Notebook: Abry Jones probable for bowl game, but injuries abound for Bulldogs

By Ryan Black
For the AJC

ATHENS – Though Georgia’s injury list has continued to grow since the end of the SEC Championship game, one key defender may be on the verge of returning.

Defensive end Abry Jones injured his left ankle on the first drive of Georgia’s victory over Kentucky on Oct. 20 and has not played since. But the senior from Warner Robins has continued to rehab the injury, and after seeing how well he ran Thursday, Bulldogs coach Mark Richt felt optimistic about Jones’ chances of playing in the Capital One Bowl.

“It’s definitely a possibility; I think it’s more of a probability now, just watching him run today,” Richt said following Thursday’s practice. “I think today gave him more confidence, because he was running pretty hard. He’s not in the best condition right this minute, but he ran about as fast as he could and felt good. I was going from one drill to the other — from the defensive field to the offensive field — and I saw him flashing across there. . . . He really looked good, so I’m thinking if he doesn’t have any setbacks, he’ll be able to play.”

Prior to the injury against Kentucky, Jones had proven his durability over the past four years. From the beginning of the 2009 campaign to this season’s Kentucky game, Jones appeared in 46 of the Bulldogs’ 47 games, with the lone exception being the 2009 contest against Georgia Tech. During that span, Jones started 31 of 47 games.

Jones’ dedication to taking the field for Georgia one final time earned his coach’s respect.

“A guy could easily just say, ‘You know what? I don’t want to do it anymore,’” Richt said. “But I don’t think there’s any doubt he wants to do it and I’m glad he has that attitude.”

The Bulldogs may be trading one injured defensive lineman for another, however. While Jones may be back for the bowl game, noseguard John Jenkins has not practiced since Georgia began bowl preparations last Wednesday, missing a total of eight practices. According to Claude Felton, UGA’s director of sports communications, Jenkins suffered a concussion during the SEC Championship game.

Jenkins status for the bowl game is murky.

“He’s getting better, getting better,” Richt said. “We’ll see.”

Richt also updated the outlook on receivers Malcolm Mitchell (groin) and Tavarres King (hamstring).

“Malcolm did practice today with the scout team, so he’s kind of phasing his way back in, so we feel good about that,” Richt said. “(I) talked to TK, and I think with this Christmas break and the break he’s already had, I don’t think there’s much doubt that he would be able to play.”

Other notable players listed on Thursday’s extensive injury report included cornerback Devin Bowman (quadriceps), receiver Rhett McGowan (wrist sprain), tight end Jay Rome (hip flexor) and fullback Richard Samuel (shoulder).

No changes for Kolton Houston

Kolton Houston’s career at Georgia remains on hold.

When asked whether Houston was any closer to becoming eligible to play, Richt said the redshirt sophomore was “still in the same situation” he has been in since he arrived in Athens nearly three years ago. Houston enrolled in January of 2010 and tested positive for a banned substance he was given during a shoulder surgery performed in high school. The substance has remained in Houston’s system and has continued to prevent the offensive tackle from reaching an acceptable threshold for the NCAA to reinstate his eligibility. If and when Houston reaches that threshold, he would be cleared to play immediately.

Does Houston even have that desire anymore?

“You’d have to ask him,” Richt said. “It’s been tough on him to go this long and not get a chance to play. I’m not sure where he’s at on that. We’re in a situation where, whether he plays or doesn’t play, he is part of our 85 [scholarship limit] number. … We can’t give him a DQ on this thing. He’s either going to make it or he’s not, but in the meantime, he counts as part of the 85. If he ever gets to the point where he reaches whatever threshold they’re looking for and he still wants to play, then we want him to play. It’ll be up to him.”

Offensive lineman Austin Long injured (again)

Junior offensive tackle Austin Long fractured his right hand during Wednesday’s practice and had surgery Thursday morning. Richt said the injury occurred on a routine drill between the offensive and defensive lines.

According to UGA director of sports medicine Ron Courson, Long is expected to make a full recovery. In fact, Richt said the injury may not be serious enough to keep Long out of the bowl game.

“Not long into it you could club a guy and protect what’s been done surgically, so there’s even a chance that he could play in the game,” he said. “We don’t think it will affect spring ball at all.”

