But Mark Richt and company are still practicing the junior running back.
“We are giving Todd a good bit of reps. We want him to be able to play well if he plays. We know Todd knows what to do. We really don’t know what to expect. We are just practicing and focusing on Florida right now,” Richt said.
Embattled Gator coach Will Muschamp said on Monday that his team expects Gurley to take the field on Saturday.
“Absolutely. I would expect him to play,” Muschamp said at his press conference. “(Georgia has an) extremely talented running back in Todd Gurley. One of the best football players in college football. He’s a violent runner. He’s a great competitor, a guy that really competes on every down in what he does.”
No one yet knows when the NCAA will clear Gurley, but it could come as soon as Tuesday. Fans should fell relatively confident that Gurley will return against the Gators. In fact, NCAA president Mark Emmert told the AP that Georgia’s handling of the case has been “commendable.”
“From the facts that we know today, publicly, Georgia’s behavior has been commendable,” Emmert told the Associated Press. “They, apparently, saw something that concerned them, and they dealt with it directly and their athletic department seems to have handled that very, very appropriately based on what we know today.”
2. There will be more color on the field this week in the form of both Georgia and the Gators wearing home uniforms. The idea came about last fall days before Georgia’s 23-20 win over the Gators.
Both schools had to get permission from the SEC in order for both teams to wear home gear.
“We all felt like it was enough of a contrast (in color). I don't think it will be an issue,” Richt said. “I don't even know who thought of the idea, but I wasn't against it so we'll see how it goes.”
It is the first time that the Gators and Dawgs have both worn home colors since the 1970s.
“We all felt like it was enough of a contrast (in uniform color) that and it not be an issue,” Richt said. “I think our players are fine.”
3. The rankings come out tonight, and Georgia will be on the outside looking in… for now.
Now that Mark Richt is concerned about that:
“I will look at the rankings, sure, but there is so much football to be played right now it is hard to take it too seriously because it is going to change a lot,” Richt said.
Still, Georgia’s path to championships is right in front of them no matter their ranking tonight. If the Bulldogs win every game they play in from here on out they will get a bid to play in the College Football Playoff.
There are some situations where Georgia could even still lose, but the point is that Tuesday’s rankings are simply a snapshot of where programs are - not necessarily where they will be on December 7th. The Bulldogs were ranked No. 11 in the first rankings, which were released on Tuesday night.
4. Georgia has been persistent in the absence of Gurley
“Something always comes up. You have to find away to overcome it. That’s why I think football can help our players can help our players understand how to overcome adversity,” Richt said on Tuesday.
That Georgia arrives in Jacksonville at 6-1 and ranked in the top ten without their best player shows that the Bulldogs are much more than just Todd Gurley.
“We’ve been able to focus on the job at hand. I think we were improving no matter if Todd was playing or not. Some people said Todd not being there made guys play harder and everything, but I think we were getting better regardless. We’ve stayed focused and won,” Richt said.
The focus of the running game has been freshman Nick Chubb.
“If you had asked me if Chubb was the feature back would be do well, I would have said yes,” Richt said. “Him and Dominick Sanders are a little more mature than most guys their age.”
It looks like Chubb could be at it alone this weekend if Gurley doesn’t return.
“I just don’t think Sony or Keith will be ready,” Richt said Tuesday.
Mark Richt once wondered out loud why Georgia would travel more than five hours to play a neutral game. He cut that out some time ago, but when asked about it again today Richt was very direct.
“I learned a long time ago not to make a comment on the venue other than we look forward to play Florida in Jacksonville,” Richt said.
In the past the idea of playing the game in Atlanta has been thrown around, but every seriously enough to enter into contract negotiations to leave Jacksonville. The Georgia-Florida game is contracted to be played in Jacksonville through 2016 according to various media outlets.
Multiple Jacksonville outlets have reported that Gator Bowl Association president Rick Catlett warned that Atlanta and Orlando will compete with Jacksonville for the game after the current contract is up.