ATHENS – John Jenkins won’t start the game when the Georgia defense takes the field against Boise State at the Georgia Dome on Saturday, but that has done nothing to lessen the anticipation of the big nose guard from Connecticut, who was one of the Bulldogs’ biggest signees last February.
“Let me give you an analogy,” said Jenkins, a 6-foot-4, 350-pound junior college transfer from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. “Think about when you were young and Christmas is right around the corner and you see all your presents underneath the tree, and it’s Christmas eve and you want to open that first present, but you can’t and you stay up all night. That’s the way I feel.”
When Jenkins inked with UGA the Saturday after national signing day, it was anticipated he would be starting for the Bulldogs when they opened the 2011 season. But a couple of things happened that nobody anticipated seven months ago.
One, Kwame Geathers came into his own. The 6-6, 350-pound redshirt sophomore out of Georgetown, S.C., perhaps motivated by coaching staff’s feeling it needed to recruit over him at the position, ended up being named the Bulldogs’ defensive MVP during spring practice and carried that momentum into preseason camp.
Two, Jenkins went down with a hamstring injury midway through camp. With him on the sidelines, Geathers operated unchallenged. Meanwhile, defensive line coach Rodney Garner expressed frustration with Jenkins’ absence. “You can’t make the club from the tub,” Garner told reporters before Jenkins returned to the practice field earlier this week.
But Jenkins said all as well. As for incurring the wrath of Garner, he said. “That’s love; that’s love. That’s all that is.” And he insists he is not at all disappointed to not be starting his first game as a Bulldog.
“I just want to win,” Jenkins said. “Being in a green jersey (signifying injured), I just got a chance to see things. The things that I missed showed me that I don’t want to miss anything. That’s all that did.
“As far as losing ground to Kwame, he’s a worker. He and I are on the same line, just like DeAngelo Tyson and Abry [Jones] and [Derrick] Lott all those guys. We look at each other as a whole. I’m not trying to do better than anybody. I just want to be as good as I can be.”
Regardless of who starts, Jenkins was always going to share the nose guard position with Geathers.
“Me and Kwame together, that’s a one-two punch, you know what I mean?,” Jenkins said. If we get this W, what’s next?”
Tamburo’s role minimal
Michael Tamburo told the AJC early last month he didn’t plan on having any pow-wows with Georgia coaches about Boise State’s offense. This week, the Bulldogs’ coaches insisted they resisted the urge to ask.
Tamburo, a sophomore from Suwanee, transferred to Georgia from Boise State this summer in order to get closer to home and finish complete his degree requirements at UGA.
“It’s obvious that we have everybody’s film,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “We can study everyone’s film. We can talk to all the coaches that have played them in the league. So that’s where we get our information from. Now [defensive coordinator Todd Grantham] might’ve spent time with him. I don’t know.”
Said Grantham: “You know, we really just watch tape and the plays that were run and the way they run them and all that stuff tells them what you’ve gotta know,” he said. “So really it’s just about preparing off the footage that we got. There’s no insights.”
Starting tailback Richard Samuel, who has been out the last two weeks with a strained quadriceps, was expected to practice full speed for the first time as the Bulldogs conducted a dress rehearsal practice at Sanford Stadium on Thursday.
Meanwhile, third-string tailback Brandon Harton continues to battle an ankle injury. The former walkon, placed on scholarship this summer because of his impressive practice performances, has been in a walking boot and on crutches when not on the football field.
“I’m maybe not quite at 100 percent, but before Saturday I should be,” Harton said. “I feel confident that by game time I should be ready.”
Every tailback Georgia has been sidelined with some sort of injury this fall, including freshman Isaiah Crowell (groin), redshirt freshman Ken Malcome (groin) and junior Carlton Thomas (ankle).
Etc. . . .
Boise State was scheduled to arrive in Atlanta between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. Friday morning. An NCAA rule prevents teams from arriving earlier than 48 hours before a competition while school is in session. . . . Boise State coach Chris Petersen and Richt will hold a joint press conference in advance of the game Friday at 1:25 p.m. at the Omni Hotel. . . . Boise State’s radio play-by-play man Bob Behler is a 1985 graduate of UGA. . . . Georgia’s tennis team plays Boise State at the Atlanta Athletic Club at 4 p.m. Friday. . . . Sports radio station 680 The Fan is has organized a concert in Centenniel Olympic Park in conjunction with the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. O.A.R is the featured band for what they’re calling the Downtown Touchdown Concert. Gate open at noon with music set to start at 1 p.m.