Long, a 6-foot-4, 304-pound native of Memphis, Tenn., has appeared in all 13 games for the Bulldogs this season.

Etc. . . .

Richt refused to confirm or deny reports that defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner has spoken to Auburn about joining coach Guz Malzahn’s staff. “I’m not discussing any personnel stuff right now,” Richt said. Garner has not returned messages seeking comment. . . . Richt was pleased with Thursday’s practice after what he believed was an underwhelming showing on Wednesday. “Today was a lot of really good energy,” he said. “I think when it’s a little chilly and rainy they tend to move around quicker and we skip the breaks. We just keep going.”

44 comments Add your comment

Jarvis Jones gives Muschamp nightmares

December 20th, 2012
6:39 pm

Commits in the secondary:
S Tray Matthews 6′, 194 (4 stars)
S Shaq Fluker 6′1, 205 (3 stars) JC
S Paris Bostick 6′1, 208 (3 stars)
S Quincy Mauger 6′0, 197 (3 stars)
S Kennar Johnson 6′2 185 (3 stars) JC

CB Reggie Wilkerson 5′11 163 (4 stars)
CB Brendan Langley 6′1, 188 (4 stars)
CB Shaq Wiggins 5′10, 166 (3 stars)

I’ve also heard another player in the class is interested in playing corner. I believe it is J.J. Green, but it could be another commit or a player who decommitted.

go dawgs

December 20th, 2012
6:40 pm

Douglas

December 20th, 2012
7:13 pm

If Garner wants to go to Auburn, let him go. He has done a great job of recruiting at UGA but it is time to stop using other jobs to get a raise. I think there are a lot of other younger coaches out there who can relate to today’s players. I don’t remember the recruiting coordinator from Ga. Tech who left with Chan Galey but he was a great recruiter in Georgia.

llf

December 20th, 2012
7:16 pm

Regarding Kolton Houston, since the banned substance is stored in the fat cells of the body, it seems that losing weight (and therefor losing fat cells) would reduce the level of the steroid.

Stout

December 20th, 2012
7:20 pm

The whole Kolton Houston thing is odd. I have never heard of a banned substance staying in somebody’s system for 3 years.

WDE

December 20th, 2012
7:20 pm

Good news on A.Jones hope Big John can mend up both DGD’s and we will need them vs the Huskers.

WDE

December 20th, 2012
7:21 pm

Just read that Bray from UT is going to declare for the draft…if Murray comes back our offense can be real special next year..

Stout

December 20th, 2012
7:31 pm

I think Murray leaves if he has a huge bowl game and scouts tell him he’ll go in the first 3 rounds. Otherwise, I think he’ll be back. From what I have read about him he doesn’t seem to care that much for NFL. He seems more interested in coaching – like Major Applewhite. If does come back that will seal it for LeMay. He’ll be gone. Who knows. Actually, I was a little surprised to see McCarron come back. The Jets sure could use him.

Red Neckerson

December 20th, 2012
7:51 pm

Murray is coming back. Bank on it. I have it on good authority that he is telling insiders that he’ll be a Dawg next year.

Rick James

December 20th, 2012
7:52 pm

The Houston situation is insane..

sogadog

December 20th, 2012
8:31 pm

Rodney Garner has significantly increased the talent level at UGA over the years. He is a great recruiter coach and person and I hope he stays with the Dawgs.

rogeriter

December 20th, 2012
8:38 pm

If Garner gets an offer from Auburn, it’s because he’s getting the job done. If that results in a raise, he deserves it. That’s called each according to his ability instead of each according to need. They don’t have to give him a raise unless they think he’s worth it! That’s free enterprise at it’s best.

bahits.com

December 20th, 2012
9:13 pm

@llf, how about use Libo Suction on Kolton and then send him to Guthries until he get the weight back on?

