ATHENS, Ga. - Fred Gibson has been part of one of the hot questions from Georgia football fans who for the past two weeks have asked why he wasn't a bigger part of the game plan in the season opener.
Unfortunately, Gibson says he has no answer as to why he and other receivers did not play a larger role in the win over Clemson. Gibson says he only hopes he is a bigger part of Coach Mark Richt's game plan in Saturday's 3:30 p.m. game at South Carolina.
Said Gibson: "I went home (to Waycross, Ga.) last weekend and all kind of people were going crazy, saying 'How come they didn't throw you the ball?' I was like, 'I don't know.' ''
Gibson had no receptions in the first half and finished with three catches for 28 yards.
"I guess if Coach Richt wanted the play to come to (the receivers), it would have come to us,'' Gibson said. "There's a reason for everything, I guess.''
Added Gibson: "The first week (in practice) we did everything but we didn't do it in the game, so I'm confused just like y'all.''
As a freshman, Gibson had 100 or more yards receiving in five games, including nine catches for a school-record 201 yards with two touchdowns against Kentucky.
But even last year there were games were Gibson seemed to be an afterthought to the game plan, including the final regular-season game against Houston, when he caught only two passes for 18 yards. He did not catch a pass against Ole Miss as Georgia kept the ball on the ground.
Receivers coach John Eason said if defenses challenge Georgia to win with the running game first by leaving extra defensive backs on the field, then tailback Musa Smith will continue to see more work than the receivers.
"I think any receivers always want to catch more balls than they catch in a ballgame,'' Eason said. "Regardless of how many they catch, they want more. Hopefully, if the opportunity presents itself, we can make them a valuable part of the offense.''
But even when Georgia relies more on its passing game, it will be difficult to keep all the receivers happy, including Gibson.
"It's a nice problem to have,'' Eason said. "We've just got to continue to try to devise some things in order to utilize his talents.''
Early dress rehearsal: Due to the bye week, Georgia was in full pads this week Monday instead of Tuesday. Still one day ahead of schedule, Wednesday's session was more like a normal Thursday practice.
"We tried to work on timing and alignments,'' Richt said. "It was like a dress rehearsal, and we'll have another one (today).''
Injury report: The off week helped linebacker Tony Gilbert (sprained ankle) and safety Sean Jones (bruised lower back) return from injuries, though defensive end Nic Clemons (turf toe) remains questionable.
Richt said the open week last week came at an especially good time for Gilbert. Richt said Gilbert probably would have tried to play through the injury. Instead, the senior from Macon was held out all last week and now is back to full speed.
"Tony has practiced well three days in a row,'' Richt said. "A week of rest was real good for him. He might have had a chronic ankle the whole year.''
Defensive end David Pollack was able to go through the full practice Wednesday after suffering a slight knee sprain on Monday. "He's fine, he did everything,'' Richt said.