ATHENS – A right ankle injury has kept Jarvis Jones out of practice since the Oct. 6 South Carolina game and could keep him out of the Kentucky game as well.
Officially the Bulldogs’ are listing their All-American outside linebacker as questionable against the Wildcats on Saturday.
“We’ll see,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “We’re not counting him out yet. “He had been running on a treadmill under water and had done extremely well. We thought when we put him on land he’d hit the ground running literally. But he wasn’t ready to practice.”
Jones, who led the SEC in quarterback sacks last year with 13.5, has 5.5 this season. He’s currently third on the team with 36 tackles and has 9.5 tackles for loss.
Jones already missed one game (Florida Atlantic) with a groin injury. He also plays with a metal brace on his left knee.
“He’s banged up a little bit, but he’s working hard to get better,” said defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who is also Jones’ position coach. “Everybody’s got bumps and bruises this time of year and he’s fighting to get through it. He’ll give us everything he’s got when he’s available.”
If Jones can’t go, it’d likely result in the second start for Jordan Jenkins. The 6-foot-3, 257-pound true freshman from Harris County, filled in for Jones against Florida Atlantic. He is second on the team in sacks (3) and tackles for loss (5) and has 15 tackles overall .
Grantham said the fact that Jones has been unable to get repetitions in practice doesn’t mean he won’t play.
“He knows what we’re doing, so it’s more of a precautionary thing to get him some rest,” Grantham said. “When he’s able to go full tilt and we can get where we feel like we need him for the game, then we’ll get him out there. We’ve still got Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, so we’ll how it goes.”
Dogs rooting for Gators
The SEC East competition makes for strange bedfellows sometimes. For instance, Georgia players will be pulling for the Florida Gators when they play host to South Carolina this weekend and they expect the Bulldog Nation to do the same.
“I definitely am,” said Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, who hails from Tampa. “I think everyone gets a free pass this week who’s a Georgia fan. I’m not saying to deck out in Florida gear, but you can definitely be a little happier if they can come out with a victory Saturday.”
Georgia, which lost to South Carolina, needs the undefeated Gators to beat the Gamecocks on Saturday in order to play its way back atop the East. A win over Florida would then give the Bulldogs the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Rooting for the Gators is more difficult for some players than others. Asked if he’d be pulling for Florida on Saturday, sophomore linebacker Amarlo Herrera said awkwardly, “Yeah. Something like that.”
Last Saturday’s South Carolina-LSU game could have strong bearing on Georgia’s chances in the SEC East race, and metro Atlanta TV viewers tuned in accordingly.
ESPN’s telecast of South Carolina’s loss to LSU posted a 10.2 Nielsen rating in the Atlanta TV market, translating to an audience of about 238,000 households here. The Atlanta rating for the game was fourth highest among the nation’s top 56 markets, trailing Birmingham (24.6), New Orleans (22.9) and Greenville, S.C. (21.2).
South Carolina’s loss to LSU means Georgia, despite being routed 35-7 by the Gamecocks on Oct. 6, will reach the SEC Championship game if the Bulldogs win their four remaining SEC games (including Oct. 27 against Florida) and South Carolina loses one of its three remaining league games (the most difficult of which is this week’s at Florida).
Murray pushing ‘Gurshall’
Quarterback Aaron Murray showed up at Georgia’s media day Tuesday wearing a red t-shirt that had written in white script: “Keep Calm We’ve Got Gurshall.”
“Gurshall” is, of course, the nickname players have given for the combination of freshman tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall. They’re currently averaging 173.3 yards rushing per game, which out-paces the average put up by UGA legend Herschel Walker as a freshman (146.9 ypg).
Murray said the t-shirt was the brainchild of his mother, Lauren Murray, who comes up with a t-shirt motif pretty much every week during the season.
“It’s just something she does,” Murray said. “She started out just doing it for fun and people liked so she kind of made her own little company out of it. It’s doing pretty good. She’s creative.”
In addition to Jones, the Bulldogs had three other players unexpectedly miss practice on Tuesday. Tailback Ken Malcome, defensive end Dexter Morant and fullback Dustin Royston missed with undisclosed illnesses… . Kentucky has 23 players on its roster from Georgia, more than any other state than its own. . . . The Bulldogs are being tight-lipped about who the surprise guest is for the “Tailgate with the Team” special event that is being planned for Thursday night at UGA’s Legion Field. UGA sent out a news release about the “pep rally” teasing that, in additiojn to Richt and the entire football team, “a very famous surprise guest” will be present. The event starts at 8 p.m. Thursday, admission is free and t-shirts and pizza will be available.