Georgia to Give Injury Updates

Athens Banner-Herald
Posted Aug 6, 2012


ATHENS - Georgia football coach Mark Richt usually fields several specific questions in his postpractice news conferences about why a particular player was sidelined.

Those figure to decrease thanks to a new policy the program began Monday.

An “injury-illness report” was handed out before Richt entered the room. It will be provided each day Georgia practices.

On the first list: defensive end Ray Drew (concussion); defensive end Abry Jones (left knee contusion), guard Chris Burnette (illness, probably will return to practice today), safety Marc Deas (right hamstring strain, status day-to-day), tight end Hugh Williams (left hand third metacarpal fracture, surgery today and expected to return in 10 to 14 days) and receiver C.J. Wyatt (illness).

Ron Courson, Georgia’s director of sports medicine, provides the report.

“It wasn’t my idea, it wasn’t my brainstorm, but I’m part of the team,” coach Mark Richt said. “I think it’s just to give you guys exactly what we want to give you and when you ask me a question about it, I’ll say just read the report."

Richt will answer questions about how an injury impacts the depth chart..

“I think in football, injury reports are important,” Richt said. “People want to know about what’s going on, but you’ve got family members that you want to consider when you throw stuff out there, but it’s something we planned in the offseason. It has nothing to do with anything happening currently.”

Georgia hopes the official injury report will relieve coaches from having to answer questions. Some simply refer questions to Courson anyway.

Drew, who moved to defensive end in the spring, is missing valuable practice time.

“He needs reps no doubt,” Richt said. “I think we all need reps. Even the veterans, they need a certain amount of reps to get to where they’re sharp.”

The injuries to Jones and Drew have thinned the defensive end position. There was no word from Georgia about when they are expected back.

JUCO transfer Beard trying to crack rotation

Offensive line coach Will Friend figures “six to seven” of his players are game ready.

There’s left tackle Kenarious Gates, left guard Dallas Lee, center David Andrews, right guard Chris Burnette and right tackles Watts Dantzler and John Theus.

So who’s the seventh?

“We’ll wait on others,” he said.

Mark Beard, a junior college transfer, would like to be in that mix for playing time. He’s now second-team left guard.

“He’s done some things better,” Friend said. “He’s still got to improve and the speed of the game has got to catch him. We’ve got to improve on that.”

Beard feels he has a better grasp on the playbook after going through spring practices but said improving his pass protection “is probably key."

The 6-foot-5, 300-pound Beard often goes up against 6-3, 358-pound nose guard John Jenkins in practice.

“He’s wide,” Beard said.

Freshmen kickers on track

Georgia will practice twice today, including a special teams workout in the morning.

Freshmen punter Collin Barber and kicker Marshall Morgan have performed as Richt expected so far.

Barber “is what I thought he was,” he said. “He’s got a knack for getting a tremendous hang-time.”

Morgan hasn’t worked on kickoffs much yet, but Richt said on field goals and extra points “the ball gets up very quickly. He’s very strong and he doesn’t have to give an awful lot of effort to get the short to mid range kicks. He’s very accurate so far.”

Hairy matters

Richt's preseason facial hair came up in discussion on Monday.

The stubble is now a goatee.

“I was going to take it all off this morning, but I decided to just keep that for a minute and just sees what happens,” Richt said.

This is the time of year when Richt can let himself go.

“I usually grow it out a little bit in camp,” Richt said. “I like the fact that I don’t have to shave every day, but when it doesn’t feel good and feels a little bit warm (he shaves).”

Quarterback Aaron Murray likes the look.

“ I love the scruffiness,” Murray said. “You know when he’s out there yelling and screaming it definitely adds more to it, the facial hair.”

This and that

Even with two freshmen tailbacks, Richt said Georgia’s ball security has been “outstanding” after five practices.

“Very few balls have been fumbled by a back or receiver or tight end,” Richt said. “I can’t really even think of one right now. We’ve had fumbles on QB-center exchange, which is not good.” Murray named tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall right off the bat when asked which freshmen have impressed him so far. He said “they’re not afraid at all to stick their nose in there. They’re hitting the hole, they’re not bouncing outside and thinking this is high school where they can bounce outside and use their speed to outrun everyone. They’re pressing the hole and making plays.”

Georgia practice for the first time in full pads Monday. Inside linebacker Alec Ogletree is making the most direct hits, Richt said.

Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Xzavier Ward, returning from an ACL injury, is getting more practice repetitions than Richt expected. “He’s fighting through it,” Richt said. “We know he’s not 100 percent, but we really like him.”

Receiver Chris Conley said he’s getting work now not only at flanker but in the slot.

Richt was complimentary of center David Andrews, who appears to be solidifying a starting spot.

Tight end Jay Rome plans to play basketball again this winter for the Bulldogs. His hoops teammates are on an exhibition tour of Italy. “The guys are sending me pictures,” Rome said. “It looks beautiful.”


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