."
John Jenkins banged up but expected to play
Senior defensive end/nose John Jenkins sat out Wednesday's practice with a sprained ankle, but Richt the injury does not appear to be serious.
"He has an ankle sprain that we think he'll be fine but we didn't want to put him out there today," Richt said. "We think he'll be ready."
Jenkins suffered the injury in practice on Tuesday.
Jenkins' name was one of five on Georgia's post-practice injury report, including defensive end Abry Jones (ankle), linebacker Chase Vasser (left shoulder sprain) and fullback Merritt Hall (ankle). Neither player was able to practice on Wednesday.
Washington knows Dawgs still have doubters
Yes, Georgia proved many of its doubters wrong by beating Florida Saturday.
But senior defensive end Cornelius Washington said the Bulldogs know there's still plenty of folks who need convincing.
"There were naysayers after the game. Nothing we do is going to silence all the criticism. I think America is still going to be America as far as the way they view Georgia and our football team," Washington said. "It's not a big deal. We're used to it. It's been that way for a long time now, but as far as the game I really feel we did make a statement. We let guys know we weren't soft. That was the point of the game, that we're a tough team and we will get after you when we need to. We definitely did a whole lot of that."
Washington said he'll do whatever he can to make sure the defense keeps "getting after it" the rest of the year.
As one of the Bulldogs' most respected leaders, Washington revealed he's one of the players who typically will address the team before taking the field.
"I'll address the team before practice or something like that. I try not to be much of a vocal guy but I'll do what I have to do," he said. "It just depends on how practice goes and what I'm feeling at the moment. I don't plan anything. If I was planning to write something down it wouldn't be natural, No. 1 and I don't think the guys would expect it as much. When you rehearse something, it never comes out the way you want it to come out. I just say what's on my heart at the moment."
This and that
Richt said if Hall is unable to play, junior Zander Ogletree will start in his place. Richt said Ogletree played approximately 30 snaps in Saturday's win over Florida.
Georgia practiced for two hours Wednesday, working to try and simulate Ole Miss' no-huddle offensive scheme. "The scout team did their best trying to simulate the tempo of Ole Miss, and our defense was moving around and getting lined up quickly today," said Richt. "Hopefully, that will help Saturday. Missouri was very fast, I don't know if you can go faster than that, they played at a high tempo." ... Richt said in the future he would prefer his kick returners not bring out the ball, especially if it's four or five yards deep in the end zone. "If you're not sure about where you are then you've got to come out," Richt said. "But if your up-back or blocker says don't come out, you shouldn't come out. He's using good judgement, plus he's not blocking for you any more. If it's a low-line driver and a little bit of gray area. But otherwise, I'd just as soon take it at the 25." Richt said Todd Gurley will continue to be his No. 2 kickoff returner, but Malcolm Mitchell will remain No. 1. "He sticks it up in there pretty good," Richt said of Mitchell.