Athens — Washaun Ealey may or may not earn immediate playing time at tailback for Georgia. But the highly regarded freshman apparently isn’t going to let a little elbow injury get in the way.
So there he was Monday afternoon, back as a full participant in practice two days after being sidelined with a hyper-extended right elbow.
“It’s a little sore, a little tender, but he wants to compete, and that’s good,” Mark Richt said. “And he got hit a couple of times, and it didn’t look like he came back crying or anything like that. So that was good.”
Ealey missed most of Saturday’s and Monday morning’s practices, but he shed the green non-contact jersey for Monday afternoon’s session. He practiced while wearing a small elbow brace designed to prevent another hyper-extension.
As I’ve mentioned before, all but the first three or four periods of practice – out of 19 periods in each of Monday’s sessions, for example – are closed to the media. So Richt typically provides a synopsis of what happened on the practice field to reporters at day’s end. With Monday being the first day in full pads and the first day of two-a-days, I thought you might like to hear (read) the coach’s account:
“This morning, we scrimmaged a little bit of our inside drill. We also did the 3-on-3 drill. And we went goal line live. It was a good competitive time. Offense won our 3-on-3 drill. Defense won inside drill by a nose; it was actually an 8-8 tie and we went ahead and went 1 [No. 1 offense] vs. 1 [No. 1 defense] for one play to see who could win the tiebreaker and the defense won that. And goal line, defense dominated that, 7-2.
“This afternoon, defense had a couple of stops on our 1-minute drill, trying to run it down field and get in field-goal range. The 2’s had a chance to kick it and missed it. The 1’s were in field-goal range and threw a pick.
“A lot of balls are being broken up by D-ends, D-tackles, linebackers, DB’s. Everybody is getting in the act. I think we had 75 pass breakups in the first six practices, which is a pretty large number, and a good many picks. We have been catching the ball better [defensively]. . . . Darryl Gamble had another interception today. Pretty common.
“And this morning the defense actually had no penalties in the competitive drills, which was outstanding. I think the offense only had one, and that was good, too.”
Richt has mentioned interceptions after several practices, as he did again Monday (see above). Which has led to the logical question from several of you here: Does this mean the quarterbacks are making too many bad throws?
Richt last week said so many balls are thrown in a typical practice that a few interceptions don’t necessarily mean the quarterbacks had a bad day. And Monday he said that “a great majority” of the interceptions have come with the No. 2 offense playing against the No. 1 defense.
“When you’ve got a veteran D-line like we have and throw a couple true freshmen in there, it’s hard to protect like you’d like them to,” he said. “But it’s still too many.”
There were a few other injury issues on Monday, but all apparently turned out inconsequential. Freshman receiver Marlon Brown has a possible chipped bone in a finger, so no passes were thrown to him. But “probably by Wednesday we’ll be throwing balls at him,” Richt said. . . . After participating fully in the morning session, defensive end Demarcus Dobbs was held out of some of the afternoon practice as a precaution. “Dobbs had the foot injury [in the spring], and just the volume of having a lot of reps, we tried to give him more of a one-a-day today,” Richt said.
If you missed it, we’ve started a series of stories — one per week through August — looking at how the Dogs are addressing some of the major deficiencies of last year’s team. We started with a look at the need for more pressure from the defensive ends. On deck: the need for the defense to create more turnovers.
Last thing. Richt said Georgia will have its first 11-on-11 scrimmage Wednesday, after which there may well be some adjustments to the depth chart, including at tailback.