Georgia could be without several frontline defensive players and some backups for its second spring scrimmage Saturday.
The Bulldogs have been hit hard by injuries at inside linebacker and safety.
Inside linebackers Christian Robinson (concussion) and Alec Ogletree (strained groin) did not practice Thursday.
Jakar Hamilton (concussion) joined Bacarri Rambo (sprained MCL) and Marc Deas (hamstring) on the safety injury list.
Coaches made a move to bolster the position this week, moving cornerback Sanders Commings to free safety. The only other healthy scholarship safety in practice Thursday was Shawn Williams.
"The safety position is pretty low as far as depth," said Deas.
So is inside linebacker.
Backup inside linebacker Mike Gilliard (sprained knee) was in a non-contact jersey.
That leaves Richard Samuel and Brandon Burrows as the only two healthy players at the spot. Samuel just returned from a rib injury.
Georgia says Robinson and Hamilton are day-to-day, and Ogletree is out "indefinitely."
"It might be a flag football game sometimes," starting cornerback Brandon Boykin joked of the second scrimmage.
Burrows, a redshirt freshman, made the calls on defense since Robinson was sidelined, outside linebacker Cornelius Washington said.
Tailback Washaun Ealey (strained hamstring) again did not practice and looks like he will miss his second straight week. Deas expects to return to the secondary next week.
Fullback Bruce Figgins (neck) returned Thursday, but receiver Israel Troupe (shoulder) again was non-contact.
Coaches weren’t available to the media Thursday, but despite the defensive injuries, coach Mark Richt said in a statement: "The defense won today, but I thought it was still a pretty spirited practice from both sides. The guys are starting to get tired out there with this being the 10th practice. But hopefully they will get revived on Friday and then be ready for the scrimmage on Saturday."
Commings’ move could go beyond the spring
Commings’ move to safety helps a position thin because of injuries, but it just might become permanent anyway.
"I honestly don’t know, but I think it might be," Boykin said.
Commings started nine games at cornerback last season.
"I’m excited about it," said Commings, a redshirt junior."Whatever I have to do to help the team out."
Commings, listed at 6-foot-2 and 217 pounds, said coaches told him the move was made "to get the best athletes on the field."
Commings tied for the team lead with three interceptions last season.
"They see I have great ball skills and I can hawk the ball pretty well," Commings said. "They’ll try me at safety and see how I handle that. If it doesn’t work out, I can just go back to corner."
Secondary coach Scott Lakatos earlier this spring left the door open for a Commings move to safety.
Rambo is entrenched as a starter. Hamilton and Williams were competing to start at the other safety spot.
"We talked about the move before the spring even started," Commings said.
He played safety early in his Bulldogs’ career.
"For somebody just getting back there this spring, he looks pretty fluid," Boykin said. "He’s going hard and is able to keep up with the defense and not mess up or anything like that. He’s going to learn what to do throughout this offseason. … I think he’ll definitely be ready for Boise State if that’s what he’s going to have to play."
Green accepts invite to NFL draft in N.Y.
Add former Georgia receiver A.J. Green to the top prospects heading to New York for the NFL Draft on April 28 despite the league lockout.
"A.J. is going to the draft and will be there Thursday night," his agent, Ben Dogra, said by text. "It’s all good and very exciting for A.J. and his family."
Green is projected by many draft analysts as the first receiver that will be taken and a likely top-five overall pick.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported last week that the NFLPA is leaving the decision of whether to attend the draft to the prospects.
Green is the 10th player to accept an invitation to the draft, according to NFL.com.
The others: UCLA linebacker Akeem Ayers, Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn, Alabama receiver Julio Jones, Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan, Illinois defensive tackle Corey Liuget, Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller, LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson, USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith and Virginia Tech running back Ryan Williams.
This and that
The G-Day spring game April 16 will not only be on TV on CSS, but available for broadcast on Georgia’s radio network. The TV broadcast will air live online at ESPN3.com for subscribers outside the CSS region.
… Boykin said that sophomore cornerback Derek Owens "has gotten a lot better from a technique standpoint and knowing what to do."