Dawgs getting back to full strength

ATHENS – The mood may have been a little blue Tuesday at Georgia football practice, but at least there as was very little black and blue.

The formerly banged-up Bulldogs (7-1, 5-1 SEC) were almost back to full strength as they took the Woodruff Practice Fields for the first time since Saturday's 14-10 loss to Florida. The defeat dropped them from No. 4 to No. 11 and put ended hopes for the ultimate goal on their wish list – winning the national championship.

"Myself and a couple other seniors are really going to have to step up and remind our team we still have a whole lot to play for," quarterback D.J. Shockley said.

Shockley, who missed the Florida game due to a sprained MCL, practiced Tuesday but did not practice in the full contact scrimmage the Bulldogs had. The scrimmage was part of Coach Mark Richt's plan to get his team past the loss to the Gators.

"I think they feel a little better now," Richt said after the workout. "We got a chance to hit somebody and make a few plays. (The mood) really isn't bad at all. They actually cheered me up a little bit. Not that anybody is over it, but you have to move on and they have."

Georgia is expected to practice just three days this week. Its next game is Nov. 12 against No. 17 Auburn in Sanford Stadium. It will be played at 7:45 p.m. and broadcast by ESPN.

Shockley will play against the Tigers and probably could have participated in Tuesday's scrimmage, Richt said. He did work in the team's drill sessions and took full speed drops and worked play-action passing timing.

"You have to crawl before you can walk," said Shockley, who said he can run almost full speed straight ahead and straight back but still has problems with his lateral movement. "You have to start slowly and gradually work your way up. It felt good to be back out there."

There is very little pain in his knee, he said. His biggest complaint was the brace he is now forced to wear on his left knee. He may be able to use a smaller brace by next week, but he is expected to need some sort of support the rest of the season.

"It's uncomfortable at first, but once I get going, I don't think about it," he said.

Shockley wasn't the only key contributor back in action. Senior defensive tackle Kedric Golston returned after missing the last two games due to torn elbow ligaments. He practiced with a large brace on his right arm and also sat out the scrimmage.

"From the way (the elbow) feels today, I think I'll be great for Auburn," he said.

Safety Greg Blue sat out Tuesday to rest a hamstring injury but could be back on the field this week. He will play against Auburn, Richt said. Defensive tackle Dale Dixson (concussion) practiced in a green, no-contact jersey but is expected to be full speed by today.

Overall, the injury list was an encouraging one for a team that has been without at least one starter due to injury in the last four games and was missing three (Shockley, Golston and linebacker Brandon Miller) against the Gators.

As for any hangover from the Florida game, Georgia's players hope Tuesday's practice took care of that.

"Everybody was ready to get after it and get better," Golston said, "because we had a bad taste in our mouths."

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