Dawgs Try to Move Past Injuries

ATHENS – Each day after practice last week, Georgia head coach Mark Richt answered different versions of the same question. A litany of players were hurt, and reporters wanted to know when each would be back.

Richt gave the best answers he could, but predicting injuries, he said, was a lot like predicting the weather. It was all just guesswork.

Of course, even the weather didn't completely cooperate with Georgia last week, as the Bulldogs were forced indoors for one session of two-a-days, while their other practices were limited by the sheer number of players with bumps, bruises or worse.

By Friday, nearly a quarter of Georgia's roster was in green jerseys at practice, which had a domino effect on everyone else. Players took snaps out of position, special teams were thin, continuity went out the window, and reps were cut short across the board.

"We're not doing the full amount of reps just to try to keep the guys that are healthy, healthy," linebacker Darryl Gamble said.

While Richt isn't hoping to join the predicting business, he said he expects a majority of his injured players to return to action this week. That will be particularly important at defensive end, where the Bulldogs were down to just one healthy scholarship player at the position.

"More than likely, we'll all be back," defensive end Justin Houston said. "I know at least half of us will be back Monday."

That's good news, particularly for the younger players like Houston.

The veterans, Richt said, aren't falling too far behind, but the missed reps for the freshmen and redshirt freshmen can be crucial.

"Everybody's No. 1 frustration is not being able to rep either young guys or inexperienced guys," Richt said.

That may be the coaches' biggest ongoing concern, but it was the knee injury to starting left tackle Trinton Sturdivant on Monday that caused the biggest shake-up in camp.

Sturdivant tore multiple ligaments and will miss the season, which left coaches to find someone to fill the void.

Richt said five different players were used at left tackle during camp last week, with Kiante Tripp, who had been listed as the starting right tackle, and sophomore Josh Davis taking the most snaps with the first team.

"Coach is going to play the best five (on the offensive line)," Tripp said. "It really doesn't matter which side I play on. As long as the O-line is together, working together, we should be alright."

Finding the best five linemen – not to mention working out the depth chart at over other position – will be the main order of business this week. First, Georgia will have to get more players back on the field and practicing.

With the start of the season less than two weeks away, defensive back Asher Allen said the Bulldogs are still trying to find their stride. But despite all the injuries, he said, the energy level in camp remains high.

"We're still getting acclimated," Allen said. "I think we look good, but a lot of people still need to get in shape, including myself. But every day, we're getting better. As far as everybody giving full effort, it's been a decent camp."

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