ATHENS – Starting defensive end Abry Jones remained sidelined for Georgia’s first bowl practice on Wednesday. But coach Mark Richt spoke optimistically about the senior making a return in time for the Capital One Bowl.
“I know his intention is to rehab and get ready to play,” Richt said Wednesday. “He was making progress towards that goal. Do I know whether he’ll be ready to or not? I don’t know that. We’ve not counted him out by any means.”
Jones (6-foot-3, 309 pounds) started the first six games of the season — and 26 in his career — before suffering an ankle injury that required surgery. If he returns, it could provide valuable depth for Georgia’s defensive line. Noseguard/ends John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers and defensive end Garrison Smith rotated positions and played nearly every snap against Alabama.
Jones, who averaged nearly 3 tackles per game before the injury, is considered an NFL prospect. He was invited to the Casino Del Sol College All-Star game Jan. 11.
John Jenkins out with concussion
John Jenkins, the Bulldogs’ star noseguard, sat out Wednesday’s practice with a concussion, according to the Bulldogs’ injury report circulated after practice. No details were immediately available as far as when and how the concussion occurred and how serious it might be.
Jenkins, a 6-foot-3, 360-pound senior, showed up for Georgia’s Capital One Bowl Media Day interviews on Wednesday, but did not mention an injury. Injured players are usually not permitted by coaches to be interviewed.
“All I know about Nebraska right now is their quarterback (Taylor Martinez) is very explosive and their line is very huge,” Jenkins said. “Martinez really relies on his O-line and he can throw and run and he’s a smart quarterback. So we’re going to have to be ready.”
All-star role call
Jenkins and Jones are among several UGA seniors who were selected to play in postseason all-star games for NFL scouts.
Jenkins will attend the prestigious Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., on Jan. 26 along with safeties Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams and wide receiver Tavarres King. Outside linebacker Cornelius Washington is scheduled to play in the Casino Del Sol game on Jan. 11.
Cornerbacks Sanders Commings and Branden Smith were invited to the Jan. 19 East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla. On the same day, linebacker Christian Robinson will play in the Raycom Bowl in Montgomery and linebacker Mike Gilliard and running back Richard Samuel will participate in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in Carson, Calif.
Garrison Smith confirms return
Not that there was much doubt about it, but just to make it clear junior defensive lineman Garrison Smith put it on the record that he doesn’t intend to enter the NFL draft after this season. In fact, he said, he doesn’t even plan to ask for a draft evaluation.
“I just want it to be a surprise whenever I finally make it there,” said the 6-foot-3, 297-pound Atlantan. “I felt like I could have done so much more this season. That’s why I want to come back next year and play as hard as I can and help my team. I want to try to have another good season. It’s pretty clear I won’t be leaving
Smith has been a bright spot for the Bulldogs in the second half of the season, starting seven games and collecting 55 tackles while filling in for Abry Jones.
Georgia returned to Woodruff Practice Fields on Wednesday for the first time since the Nov. 30. The Bulldogs practiced in full pads for nearly two hours, the first of 10 workouts they’ll have in Athens. Their final five practices will be in Orlando.
“It’s kind of hard to get things going again,” Richt said. “You get out of that mode of having every minute of your day planned out. Coaches are out on the road recruiting. Players have been studying for final exams. . . . Now we have to get back in the routine.”
Etc. . . .
Richt said he hadn’t been contacted by any schools for permission to interview any of his assistants for jobs, but added, “I think our coaches have obviously been courted.” There were reports that offensive coordinator Mike Bobo was a candidate for the head coaching job at Texas Tech vacated by Tommy Tuberville. However, Texas A&M offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury was hired for that job on Wednesday. . . . Junior defensive lineman Garrison Smith Former Bulldog David Pollack will be on the ABC/ESPN broadcast crew for the Georgia-Nebraska game. He’ll be an color analyst along with Jesse Palmer and play-by-play commentator Rece Davis. . . . Junior outside linebacker Jarvis Jones was named a first-team All-American by the Associated Press. . . . Georgia is 3-1-1 in the Capital One Bowl, which was once known as the Citrus Bowl and the Tangerine Bowl. . . .Former UGA star receiver Terrence Edwards is among Georgia football players who will walk in Friday’s fall semester graduation ceremonies. Current players include cornerback Sanders Commings,, defensive back Jonathan Owens, safety Rambo, Robinson, Washington and defensive back Luis Capella.
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