Richt Still Impressed by Thomas

ATHENS - He didn't earn the starting job, but Carlton Thomas was the most talked-about running back this preseason after some masterful practice performances.

The forgotten man

Thomas was a factor early in the season, too, getting 11 touches in the team's first two games and then earning six carries and catching two passes against Vanderbilt on Oct. 17. Since then, however, he has had just three more rushing attempts – all during mop-up duty against Tennessee Tech – and has largely fallen off the radar as Georgia's ground came has coalesced around Caleb King and Washaun Ealey.

Still, Richt said he continues to be impressed by Thomas' work on the practice field and expects to see the redshirt freshman used more next season.

"He's a tough kid and a good runner," Richt said. "He's improving, too. I think there's still a place for him to be real productive in the future, too." Fitting right in

Without a defensive staff in place, Georgia has been working with two graduate assistants on the defensive side of the ball, and while it hasn't been a seamless transition, Richt said the young coaches have done a nice job of handling themselves.

Georgia's first bowl practice came last Saturday and included only some basic aspects of the game plan, which Richt said the GAs handled well. By the second practice Wednesday, things had revved up a bit, and the results were both obvious and expected.

"We added a little bit more, plus reviewing what we had, and it was a little bit sluggish, as a normal Tuesday would be when you're throwing in a lot of the game plan," Richt said. "But they didn't lose heart or anything like that."

During Friday's practice – Georgia's fourth in preparation for Texas A&M – things ran a bit smoother, and Richt said he expects the continued experience to help the process become a well-oiled machine by game day on Dec. 28.

"We had a little drill (Friday) where we were getting formations out there in a hurry and seeing how guys would react and make the right calls, and I think they did a nice job," Richt said. "I would think today certainly gave them more confidence."

Extra points

Georgia practiced for about 45 minutes Friday in the rain with temperatures in the mid-30s. Offensive lineman Justin Anderson said it was the coldest weather he had ever practiced in… Sophomore tailback Richard Samuel, who suffered a concussion during practice last month, is expected to return to full practices as early as today and should be able to play in Georgia's bowl game… Fifteen Georgia players picked up their diplomas during Friday's graduation ceremony at Georgia, including seniors Jeff Owens, Geno Atkins and Joe Cox.

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