Inman gets back to work

ATHENS – Saturday could have been a lot tougher on Dan Inman.

Inman was in Athens serving the last of his two-game suspension while his No. 10 Georgia teammates played South Carolina in Columbia.

"It was tough," the senior offensive tackle said. "I watched it by myself and tried not to break the TV set when things didn't go good, but I really didn't have too many moments when I was upset."

Inman would have been crushed had the Bulldogs' lack of offensive line depth been exposed due to his failure of a drug test, and subsequent suspension, in the offseason. The 18-0 victory over the Gamecocks, and Georgia's 2-0 record at his return, make his unscheduled break much easier to stomach.

"It's going to be an overwhelming feeling coming back," he said. "I was thinking about it (Monday) watching film, and I was almost nervous. I was like, ‘Man you've been here four years, what have you got to be nervous about?'"

Inman, backup center Ian Smith and cornerback Thomas Flowers all return to the active lineup this week after serving two-game suspensions. Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe must sit out one more game.

Inman feared prior to the season that he would be exiled to the scout team during his suspension, but the Bulldogs' lack of depth at the position saved him that embarrassment.

"He's gotten an awful lot of reps in practice," Coach Mark Richt said. "I would think he should be in great condition."

He'll need to be because he'll probably be back in the starting lineup Saturday against UAB (1-1). Michael Turner, who started in Inman's place, is questionable for the 1 p.m. game due to an ankle sprain. If Turner is healthy, Inman still may start, offensive line coach Neil Callaway said.

Starting is exactly where Inman wants to be.

"It's just been torture knowing that at the end of the week you couldn't play," he said.

Still, Inman has handled his suspension gracefully, Richt and Callaway said.

"I saw him the other day, and I told him I really appreciated and respected how he handled the discipline," Richt said. "He was very humble and he worked hard, and I think he's had a very good life lesson and I think he's going to do great."

Inman's teammates, who have grown accustomed to his feisty disposition, expect an inspired effort.

"I think he's going to be snarling out there like a little razorback," said defensive lineman Ray Gant, a veteran of several practice field tangles with Inman. "He's probably already drooling. I think he's going to pick somebody up and slam them on their head. Big Dan's hungry, man. He's angry and nasty. He's always angry and nasty, but he hasn't played in a while so he's even that much more nastier."

Inman's team-best streak of 25 straight starts was broken by his suspension, but he still could end up second all-time on the Bulldogs' career start list if he starts every remaining game and a bowl game.

"I just have to do the same thing I always have, go out there and play and get better every week," Inman said, "get better as the year goes on."

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