That was more than enough of a glimpse for quarterback Aaron Murray to know exactly what the Bulldogs have been missing.
“Beautiful as always,” Murray said of how Gurley looked in the closed full pads session. “I saw him out there and I was like, `Goodness gracious, that dude’s huge.’ He’s a pretty sucker to look at, huge. He looked good.”
Gurley has missed the past three games with an ankle injury sustained against LSU on Sept. 28.
Even so, he still leads Georgia with 450 rushing yards.
“I know I’m excited to have him back and I now the coaches are as well,” tight end Arthur Lynch said. “It can’t come at a better time with the type of physical game that Florida always brings.”
Coach Mark Richt said earlier this week that Gurley has a "pretty good shot," to play against the Gators.
Murray said Gurley did every rep in “run polish,” and told him afterwards that he felt good. Lynch said Gurley also worked against the scout team.
“We’ve still got another two weeks so he’ll be full go by Florida hopefully,” Murray said of the Bulldogs’ next game on Nov. 2.
Wide receiver Michael Bennett, out the last two games with a knee injury,didn’t practice, but was running on the fields, Murray said.
“I think they’re going to slowly work him back,” Murray said. “Hopefully Monday, Tuesday he’ll be close to full speed, both him and Todd.”
Said Lynch: “He told me last week he’s playing Florida, so I’m taking that to the bank.”
Murray’s message to team: Focus better
Following a second-straight loss, Murray took the unusual step for a Monday of getting up and speaking to the players during a team meeting, joining coach Mark Richt.
Murray said his message was for everybody to do their job and there’s still a lot to fight for this season.
“Use this week and next week to really hone in on your craft, whatever it is,” the fifth-year senior said he told them. “Whether it’s throwing the ball, running the ball, tackling, catching, blocking, snapping, kicking, just focus in. It just seems like this year everywhere—offense, defense, special teams—we have mental breakdowns where we, I don’t know if it’s take a play off or just don’t completely focus in on what we need to do. That’s what’s killing us this year.”
Murray said you never know what can happen with unbeaten Missouri in the SEC East race, but if Georgia doesn’t win the division, he said the Bulldogs can still finish 9-3 and make it a 10-win season with a bowl win.
“No finger pointing,” defensive lineman Garrison Smith said of how the team's reacted after falling to 4-3 overall. “It’s a team thing. There’s all things we can do better to improve and win games.”
Injury list gets longer
It’s a good thing Georgia has a bye week because the Bulldogs’ already long injury list got even longer on Tuesday with 21 players now listed.
“We’ve got so many guys banged up and we really need to get guys back healthy and get guys back on the field,” Smith said. “It’s been a lot of banging and it’s a long season and we’ve got some more games left. It’s time for us to rebound and regroup and get guys right.”
As expected, wide receiver Chris Conley (sprained ankle) and safety Josh-Harvey Clemons (foot) didn’t practice. Harvey-Clemons is questionable for Florida and Conley would be considered doubtful. Safety Tray Matthews (hamstring) was limited to running.
Missing practice with new injuries: center David Andrews (sprained foot), wide receiver Rantavious Wooten (bruised hip) and fullback Merritt Hall (concussion).
Tailbacks J.J. Green (sprained and bruised shoulder) and Brendan Douglas (sprained knee and wrist) were limited in practice. Receiver Rhett McGowan (ankle) was also limited.
This and that
The demand to have SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw discuss the targeting rule this week was so much that the league is putting him at the end of its weekly coaches teleconference today.
He told the Gulf Coast (Ala.) Athletic Club on Monday night that assessing the 15-yard penalty even after a targeting call has been overturned by video replay – which happened with Georgia linebacker Ramik Wilson – is “the biggest complaint we’ve had,” on the rule.
“I hope we can get the rules committee to look very, very closely at this,” Shaw said, according to the Birmingham News. “Now, if you’re guilty of a targeting foul but instant replay overturns it, the 15-yard penalty stand. I think we need to look at that and consider removing that as well.”
The players are off today while coaches will work on the gameplan for Florida. The team will then practice again Thursday.