Freshman Leonard Floyd could be giving coaches something to think about.
“We’re always going to play guys that produce so if you make plays in scrimmages and stuff, you’re going to end up playing,” defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said Thursday.
Floyd, listed at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, had four tackles and a tackle for loss in the Bulldogs’ second preseason scrimmage on Wednesday night. And he did it wearing a “club” after undergoing surgery for a broken left hand.
“Leonard moved very well,” coach Mark Richt said. “He created some issues. He would have had a sack for sure if our left tackle didn’t tackle him. He caused a holding call on a third-and-long situation. He’s very athletic. …He’s very talented. I think he’s going to be an outstanding pass rusher.”
Grantham said DeLoach “has done a solid job for us,” this preseason after a strong spring. He’s also missed time after surgery for a sprained thumb.
“The closer he gets to the game, he’ll be able to get more use out of his hands,” Grantham said. “Right now it’s clubbed up. It’s difficult to grab, but really by the first game, that will be a non-issue.”
Grantham said DeLoach “obviously’s going to have a role for us playing multiple things. We’ll just have to see how that competition lays out. I think that’s competition's good because it makes everybody better.”
DeLoach, a sophomore, didn’t rack up the scrimmage stats that Floyd did, but Grantham said: “I’m not sure about all those stats they give you guys sometimes whether a guy was sacked or not (due to touch sacks in scrimmages). Who knows? We’ll never know until they take ‘em down to the ground.”
Ball feels comfortable with `eight or nine guys'
Tony Ball’s receivers room is as deep as its been in his seven seasons at Georgia.
“Not so much as numbers, but in terms of depth and scholarship depth, yes,” Ball said. “When you’re talking about eight or nine guys that you feel comfortable with that know what to do and they can make plays and we can be productive with whoever we have on the field, yes.”
Georgia’s scholarship receivers include Malcolm Mitchell, Michael Bennett, Chris Conley, Rantavious Wooten, Justin Scot-Wesley, Jonathon Rumph, Reggie Davis and Blake Tibbs. Walk-on Rhett McGowan has 12 catches last season.
“You look at where they can help you and you utilize their skill set and their strength,” Ball said.
Ball said redshirt decisions might not be made until past the midway point of the season.
Davis, a freshman from Tallahassee, Fla, is one to watch. He was limited in practice Thursday with a sprained knee.
“Anybody runs under a 10.5, that’s running,” Ball said. “And he did it consistently and he did it in the state of Florida. That gives you an ability of his ability to run. What he’s doing right now doesn’t surprise us.”
Academics end Long's career
Offensive lineman Austin Long’s career at Georgia is over, his father Tim confirmed Thursday.
The senior reserve had not practiced with the team this month.
In a statement Thursday night, Georgia said Long won’t play again for the Bulldogs because of “academic reasons.”
“I feel for the kid,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “It’s a tough situation he’s going through. He worked extremely hard on the field to put himself in position to get in the rotation. I got a chance to see him (Wednesday) night at the scrimmage. I told him I was thinking about him.”
Long, from Memphis, appeared in 13 games last season and coaches had said he was making a push to possibly start before breaking a hand in bowl practices.
He had worked his way into a backup spot on the line last November after dealing with back surgery earlier in his career. He also had a shoulder injury and mononucleosis.
Long’s brother, Hunter, is a reserve center for the Bulldogs.
A plan for Matthews
Starting free safety Tray Matthews was back at practice Thursday, limited from contact as he returns from shoulder and hamstring injuries.
“With the plan that we had for him and how we were going to bring him back, the whole focus was to get him ready for game one,” Grantham said. “We’ve got a scrimmage next week. Give him some reps and some work there. I think he’ll be fine. He was here in the spring so we’ve been able to evaluate him and got a feel for what he can do. We’ve just got to get him honed in on the calls and get him some work.”
Grantham said he expected junior college safety Shaquille Fluker “back here relatively short.” Fluker is listed as having a lumbar strain as well as an illness.
Tight end Jay Rome (ankle sprain) practiced in a non-contact jersey. Among those injured and still missing were safety Corey Moore (knee sprain), linebacker Tim Kimbrough (knee sprain) and nose guard Chris Mayes (concussion.
Receiver Reggie Davis (sprained knee) practiced in a non-contact jersey as did safety Marc Deas (elbow sprain).
This and that
Besides Todd Gurley and Malcolm Mitchell, Ball is taking a look at Keith Marshall on kickoff returns. “He’s a speed guy as well,” Ball said. “We’ve got some guys back there that we need to take a look at and see who’s going to take ownership of it.” Ball also listed Justin Scott-Wesley, Brendan Langley, J.J. Green and Sheldon Dawson as possibilities. “I think we’ve got some very good candidates that can help us,” he said. “Just got to find somebody that can communicate and protect the football.”
Defensive line coach Chris Wilson said defensive end Garrison Smith is separating himself among his players. “Other than that, it’s a free for all right now,” Wilson said. “We’ve got some good young talent that we’ve just got to develop and keep pushing to improve for these next (two weeks of) practices.”
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo liked what he saw on tape from the scrimmage, but didn’t like Thursday’s practice. “Today I thought we got worse,” he said. “It was not a good day. Mentally, we didn’t show any toughness. Just kind of wasted a day. That will get you beat.”