Seriously, can this stuff be filtered out of the young man’s system? This all seems so very unfair. Is it having any physical effect that gives him an advantage? The NCAA is being petty children and poor justices in the way they are lording over this case.

rex

December 20th, 2012
9:13 pm

@llf Losing weight shrinks fat cells, it doesn’t make them disappear.

bahits.com

December 20th, 2012
9:15 pm

@Red Neckerson, some of the comments that Murray has made about the potential of UGA’s offense next year leads me to think he is coming back. The one thing that might cause him to go ahead and jump is his loyalty and concern for Mason. Mason has been a DGD and backup. He has great potential and just needs playing time. What will Murray do?

bahits.com

December 20th, 2012
9:18 pm

@rogeriter, is Garner getting the job done? We got killed for 350 yards rushing against Bama. What is up with that? Also, he has missed on some huge recruiting opportunities… like offering Robert Nkemdiche’s brother who has turned out to be a really good player and would have likely easily brought Robert along. Also, the late offer and pursuit of Dallas Lee who went to bama. what a freaking duh! moment.

bahits.com

December 20th, 2012
9:21 pm

@WDE, great news about Bray! That dude is special. I like Murray a ton, but Bray is better and he scared me every time we play them. Bray being gone increases and almost assures our chance of beating the Vols next year!

bahits.com

December 20th, 2012
9:24 pm

— everyone —-

I would LOVE to see Todd Gurley get 200plus on Nebraska and Keith Marshall to get 150+ … and Ken “BOO” Malcom to get 100+ :-)

SEC Fan

December 20th, 2012
9:37 pm

Muschamp is counting down the days until his Gators get revenge. JJ will be a 3rd down pass rusher at best on Sundays,….might be have 2-3 years in the League.

kybodawg

December 20th, 2012
9:45 pm

if its not giving houston an advantage, why doesnt his parents sue the ncaa its about tome somebody called them out on some of ther insane rules.

bahits.com

December 20th, 2012
10:07 pm

@SEC Fan (so called), why are you hating on Jarvis Jones? He is a cool kid who didn’t have to come back this year. I wish him the best weather he stays or jumps.

I wish Tim Teebow the best too. I hope he gets a gig at Jacksonville and does really well.

I am an SEC Fan.

Jarvis Jones gives Muschamp nightmares

December 20th, 2012
10:13 pm

I doubt many people will take this seriously, but it’s true. A friend of mine is really close with a grad assistant at Georgia. He had some interesting comments about Mason and LeMay.

He said “Murray is without a doubt better than Mason. He makes the kind of throws that Mason has never been able to make. Mason is a solid quarterback and will be good for Georgia whenever Aaron leaves, but he’s not Aaron Murray. Christian LeMay doesn’t know what he’s doing and needs to change positions or transfer from UGA because he’ll never beat out Mason.”

Jarvis Jones gives Muschamp nightmares

December 20th, 2012
10:16 pm

SEC, Muschamp also takes bubble baths and sees JJ in his nightmares, so what is your point? You do realize Muschamp was looking for “revenge” for a full year from the 2011 loss. He didn’t get it because his quarterback screwed up big time. And you don’t know how JJ will do in the NFL. Only time will tell.

Vampire Bill

December 20th, 2012
10:24 pm

Ddint realize it was 3 years on Kolton.. Man what a beast he would be.. a man playing with boys..

Under The Bleachers

December 20th, 2012
10:58 pm

Auburn’s AD is reporting and tweeting Garner is going “home” to Auburn.

This WILL affect some recruits and one can expect Foster to re-commit to Auburn with Garner leaving. Still do no see Auburn winning the SEC or the West Division for many years.

The NCAA thing would have put doubt in my mind about leaving UGA for Auburn.

So Long Garner

December 20th, 2012
11:14 pm

@under the bleachers

Garner leaving only affects Toby and Adams. Adams is a long shot bc he wants to play end. Toby is being recruited by Grantham. Grantham is also leading the recruiting of Foster along with Richt. Garner has been slacking in the past few years as Grantham brought in both Jenkins after neither had any interest in UGA. Garner is realizing he is being out recruited at UGA and wants to make a last quick buck. Hopefully we go young and get us a guy that will actually go on the road and recruit.

run the damn ball

December 20th, 2012
11:34 pm

Great news about Garner. His recruiting contributes to some of the problems this team has had in the past. Plus, our defensive line is horrible. All of these kids are capable of being superstars. Just watch next years NFL games. They will all be there. Part of the reason we can’t stop anyone from running the ball is because Rodney Garner is our defensive line coach.
He recruits losers because he is a loser.

