Swann was limited in Tuesday’s closed practice with what the school says is a hip flexor and groin strain. The junior led the Bulldogs with four interceptions last season and is the only returning secondary starter.
Two more projected starters, safety Tray Matthews and cornerback Sheldon Dawson, are also still battling ailments as it safety Corey Moore, who was competing at the other safety spot.
Safety Josh Harvey-Clemons, who would have started, is suspended for the opener.
Matthews remains out of practice with a strained hamstring and coach Mark Richt said he’s “day-to-day.” Dawson is limited with a shoulder sprain. Moore hasn’t practiced for two weeks with a knee sprain and seems the most likely to not be available for the Aug. 31 opener against Clemson, but Richt hasn’t said that any injured players will miss the Clemson game.
“It’s not as healthy as I hoped it would be,” Richt said of the group. “There’s guys that are missing reps, obviously …We don’t have guys that could be getting reps getting them and that hurts us. Some guys might be ready by the time the game starts, but how many reps are they going to get between now and then to really be as ready as they could have been if they got all those reps. It’s a problem, but it’s football.”
Defensive end Garrison Smith said he thinks players are being held out with the big picture in mind so they’ll be ready for the start of the season.
“I think it’s really more of a preventive thing that guys are out rather than injury,” Smith said. “I don’t really think guys are injured where they can’t play. I think they’re just trying to make sure they’re 100 percent before they bring them all the way back. You don’t want to bring a guy back when he’s only 90 percent when you can actually get him to 100 percent. I don’t think anybody’s not able to play right now. Those guys are working out, they’re doing everything we do, they’re just not practicing now.”
Georgia has seven defensive backs in all listed on its injury list, including reserve cornerback Devin Bowman who’s out with a strained hamstring and cornerback Reggie Wilkerson and safety Paris Bostick, who were lost for the season with season-ending injuries this summer.
Getting ready for the real thing
The practice game before the real game against Clemson comes tonight.
Kickoff at Sanford Stadium, like in Death Valley, will be about 8 p.m.
“It’s the first time it’s Georgia vs. somebody instead of Georgia vs. Georgia,” Richt said. “It’s been the offense vs. defense up until this time. Now the No. 1 units get to play on the same team, get to cheer for each other instead of give each other a hard time. The coordinators can actually have fun together instead of competing against each other.”
Freshman inside linebacker Reggie Carter was ready to turn the full attention to the opener.
“The whole defense is tired and the whole offense is tired of banging on each other,” Carter said. “We’re just ready to show the country what we’re about.”
Richt called Tuesday a “bittersweet day,” because some players assigned to scout teams were “in the tank,” because they could be redshirting.
Richt said a scout-teamer could still turn a coach’s head to earn playing time. He brought up former Bulldogs linebacker Odell Thurman doing just that back in the day.
Christian LeMay and Faton Bauta will get the assignment of simulating Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd in the practice game.
Fewer scholarships for walk-ons to go around
Teammates rushed to congratulate seven Georgia walk-ons who were awarded scholarships a year ago after Richt announced the news in a team meeting.
There was no such scene this year. Richt gave out “a few” scholarships in private.
“I’ve decided not to make any announcements this year because that’s another bittersweet day,” Richt said. “For some guys, it’s a great celebration and for other guys it’s a heartbreaking day because they were hoping they were one of the guys to get it.”
Georgia added 31 signees in its latest recruiting class so there weren’t as many scholarships left over for walk-ons.
The walk-ons who got scholarships last year and returned this year: receiver Rhett McGowan, safety Connor Norman, fullback Merritt Hall, tailback Brandon Harton, linebacker Kosta Vavlas and cornerback Blake Sailors from Oconee County.
This and that
Georgia’s scholarship depth at tailback looks thin again after freshman Brendan Douglas sustained a sprained MCL to his left knee on Monday and missed practice Tuesday. Douglas and J.J. Green were drawing praise from coaches as they competed for the No. 3 spot behind Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. Another freshman, A.J. Turman, remains out with a sprained knee and sprained ankle.
Wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell apparently practiced without limitations on Tuesday in the Bulldogs’ closed practice. The junior wasn’t on the official injury list after missing Monday’s workout with knee swelling. Freshman receiver Jonathon Rumph was listed as out of practice with a strained hamstring.
Freshman outside linebacker Leonard Floyd, who was listed at 220 pounds, says he’s up to 235.