Six weeks later, there is no question. True freshman Thomas Brown had emerged as the No. 10 Bulldogs’ co-starter at the position even before Ware was hurt in a 20-14 win over Arkansas on Saturday night in Fayetteville, Ark.
Ware’s bruise is on his right lung (he bruised his left lung against South Carolina) and is not as serious as the one that kept him out of the Marshall game, Coach Mark Richt said Sunday. Like the last time, Ware’s injury was revealed when he began coughing up blood on the sideline of Saturday’s game.
“It’ll probably be day-to-day on him,” Richt said.
The last time, Georgia simply allowed Ware to rest until his bruise was gone, but this time the team’s doctors will attempt to determine if there’s any reason Ware could be more susceptible to the uncommon injury than other players.
“We’re checking into all that, and we’re going to make sure he’s safe before we do anything,” Richt said. “He’s been playing running back for quite some time, and I don’t know if that’s ever been a problem before.”
The Bulldogs (6-1, 3-1 SEC) play the Gators (4-3, 2-3) on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Jacksonville, Fla. Florida, which is coming off a stunning 38-31 loss to Mississippi State, has beaten the Bulldogs in 13 of the last 14 meetings.
Recently, Brown has given Georgia fans reason to believe he could be the kind of player to help end that streak. He gained 107 yards on 23 carries against Arkansas, giving him 229 in the last two games. He was more effective than Ware against the Razorbacks even before Ware got hurt, but that wasn’t all about running ability, Richt said. Ware had 30 yards on 15 carries.
“When I looked back at the game tape, Danny had a lot less room to deal with,” Richt said. “He seemed to be in there on the plays that weren’t really blocked well for whatever reason. Thomas had a little more space when his opportunities came.”
That doesn’t take way from Brown’s performance, though. Georgia’s coaching staff began to think of Brown as a co-starter two weeks ago and would have felt just as comfortable starting Brown or Ware against Arkansas, Richt said. When both backs are healthy, they will play almost an equal number of snaps, Richt said.
“Thomas really has played good every opportunity he has gotten,” Richt said. “He has just gotten more carries and therefore more yards the last few games.”
Thanks to his performance against Arkansas, Brown now leads the Bulldogs with an average of 5.2 yards per carry. Browning, Cooper or Tony Milton will back up Brown if Ware can’t play, said Richt, who didn’t name a frontrunner for that spot.