Law Dawg

December 20th, 2012
11:43 pm

HIRE HINES WARD TO REPLACE GARNER AS RECRUITING COORDINATOR

Law Dawg

December 20th, 2012
11:44 pm

This is the perfect time to bring on Hines Ward as a Coach

Under The Bleachers

December 21st, 2012
12:41 am

Law Dawg,

Hines is making over a million a year doing bit work for NBC, and various other media outlets and endorsements. Hines would need to really really want to coach to give up that income at this time. There have also been some reports that he has been offered a couple of positions in the NFL as a development coach and scout. Really do not see him going back to the Collegiate level to coach, it would be a great hire for UGA but it has to less than 10% of him coaching at this point in time.

chuck

December 21st, 2012
12:50 am

Hines Ward!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Jawja did not beat the Gators, Jarvis did!

December 21st, 2012
8:46 am

Jarvis will be a star on Sundays next year and years to come. Wish the Falcons could somehow get him.

Good luck!!!

December 21st, 2012
9:18 am

Garner did a good job, but he also made a couple of mistakes.ex: Giving up on Denzel Nkemdiche because they didn’t think that he’d qualify when Robert was waiting two years later. Jim Donnan offered Champ’s older brother, Ronald, with the sole purpose of signing Roland (Champ), and Rodney (Boss) later. It’s called appeasing the family (mother).Ijs

Don't miss out!!

December 21st, 2012
9:29 am

Great point Good luck!! There is currently an OLB from Cedar Grove who has several offers from Alabama to Southern California, but currently does not have an offer from the Dawgs. Although he is a junior (c/o 2014), we (UGA) need to get after this kid. Hell, everyone else has, even the Ole’ ball coach has his offer in.

JK

December 21st, 2012
10:00 am

Under The Bleachers,

When Hines retired from the NFL he expressed great desire to coach for his alma mater. In fact it sounded like his dream job.

Stephen Johnson

December 21st, 2012
3:28 pm

I genuinely hope Georgia will be a full strength for the Cap one bowl against Nebraska. As a NU fan I hope both teams can field their best and provide a best effort.

hit a single

December 21st, 2012
10:17 pm

Other than Herschel Walker, Hines Ward was the next best football player to play at UGA. What other player could play Widereceiver, Tailback, and Quarterback and play them well. I hope he comes back to coach. He is what a team guy is all about.

grip

December 22nd, 2012
1:26 am

Murray coming back is not a good look for the dawgs, his performance is exactly what’s wrong with the program, he has great stats against bad to average teams and poor stats against good teams, open up the competition to Hutson. Murray is the same guy, he has not improved at all, and who in the world is telling him he is a pocket passer, anyone that small has to move around and by time…….

unfortunately, pro days sprinkled in their heads at this time

December 22nd, 2012
11:49 am

Jenkins just may be the type to get a little lazy and complacent. He’ll play Jan.1st.
It’s a shame, but his pro workouts might wear him out. He got worn down in many SEC games the last two years. The pros are gonna just have to rely on when he decides to give his best, like he did UGA. But he better realize, the pros won’t keep him around for two years if he doesn’t get better.
There are many masses of fat out there with talent. He needs to bring his talent level up to his fat level.

Aaron, we are lucky to have you as a GA Bulldog

December 22nd, 2012
11:54 am

grip, you’re an idiot if you don’t want Murray as UGA starting qb next year. Give the man credit for what he and his teammates on offense have done as much as you are to criticize him completely for any offensive shortcomings that have occurred.

Bleed Red and Black

December 22nd, 2012
11:56 am

Just think how ready Abry Jones would have been a week later for the national championship game, had UGA spiked the ball and then won!

what could of been.....ugh

December 22nd, 2012
12:00 pm

Coach Richt’s new nickname….Spike.
ahh, just kidding, we still love ya, although you should have let Aaron spike the ball.

RED DOG 77

December 26th, 2012
12:00 am

OK…………..What about you running along now? roll out your mat, you’ve had your milk and cookies…………..What about taking a nap now?