Starting right guard Chris Burnette left practice Wednesday when he “tweaked a knee,” coach Mark Richt said. His status for the game is uncertain.
Kenarious Gates, who started the first game of the season, is trying to return this week from an ankle injury.
Kolton Houston, expected to factor in at guard this preseason, can’t help now.
Richt revealed on Wednesday that Houston “right now is not eligible to play. We hope he’ll be eligible soon. It’s an NCAA issue.”
The redshirt freshman from Buford has not played this season and has not even suited up for games. The issue arose this summer, Richt said.
“It’s an individual case that we’re not going to get into details about, but it’s NCAA-related,” Richt said. “We think it’s going to get cleared up, but we just don’t know when.”
Athletic director Greg McGarity would not provide more details Wednesday night because “it involves a student and is protected from open records.”
What if Burnette and Gates can’t go Saturday?
“Don’t ask me that question,” Richt said. “I don’t know what would happen if Gates and Burnette (can't play).”
Richt mentioned freshmen David Andrews, Hunter Long and center Ben Jones among options at guard.
“We’re very thin with guys that have played,” Richt said. “Between those two guys, hopefully we’ll have one of them ready to go, if not both.”
Burnette has had trouble with the knee before. Richt said it was “something that was bothering him last year. Right this second we don’t think it’s very serious as far as anything long term. We’ve just got to see if it swells and if it would keep him from playing this week or not. I don’t know if it would or not right now.”
Richt said Burnette was out two days in the spring with the injury.
Gates finished practice on Wednesday, Richt said.
Offensive line coach Will Friend said Tuesday that Andrews played “pretty good Saturday when he got in the ballgame,” at center.
Richt said Jones could play guard or tackle “if he had to in a pinch because he just knows what to do and he's a competitor and he's a pretty good athlete."
Even Jones missed the early portion of Wednesday’s practice, but finished the workout.
“Something didn’t agree with him at lunch,” Richt said. “He’s a tough enough guy to shake it off, put the pads on and he did finish the day.”
Williams a linebacker or safety this week?
Shawn Williams move to inside linebacker from safety wasn’t a permanent move.
Now there’s some mystery about whether it was a one-game move.
Williams has practiced at safety this week, and Richt wasn’t showing his cards Wednesday about where Williams will play.
“I’m not in the habit of trying to tell everybody what our intentions are prior to the game,” Richt said. “It has nothing to do with anything other than trying to prepare for a game and not telling the enemy what you’re doing.”
Williams moved to linebacker last week after foot injuries to Alec Ogletree and Christian Robinson. Both are still out.
Williams had three tackles in Saturday’s game. Freshman Amarlo Herrera had four.
Mike Gilliard is starting at the other inside linebacker spot.
Charles plan foiled
If cornerback Brandon Boykin can see spot duty on offense, tight end Orson Charles didn’t think it was too off the wall to want to play some defense last Saturday.
He was ready to play some outside linebacker.
“Coach Richt wouldn’t let me, I was upset,” Charles said laughing as he retold the story.
Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was going to take Charles’ offer to let him play defense “if we’re up,” Charles said.
Georgia was en route to a 59-0 shellacking of Coastal Carolina when Charles went to Grantham in the third quarter and got the OK..
“I said `Let me run it by the head coach,” Grantham said.
Richt told him to wait until the fourth quarter, but vetoed it, because he didn’t want Charles to get hurt.
“Before Todd did it, he asked me could he do it and I said no,” Richt said. “There’s no way.”
“I was looking forward to it because I played (defense) in high school,” Charles said.
Gilliard said: “I was actually interested to see him out there to see what could Orson do."
Charles said he’s never practiced on defense at Georgia.
“It’s more of a want-to,” he said. “You just go out there and tackle somebody. …I figure I’m a good enough athlete to play on both sides of the ball.”
Grantham said tight ends Aron White and Arthur Lunch have also lobbied him to get a chance to rush the passer.
This and that
Receiver Marlon Brown (ankle) is doubtful for Saturday, Richt said. …Safety Bacarri Rambo strained his neck in Tuesday’s practice, but “it’s not a real serious thing we think at all.” Richt said he expects Rambo to play. …Richt addressed safety Jakar Hamilton’s departure from the team for the first time, but just briefly. “When we announce something is for personal reasons, we just like to leave it that way. Well, I do. I do wish him well.”