August 24, 2009: Georgia News and Notes

ATHENS - David Hale's news and notes from Georgia's fall camp.

THE PRESSURE IS ON

Georgia will have a first-year starter at punter and could have another handling kickoffs, and both will be tested early.

Oklahoma State's special teams are among the best in the country, with punt returner Dez Bryant, who had two returns for touchdowns last season, and kick returner Perrish Cox, who is on pace to break the Big 12 record for return yards early this season.

"They're outstanding there, and our kicking game has just got to be outstanding," Richt said. "It starts with the kicker and punter, but our coverage teams, when you talk about wanting to be in midseason form Game 1, we better be."

As to which players will be handling kickoffs for Georgia, that remains a mystery – and it's not one for which Richt is planning to offer a solution any time soon.

"I doubt that will ever be announced before the first game, so don't ask," Richt said, joking with reporters Monday. "We've narrowed it down to two, so that's pretty good."

While Richt is playing coy on who will handle kickoffs, he said he simply hasn't decided on the approach that kicker will take. Georgia's kicking game struggled badly last year with directional kicking, but Richt said that still could be the plan against Oklahoma State.

"As we get closer to it, we'll have to make some decisions on if we'll kick to them or not," Richt said.

One bright spot, however, appears to be the work of new punter Drew Butler, who Richt said has had a tremendous few weeks in practice.

"I hope he punts in the games like he's been punting in practice," Richt said. "He's been very good. He never had an issue with operation time."

INJURY UPDATES

Freshman cornerback Jordan Love missed Monday's practice due to a lingering toe injury he has had since high school. Richt said it's less severe than a turf toe, but Georgia's staff is taking a conservative approach.

"We let him rest a bit, cool off, then hook him up again," Richt said. "It's a day-to-day, pain-tolerance kind of thing."

Safeties Bryan Evans and Reshad Jones and tight end Aron White all returned to a full practice Monday after sitting out the majority of the past two weeks with hamstring injuries. While none participated in a sprinting exercise at the end of practice, Richt was otherwise pleased with their progress.

"They had green jerseys on, but they did just about everything," Richt said.

Two players who did not participate were left tackle Trinton Sturdivant, who Richt said is sick with a gastro-intestinal illness, and Darius Dewberry, who Richt said was close to returning from a hamstring injury.


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