Athens – Concern swirled around Bulldog Nation for a couple of hours last night about center Ben Jones‘ practice-field injury. But before worst-case fears got out of control, associate AD Claude Felton walked into the media workroom around 9:45 p.m. to inform three weary scribes of the diagnosis and prognosis:
Sprained left ankle.
And as soon as word got out, Bulldog Nation exhaled.
As you know, Georgia needs its offensive line, enhanced by the experience gained last year and the return of left tackle Trinton Sturdivant, to be a pillar of the team. A more serious injury to Jones would have been a big blow.
A couple of other things:
– Might surprise you that Georgia, according to Mark Richt, still plans to use apparent No. 2 quarterback Logan Gray as punt returner on kicks inside the 10-yard line. Well, punt returner is a misnomer, because those punts aren’t generally returned. Gray’s job is to fair-catch them or let them roll.
“It’s not a high-risk job back there,” Richt said. “Rarely do those kicks get returned. It’d have to be shanked where he could get up on it and get it quick. Most of the times they’re trying to pooch it. It’s high; it’s usually a fair catch or a let-it-roll. It’s hardly ever a return back there. Someone could drill him, I’m sure, but again if he’s catching it, he’s probably waving for a fair catch.”
On bona fide punt returns, Richt said Prince Miller will be the main guy. He was less definitive on kickoff returns, mentioning Richard Samuel, Brandon Boykin, Bryan Evans and freshman Branden Smith as possibilities.
– About the only bad thing anyone has said about Samuel’s tailback play this month is that, in the first full scrimmage last Wednesday, he had a fumble. One week later, Richt reported, “He hasn’t put one on the ground since.”
Continued Richt: “He took that to heart, which he should. As good as he played that day, really all he could think about was that he fumbled the ball. I was really praising him for the job he did, and he was, like, ‘Yeah, but I fumbled the ball; I can’t do that.’ And he’s right: He can’t. One fumble can [cost] a game, and one game can cost you a chance at a championship. So every little bit of ball security is very important.”