Georgia closed out the camp portion of its preseason Saturday shorthanded at tailback due to players nursing injuries, but running backs coach Bryan McClendon was upbeat that Richard Samuel and Isaiah Crowell will practice this coming week.
Crowell, a freshman, is dealing with a sore groin and Samuel, a junior, did not practice due to a strained left quadriceps muscle.
"Right now, it’s just more that you don’t want those guys to practice while they’re banged up," McClendon said after Saturday morning’s practice and hours before a scheduled evening workout. "If we had to play tomorrow, I’d be confident both of those guys could go out and do a good job. But you don’t want to practice them when they’re banged up because you know they’re going to have to play banged up."
Georgia on Saturday morning was down to one scholarship tailback that will be available for the Boise State opener on Sept. 3.
Crowell was not on the field during the early portion of practice open to the media, but McClendon said that he joined his teammates later.
"Isaiah came back after the individual period and finished up everything with us," McClendon said. "He did team conditioning with us. Everything’s fine."
Redshirt freshman Ken Malcome remained out on Saturday. Coach Mark Richt said Friday that Malcome "is not feeling good." Even tailback Wes Van Dyk, one of eight walk-ons along with Brandon Harton awarded scholarships Thursday night, was out and riding a stationary bike.
The injured players will have less time to play catch-up when classes start Monday.
"The fortunate thing is we’re not in school yet, so we’re able to have walk-throughs and extra meeting time to catch up when they miss," offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. "If they start missing practice when school starts, then it will be an area of concern (due to the 20-hour rule)."
Harton and Carlton Thomas, who is suspended for the Boise State game, both practiced Saturday. Harton missed practice time earlier in the week with a concussion.
"In the scrimmage the other day, (Thomas) probably had more energy and excitement than anybody," Bobo said. "Just really did a great job of encouraging and busting his tail out there."
O-line starters dominant at times
Georgia doesn’t have experienced depth behind its starters on the offensive line, but the first five look good in both run and pass blocking, Bobo said.
"They’ve been dominant at both at times, but we still can be more consistent overall in being a dominating line," Bobo said. "I think that group has a chance to be that, but we’ve got to see how we grow."
The starting line consists of left tackle Cordy Glenn, left guard Kenarious Gates, center Ben Jones, right guard Chris Burnette and right tackle Justin Anderson.
"I like what I see with the first group, as far as playing together as a group," offensive line coach Will Friend said. "They’ve done a good job with executing. They’ve got to keep that up.
Herrera dealing with shoulder issue
Freshman inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera’s right arm was in a sling on Saturday. Georgia said he has a shoulder contusion and is day to day.
"He dinged his shoulder yesterday," inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti said. "I think he’s OK, though."
Herrera is backing up Alec Ogletree at a position lacking in depth. He had seven tackles and a 65-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown in Wednesday’s scrimmage.
Olivadotti said freshman Ramik Wilson is working at both inside and outside linebacker.
"He’s got a little bit of pass rush to him," Olivadotti said. "He can be a downhill player as an inside linebacker and we like that about him."
Grind lets up a little
After going 10 straight days that included 12 practices, Georgia finally gets an off day today.
"It’s a struggle mentally," Bobo said. "That’s what coach (Richt) has been talking about having mental toughness and training your mind to keep going. These guys had a hard summer and hard offseason. I was really pleased. After yesterday, which was a physical practice, to come out today and really have a lot of energy. They were focused and moving around."
Bobo said he was the one dragging Saturday morning, but his players’ energy "got me going."
The team returns to practice Monday and then will have Tuesday off before resuming workouts Wednesday.
This and that
With Jakar Hamilton still out with a hamstring injury, Shawn Williams "is getting the lion’s share of the work" at strong safety, secondary coach Scott Lakatos said. "We feel really confident with Shawn. He’s got a lot better. He’s doing his job. He’s knowledgable. He communicates well on the field and he’s actually helped some of the younger guys develop, too." … Bobo named a receiver first when asked about offensive players that have stood out to him: "Marlon Brown would probably be the No. 1 guy. I’ve just been really, really pleased with how he’s played. He’s making a ton of catches over the middle, outside."