5 Fall Camp Questions:Can the injured impact?

Thomas Brown

ATHENS – In a week-long series Dean Legge takes a look at the top five questions going into fall camp. Today: How will Dawgs returning from injury impact the team?

Thomas Brown, Sean Bailey, Demiko Goodman, Antavious Coates and T.J. Gartrell – all of them return to the field this season after all or at least part of last season off. Will this group impact the Bulldogs this season? If so, how much?


Sean Bailey - RS Senior - Wide Receiver

Sure, Sean Bailey got a good look at practice this spring, but returning to the real deal – games – is a little bit different. No matter that, Bailey has fought his way through an injury to return to the starting spot. He played well at the beginning and end of the 2005 season, but was disappointing during the middle.

Now Bailey, in his final season at Georgia, will have 12 more games to live up to the substantial hype that goes along with being a five-star recruit coming out of his school. His injury, which he suffered after the SEC Championship Game in 2005, was unfair – as all injuries are – because of the way that Bailey was coming along. Georgia, with limited experience at wide receiver, missed Bailey last year. This year, with the help of seniors Mikey Henderson, A.J. Bryant and T.J. Gartrell, Bailey can help return leadership to the wide receiver spot for the Dawgs.


Demiko Goodman - RS Junior - Wide Receiver

Demiko Goodman was the most impressive newcomer in the middle of Georgia's difficult October last season. But, like Bailey, Goodman's good fortune turned bad as he suffered an injury during the Bulldogs' upset loss at Kentucky. He had captured the one of the two starting receiver spots before that game.

Goodman's 13 catches for 187 yards before he was hurt elevated him as a rising star at a position at Georgia which was struggling at the time. It also leveled criticism of Goodman by yours truly. Goodman was no longer a fish out of water; a track star playing football – he understood and grasped the receiver spot.


Antavious Coates - RS Sophomore - Strong Safety

Antavious Coates is still an unknown at Georgia. A fine-looking athlete who will have to earn his way onto the football field this fall with outstanding special teams play, Coates has been unfairly hit by the ACL bug. To have one ACL in a career – that's not crazy – but to have two – that is not right. Add another one and you start to wonder if he's cursed. Can Coates make an impact this fall? Yes, but it probably will be later in the year, or on special teams. Next year is the time when Coates could be depended on even more.


Thomas Brown - Senior - Running Back

Thomas Brown was the most consistent running back Georgia had for nearly three years. Then, after beating out Kregg Lumpkin and Danny Ware for the starting job at the start of 2006, Brown started to struggle. He was hitting defenders instead of avoiding them. His production was down and Lumpkin jumped in front of him in the rotation.

Then Brown, thanks to a stellar effort against Tennessee which included a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, won the starting job in time for the Vanderbilt game. Midway through the contest, Brown was taken off the field after suffering an ACL during a kickoff return.

Brown has fully recovered and will be ready for full impact on Saturday. That's amazing. Think about the work he needed to get done just to play this fall. Brown is a legit candidate to start at running back, but keeping Knowshon Moreno and Lumpkin out of that spot will be a challenge. If, somehow, Brown starts a game it would speak volumes about his ability to work, and his mental toughness, too.

Brown and Bailey will have the most impact of those returning. Bailey is a starter and will get the ball delivered to him quite often this fall. Look for Brown to, once again, return kickoffs and play many downs at running back. Brown will be needed in pass protection. If Brown is as healthy as he looks he's not going to miss a beat. Still, coming back at the same strength would be a near-Herculean feat. Then again we are talking about Thomas Brown.

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