By Ryan Black
Special to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
ATHENS — John Jenkins was uncertain of his family’s welfare Monday night.
When Georgia’s senior nose tackle spoke to reporters after Monday’s practice, the Connecticut native hadn’t called home yet. With Hurricane Sandy pounding the Northeast, Jenkins has done the best he can keeping tabs on his family. His position coach, Rodney Garner, showed him some pictures from storm-struck Millford, about 30 miles from Stamford, where Jenkins’ grandmother lives. Jenkins spoke to her Sunday night.
“My grandmother said she’s ready for it to be over with,” he said. ” … Stamford has a beach right next to it, right over there in the New England Sound. The sound is between Greenwich and Stamford and my grandmother was saying in Greenwich, they were being evacuated to higher ground. So I don’t know.”
Jenkins, who is from Meriden, Conn., also spoke Sunday night to his mother, who lives farther north.
“I don’t know what’s going on up there,” he said. “I know Massachusetts got hit hard.”
Bulldogs tight end and Massachusetts native Arthur Lynch said there were no problems at his home in Dartmouth. He missed a call from his mother on Monday, but his grandfather reported everything was fine. That doesn’t mean Lynch’s family isn’t taking proper measures to protect themselves.
“We’re on the south coast, right on the shore, so there’s definitely some concern,” Lynch said. “But I don’t think it’s anything drastic right now. I’m going to wait until tomorrow to call them and see how they are. They’re taking precautions, (but) it’s not in a state of emergency or anything like that.”
Burnette to play Saturday despite injured left thumb
Starting right guard Chris Burnette appeared for interviews Monday wrapped in a hard cast to keep him from moving his injured left thumb. He said it didn’t prevent him from practicing, nor would it keep him from playing against Ole Miss Saturday. Burnette was confident enough to joke about it, saying he could still serve as an emergency center, since he snaps with his right hand.
Burnette said he injured the thumb when he fell on it during the first play of last Saturday’s game against Florida. Ironically, it was the same play starting fullback Merritt Hall went down with an ankle sprain.
“I don’t know what was up with that play,” Burnette said. “I didn’t even realize Merritt got hurt because I was looking at my thumb.”
The junior also said he was pleased with how his unit played against Florida. After a less-than-stellar against South Carolina’s defensive line in a 35-7 loss on Oct. 6, Burnette said Bulldogs’ offensive line gained confidence against the Gators.
“It feels good,” he said. “It helped us realize when we’re on top of our game, we can do a good job. It’s good for [us] with Ole Miss coming up.”
Bulldogs not worried about penalties becoming problem
Georgia players weren’t proud of the number of penalties thrown against them on Saturday, but they weren’t ashamed of it either.
The Bulldogs tallied 14 flags for 132 yards against the Gators, but they felt it had more to do with the way it unfolded than anything.
“We knew it was a lot of penalties,” Burnette said. “It was weird to have that many penalties, but we were like, ‘Hey, whatever it takes for us to win the game.’”
Like it or not, a plethora of penalties is somewhat expected when arch-rivals like Georgia and Florida clash.
“Whenever you play a super high-energy game like that, it’s going to be a little chippy, with penalties and stuff like that,” Burnette said. “It comes with the territory.”
One of the few times the officials left their flags in their pockets came during a scramble for the football where Blake Sailors came out of the pile bloodied. Georgia coach Mark Richt made sure the referees saw it, dragging Sailors out onto the field so they could see the blood on his face.
“Coach Richt didn’t even know what was going on,” Sailors said. “I didn’t, either. I don’t know who did what. And I was arguing with the officials like, ‘Look at my face,’ and things like that.”
Sailors said the coaching staff wasn’t pleased with the sheer number of penalties accrued, but was fair in their criticism. They took into account when players were provoked.
“They [the coaches] know the type of person I am,” said receiver Malcolm Mitchell, who was called for taunting inthe fourth quarter. “This game I was probably a little more talkative than any other game.”
Mitchell couldn’t immediately recall what Florida cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy said. “I was pretty upset at the time,” he said. “So I’m pretty sure it was worth it.”
Etc. . . .
The Bulldogs had seven players listed on Monday’s injury report, the most notable being starting center David Andrews, who was held out of practice with a left knee contusion. Other Bulldogs listed as “out” included Hall and linebacker Chase Vasser (left shoulder). … Linebacker Jarvis Jones was named a semifinalist for a pair of national awards on Monday — the Maxwell Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award. Jones also was named the SEC defensive player of the week after his performance in the victory over Florida. … Georgia’s game against Auburn on Nov. 10 will have a 7 p.m. kickoff and air on ESPN2, the SEC announced Monday. … Jon Stinchcomb, who made 46 starts on the offensive line during his Bulldog career (1999-2002), will be inducted into Georgia’s Circle of Honor in April. He joins his brother Matt Stinchcomb, who was inducted into the Circle in 2009, making them the first siblings to receive the honor. Also going in with Jon Stinchcomb are gymnast Karin Lichey and basketball player Saudia Roundtree.