This was supposed to have posted at 5:30 a.m. this morning but “missed schedule” for some reason. Sorry. . . .
Athens — Day One of preseason camp is in the books for the Georgia football team as the Bulldogs endured a heat index of 103 degrees to get in 90 minutes of work on Woodruff Practice Fields on Thursday. And make no bones about it, the first day was mostly about survival.
Big John Jenkins, the highly-touted junior college transfer, was one of the first to succumb to the stifling conditions. The 6-foot-4, 350-pound nose guard from Meriden, Conn., was overcome by the heat about halfway through the practice and had to be helped off the field by team trainers. Jenkins did not return and there was no immediate word on the extent of his condition as no access was given to players or coaches after the workout. But it did not appear to be a serious situation.
Jenkins is one of 24 first-year players deemed “the Dream Team” by Georgia when it recruited them to Athens as a Top-5-ranked recruiting class. Several of them made strong first-day impressions, including tailback Isaiah Crowell, receiver Malcolm Mitchell and tight end Jay Rome.
At least half of that group is expected to contribute to varying degrees this season. But coach Mark Richt said they should not be feeling any pressure to do so.
“The rookies, their heads are swimming already,” Richt said during his media day press conference before the practice. “‘They realize they have a lot to learn. All I’m asking them to do is learn what to do. ‘Do your very best to get yourself in position to compete,’ but you’re not going to compete until you have an idea of what you’re doing. I hope a lot of them contribute in a big way. As far as their skill sets, there’s no question either sooner or later they will really be productive for us. It’s just going to be a matter of how quickly can they figure it out and maybe what our depth chart looks like at their position. A lot of things are involved, but I don’t want them to feel the pressure of having to try to carry the team on their back. That’s not the case at all.”
UGA completes internal investigation
Georgia has completed its investigation into eligibility issues facing linebacker Jarvis Jones. But it looks we’ll have to wait to find out what they may have discovered.
UGA’s office of public affairs, responding to an open records request from the AJC, confirmed that the school’s report was completed this week and sent to the SEC office. However, UGA declined to provide copies of that document under the advice of its Legal Affairs office, claiming “it would directly identify a particular student [Jones] and, therefore, is exempt from release under . . . the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. “FERPA,” as the federal law is commonly known, was enacted to protect the privacy of students’ education records.
Athletic Director Greg McGarity declined comment and Richt said he didn’t know much about it.
“The only thing I know is that we have submitted whatever we have found to the SEC offices and we’re just kind of waiting,” Richt said. “That’s all I’m really allowed to say.”
Jones, a transfer from Southern Cal who’s slated to start a strongside linebacker, is accused of accepting impermissible benefits from an AAU coach in the summer of 2009.
Austin Long sidelined with illness
Richt confirmed sophomore offensive tackle Austin Long will be sidelined for the start of preseason practice but possibly not as long as originally thought.
“What [director of sports medicine] Ron [Courson] is wanting us to call it now is a ‘mono-like’ illness,” Richt said. “We’re not entirely sure that’s what it is.”
Richt said Long will be monitored day-to-day with the hope he’ll be able to join practice before the season opener. He is the backup to Justin Anderson at right tackle.
Also unable to participate in Thursday’s practice were defensive end Derrick Lott (cut leg), defensive end Dexter Morant (shoulder), freshman outside linebacker Sterling Bailey (shoulder) and freshman offensive tackle Xzavier Ward (knee). However, sophomore outside linebacker T.J. Stripling, who was sidelined most of last season with a knee injury, practiced without limitations.
Troupe discipline ‘being handled’
Richt said discipline for senior wide receiver Israel Troupe is “being handled internally.” He would not say whether Troupe will suspended for the first game or miss any playing time as a result.
“We’re going to do what we feel is most appropriate,” Richt said.
Troupe, who will graduate on Saturday, was cited for urinating in public and then missed his court date this week. He’s expected to be part of the Bulldogs’ six-man rotation at wide receiver.