“He made a mistake, but he’s still a good man,” Richt said of Thomas, who started seven games last year and had 24 carries for 62 yards and two touchdowns.
Thomas, a senior from Loganville, will miss the Sept. 4 Georgia Southern game and the Sept. 11 South Carolina game, leaving the Bulldogs painfully thin at fullback. Sophomore Des Williams, who was switched from linebacker midway through last season and finished the year with three carries, will move into the No. 1 spot for now.
Junior Jamario Smith, a graduate of Mary Persons High School, has been moved from fullback to linebacker. He could go back to fullback for the first two games if needed but probably won’t, Richt said. Smith has missed all of spring practice due to an ankle injury. Incoming freshman Brannan Southerland could also help since Georgia’s coaches have decided to use him at fullback rather than linebacker next fall.
Tailbacks Danny Ware and Tony Milton also could provide depth, Richt said.
“We’ll find a way,” he said.
G-DAY FORMAT SET: Georgia’s annual G-Day game, scheduled for Saturday at 2 p.m. at Sanford Stadium, will consist of four, eight-minute quarters and a 15-minute halftime. The teams won’t kick off or return any kicks and the quarterbacks will be off-limits to contact, but, other than that, the action will be live.
Several regulars – including running back Michael Cooper (migraines), wide receiver Reggie Brown (hamstring) and quarterback D.J. Shockley (knee) – will not participate due to injury. Thomas may not participate due to his suspension, Richt said.
The winners of the game will eat steak and lobster on Sunday while the losers eat beans and franks. Every football staff member, including medical and office personnel, will be assigned to a team and participate in the meal. After the game, the players will be presented with rings recognizing last year’s trip to the Capital One Bowl and SEC Eastern Division title.
TURNING HEADS: Georgia may have found its next walk-on who turns into a success story to follow in the footsteps of Thomas and Verron Haynes. Redshirt freshman Jason Johnson, 5-foot-9, 180 pounds, came to Georgia all the way from Chicago to catch the coaches’ eye.
“I don’t even know how he got here, he just showed up,” Richt said. “But he’s been a fireball ever since he got here. He’s got good hands, and he’s not afraid of anything.”
PRACTICE REPORT: The Bulldogs worked out for two hours Tuesday in temperatures that got steadily colder throughout the afternoon. By the time the team finished practice, it was 46 degrees with a light rain.
“Wow, it was cold out there,” Richt said. “I think that was a record for drop of the temperature from period one to period 18. It must have dropped 20 degrees.”
The Bulldogs worked out in shells – shorts, helmets and shoulder pads.
“This was really the last tough work day, and they really did a good job of getting after it,” Richt said.
Wide receiver Fred Gibson returned to practice after missing more than a week due to a concussion. He expects to play in the G-Day game.