Crowell, Thomas Expected to Play

ATHENS - Georgia football coach Mark Richt said at a lunchtime news conference Tuesday that coaches were "working our way through" how the Bulldogs' tailback rotation would stack up for Saturday's game against Georgia Tech.

By the time the sun had set and players and coaches got off the practice field, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said he expected Carlton Thomas to return after being suspended for last week's game against Kentucky.

"Carlton's playing," Bobo said.

Thomas, the team's second leading rusher with 327 yards, has been suspended three times this season. His latest discipline issue came for violating a rule.

Bobo also said that he expected leading rusher Isaiah Crowell to play Saturday. Crowell sprained his left ankle in Saturday's 19-10 win after only two carries.

"I don't think it's a high ankle sprain that's going to keep him out," Bobo said. "I think in the next couple of days he'll be ready to go."

Crowell "did a little bit, not much," in Tuesday's practice, Bobo said.

"I think there's a chance he plays," Richt said earlier.

Brandon Harton and Ken Malcome are also in the mix. Harton rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown against Kentucky.

"We've got to sort through it," Richt said of the plans for tailback. "It's just not cut and dry. I don't even know who's going to start. I don't even know who's going to play 100 percent."

Jones gets noticed

In his first season at Georgia, Jarvis Jones is a finalist for the Butkus Award, which goes to the nation's top linebacker.

"I'm not surprised that he's a finalist for any award," Richt said. "His performance if you watched it, you'd think he deserved to be in the mix."

The Southern California transfer has 12 ½ sacks—second most nationally—and is second on the Bulldogs with 58 tackles. Jones sat out last year under NCAA transfer rules and played on the scout team.

"I knew he had it in him, but I didn't know he was going to be this type of player," safety Bacarri Rambo said. "I always thought he would be a great inside linebacker because he came out of high school playing inside, but I didn't know he'd have this impact on the defense playing outside."

The third-year sophomore has said emphatically that he will return next season instead of enter the NFL draft.

"I know he really enjoys it," Richt said. "I think he knows he's getting coached well. I think he knows he's learning a lot. I think he knows he's still got a ways to go to really be ready. It's refreshing to hear that, I'll tell you that. It's exciting actually."

There are six finalists for the Butkus, including Alabama's Dont'a Hightwoer and Courtney Upshaw. The winners will be announced by Dec. 7.

Single-minded focus

School's out this week for Thanksgiving at Georgia.

The timing couldn't be better going up against Georgia Tech's triple-option offense.

"Anybody that's ever played coach (Paul) Johnson's offense knows it's just an awful lot of work to get done in a short amount of time," Richt said. "We're thankful that we don't have school this week. It helps us a little bit , get a few more walk-throughs and a few more meetings, but the toughest part for us is just going to be to get the scout team to try to vaguely resemble it."

There's no balancing a playbook with books from classes this week.

"It's sort of like being a pro player because it's all we really need to focus on right now," Rambo said. "We don't have school so we just need to focus on beating Georgia Tech. …I really enjoy it. I wish we could have it more often."

This and that

Richt talked more Tuesday more about the helmet decal that will honor longtime Bulldogs broadcaster Larry Munson, who died Sunday. "It wasn't quite what we were working on, but it will be something that will be very recognizable and obvious that we're honoring him," Richt said. …Cornerback Jordan Love (hand) practiced in a non-contact jersey. Cornerback Nick Marshall (undisclosed) also was limited.

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