“I would say he is probable for the Auburn game,” Richt said Sunday. “I don’t think we’ll see him this week, but it’s nothing serious as far as (needing) any type of surgery or being very long-term situation.”
Shockley suffered a mild-to-moderate sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee early in Georgia’s 23-20 win over Arkansas on Saturday. The good news for Shockley is that the Bulldogs have an open date following the Florida game, allowing him an extra week to heal before the Nov. 12 game against Auburn. The bad news is he’ll miss his only chance to start in the World’s Largest Cocktail Party.
“He said this week is going to be tough on him,” Richt said. “It’s one of those games that you want to be a part of. It’s part of the reason you come to Georgia, to play in that game, but he’s not going to get to. I know it’s going to hurt him.”
Georgia takes on the No. 16 Gators (5-2, 3-2 SEC) Saturday in Alltel Stadium. The No. 4 Bulldogs (7-0, 5-0) can clinch the SEC’s Eastern Division and a spot in the conference championship game with a victory, but they’ll have to do it with backup quarter Joe Tereshinski at the controls.
While Shockley is the second in the SEC in total offense (250.4 yards per game) and first in pass efficiency, Tereshinski has thrown 23 passes in his collegiate career, completing 13 of them for 207 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.
Tereshinski was 5-of-9 against the Razorbacks for 91 yards and one interception. None of the 12 drives he led after replacing Shockley included more than five plays. He described the outing as “OK.”
“I did some things well, and there were drives I felt I caused to end, too,” he said. “The more film I watch, the more comfortable I’ll be. This week, I think it’ll soak in a little more.”
The Bulldogs won’t change their offensive system to accommodate Tereshinski. The redshirt junior can run the entire offense, except for perhaps some of the designed quarterback runs that Shockley had, Richt said.
“That’s probably Joe’s strength, being able to run a system,” Richt said. “He really does have an awful lot of reps in practice and meetings. Everything we have been doing is certainly not too hard for him to comprehend or anything like that. I think what’s going to be important is how everybody plays around him.”
Wide receiver Sean Bailey said the rest of the offensive players will have to step up their games to help Tereshinski.
“If D.J. is not able to go, we’re 100 percent confident in Joe T,” Bailey said. “He’s been around here for a lot of big ball games. He’s learned from D.J. Shockley and David Greene. The stage is set for him, and he’s prepared.”
The Gators will be relieved to see Tereshinski if for no other reason than they hold Shockley in very high regard.
“He’s as fine a quarterback as there is in the country at this point,” Meyer said. “You watch the way he’s improved throwing the ball, and then there’s the threat of him running the ball. I haven’t studied (Texas’) Vince Young and I haven’t studied (Missouri’s) Brad Smith, but the way this guy throws the ball coupled with his running threat makes him as fine a quarterback as there is in the country.”
The Bulldogs insist they aren’t sunk without him, though.
“Here’s the whole thing about us,” Richt said, “we’re not a team that’s got a bunch of superstars. We’ve got a bunch of guys who are fighting like mad together, and hopefully, as a unit, we’ll be good enough to win. That’s the mentality these guys have had from the get-go. We’re not a one-man show.”