With Georgia’s football team taking a brief break from the practice field -– off Sunday and Monday -– let’s rewind Week 2 of preseason camp. Here are 10 things worth noticing and noting:
1. Richard Samuel moved to the forefront, at least for now, of the race for the starting tailback job Sept. 5 at Oklahoma State.
2. But Carlton Thomas –- 5-foot-7, 178 pounds — continued to serve notice that he will not be overlooked in the tailback mix.
3. Mark Richt on Thomas: “He is tough. He has really got good hands. I think he has a good feel for our blocking schemes. He’s got great balance. He understands our pass protections and will throw that 100-and-however-many-pound-pound body at these guys the best he can. We know he’ll compete. We like him a lot.”
4. After a 2008 season wrecked by injuries, Rod Battle is happy and healthy. His six sacks in the week’s two scrimmages, albeit against the No. 2 offensive line, suggest he could make a difference.
5. Marcus Washington has effectively moved from linebacker to defensive end, at least for now.
6. After expressing apprehension about Drew Butler’s inconsistency earlier this summer, Richt now feels a lot better about the punter. “I worked real hard this offseason, and I think so far this camp I’ve showed Coach Richt I’ve become more consistent,” Butler said. “I hope I can put his worries a little bit at ease, and, you know, he can worry about the bigger things.” See full story here.
7. You get the feeling that, like the past three years, No. 7 is going to be a significant player for the Dogs this season. Freshman tight end Orson Charles is wearing Matthew Stafford’s old number. If you missed it, more on Charles here.
8. Tough timing for Caleb King, temporarily benched from the tailback competition with a strained hamstring, and safety Quintin Banks, out almost all of last season with two injuries to his left knee and now out for at least three weeks with an injury to his right knee.
9. As expected, highly touted freshman cornerback Branden Smith is commanding attention. “He is getting a ton of reps — special teams, defense,” Richt said. “He is competing; he is learning; he has made some good plays, made some rookie plays. He’s getting a ton of work. And we expect him to play.” Richt said Smith is getting work at wide corner, as well as at punt returner and kickoff returner.
10. Another good week for Jeff Owens and Trinton Sturdivant, whose returns from knee injuries are huuuuuge.