Northside coach Kevin Kinsler has communicated with Jones’ parents via text messages and said “they’re looking at about six weeks,” of recovery time. That length of time would mean Jones would be out for the rest of the regular season with a chance to return for a bowl game.
Georgia coach Mark Richt would only say that Jones won’t play Saturday against Florida.
“He won’t play this week is all that I can confirm,” Richt said. “There’s reasons for that, but that’s what I’ll confirm that this point.”
The 6-3, 309-pound senior from Warner Robins started 26 games for the Bulldogs, the third most of any current Bulldogs defensive player.
“They’re going to have to give it a couple of days until the surgery and then probably reevaluate,” said Kinsler, who was defensive coordinator at the school when Jones played there. “Our concern is because he’s one of our former players. We just want to make sure that he’s OK. It’s a tough thing to have happen to you your senior year.”
Jones has 17 tackles this season, including one for loss and 106 tackles and five sacks in his Bulldogs career. Coaches voted him third-team preseason All-SEC this year.
“Of course he was kind of down,” said sophomore end Ray Drew, who has talked to Jones. “This is one the biggest games on the Georgia schedule and in his career.”
Jones injured the ankle early in the first quarter of Saturday’s 29-24 win at Kentucky. He had sprained the same ankle against Vanderbilt and missed the Tennessee game.
The loss of Jones could mean more playing time for Drew at a position that also includes Garrison Smith, Cornelius Washington, who has played outside linebacker, and nose guard John Jenkins.
“Everybody’s been working that position trying to figure out who’s best suited for it and who can help out,” Drew said. “We’ve got to have people ready to roll in and ready roll to give people breaks.”
Richt said Drew better be ready “because he’s going to play. …He’s going to get a bunch of snaps this game."
“We’ll mix them all in there,” defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said Tuesday night. “Obviously, John will play some outside. We’ll get Garrison (Smith) going a little bit, and we’ll just have to see how we play it after that.”
Richt views Williams comments as `catalyst’
Safety Shawn Williams pointed public comments on Monday night calling out the Georgia defense as “soft” and not playing with any emotion is now being viewed in a positive light by Richt.
“Do I think it was a catalyst to help jolt our guys a little bit?” Richt said. “I think so. At least we’ll see how the reaction is on Saturday. I do think that the guys have an expectation like everybody else and they know they haven’t met that expectation, so they want to do better. They do care very much and we do have a very good, unified group even though sometimes in the family somebody might say something you don’t like. It hurts your feelings, but in the end, it was done with the intentions of making things better and that’s what I think everybody’s focusing on right now.”
National analysts weighed in this week.
“Up until now and actually for the last several years despite having winning records, Georgia has been a triple-ply Charmin soft-type of football team that has not played tough football,” said former NFL lineman Randy Cross of CBS Sports Network comments on Georgia being soft.
Said former Florida coach Ron Zook on the same network: “I would be shocked, shocked, if Georgia doesn’t come out there breathing smoke.”
Sandy impact on game?
Richt said Georgia has kept tabs of any impact Hurricane Sandy may have on Saturday’s game in Jacksonville.
The forecast as of Wednesday night called for winds up to 22 miles per hour with a 40 percent chance of rain on Saturday and a high temperature of 72, according to The Weather Channel.
“That’s a lot of wind,” Richt said. “That does affect the game more than just rain. I’ve been in some games where the winds just totally changed the game. If it’s a crosswind, it’s even probably more of an issue than if it’s in your face or behind you. …Hopefully it changes course.”
This and that
Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones remains on track to play after sitting out the Kentucky game with a sprained ankle. “He’s going to play unless something happens between now and then,” Richt said after Wednesday’s practice. Jones was one of seven players added Wednesday to the watch list for the Maxwell Award as the nation’s top player.
Redshirt freshman tight end Jay Rome has missed some practice time this week with an Achilles’ tendonitis. “It’s nothing major,” Rome said. “I’m going to be able to play this weekend. It’s not big deal.”