ATHENS – Despite appearances, Georgia running backs coach Bryan McClendon said the Bulldogs’ tailback situation is not dire as one might think.
McClendon opened Saturday morning’s practice with just one scholarship tailback that will be available for the season opener against No. 7 Boise State in three weeks. The top two players at the position – Isaiah Crowell (groin) and Richard Samuel (thigh) – were both sidelined with injuries.
McClendon said that’s no cause for concern.
“It dwindles down in camp. That’s normal, especially with [running backs],” McClendon said. “Those guys take a beating every practice in pads, it doesn’t matter if it’s just shoulder pads and helmets, shells or full pads, those guys are getting hit on. You want to minimize it when you can.”
As for Crowell, McClendon said he returned later in the practice and was able to participate in practice. Samuel remained on the sidelines with a strained leg muscle from yesterday’s full–contact work.
Fortunately for the Bulldogs, Brandon Harton, who was awarded a scholarship on Thursday night, returned from missing three days with a concussion. Junior Carlton Thomas was also on hand but he is suspended for the first game.
“If we had to play a game tomorrow I’d be confident both of those guys could step out there and do a darn good job,” McClendon said. “But you don’t want them practicing banged up because you know they’re going to have to play banged up.”
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo wasn’t concerned about either player falling too far behind on installation. With school out they are not limited by the 20-hour-per-week rules they’re able to spend extra time with them. UGA classes begin on Monday, however.
Amarlo Herrera sidelined
Freshman inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera had his right arm in a sling and was unable to practice Saturday morning. But linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti said it looks worse than it is.
“He’s fine,” Olivadotti said. “He just dinged his shoulder a little bit. He’ll be back.”
Herrera, a 6-foot-2, 231-pound graduate of North Clayton High, has bee one of the bright young stars of camp. He’s backing up Alec Ogletree at Mo linebacker.
“He’s progressing well,” Olivadotti said. “He’s finding new stuff to screw up every day and that’s a good thing. As long as he’s not screwing up the same stuff he’ll be fine.”
‘Tree’ laying wood
Speaking of Alec Ogletree, aka “Tree,” Olivadotti said his transition to inside linebacker from safety is going remarkably well.
“Tree can uncoil on some people, he really can,” Olivadotti said. “He has really good vision in zone coverage and recognizes routes real well and he can lay you out, quite frankly.”
Georgia wrapped up its “camp” portion of preseason practice on Saturday with its traditional “watermelon cutting” after its second practice of the day.
The Bulldogs used to do that to signify the end of a couple of weeks worth of two-a-days. But the NCAA now requires a five-day acclimation period and days off between any twice-a-day work, so logistically it’s not possible to get in as many before school begins. So Georgia had only two true two-a-days. UGA’s fall class begin on Monday.
The Bulldogs will now have a day off Sunday after enduring 12 practices in 10 days without a break. They’ll also move to afternoon practicing after holding the majority of them in the relative cool of the morning.
Etc. . . .
Defensive end Derrick Lott is now back to participating fully. He had been out of action since July after cutting his leg in a scooter accident at the football complex. . . . The official UGA jerseys fans will be able to buy this season are 1, 7, 11, 18 and 34, UGA’s Alan Thomas confirmed. . . . Former Georgia All-American David Pollack is leaving his job as a sport talk radio host at 790 The Zone (WQXI-AM) to work full time for ESPN. Earlier this summer it was announced that Pollack would be joining ESPN’s Game Day show as a part-time contributor.
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