Isaiah and Isaiah isn’t the name of a burgeoning law firm.
It is the first name of two freshmen that look like they will make an impact for the Georgia football team this season.
Through the first six days of preseason practices, wide receiver/punt returner Isaiah McKenzie and offensive guard Isaiah Wynn have impressed teammates and coaches.
The 6-foot-2, 283-pound Wynn is a contender for a starting spot at left guard.
At least that’s how senior Kolton Houston views it.
“If he doesn’t start, he’s definitely going to play a lot,” Houston said of the St. Petersburg, Fla. product. “He’s one of the most natural offensive lineman that I’ve ever seen, especially for a freshman. He’s naturally gifted.”
Said quarterback Hutson Mason: “He’s rotated in there a lot.”
That coincides with Houston working strictly at right and left tackle the past two days, he said. Houston was considered a candidate to start at left guard.
Greg Pyke is the leading candidate to start at right guard. Brandon Kublanow also is pushing for playing time at guard.
Coach Mark Richt said Wynn fundamentally “has a lot of good stuff and he’s a smart, conscientious kid,” but he said rookies tend to hit a wall during camp.
“We’ve got to see if he’s mature enough to push through that time of camp,” Richt said.
Center David Andrews said he was wowed by Wynn the first time he saw him in summer drills.
“The kid’s a baller, he’s a ballplayer,” Andrews said. “He doesn’t have a good clue what’s going on yet. It makes it difficult at times getting everyone on the same page. But we’re day six into camp. …The kid has a lot of raw talent.”
The 5-foot-8, 164-pound McKenzie caught the eye of defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt on Tuesday.
“We threw a ball on the flat and he made a couple of guys miss,” Mason said. “It was real nice, it was smooth. Coach Pruitt goes: `Oh, my Gawd!’ A redneck-like twang. He was talking about Isaiah. That was pretty funny. He’s kind of one of those guys you throw him the ball and let him do his own thing.”
Richt scaling back injury info
Georgia has several players missing or limited from practice this preseason due to injuries.
That’s hardly out of the ordinary considering the Bulldogs wrapped up their sixth and seventh preseason practice on Wednesday.
Inside linebacker Ramik Wilson and junior college transfer cornerback Shattle Fenteng missed another day of practice. Both were on hand watching, but their specific injuries have not been disclosed. Fenteng is believed to have an arm or shoulder injury.
In the past two seasons and this spring, Georgia issued injury reports daily from director of sports medicine Ron Courson listing a player’s injury and if the player practiced or was limited.
Not anymore. At least for now.
Coach Mark Richt, meeting with the media for the first time since practices started, was asked about Wilson.
“He’s not practicing, but he’ll be OK pretty soon,” Richt said.
When asked, Richt did say he thought that Wilson would be fine to play for the Aug. 30 opener against Clemson.
The previous injury list was more information than many programs offer to reporters.
“We’re done doing that,” Richt said of disclosing injuries.
Asked why that is, Richt said: “Because we don’t want to tell the whole world what’s going on,” he said.
Georgia players who were limited Wednesday: outside linebacker Leonard Floyd and wide receivers Chris Conley and Justin Scott –Wesley (coming off knee surgery).
Tight end Jordan Davis also wasn’t spotted during the media viewing period.
Mason gets in day of rest for arm
Mason explained why he didn’t throw any passes at practice on Monday.
He was dealing with a sore arm.
“I took the day off for throwing just to rest my arm,” he said. “Some guys can throw all day like Faton (Bauta) can. For me, I take a little bit more reps than most guys. I’m probably throwing 100-and-something balls a day. Five straight days of throwing is a lot.”
Mason said he felt “great” when he resumed throwing on Tuesday.
“It’s kind of good to just take that day off and let it rest,” Mason said. “You feel more zip on the balls.”
Mason said there is no set days off going forward from throwing, but he could do it again if his arm feels tired.
Passing game not crisp
Georgia hasn’t been “hitting on all cylinders,” in the passing game so far this preseason, Richt said.
“We’re not throwing and catching with total precision,” he said. “We’ll see flashes of it being done exactly right, but then you’ll see a ball go stray or a route go not just right.”
Richt said that includes the veteran players. Georgia has seniors in Chris Conley and Michael Bennett.
“You’ve got some new guys out there, we’ve got a few guys knocked up and banged up,”
Mason said. “Working on some timing with the young guys. That’s the issue.”
Mason said he expects Jonathan Rumph will get more of a chance to make plays if Malcolm Mitchell is out for the Clemson opener. Richt said that Blake Tibbs and walk-on Michael Erdman are also “coming along.” He also mentioned Reggie Davis and walk-on Kenny Towns. Richt said freshman Shakenneth Williams “will be able to get in there and spell a little bit.”
This and that
McKenzie is among those competing to be the punt returner. “He’s one of the prominent guys,” Richt said. “ Damian Swann and Chris Conley are among others also competing for the spot. …Andrews said Georgia’s first two-a-day practice on Wednesday was a true two-a-day because of what wasn’t part of it. “This is the first time we haven’t done like a special teams practice,” Andrews said. “This is two team practices.” …Hunter Long and Josh Cardiello are competing for the No. 2 center spot, Andrews said. Richt called it a “battle” and also mentioned Wynn as a factor there.