August 13, 2009

Injury puts Samuel in lead role

It appears that Georgia's pecking order at running back is starting to somewhat take shape.

Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, it's not quite the way coaches were hoping to see it unfold.

Thursday, head coach Mark Richt announced that redshirt sophomore Caleb King will be lost for the next 7-10 days while recovering from a hamstring injury.

That leaves sophomore Richard Samuel atop the depth chart following his five-carry, 108-yard effort in Wednesday's initial scrimmage.

"Richard is going to work No. 1 right now, but obviously it's hard to compete when you're not there," Richt said. "Luckily, Caleb has been here long enough where he knows what to do. If he had been a true freshman, it would hurt him a lot more than it happening right now. But there's a lot of time between now and then. There will be plenty of time for Caleb to get back in it but right now he can't get any work."

King isn't the Bulldogs' only running back hurting.

Redshirt freshman Dontavius Jackson also missed Thursday's practice with what Richt described as a "knee issue,", leaving Carlton Thomas, freshman Washaun Ealey and walk-on Kalvin Daniels as the only healthy running backs on hand to take snaps during Thursday's two-and-a-half hour workout.

Samuel, who added a 70-yard touchdown reception for one of his three scores Wednesday, was pleased with his performance but said there is still much work to be done.

"I did all right, but there's still a lot of room for improvement," he said. "I need to attack the blocks better, secure the ball, just little detail things I need to improve in order to get done what I need to with the offense."

King was not available for comment.

"I feel sorry for Caleb because he worked so hard this offseason to get ready," said Thomas, who rushed five times for 60 yards on Wednesday. "I'm sure he'll work the same way to come back from this."

Richt displeased with workout

Georgia prepared for Friday's two-a-day with a practice in shells Thursday, an effort that left Richt less than pleased.

"I would say my overriding feeling of today's practice was that the practice beat us," Richt said. "We didn't win the day. We made too many mistakes. They were hot and they were tired, and I thought they gave into that more so than any other day in camp. As a matter of fact, I don't think they had given into it until today actually, so I was a lot disappointed in that. But when you get knocked down you get back up, so we'll see how the leaders handle the adversity of the day and we'll see how we come back tomorrow. That's about the nicest thing I can say right now."

Friday's practices will be the final two for Georgia leading up to Saturday's second scrimmage at Sanford Stadium.

"We just looked sloppy on a lot of things. We had guys on both sides of the ball with a lot of penalties and missed assignments," quarterback Joe Cox said. "Every now and then that happens. Everybody has days where everybody's mind goes somewhere else and people start messing up. But we did our running for it. It can't be that way again."

Walsh has edge over Bogotay

If the season were to start today, Richt said that kicker Blair Walsh would likely be handling Georgia's kicking duties on field goals, extra points and kickoffs ahead of signee Brandon Bogotay.

"Right now I would say Blair would have an edge in that race," Richt said. "In my opinion, it's a very close race, kickoffs mainly. Bogotay would be No. 2 on field goals and extra points. Bogotay is very capable of doing both and that's good for Georgia."

Richt said Walsh has the edge due to his consistency.

"Bogotay is driving the ball good. He's getting a lot of distance but his hang-time has been a little bit erratic," Richt said. "He needs to get a little more hang-time on some of his kicks although some of his kicks are fine. Blair has been more consistent with his hang-time, but both of them have kicked very well."

Banks out for three weeks

Safety Quintin Banks had hoped that his knee issues were a thing of the past.

Unfortunately he was wrong.

"He hurt his knee," Richt said. "It was a cartilage; I believe he will have to get it cleaned up. I believe it will be three weeks."

Banks' injury was to his right knee. Last year, Banks tore the meniscus in his left knee, first during the preseason and again later in the year against Vanderbilt.

Richt said the injury may or may not cost Banks Georgia's season-opener against Oklahoma State.

With Banks out, redshirt freshmen Makiri Pugh and Bacarri Rambo move up a notch in the rotation. Richt said he expects starting strong safety Reshad Jones (hamstring) to be back soon.

Hebron starts over again

When Akeem Hebron took the field for Wednesday scrimmage at Sanford Stadium, he was probably one of the happiest players on the field.

Although he briefly took part in 11-on-11 drills, Wednesday marked the first time that Hebron has been cleared to officially begin contact working since tearing his Achilles last season.

"It was a big day for me," Hebron said. "Especially being my first day of being able to go all out. I had done some little things, but this was actually my first day where I was full go and everything."

According to Hebron, he's regained the speed and lateral movement he lost following the injury, but admits he basically has to start over as he works his way back up the Bulldogs' depth chart.

"I'm definitely starting out at the bottom of the chain," Hebron said. "I've got to work hard and work my way up."


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