Dawgs' Health Improves
Malcom Mitchell
Athens Banner-Herald
Posted Sep 5, 2012


ATHENS - Georgia’s injury situation heading into Saturday’s Southeastern Conference opener at Missouri looks more promising for the Bulldogs.

Malcolm Mitchell, who moved from receiver to cornerback prior to spring practice to help out the secondary for this matchup, practiced with the defensive backs looking much-improved on his sprained left ankle from a day earlier.

Coach Mark Richt said Mitchell will make the trip to Missouri.

“He did pretty good,” Richt said. “I’m not certain that he’s full-speed, but it’s Wednesday. I’m encouraged. We’ve got a couple of more days to see. He got scout work.”

Meanwhile, starting offensive right tackle John Theus returned to practice for the first time since spraining his left ankle in Saturday’s win over Buffalo.

“He looked good, moving around a lot better than he was,” offensive lineman Austin Long said. “I haven’t really seen him or talked to him about how it felt since we got out of practice.”

Theus and offensive lineman Watts Dantzler, who also had a sprained ankle, worked with a trainer on the side during the portion of practice opened to the media.

“They did OK,” Richt said. “They didn’t go very long. They practiced. We didn’t want Theus getting anything more than scout team work anyway.”

Long and Xzavier Ward have worked at right tackle in place of Theus. Long said he worked at right guard Wednesday because starter Chris Burnette has a chest injury. Burnette is not listed on Georgia’s injury report, but left the opener in the second half before returning.

If Theus isn’t in the lineup, Long could get the call.

“He may start this game,” Richt said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, I really don’t. And if he doesn’t start it may not be long before he’s in there. Depending on how everybody holds up.”

Bowman’s change of plans

Devin Bowman’s stomach churned when coaches informed the redshirt freshman cornerback last Thursday night to get ready and brush up on the playbook.

Mitchell’s injury meant Bowman was being pushed into a starting role against Buffalo in his first college game.

“It was more than butterflies, I don’t know what it was,” Bowman said. “Like, oh, I was just so happy because I’ve been waiting for this and now it finally came.”

His immediate reaction when Mitchell injured the ankle in Thursday’s practice when he came down wrong on a scout team player?

“When he went down, I was just saying `Get up Malcolm, get up,’” Bowman said. “Then he couldn’t go so that just gave me a little spark. I was like `OK, it’s my time now.’”

The Rossville native wasn’t sure before the injury if he even would before playing.

The 6-foot-, 180-pound Bowman graded out at an 81, he said, and his confidence is high now.

“Devin will have a great challenge for sure,” Richt said. “All of our DBs, all of our corners will. They’ve got really outstanding receivers.”

Delayed opener for Brown

Receiver Marlon Brown’s 2012 debut will come a week later than he wanted.

After a strong preseason, he strained a hamstring and sat out the opener.

“I was kind of disappointed at the beginning of last week, but I had my mind refocused to try to get back on the field,” Brown said. “I’m back. I’m pretty excited.”

Brown said he’s “back to normal,” health-wise now.

Richt said the coaching staff has faith in five receivers now in being able to play: Brown, Tavarres King, Michael Bennett, Rantavious Wooten and Chris Conley.

Supporting teammates

Linebacker Mike Gilliard noticed a Twitter post on Tuesday night from one of his teammates saying “FREE MY BOYS” and listed the Twitter handles for safety Bacarri Rambo, linebacker Alec Ogletree and cornerback Sanders Commings. Rambo and Ogletree were suspended for the opener and are expected to be suspended for the Missouri game (Georgia hasn’t confirmed). Georgia has said that Commings is suspended two games.

“I feel like we’re all just supporting our teammates,” Gilliard said.

Gilliard said he didn’t know if lobbying would sway anybody.

“It would be good, but I honestly don’t know,” Gilliard said.

This and that

Cornerback Sheldon Dawson said he has not yet met with the NCAA about a reported investigation of Mississippi State pertaining to players from Memphis. It was reported that he was to meet with the NCAA last Friday. Dawson said he received some recruiting interest from Mississippi State, but has never visited Starkville. “I don’t know anything wrong that went on there,” he said. “There’s a lot of stuff that you hear, but you never know until it’s out or it’s final.”…Missouri has just one player from Georgia on its roster (offensive lineman Justin Grava from Alpharetta) but the state wasn’t an area coach Gary Pinkel targeted before joining the SEC. “No, it wasn’t, but we’re going to recruit it now,” Pinkel said. “Without question, we’re going to recruit it now.”…Tailback Ken Malcome, who missed practice Tuesday due to an illness, was back at practice. …The “old man football” comment made by Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was a topic of conversation for one caller to Richt this week. Richt’s mother phoned him to ask about it. “She wanted to know what I thought about it, too,” Richt said. “That’s just kind of how it goes.”


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