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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Practice Notes: King Set to Return

After more than a month on the sidelines, the news finally appears a bit brighter for tailback Caleb King.

The sophomore running back has been out with a sore hamstring since Aug. 12, but head coach Mark Richt said he practiced fully each of the past two days and his prospects for playing Saturday against Arkansas look good.

“It looks like very probable,” Richt said. “I’d be surprised if he didn’t play at this point.”

Richt said he couldn’t guess how many reps King is likely to play, but he said the addition to the running back depth chart, currently manned by Richard Samuel and Carlton Thomas, would be a benefit for the Georgia offense.

“It’s going to help us because he’s definitely a different style of runner,” Richt said. “I’m anxious to see what he can do. He’s always had good vision, good balance and he’s got to be pretty fresh.”

Samuel has been the go-to runner for Georgia in the first two games of the season, getting 20 carries against Oklahoma State and 15 against South Carolina.

It’s expected that Samuel will continue to handle the bulk of the load, but Richt said the return of King will allow the team to spread the carries out a bit more than it had previously.

“The tailback position is set for us now where we’re not going to ask just one kid to carry the entire load, so they’ll be able to help each other out,” Richt said.


Senior defensive tackles Geno Atkins and Jeff Owens saw plenty of action at an unfamiliar position in Georgia’s first two games, but their experiment at defensive end might be coming to an end.

With the return of Justin Houston from a two-game suspension, Richt said he didn’t expect the Bulldogs would need to use Atkins or Owens, who totaled around 50 reps at end during the first two games, to work off the edge as much going forward.

“I doubt we see them much out there,” Richt said, “but it depends on how the game goes.”

Atkins said he didn’t mind the transition, but he said he’ll be happy to get back to doing what he does best and leaving the surprisingly tough task of defensive end to the players who’ve been doing it a bit longer.

“I had to keep the contain, look for the reverse and focus my eyes on the quarterback to see if he takes it and runs with it or gives it to the running back,” Atkins said. “Now I know what the D ends are going through because they’ve got so much responsibility.”


After missing last week’s game against South Carolina with a hamstring injury, linebacker Nick Williams said he’ll be available for duty this week.

“It’s good now,” Williams said. “I’m back.”

Williams said the injury occurred in Georgia’s first game against Oklahoma State when he was jamming receiver Dez Bryant and felt a pull, and he immediately knew it was his fault he was hurt.

“I’m bad at stretching,” Williams said. “I never did it in high school, so they’ve had me on a strict stretching program now.”


At 6-foot-7, Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett will be one of the biggest targets Georgia’s defense has faced in a while, but Rennie Curran said he’s not too concerned.

Curran said the biggest quarterback he could remember facing previously was Kentucky’s Andre Woodson, who was 6-5, in 2007.

In that game, Georgia had five sacks, which reinforced Curran’s philosophy about big quarterbacks.

“They’re all the same to me,” Curran said. “They all throw the ball, they just fall harder than others.”


After defensive end Rod Battle went down with a season-ending knee injury, Richt was hopeful the senior might be able to apply for a sixth year of eligibility, but it appears that’s unlikely, and Battle’s career with Georgia could be over.

“My guess would be that he would not because his first (redshirt) year there was no injury involved in the red shirt,” Richt said. “You have to miss two seasons because of injury, and we have no documentation to help him with that.”


Branden Smith knows he didn’t instill a lot of confidence in his coaches on his first few attempts at returning kicks. Against Oklahoma State, he twice brought the ball out from deep in the end zone, and on his first return against South Carolina resulted in a fumble that set up a field goal for the Gamecocks.

But rather than give up on the freshman, coach Tony Ball sent him back out again, and Smith rewarded him with a 48-yard return to set the Bulldogs up with prime field position.

“I think it is a good thing that Coach Ball has confidence in me knowing that I have made a couple of bad plays,” Smith said. “At Oklahoma State I ran deep from the end zone and fumbled against South Carolina. By him putting me back out there I think that is a very good thing.”


For the second straight practice, Richt said his team lacked much enthusiasm on the field, but he said he’s not concerned that the team will lack energy by game day.

“Today we were a little lethargic, I thought. There was not a ton of energy, but we grinded and we got it done. I think the boys are probably a little bit tired, but that’s the beauty of Thursday and Friday.”


Anonymous said...

OK...I love CMR and all, but two days of lethargic practice is gonna get us beat on Saturday. David, is it just me or does it seem like Richt is settling for this lethargic stuff! I wonder if coaches like Saban or Meyer would settle for it, or, even more, take such a lackadaisical approach to it in the post-practice press conference? Is it just me? David, are you noticing the same thing, or is it just something that I'm not seeing because I'm not at these post-practice pressers?

Anonymous said...

Real tough to hear about rod. God bless him.

Anonymous said...

Could someone pass it on to the players that here in arkansas (Oinkville), all you hear is how UGA is gonna get a beat down this weekend. It's ridiculous. The hog fans are out of control saying that they have a big edge on offense with their sasquatch qb and that the defense and special teams are even. If we shut down TE D.J. Williams and stuff the run, game over. NO PICKS, JOE!!!

Anonymous said...

Rennie on big QB's.........
"They’re all the same to me,” Curran said. “They all throw the ball, they just fall harder than others.”

God love him.......