Georgia will have close to its full complement of tailbacks again for Saturday‚Äôs game against Auburn except for Richard Samuel, out the rest of the regular season with an ankle injury.
Georgia tailback Brandon Harton runs through the end zone after scoring a touchdown against New Mexico State on Saturday at Sanford Stadium.
Carlton Thomas is listed as the backup to starter Isaiah Crowell, but coach Mark Richt has indicated that Brandon Harton could make a push for the backup job after he rushed for 98 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries against New Mexico State
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre just going to have to play it out this week in practice real hard to just see who we think is best suited to play,‚Äù Richt said.
That‚Äôs the same message Harton heard Monday from running backs coach Bryan McClendon.
‚ÄúHe just said it will be a battle to see who gets the playing time,‚Äù Harton said. ‚ÄúHopefully I practice good enough this week to play.‚Äù
Crowell, Thomas and another tailback, Ken Malcome, are coming off one-game suspensions and are available for Saturday‚Äôs game against Auburn. Thomas has rushed for 200 yards on 44 carries with two touchdowns.
Harton missed just two assignments in the 63-16 win Saturday, he said, ‚Äúbut it was nothing terrible, something that we could correct.‚Äù
Thomas, a senior, has played in 23 games at Georgia. Harton, a sophomore and a former walk-on, has played in two, both nonconference.
Getting in an Southeastern Conference game ‚Äúwould be fantastic,” he said. “The first SEC game and then it being Auburn, that‚Äôs obviously a big rivalry. It would be good to get out there and help the team win.‚Äù
SEC staying with eight games
The SEC on Monday disputed that it would move to a nine-game conference schedule in 2012 after the addition of Missouri.
The conference will continue to play eight conference games and has not discussed a nine-game schedule, according to associate commissioner Charles Bloom.
South Carolina president Harris Pastides told the student newspaper The Daily Gamecock on Sunday that the addition of Missouri next year would mean league teams would play the additional SEC game.
That was news to Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity.
‚ÄúThere‚Äôs been no discussion among the ADs about expanding past an eight-game schedule,‚Äù McGarity said. ‚ÄúI‚Äôm not aware of any nine-game SEC schedule.‚Äù
McGarity said he did not know if Georgia would play Missouri next season in Athens or Columbia when it joins the SEC East.
McGarity also did not know whether Alabama or Ole Miss would come off Georgia‚Äôs 2012 schedule, something he said also has not been discussed yet. The expectation is that traditional rival Auburn would remain on the slate.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôve got a meeting coming up probably in a couple of weeks to discuss scheduling,‚Äù McGarity said. ‚ÄúI hope the traditional rivalries are maintained, but again there have not been any discussions formally about that.‚Äù
Another day game
Georgia‚Äôs won‚Äôt have a single night game in Sanford Stadium this season.
The Bulldogs‚Äô home finale on Nov. 19 game against Kentucky is set for a 12:21 p.m. kickoff. The game will be shown on the SEC Network. The latest home kickoff this year was 4:30 p.m. against South Carolina on Sept. 10. The Kentucky game will be the fourth this season with a kickoff between noon and 1 p.m.
The Auburn game is at 3:30 p.m. on CBS.
Jones the intimidator
For the second straight week, Georgia had a player named the SEC offensive lineman of the week.
Center Ben Jones got the honor a week after offensive tackle Cordy Glenn was selected. Jones graded out at a team-best 85 percent in the 63-16 win against New Mexico State and had five ‚Äúintimidation blocks,‚Äù in just two quarters.
What‚Äôs that? Jones said it‚Äôs ‚Äúa pin, directly on their back. That‚Äôs the best you can get.‚Äù
This and that
With an SEC East title on the line this week, Georgia is closing practice to the media on Wednesday. Tuesday and Wednesday practices are usually open for about 15 minutes ‚Ä¶ Receiver Malcolm Mitchell (hamstring) ‚Äúis set to play,‚Äù Richt reiterated on his radio show after watching Mitchell in Monday‚Äôs light practice. He won‚Äôt be full-speed today, but probably will practice fully Wednesday. ‚Ä¶ Saturday‚Äôs captains: Ben Jones, Glenn, defensive end Abry Jones and cornerback/returner Brandon Boykin.