ATHENS — At this point it’s becoming clear what freshmen are going to play for the Bulldogs this year. The only real mystery is Blake Tibbs.
The speedy wide receiver from Lithonia’s M.L. King High hasn’t played so far. But Georgia’s coaches discussed the redshirt equation on Wednesday and they haven’t ruled out Tibbs contributing just yet.
“He’s one guy who hasn’t played a snap yet, but before it’s over, he might and he might not,” Richt said. “It’s a little similar to Chris Conley last year.”
Conley did not play in the first three games last season but was activated after injuries sidelined Marlon Brown, Rantavious Wooten and Malcolm Mitchell. He ended up playing in all 11 remaining games and finished with 16 catches and 2 TDs.
“We realized we’re not going to make it through the season without playing this kid,” Richt said. “And we’re glad we did because he made a lot of plays for us. [Tibbs is] a guy who could end up playing.”
Of the 16 freshmen Georgia brought in, only quarterback Faton Bauta, offensive lineman Greg Pyke, defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor and Tibbs haven’t played so far.
Offensive snaps possible for Mitchell
Georgia would love to be playing Malcolm Mitchell on offense. It’s just that injuries keep getting in the way.
The Bulldogs had big plans for potential two-way star this season. But an ankle injury in the Thursday walk-through sidelined the starting cornerback for the opener and his availability was in question the week before the Missouri.
Now as Georgia prepares for Florida Atlantic on Saturday, Richt said there’s a chance Mitchell could play some offense.
“I’d like to see him get a couple of snaps, anyway,” he said. “If he had been healthier from the very beginning he’d probably be getting a few more reps offensively. . . . It’s just been difficult to do. Yesterday he got only scout-team work, so it’s just kind of tough to do it. And I don’t want to use him on offense until he’s really feeling great.”
Mitchell is banged up again this week. He’s being held out of contact with an ankle sprain and shoulder contusion. But he has continued to practice and is expected to play on Saturday.
Jones awash in accolades
After his performance against Missouri on Saturday — nine tackles, five pressures, two sacks, two forced fumbles, one interception — Jarvis Jones has been inundated with postgame awards. In addition to being named the Chevrolet player of the game and being named SEC defensive player of the week, Jones was named national player of the week by the Walter Camp, Chuck Bednarik and Bronko Nagurski awards. Jones was asked if he physically received something from all those bodies.
“I haven’t gotten anything yet,” he quipped. “But I’ve gotten a lot of pats on the back. The UGA student body and the Bulldog Nation has shown a lot of love, as well as my teammates and the people around here. But I’m just thankful for all of it.”
Georgia has been the epitome of a balanced offense so far. In the first two games, the Bulldogs have ran the football 74 times and passed it 62 — including a perfect 35 runs and 35 passes in Saturday’s 41-20 win over Missouri. But that’s not exactly what they’re trying to achieve.
“It doesn’t matter to us,” Richt said. “We have to do whatever we think we can do best on any given day. There will be teams that will totally pack the box and say we’re going to play one-on-one out here, are you good enough to throw and catch and we’ll have to prove that we are. There will be other times that we’ll play two safeties and they’re going to say are you strong enough to run against our front seven and we’ll have to prove that we are.
“That’s what I think of when I think in terms of balance. To me it means we can do what we need to do to win.”
Etc. . . .
Richt was asked whether junior fullback Zander Ogletree is also suspended: “Zander didn’t travel, but we only take so many fullbacks.” The Bulldogs had Merritt Hall, Richard Samuel, Quayvon Hicks and walk-on Corey Campbell in Missouri. . . . Offensive lineman Watts Dantzler (high-ankle sprain) sat out practice again on Wednesday. Several other players were held out of contact but were able to practice, including All-American outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (groin, shoulder), nose guard John Jenkins (shoulder), cornerback Damian Swann (knee) and outside linebacker Cornelius Washington (hamstring). . . . Ron Courson, Georgia’s director of sports medicine, conducted a seminar on concussions on Wednesday.… Nose guard Jenkins said the injury that required him to be helped off the field Saturday night was his big toe. “It got stepped on,” the 355-pound senior said. “I was in pain, man. It hurt like crazy. But we just iced it down, and I’ll be fine.” . . . The FAU game is a sellout with 92,746 tickets sold. Georgia’s opener against Buffalo was 300 short of a sellout.