Florida’s Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey have a rare combination of speed and elusiveness not normally seen in the same backfield.
So Georgia’s defensive preparation has centered on trying to contain the Gators’ running back duo.
“It’s not often you see two backs like that,” Georgia inside linebacker Michael Gilliard said. “Those two guys have blazing speed. I heard one of those guys (Demps) is almost the fastest in the country. Those guys have amazing speed, so you’ve got to respect that. You’ve got to take proper angles with those guys. You’ve got to emphasize running to the ball and wrapping up to make sure those guys are down on the ground.”
Demps, a senior, has real sprinter speed and won the 60-meter dash championship at the NCAA National Indoor Track and Field Meet last year. He has a personal-best time of 9.96 seconds in the 100 and ran a school-record 6.53 seconds to win the indoor 60 last year. Demps was disqualified out of the 100 at the 2011 Southeastern Conference championships last spring at Georgia’s Spec Towns Track.
“Their two running backs, Rainey and Demps, are extremely fast,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “I’d have to go back to when I was at Florida State when I coached Warrick Dunn. They are Warrick Dunn-like and you’ve got two of them in the backfield instead of just one. They are very, very talented receivers coming out of the backfield. They get scary mismatches if you try to lock up in any kind of man coverage with linebackers with those guys. It’s just not a very wise thing to do.”
Rainey is a fifth-year senior who has run for 500 yards and two touchdowns this season. Demps has been slowed by injury, but has 324 yards and four touchdowns. Both are expected to play against Georgia .
“It’s going to be kind of an exciting game to try to chase them down,” Georgia defensive end Abry Jones said. “We’re pretty much going to try to box them in. That’s going to be the hardest part of the job. With their speed and elusiveness, they’re not going to stay in one spot for very long. If we can get to the ball really fast and kind of corral around them, and kind of make their options of getting away really limited, we’ll do a pretty good job.”
MITCHELL’S STATUS STILL UNCERTAIN: Richt confirmed on Tuesday that Malcolm Mitchell left Monday’s practice early but turned a little testy when asked about it.
“Well, you tell me, you guys watched it, didn’t you, and everybody’s writing about it,” Richt said. “Yeah, he didn’t do well (Monday). He practiced for about five minutes maybe.”
He was not seen during the two practice periods the media were allowed to watch on Tuesday. Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo confirmed after practice that Mitchell did not work out.
Mitchell, Georgia’s leading receiver, injured the hamstring against Tennessee and did not play against Vanderbilt. His target date to return was supposed to be against Florida. Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray was upbeat about Mitchell’s prospects of returning for Saturday’s game.
“I talked to him and he just said he felt a little tight and he just didn’t want to push it anymore,” Murray said. “He wants to make sure he doesn’t do anything to damage (it). He wants to play Saturday extremely badly.”
Mitchell has a team-high 25 catches for 438 yards and three touchdowns.
WOOTEN MIGHT REDSHIRT: Rantavious Wooten has missed the last four games with a concussion and Richt is considering a medical redshirt for the junior receiver.
“I suppose Wooten could be redshirted at this point,” Richt said. “We’ve been hoping that things would turn. He’s still on the injury report. I ask every day how he’s doing. I’m asking about symptoms. When you hear ‘not much of a change’ long enough, you realize that this thing was a little more serious than we thought. It’s still week-to-week thought in my mind.”
Wooten played against Boise State, South Carolina and Coastal Carolina and has two catches for 39 yards and a touchdown.
THIS AND THAT: Linebacker Chase Vasser pronounced himself fit after practicing in a noncontact jersey on Monday. Vasser would not describe his injury, but he said the noncontact jersey was a precaution. “I’m healthy, that’s all I’m going to say,” Vasser said. … Georgia is preparing to face as many as three quarterbacks on Saturday. Florida starter John Brantley has been out with an injured ankle, but is expected to be available. Backups Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett have also played in Brantley’s place. … Inside linebacker Alec Ogletree said he feels healthy and ready to play on Saturday after missing the last six games with a broken foot.