The Bulldogs had their heftiest contingent of players in green, non-contact jerseys of the spring during Thursday’s practice, with several big names likely to miss Saturday’s G-Day game.
Tailback Caleb King has missed the past four practices, and head coach Mark Richt confirmed Thursday that he would not play in Saturday’s spring game.
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said he talked to Georgia’s training staff Thursday and was told that King’s knee injury was not severe and nothing that should cause a long-term problem.
“I talked to (trainer) Ron Courson about that and he thinks he’s going to be fine,” Bobo said. “It’s just an issue of some swelling and more precautionary for now.”
Meanwhile, fans aren’t likely to get their first glimpse of last year’s starting running back at his new position on Saturday either. Richard Samuel, who moved from running back to inside linebacker this spring, spent Thursday’s practice session on the sideline, and Richt said Samuel was questionable for Saturday.
Still, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said Samuel remains in the plans for this fall.
“We’re working to progress Richard Samuel, because he does show up as far as his ability to run and chase and we’re trying to work with him to see if we can find a role for him as we move forward,” Grantham said.
Wide receiver Israel Troupe won’t be ready for G-Day either after suffering a concussion last week, but fellow receiver Marlon Brown did make a return to the practice field on Thursday, ditching his green jersey for the first time in weeks. That’s good news for Georgia’s offense, particularly given the progress Brown appears to have made despite the injury.
“When he was out there, we were definitely pleased with what we saw,” Bobo said. “The last couple days he’s been out there able to run routes, even though he’s been in a green jersey. Marlon’s coming along. He’s smoothing out his ability to run routes, get in and out of cuts. He just looks more fluid.”
Receivers benefit from new D
It’s not easy to find ways for A.J. Green to improve his game. The two-time All-SEC receiver has managed to make strides this spring, however, and his position coach says a good bit of that credit can go to new defensive backs coach Scott Lakatos.
“Understanding what the defense is doing, you can’t study that enough,” receivers coach Tony Ball said of Green’s growth. “And especially with all the things he’s seeing right now. The new defensive staff is showing him a lot of variations of coverages and coverage techniques. We’re all really having to learn and grow because of that.”
Ball said the new-look defense has forced the entire offense to rethink some of their fundamentals, and that’s a good thing.
“It forces us as coaches to look at what we’re doing and tweak what we’re doing from a technique perspective, and it forces players to get better at attacking what they see,” Ball said. “It has helped us all, and you expect that when you have change.”
Welcome back, Bruce
Sitting out all of last season with a medical redshirt, tight end Bruce Figgins couldn’t do much other than help his teammates. In his coach’s eyes, however, that was no small achievement.
“I’ve been very proud of him,” tight ends coach John Lilly said. “Even last year when he redshirted, he would stay after practice and try to help Orson (Charles) and Arthur Lynch. He helped them a tremendous amount.”
Now that Figgins is healthy once again, Lilly said the junior from Columbus is showing he’s ready to make the same kinds of strides he aided his younger teammates in making a year ago.
“He’s in a position where he’s got another light in his eye because now he’s back out there,” Lilly said. “Last year was a difficult year for him, but he’s ready to go back at it again. He’s performed really well this spring in terms of his focus and his enthusiasm about things, and if he can continue that, there’s definitely a place for him in the fall.”