Georgia football coach Mark Richt met with reporters a couple of hours before today’s afternoon practice, providing updates for the first time since last Saturday’s first preseason scrimmage.
Here are some quick hitters from that:
–Wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell’s availability for Clemson remains a big question after his arthroscopic knee surgery two weeks ago.
Richt didn’t get into it much when asked if there was a chance he’d be ready for the opener.
“I don’t’ know,” Richt said. “I’d just as soon not get into that.”
–Junior Collin Barber has taken the lead over senior walk-on Adam Erickson for the punting job.
“Collin’s the No. 1 guy right now, but they’re still competing in my mind,” Richt said. “They’re both competing for that job.”
Erickson overtook Barber for the job towards the end of last season and Richt indicated that Erickson is likely to remain the pooch punter on kicks pinning opponents inside the 10.
“Both of them have punted well,” Richt said of the punting competition. “When Collin hits his best ball, we’re talking 45 to 50 yards with some 5.0 hang times. He can really boom it. Erickson when he hits his best best ball, he’s more like a 45-yarder, 40 to 45 with 4.5 hang time. Those hang times as they correlate to the yardage that their kicking them is good. We can cover those kicks.”
The guy who can be most consistent ultimately will get the job, Richt said.
Marshall Morgan will handle kickoffs. Freshman William Ham from Macon “has got ability. He’s definitely our No. 2 kickoff guy and extra/point field goal.”
–While freshman Detric Bing-Dukes and walk-on Christian Payne moved to fullback from inside linebacker after Merritt Hall was forced to take a medical disqualification after another concussion, Quayvon Hicks remains an option at fullback.
“If need be, Quayvon can do it as well,” Richt said. “I don’t think we’re going to move Quayvon back to fullback right now anyway. But him being in there as a tight end, he can easily shift to a fullback position and know what to do. He’s maintained a lot of that knowledge of what the fullback position’s about. We think he can still play some fullback snaps without changing rooms and changing his coach.”
Richt indicated Bing-Dukes’ move was made because he has a chance to start or at least get more playing time at fullback than he would at inside linebacker.
–In the cornerback spot opposite Damian Swann, freshman Rico Johnson, junior college transfer Shattle Fenteng and junior Devin Bowman are getting reps there. As far as the star nickel back position, J.J. Green and freshman Malkom Parrish were the first names mentioned. Damian Swann remains an option there and Richt said “we’ll probably train (Quincy) Mauger there a little bit as well.”
Freshman Dominick Sanders, redshirt freshman Aaron Davis, senior Corey Moore and sophomore Quincy Mauger are the candidates for starting jobs.
“Just trying to find the best combination right now still.”
–Richt hopes to name a starting offensive line some time after Friday night’s scrimmage.
“I think there’s probably 8, 9 that can get in the game and compete SEC level football and play winning football for us,” he said.
That apparently includes not only guard/center Isaiah Wynn and tackle Dyshon Sims. Richt mentioned those freshmen.
“Not to say they’ll be starters but they’ve shown enough to make us think they can help us this year as well,” he said.
–And there was this on the defense: “Matter of fact, I thought yesterday evening was probably the best defensive practice of the camp. A lot of good pressure by the front seven and some good coverage throughout most of practice. I think the defense is making good progress right now.”
–Defensive lineman Chris Mayes could return for the Friday scrimmage. He has an undisclosed injury.