With senior defensive tackle Jeff Owens going down with a season-ending knee injury and Kade Weston out against Central Michigan, the rotation on the interior of Georgia's defensive line could be awfully thin this week.
The problem might have been worse if not for the surprising emergence of Brandon Wood.
The sophomore has battled injuries since coming to Georgia three years ago and battled through a nagging hamstring injury during the preseason, so coaches weren't expecting much when he hit the field against Georgia Southern. He ended up credited with four tackles and a pass breakup.
"Wood definitely played better than he practiced, I can tell you that," head coach Mark Richt said. "Coach (Rodney) Garner was a little reluctant to play him a lot, but when Jeff got hurt, it probably changed things a little bit. But that kid played hard."
Wood will be in line for more playing time this week behind starters Corvey Irvin and Geno Atkins. Richt said Wood was ahead of sophomore Ricardo Crawford on the depth chart and would likely fight for playing time alongside freshman DeAngelo Tyson.
"He's certainly got a ways to go," Richt said of Wood, "but he played better than his practice performances."
YOUNG AND RESTLESS:
Georgia played 20 freshmen against Georgia Southern last Saturday, so Richt got to watch plenty of footage of his youngsters after the game. One clip, however, stood out.
Richt and his staff spend plenty of time in the preseason preaching the importance of blocking to his freshmen, and on one Caleb King run in the second half of the Bulldogs' opening week win, he saw footage that couldn't help but put a smile on his face.
"(Freshman lineman) Cordy Glenn is blocking a guy basically out of the frame," Richt said. "(Freshman wide receiver) Tavarres King is blocking a guy 35 yards down the field, just staying after him the whole way, and Caleb King making people miss."
Three freshmen doing exactly what they were taught might not seem like a big deal, but Richt said it was clear how impressive they were.
"Everybody else was playing good," Richt said, "but they all did something stellar on the same play, and that was pretty neat to watch."
QUOTE OF THE DAY:
When asked whether he would have given wide receiver Kris Durham a hard time if he had been caught from behind on his 61-yard touchdown reception, quarterback Matthew Stafford said he didn't really have too much faith in Durham's speed.
"I kind of expected it to happen, so I wouldn't have given him too hard a time," Stafford said. "But going straight ahead, he can really go."