The senior had three sacks Saturday, and currently has the starting spot opposite Justin Houston firmly in hand.
Redshirt sophomore Cornelius Washington is Gamble’s chief competition for the starting spot.
“You know, I’m going to leave that up to coach (Todd) Grantham to decide, but I don’t think there’s any question that both those guys will play a lot,” Richt said. “But (Darryl has probably been the most productive outside linebacker in camp, just from my vantage point. Is he doing it exactly the way coach Grantham wants? I don’t know.”
Many had pegged Washington as the starter early in camp because of his athletic ability and prototypical look and size. But Gamble’s experience has helped close the gap.
“Well, he’s definitely practicing hard,” Richt said. “He’s practicing hard. When it’s times to get in the competitive drills, these 11-on-11 scrimmages, he’s turning it up a notch. He’s been impressive. I think he’s enjoying it. He gets an opportunity as an outside linebacker to blitz, get matched up on running backs, which has been a mismatch because he’s a bigger man. He also gets a chance to put his hand in the ground in our nickel package and use his quickness against those tackles.”
Smith back on the field
After missing most of fall camp because of “academic issues,” cornerback Branden Smith participated in Saturday’s scrimmage.
Smith, who had two tackles, returned to practice Friday after being ruled as eligible to return to the team.
Despite the missed time, there weren’t any signs of rust.
“He missed a full week, and we conditioned through that week,” Boykin said. “He was able to keep his breath after missing time like that. I think he did a pretty good job.”