Notebook: Ealey will play Saturday

Georgia tailback Washaun Ealey expects to play Saturday against Florida despite sustaining a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee against Kentucky.

Georgia running back Washaun Ealey suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee last Saturday against Kentucky — a game where he rushed for a school-record five touchdowns. He said Tuesday that he will play in Saturday’s game against Florida.
David Tulis

"It’s really nothing," Ealey said Tuesday night. "It’s basically just a bruise."

The injury came in the fourth quarter of Georgia’s 44-31 win, a game where the sophomore set a school record with five rushing touchdowns and ran for 157 yards.

Ealey, who leads Georgia with 526 rushing yards, said his MCL sprain was considered mild.

"It’s 100 percent," Ealey said. "I’ve been running on it. Just trying to get it from being stiff and to get it back to its strength."

Ealey was held out of some drills and the portion of practice when Georgia’s No. 1 offense went up against its No. 1 defense in the Bulldogs’ full-pads practice Tuesday, but he took part in most of the work against the scout team.

"More of a precautionary measure," offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. "He got a little stiff after the game. He carried it 28 times and it got a little sore on him like when anybody carries it 28 times. He’ll be good to go."

Ealey left the Kentucky game in the middle of the fourth quarter after injuring the knee, but returned to make a 41-yard run. He said he had no doubt he’ll play Saturday.

"I know I will be playing," Ealey said.

Caleb King, who has started two games this season and rushed for 100 yards against Colorado, is returning from a two-game suspension following his arrest for failing to appear in a Walton County court on a speeding ticket.

Coach Mark Richt expects the duo to share carries against Florida.

"I still feel like if you have two guys who know what they are doing, they are going to run hard, they are going to be physical and pass protect like they are supposed to, then you play them, so I’m sure we’ll split it up," Richt said.

Suspensions and injuries have meant the tandem has played in the same game only three times this season, but Bobo likes having more options.

"It’s a good problem to have," he said. "You’ve got competition there at that position and a guy gets a little banged up there at that position last week, certain times, and you’ve got to have more than one back. A guy’s got to be ready to go. Caleb is rested up. I think he’s itching to get back out there and pick up where he left off."

Run defense sits atop SEC

After South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore rushed for 182 yards against Georgia in the second game of the season, few would have figured the Bulldogs would be lead the Southeastern Conference in rushing defense.

The Bulldogs have jumped from 45th in the nation in rushing defense to 12th after holding Tennessee to nine yards, Vanderbilt to 58 and Kentucky to 108.

Georgia is allowing just 99.3 yards per game.

"It means a lot," inside linebacker Akeem Dent said. "It says the guys are going out, running around and playing football. To be the No. 1 rush defense in the league, that means the front seven is really doing the job and the cornerbacks are holding their man."

Dent, who is second in the SEC in tackles with 77, just laughed when asked if he wishes he could get another shot at Lattimore.

"That game’s in the past now," he said. "I’m moving forward."

From one center to another

Florida center Mike Pouncey had his share of struggles earlier this season with the shotgun snap, something even a Bulldog can empathize with.

"I know exactly how he feels," Georgia center Ben Jones said. "It happens sometimes at practice. I’m like, ‘Ooh, I just hope it doesn’t happen to me in a game.’ I know how it goes. You just have to move on. I know I’ve messed up snaps before in a game."

This and that

The on-air talent for Georgia’s game Nov. 6 against Idaho State that will be televised on WSB-TV will be Bob Neal (play-by-play), former Bulldog Daryll "DJ" Jones (color) and Zach Klein (sideline reporter). Georgia reports that fewer than 400 tickets left for that game. … Cornerback Branden Smith (concussion) practiced in a non-contact jersey Tuesday, but is expected to progress to contact today with hopes of playing Saturday.

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