GEORGIA FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK
ATHENS -- Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham on Tuesday expressed no remorse over his actions at the end of last year’s Vanderbilt game, nor is he dreading how those events might affect this year’s contest at Sanford Stadium.
“No,” Grantham stated flatly when asked if he regretted his actions. “I understood what all was happening. Like I said, everybody’s competitive, it’s heated out there. It’s really not a big deal. I guess that’s football.”
Grantham and Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin had to be separated by players and referees as they engaged in a nose-to-nose shouting match shortly after the Bulldogs’ 33-28 win in Nashville last October. The two teams meet for the first time since on Saturday at 7:50 p.m.
Grantham said that it’s important that the Bulldogs focus on their assignments for stopping Vanderbilt’s offense and not get caught up in any kind of emotional retaliation.
“It’s us against them,” Grantham said. “It’s an SEC game. You know, anytime you play at home in the SEC you need to win those games to get where we want to go and do what we want to do. It’s the most important game because it’s the next game. That’s the focus you need to take because each week is tough. There are good teams in this league and you have to make sure you’re prepared every week. So we’ve got to be prepared.”
Grantham said he didn’t apologize to Franklin or Vanderbilt after last year’s game and he doesn’t plan to before Saturday’s contest. He plans to conduct himself as he always does.
“To be honest, I haven’t thought about it or worried about it,” he said. “I know our players work really hard and they prepare. I want to make sure they succeed. We’re going to work hard to make sure we’re prepared every Saturday we go on the field.
“We’re all competitive people. Things happen and you learn from it and move on. We want to make sure we keep the focus on the game and play a game on Saturday.”
Grantham said he hasn’t crossed paths with Franklin anywhere since last year’s game. But he insisted he doesn’t have a problem with the Commodores’ coach.
“Hey, he’s a good coach, he’s done a good job,” Grantham said. “They’re working hard to be competitive. They had a big game on Saturday. It’s an SEC game so it’s a big game for us, a big game for them. So we’ve got to make sure we prepare to get ready to win a physical game.”
As for Franklin’s joke that they’d vacationed together and drank Mai-Tais in the pool, Grantham indicated he likely wouldn’t be drinking a Mai-Tai.
“But I’m flexible,” he said with a grin.
Jarvis Jones says he’ll play
Jarvis Jones said he’s still bothered by the groin injury that kept him out of the Florida Atlantic game this past Saturday and he’s listed on Georgia’s daily injury-illness report as “limited.” But you wouldn’t know it on the practice field as Jones is not dressed in the traditional green jersey signifying a players’ injured status and he said you definitely won’t know it on Saturday as he intends to start at outside linebacker and play against Vanderbilt.
“I don’t want that green jersey; they can’t make me wear it,” Jones joked following the Bulldogs’ practice Tuesday night. “I’m fine. I’ve been treating it ever since it happened. I’m just getting back in the groove.”
Of course, that’s what he said last week. Asked again if there was a chance he might not play Saturday, Jones reiterated, “I’m gonna play this week.”
More offense ahead for Mitchell
Malcolm Mitchell, perhaps Georgia’s most explosive offensive threat as a freshman last season, has been almost exclusively a defensive player since the spring. Look for that to change, coach Mark Richt said Tuesday.
Mitchell, who played his first two offensive snaps of the season in last week’s victory over Florida Atlantic, catching a 49-yard pass on the first, will remain available at cornerback but reengage at wide receiver, Richt said.
“Malcolm will definitely stay with the defense as far as being ready to play. I imagine he will still play [defense],” Richt said. “His offensive reps will increase, and he’ll probably start to spend some meeting time with the offense as well.
“I’m thinking about trying to find a way to split time with him if he can manage it. We think it can work for us. He’s a guy who I think is in good enough condition. I know he’s smart enough to understand what’s going on on both sides of the ball with the experience he’s had.”
The return of cornerback-safety Sanders Commings from suspension last week and the return of suspended safety Bacarri Rambo by next week will somewhat alleviate depth concerns in the secondary.
Offense and defense aren’t the extent of Georgia’s plans for Mitchell.
“We need him on special teams, too,” Richt said. “He’s going to play offense, defense and special teams off and on for the rest of the year, I would think.”
Vandy QB situation
Vandy’s Franklin called it “a huge advantage” that Georgia has only one game of tape on which to watch quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels direct the Vandy offense. Franklin hasn’t committed publicly on a QB starter against Georgia, but Carta-Samuels — a transfer from Wyoming — is No. 1 on the depth chart after surprisingly starting ahead of Jordan Rodgers in last week’s 58-0 win over Presbyterian.
“He played well,” Richt said. “He didn’t have to really run the ball that often and wasn’t pressured much. He did drop back and throw the ball well. It looked like he ran the system well. … They didn’t change what they would have been doing schematically a lot.”
Richt said he “can only assume” Carta-Samuels will start Saturday.
Offensive linemen Dallas Lee and Watts Dantzler, both of whom have left ankle sprains, ran on the sidelines in green jerseys as their teammates practiced Tuesday. Their status remains questionable. In the meantime, the Bulldogs continued to work with Mark Beard at left tackle and regular left tackle Kenarious Gates at Lee’s left-guard position. . . . . Quarterback Aaron Murray became the 14th Georgia player — the most in Division I — to be nominated to the Allstate/AFCA Good Works team. Murray was one of 11 players in this year’s group. They are chosen by a national panel to based on their service to others and “off-the-field positive impact.”
Staff writer Tim Tucker contributed to this report.
MORE ON GEORGIA FOOTBALL