ATHENS — Georgia held its final full-pads practice of the preseason Monday, with two key players still limited by injuries.
Tailback Richard Samuel sat out half of the practice to protect a quadriceps injury, and cornerback/punt returner Branden Smith did only some jogging and rehabbing because of a foot injury.
Both, however, said they expect to play in Saturday night’s season opener against Boise State in the Georgia Dome.
“I’ll be ready by Saturday, no doubt about it,” Smith said. “It’s not a major injury. Just trying to be on the safe side.”
Smith has not practiced since injuring the foot on Thursday but vowed that it won’t slow him against Boise.
“I’m still at a 4.3,” he said, referring to his 40-yard dash time. “I still have my speed.”
Samuel, meanwhile, said he has “no doubt” he’ll play Saturday despite the quadriceps injury that has bothered him for 2 1/2 weeks.
“I went half of the practice [Monday], so it was not too much of a setback,” he said. “It felt fine. Just didn’t want to push it too far too fast.”
Coach Mark Richt said Samuel is “not 100 percent yet, but he’s getting there.” If healthy, Samuel is expected to share carries with freshman Isaiah Crowell against Boise. As of Monday night, Richt said Samuel remains the Bulldogs’ No. 1 tailback.
“He has been the projected starter,” Richt said of Samuel. “Today he is still our projected starter.”
Richt declined to say whether safety Bacarri Rambo, who started all 13 games last season but is not currently listed as a first-teamer, has been suspended from Saturday’s game.
“No, I’m not going to address that,” Richt said Monday night. “At the appropriate time, if anybody has anything like that, I’ll let you know, though.”
Asked when the appropriate time would be, Richt replied: “I don’t know. I’ve got to figure that out. Still working on that.”
Richt said on Saturday that Sanders Commings and Shawn Williams are currently the No. 1 safeties.
Georgia cornerback/kickoff returner Brandon Boykin issued a challenge to Boise State via Twitter over the weekend.
“Dear Coach Petersen,” Boykin tweeted, referring to Boise coach Chris Petersen, “I DARE you to kick to me. Sincerely, Me and my Dawgs.”
Boykin was hardly backing down from his tweet Monday.
“It did exactly what I wanted it to do. It created a buzz and got the fans excited,” Boykin said. “I didn’t say anything disrespectful, I don’t feel like. So if they didn’t like it, I mean, whatever.
“Me and my teammates and the coaches are excited and feel like we’ve got to come out and be confident and have that swagger in order for us to be successful against a team like Boise.”
He acknowledged the tweet generated a mixed buzz from fans.
“I knew some of our fans would be like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s great.’ And some of them would be, ‘What are you doing? You’re going to give them an advantage,’” Boykin said. “I mean, that’s their job to come and tackle me. Maybe it did give them an extra incentive, but we’ve still got to do what we’ve got to do, regardless.”
Boykin said he informed Richt of the tweet shortly after posting it.
“He said, ‘OK, now you’ve got to back it up,’” Boykin said.
Nose guard John Jenkins, who had been sidelined with a hamstring injury, and wide receiver Marlon Brown, who had been out with an ankle sprain, practiced Monday. . . . . “I felt pretty good, actually,” Brown said. He had missed the past several practices but said there’s “no doubt at all” he’ll play Saturday. . . . Also back at practice Monday: fullback Bruce Figgins, who had been sidelined with an injured hamstring. . . . Boise State’s team will arrive in Atlanta late Thursday and plans a walk-through practice in the Georgia Dome on Friday.