A sprained knee has kept Moore out of practice since Aug. 7, perhaps costing him the starting strong safety job for the opener against Clemson in two weeks while Josh Harvey-Clemons serves a one-game suspension.
“When a guy like Corey Moore has the offseason that he has, starts out in the camp the way he started, he really made himself into a fine player,” Richt said. “Great shape, really understood the system, was leading, was practicing (well). …Everybody noticed and he got the attention of the staff and then he gets banged up so he can’t work.”
Richt said he didn’t know when Moore might return.
Elsewhere in the secondary, safety Shaquille Fluker, a junior college transfer, remains out with a lumbar strain.
Cornerback Sheldon Dawson was in a non-contact jersey for Friday’s full pads practice, presumably for a bruised knee.
“We just haven’t had enough healthy guys to really become as good as we can be,” Richt said. “It’s a concern right now.”
Inside linebacker roles coming into focus
Freshman Reggie Carter continues to be productive at inside linebacker, but he’s still poised to begin his Georgia career in a backup capacity.
Junior Ramik Wilson and returning starter Amarlo Herrera remain ahead of Carter, Richt said.
“Right this minute I would say that Reggie would play for either one of them if they couldn’t play or needed a blow,” Richt said.
Herrera heads a group that lost NFL first-round draft pick Alec Ogletree.
“We work hard and get everybody lined up,” Herrera said. “We don’t try to do anything that’s not us. We don’t try to be superman. We just play.”
Said Wilson: “We’ve still got little things to work on, but as a whole we’re looking really good. We’ve got to get a couple of more things right, get calls better to help out the whole defense, but other than that we’re coming along good.”
The inside linebacker group includes freshman Tim Kimbrough from Indianapolis, who was on track to play at least special teams before spraining a knee. Johnny O’Neal, a 6-foot-2, 240-pound freshman from Dublin who defensive coordinator Todd Grantham described as a “big, physical guy,” caught Richt’s eye on Friday with a punishing hit on a running back.
“I saw a big hit out of Johnny O’Neal today,” Richt said. “Knocked a guy back. I grabbed him and said, `That’s why we signed you son because he’s a big thumper. He’s a guy who’s stout in that hole inside.”
Line depth could aid Burnette
If Chris Burnette’s surgically-repaired left shoulder allows it, the senior offensive right guard would like to play an entire game.
“I feel like guys want to play as much as possible,” he said. “I’m the say way. I want to play as much as possible. If we’re getting the best effort, the best talent on the field, the best chance to win, I’m all for it.”
Two weeks before Georgia opens the season, Burnette isn’t quite ready for a 70-snap-a-game workload.
“Not right now,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “He’s been limited through the first 16 days. Talking to him out there (Thursday), you’ve got to practice and you’ve got to push yourself. He knows it. That’s what we’re working for is him playing an entire game, but we’ve got some depth at the OL so if we need to spell him, I think we can.”
Georgia has worked John Theus at right guard and Kolton Houston at right tackle when Burnette hasn’t been in the lineup.
Meanwhile, starting left tackle Kenarious Gates missed Friday’s practice with what Richt said was a strained neck.
“We don’t think it’s anything real serious,” he said.
Mark Beard worked in place of Gates, Richt said. Houston would also work at left tackle if Gates was out for a longer period of time.
Of Houston, Richt said: “He’s either going to start or he’s going to play a good bit.”
Floyd lauded again
The Leonard Floyd praise train continued on Friday.
Richt said he signaled out the freshman outside linebacker to the entire team.
“Leonard Floyd just practices so hard,” Richt said. “Just relentless. His head is still spinning learning stuff but he’s really impressed me with how hard he practices on a daily basis. He’s going to get better and better because of it. He really stood out to me. He’s been standing out to me for a while.”
Floyd is listed at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, but Richt said he thinks he’s probably closer to 235 pounds.
Sophomore James Deloach is still working ahead of Floyd, but is getting pushed for the job.
“DeLoach is doing fine,” Richt said. “He’s solid. He’s doing well.”
This and that
Former NBA coach and current ESPN analyst Jeff VanGundy was on hand along with men’s basketball coach Mark Fox. Van Gundy’s daughter is a student at Georgia.
Fox is hosting his Suits & Sneakers fundraiser to fight cancer on Saturday at Stegeman Coliseum.
Georgia 2014 running back commitment Nick Chubb from Cedartown is on USA Today’s All-USA preseason All-America team.
Georgia’S Friday practice was shortened some due to a quick turnaround for a morning practice today prior to Fan Picture Day. Players will be assigned to scout teams next week as the game plan for Clemson comes into sharper focus. Receiver Chris Conley (undisclosed) was in a non-contact jersey Friday. So was Rantavious Wooten, back after missing practices with a strained hamstring. Freshman receiver Reggie Davis (knee) and tight end Jay Rome (ankle) were also in non-contact.