After getting his first action of the season on special teams against Alabama, fullback Brannan Southerland will finally return to offense this week. Southerland, a senior, missed the first five games of the season while recovering from his second foot surgery in the past year. While he said he's anxious to return to action, he won't let the excitement take away any focus.
"I'll definitely be very excited and be giving it everything I've got on every play," Southerland said. "But that's one of those things I really don't have an issue with. I always stay focused and no matter how excited I get, I always bring it back in for every play and make sure that I'm focused."
Despite the fact that he has yet to play a down on offense this season, Southerland has been named an offensive captain for this week's game against Tennessee.
Southerland will compete for playing time with Shaun Chapas, but he said he'll be ready to play as many snaps as he is needed.
"I believe I'll be able to go as many snaps as I'm called upon," Southerland said. "I won't be limited to 20 reps or anything like that. I'll be able to go the whole game and do everything I need to do."
Ellerbe has not participated in practice since injuring his knee against Alabama two weeks ago, and Richt said the team is preparing for the game without the preseason All-SEC linebacker.
"He might feel really good by Friday, but he hasn't gotten one rep," Richt said. "We were in shorts (Wednesday), and he's not getting reps because we don't plan on him playing. If we thought there was even a prayer of him getting in, we might let him do the walkthroughs, but we want those other kids to get the reps because we don't think he's going to play."
READY FOR BATTLE:
Defensive end Rod Battle has missed the past three games with a neck injury, and Richt had considered him unlikely to play against Tennessee last week, but the senior has made progress and could see action after all.
"I'd say he's more than 50 percent he will play," Richt said.
Richt said Battle will likely be a bit behind the curve physically, but should be well prepared to play when needed. Battle was listed as the probable starter at defensive end in fall camp.
"In relation to his season, he's been resting his body, so he should be pretty fresh right now," Richt said.