A member of the class of 2005, Coates has watched for the last two fall camps while teammates and classmates have played in Sanford Stadium more than he's even practiced at the Woodruff Practice Fields. While Coates still has nearly a month before running, with pads on, onto the floor of the Stadium, he will get his shot on Saturday to get back onto the practice field.
Coates' injury-filled career went sideways when he suffered an ACL his senior year in high school. He had the same exact injury the following fall – his first year at Georgia. From that point on he was stuck rehabbing the nagging injury – and always feeling ready to get back out there.
Richt is optimistic about Coates' chances, too. He says that the rising redshirt sophomore will get a good chance to play some this fall.
"He has been injured since he came to Georgia, but he's got tremendous ability and potential, and he's healthy right now," Richt said. "If he holds up through camp, he's going to have something to say about who starts at safety."
"What an awesome attitude," Richt said of Coates. "He's definitely been disappointed, but what an awesome attitude."
Richt also commented on the superior physical shape Coates is in, adding that he can't wait to see Coates get out there and fight for playing time. In fact, he said, Coates' situation prompted him to recall a player at his previous school who came back from injury to be dominant.
"When I was at Florida State, we had a guy named Corey Simon," Richt recalled. His first two seasons, he was hurt. He just could not make it through a season. And his junior year, he was second- or third-string nose guard or whatever he was. At the end of the year, he was a first-team all-American. I'm not saying that's going to happen to Coates, but it just happens that way sometimes. All of a sudden, you're healthy and you start playing good."