Georgia Football Notebook 9/16

Michael Cooper to make his next start, injury updates and more...

ATHENS -- Freshman running back Michael Cooper, who leads Georgia 217 yards on 31 carries, will start this week, but the No. 2 slot is still unsettled.

Any of three players -- veteran Ronnie Powell, true freshman Kregg Lumpkin and newly re-instated Tyson Browning -- could fill that role, Coach Mark Richt said.

Powell is the team's second-leading rusher with 114 yards on 28 carries, and Lumpkin was very impressive in his debut last week with seven carries for 32 yards. Browning, who missed the first three games while serving a suspension for an undisclosed violation of team rules, is the wild card in the group.

"Tyson is a little different from the rest of them," Richt said. "He's a

jitter-bug kind of guy. He's not in the greatest shape. I don't see him playing a lot of plays, but I think he'll get there some."

"I've got a little more speed than the other guys," Browning said. "That's the good thing about it, we all do something different."

Cooper seems to have entrenched himself as the No. 7 Bulldogs' starter while regular starter Tony Milton has been slowed by a leg injury. Milton is questionable for this week's game against LSU, but Georgia fans have hardly noticed now that Cooper is averaging 7.0 yards per carry. Cooper was impressive in preseason practice but his game performance has surprised even the coaching staff.

"When he got into the game, his level of play got even higher," Richt said. "Now, because of his enthusiasm with what is happening, he's practicing better."

Davis a safety now?

Thomas Davis has played so well at safety, totaling a team-high 31 tackles, that it's no longer a guarantee that he'll move back to linebacker when Kentrell Curry returns to the lineup, Richt said.

"I'm sure that will become an issue at some point," Richt said. "I guess

we're going to cross that bridge when it comes. We'll have to decide after this game."

Davis has 22 solo tackles, three quarterback pressures and two tackles-for-loss.

"I think he's probably the best tackler we've got," Richt said.

Injury update

The chances of Curry coming back from his stress fracture this week are slim, Richt said.

"My guess is we won't see him before the Alabama game, but there's a chance he'll play," Richt said.

Tight end Ben Watson (ankle), wide receiver Fred Gibson (hamstring) and safety Greg Blue (knee) are out for the LSU game. Defensive ends Marquis Elmore (ankle) and Marcus Jackson (thumb) are questionable. Defensive tackle Ken Veal is probable.

Reinforcing a message

Richt told his team after the game last week that he was growing weary of some of their showmanship on the field, particularly some players' propensity to draw attention to themselves after plays. He addressed it again this week, he said.

"I said, 'Look men if you make a tackle, it probably means 10 other guys  did their job,'" he said. "I want us to celebrate together, have as much fun as you want but celebrate as a team."

Davis made several throat-slashing gestures toward a player last week and was called for unsportsmanlike conduct last week. Richt said Davis wouldn't receive any more punishment for the gesture than for a normal unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. It was one of two personal fouls on the Bulldogs, who are 10th in the league in penalties (31 for 246 yards).

In the spotlight

The national spotlight is starting to fall on the undefeated Bulldogs. Sports Illustrated's Kelley King was in town Monday to do a story on roommates David Greene and David Pollack. On Tuesday, ESPN's Shelley Smith was in Athens working on a feature on Pollack.

UGA athletic director Vince Dooley told Smith that Pollack was the best spokesman for the school's football team since Herschel Walker.

"Those are the two best in my 40 years," Dooley said.

This and That

Linebacker Arnold Harrison missed Tuesday's practice with a foot injury but is expected back today. Freshman Danny Verdun Wheeler took his place with the first team. ... Walk-on offensive lineman Ryan Schnetzer has played so well that he's now in a three-man rotation with Josh Brock and Bartley Miller at guard, Richt said.

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