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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Practice Notes: Durham to Miss '09 Season

Georgia wide receiver Kris Durham will miss the season with a torn labrum in his shoulder, head coach Mark Richt announced Wednesday.

Durham, a senior who caught 13 passes for 199 yards last season, suffered the injury two weeks ago and has not practiced since. Richt said Durham could have attempted to play through the injury, but that the coaches, trainers and Durham were all in agreement that surgery was the best option.

"It's a decision that we all feel like was in his best interest," Richt said. "He feels very strong that it is in his best interest, too. He just wants to make sure that his senior year is a strong, healthy one."

Durham will redshirt the upcoming season and return for a fifth year with the Bulldogs in 2010.

Richt said the surgery is scheduled for May. Had Durham hoped to get on the field in 2009, they would have performed the procedure earlier, but instead the receiver will wait until the end of his academic year before undergoing the surgery. Richt said it is typically a minimum recovery time of about six months.

Durham's absence leaves Georgia with just seven scholarship receivers for 2009. Michael Moore and A.J. Green are the projected starters, with Tony Wilson, Tavarres King, Israel Troupe and incoming freshmen Rontavious Wooten and Marlon Brown rounding out the roster. Richt said freshman cornerback Branden Smith could get some action at receiver, too, and freshman tight end Orson Charles could also be split out wide.

"It is going to push other guys to the forefront," Richt said. "Durham would have been a big part of what we're doing, and him leaving definitely puts a hole. He was at least in our top four."


The spring isn't exactly a showcase for special teams, so Mark Richt hasn't seen a whole lot of punter Drew Butler, but he's still pretty confident Butler is ready to take over for Brian Mimbs.

The son of former Georgia kicker Kevin Butler, Drew got in a few punts a season ago, mostly in situations that dictated a pooch kick. That's all Richt needed to notice the best asset Butler brings to the table.

"One thing about Butler is he's got a very quick operation time where he'll catch it and get the ball off really quickly," Richt said. "Mimbs wasn't slow by any means, but Butler is a little bit quicker. The snap, the catch and the punt, that operation time is really outstanding."

Of course, replacing a two-year starter like Mimbs won't be easy, and Butler still needs to work on the one thing for which Mimbs was best known.

"Butler, when he hits it, it's very, very nice, but he has to become a little more consistent," Richt said. "But it's good to see he has the ability to hang it high and deep. He just has to get a little more consistent."


Offensive line coach Stacy Searels got a new title this offseason – that of running game coordinator – but Richt said that hasn't meant anything new for the offense.

"Coach Searels title was basically a public announcement of what's already been happening. He's been the run game coordinator, and him and Coach (Mike) Bobo work close. Coach Bobo still has the final say on everything, but as Mike's studying the perimeter, (Searels) is studying the guts."


Richt was vocal in his support for defensive coordinator Willie Martinez a year ago, even as the defense struggled down the stretch.

The support has paid off this spring, Richt said, and the Georgia defense has looked sharp during the past four weeks.

"I see a defensive team that is very unified right now and has a little bit of a chip on their shoulder," Richt said. "They feel like they have something to prove. We've quite frankly allowed them to practice in such a manner as to create the attitude or the edge that they need to."


Georgia finished its 13th practice Wednesday of the 15 allowed by the NCAA in the spring.

"It went fast," Richt said, "real fast."

Richt said the players looked sharp in the pleasant conditions offered by the light winds and warm temperatures. The team will be back in action Friday for a brief workout before hitting the field at Sanford Stadium on Saturday for the annual G-Day game.

"Friday will be not a whole lot. It's a shorts day." Richt said. "We'll probably do a little pass skel, then break up into teams."

The G-Day game is free to attend, and Richt encouraged Georgia fans to pack the house, including organizing group outings if possible. The game will air on ESPN at 1 p.m. Saturday.

"You can even TiVo it," Richt said, "and watch yourself when you get home."


atlstew said...

Richts' support for martinez has paid off as the defense looks sharp. Give me a break. Hope Durham can recover for a solid final year.

Anonymous said...

Chris Durham appears to be a good kid with the heart of a lion. However, you are asking for him to get hurt every time he goes across the middle as he does not have the body to play football at this level. He is good but not durable. He should consider retiring before he really gets hurt although at that age I doubt he will.

Yes, this year will answer what type of defensive coaches we have. We should know by the first 4 games.

Anonymous said...

How is Durham's body any different than any other wide reciever on our team? Have you seen AJ Green? T. King? Both are skinnier with thinner bones. Durham is built solid and can take hits.

Anonymous said...

I have questioned the "body" types of a number of the players we have selected as being too frail for the SEC including some of the other receivers. Check out Hines Ward some time. Some SEC teams select players who are not as lean (Auburn & Alabama linemen) as our players and appear to have fewer injuries. I am starting to believe the number of injuries are partly the result of selecting players who are not "stout" enough to play in the SEC.

David Hale said...

Jeff Demps, Percy Harvin, Chris Rainey... you don't have to have the frame to be a playmaker in the SEC.

That said, Georgia certainly has had its share of injuries.

Anonymous said...

Those guys are all fast until they get hit when they become injured. Lets see how long Percy lasts in the NFL. He had problems staying games in the SEC.