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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wednesday Practice Notes -- Ellerbe Doubtful

Wide receiver Kris Durham and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe are both doubtful for Saturday's game against Vanderbilt, head coach Mark Richt said.

Both players were injured three weeks ago against Alabama, and neither have participated in practices this week.

Ellerbe is battling a knee injury that Richt said is progressing on schedule, but hasn't fully healed.

"He's struggling with the lateral movement right now," Richt said. "I wouldn't say that he's 100 percent out but it's doubtful."

Durham tested his injured ankle during practice Wednesday and said he hoped he might be able to play this week, but Richt said the team isn't counting on his availability.

"We're not planning for either one of them right now," Richt said. "If a guy has a great turnaround, he feels great, you might allow him to be on standby, but we don't think either one of them will be real productive and practice right now."

Richt said he expected both players to be ready against LSU in two weeks.


Georgia will be without tight end Tripp Chandler for a second straight week when it takes on Vanderbilt on Saturday, but the senior said he hopes to be ready for the Bulldogs' road trip to LSU next week.

"It's hopefully LSU, but really it could be LSU or Florida," Chandler said. "One of those two."

Chandler suffered a shoulder injury against Alabama three weeks ago and was forced to watch his teammates beat Tennessee from the sideline last week. He said the injury is improving at a good pace, but the importance of the game at LSU adds a bit of extra motivation to recover quickly.

"It's just such a big game," Chandler said. "That's a game you want to be at, even if you're on the sidelines, just to be there to support your team."


Safety Quintin Banks got his first taste of action this season last week against Tennessee, but his return to the field was short lived.

Banks re-injured his right knee this week and will miss a significant amount of time, Richt said.

"He's out for a while," Richt said. "It will not require surgery, which is a blessing for him, but we don't expect him back within at least the next couple weeks anyway."

Freshman linebacker Christian Robinson hasn't played this season and is expected to be redshirted, but he'll miss a good chunk of practice, too. Robinson broke his arm during practice yesterday and will miss at least a month.

"It won't require surgery, but a bone is usually four to six weeks," Richt said.

Left tackle Vince Vance injured his knee against Alabama, but Richt said he won't have surgery to repair his ACL for at least three weeks as doctors wait for his posterior cruciate ligament to heal.


Plenty of Georgia fans may be curious what the future holds for star running back Knowshon Moreno, but he said he hasn't given it a thought.

The redshirt sophomore will be eligible to forego his final two seasons at Georgia and enter the NFL draft at season's end, but he said that decision hasn't even been considered so far.

"I feel like anything can happen this season, so I want to take it one step at a time," Moreno said. "If I look down the road, when that time comes, I'll see what people think about it. When the time comes, I'll talk to family and stuff like that, but I'm nowhere near thinking about it."


After handling all the kick return duties for the first four games of the season, Ramarcus Brown took a backseat to freshman Richard Samuel late the game against Alabama. Last week, Brown was nowhere to be seen on Tennessee's three kickoffs, with Samuel handling all three.

That doesn't mean Brown is out of a job though.

"I'm still a returner, I just didn't get any returns this week," Brown said. "I guess coaches wanted to try something new, but we're both still back there."

Coach Tony Ball said he made the decision to give Samuel a shot at return duties because he liked the freshman's physical style and thought the competition would help both players.

"I felt like (Samuel) could give me another dimension, and that's the reason why he was there and he's earned the opportunity," Ball said. "But (Brown) still gives me that one-two punch."

Ball said the two returners have different styles that allow him to plug in a return man to fit each specific situation.

"(Brown) is more of a speed-finesse guy, and Richard is more of a speed-power guy," Ball said. "They're two different type guys but both are capable of doing a good job."


There was even more football talk than usual around Richt's house this week. In addition to his Georgia team beating rival Tennessee on Saturday, his son, David, won his game with Price Avenue Christian High School while his elder son, Jon, is adjusting to a new head coach at Clemson after Tommy Bowden resigned Monday.

On top of that chaos, Richt's brother in law, Brad Johnson, was named the starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys after Tony Romo broke a finger against Arizona on Sunday.

Richt said he and Johnson usually exchange frequent text messages, but since Romo got hurt, the communication has slowed down.

"We do a lot of texting and there was always some kind of humor involved," Richt said, "but I texted him two or three times this week and no response. I guarantee he's watching film."


Richt was asked to identify the biggest surprises and disappointments of the season so far, and he struggled to come up with anything that took him off guard.

"I'm surprised we're starting three freshmen and two sophomores up front," Richt said. "But not many surprises really."

The disappointments though? There were two that stood out.

"The penalties are the most disappointing thing to me at this point," Richt said. "We just need to get to the point where we don't beat ourselves. I think I'm disappointed that we haven't gotten more turnovers at this point. Is it out of the ordinary? No. But we need to get more turnovers and we need to keep from helping the other team with these penalties."


Speaking of the penalties, Richt said the team didn't quite meet expectations when it racked up 11 flags against Tennessee last week.

On the plus side, several of the penalties were caused by Richt accepting delay-of-game flags in order to help run out the clock late in the game, and a few more, he said, shouldn't have been called, according to SEC officials.

"There was a couple in there that should not have been called," Richt said. "If you take that into account, we were down to seven."

Richt said he wouldn't discuss the number he had set as a goal for the team, but suffice it to say, the Bulldogs didn't hit it.

"It's getting close," Richt said. "I set a standard that, if you're at this level or (higher), you'll have to have team up-downs 10 for every one. We (had) 70 up-downs (at practice), so that can at least let you guess what the number is."


In any week, four field goals would have been a highlight for kicker Blair Walsh, but his quartet of kicks against Tennessee turned out to be the only time he felt good last weekend.

The freshman kicker came down with a head cold last Friday and had to be taken to the Georgia health services center before the game Saturday.

"I had gotten a sore throat the day before, so I sort of knew the head cold was coming, but when I woke up on Saturday, I just felt awful," Walsh said. "I couldn't think straight, my head killed, I went down and tried to take medication, and I couldn't hold anything down."

He managed to make it to the game, however, and had plenty of chances to get his mind off his illness. He said he's still feeling bad, but he has spent most of the week resting in hopes of being 100 percent by game day.

"I felt a lot better during the game, and then after the game it sort of went down again," Walsh said, "and it's just been a roller coaster all week."

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