October 15, 2009

Richt challenges backs to step up

Caleb King's return from a fractured jaw will give Georgia its full complement of running backs for Saturday's game at Vanderbilt.

The question is, how will the Bulldogs' rotation shake out?

Head coach Mark Richt chuckled when asked that very question prior to practice at Sanford Stadium Thursday.

"Caleb will play, Richard (Samuel) will play, Washaun (Ealey) and we might see a little of Carlton, too," Richt said. "We'll be looking for a hot hand; we'll be looking for some hot wheels."

The Bulldogs have been searching for that all year.

Georgia continues to rank dead-last in the conference in rushing (97.2 yards), and comes into Saturday's 12:21 kickoff having not cracked the 100-yard mark in three consecutive games.

While Richt said he would love to be able to get either one of his running backs enough time to get into their respective rhythm, time is something the Bulldogs don't necessarily have.

"We're trying to get to get to that point and I think we've probably gone into a couple of games thinking if this guy gets going we're going to keep letting him go," Richt said. "But we just haven't felt like we're certain enough in any given game, or going into any game, to say we're going to stick with this guy for 20 reps no matter what, 20 carries. We just haven't gotten there."

• Richt said that redshirt freshman Dontavius Jackson is still not ready to challenge for time in the backfield, although he has recently been impressive during scout team work and has received playing time on special teams.

Richt: 'We will be honest with recruits

Richt said any questions recruits or their families might have regarding the current status of the Bulldog program, all they've got to do is ask.

"I think recruits and their parents will ask you anything that is on their mind or on their heart about that. A lot of times, you can just about predict where that thought came from, but yeah, they'll ask you and I want them to ask anything," Richt said. "What I tell them is this: When you're being recruited, always take with a grain of salt if another school is telling you something about Georgia. Don't necessarily believe everything you hear. They have the right, in my opinion, to say what they can about their school. They're experts on their school, how they do it and why as we are with us.

"If I tell you something about another school, you need to take that with a grain of salt, which I try not to do. But if another school is saying this about Georgia and that about Georgia, before you believe it you need to ask us because we're the ones that really know the deal. They might think they do, but they're going to spin it their way."

Following last Saturday's loss to Tennessee, current Georgia commitment Brent Benedict told UGASports' Kipp Adams said that Vol assistant Ed Orgeron left voice mails on his cell phone.

But Benedict said Georgia's recent struggles will not cause him to change his mind.

"That doesn't affect me at all," Benedict said. "The coaches are still there, Coach Richt is still there," Benedict told UGASports. "I'm excited to get up there. I know I can make a difference."

Gloer back for kickoffs

Georgia's much-maligned kickoff coverage unit figures to get a boost this weekend when junior Chad Gloer suits up for the first time in three weeks after tweaking his hamstring.

"I think its back; it feels pretty strong," he said. "I think I'm ready to go."

Don't take Gloer's return lightly.

The former Fayette County standout has been one of the few constants for the Bulldogs on kickoff coverage, as the backup cornerback is typically one of the first Bulldogs down the field.

Richt is certainly glad to have him back.

"(Gloer) was the star of that team, if there was a star," Richt said. "He certainly was doing really well for us there and making some big plays. If one (player) goes down there with a lot of experience, and he's next to a guy on each side who are not as experienced, that's not quite so bad. But if you pull him out of there and, all of a sudden, there are three guys who don't have a lot of experience, it can hurt you. And it has hurt us."

Gloer's passion for special teams is what's made him successful.

While some players may see special teams work as that "extra" duty one often has to perform, Gloer attacks it with the intensity it requires to become a success.
However, Gloer laughs that he's not one of those crazy "hair on fire" type kickoff specialists that the media sometimes makes them out to be. Well, sort of.

"I like to think I'm normal," Gloer smiled. "Mentally … well, nah, I'm kidding. I just love doing what I do. I probably get between eight and 10 plays a game, so every time I'm in I'm doing whatever I can to help the team win."

Besides his duties on Georgia's kickoff coverage team, Gloer is also a starter on the Bulldogs' punt return squad.

"When I first got here, I wanted to be on the scout team and then the second year they gave me some reps (on kickoff coverage)," Gloer said. "All the hard work finally paid off."

Curran semifinalist for Lombardi Award

Rennie Curran has been named one of 12 semifinalists for the Rotary Lombardi Award, according to an announcement from the award's committee late Wednesday.

On Nov. 11, the four Lombardi finalists will be named. All of the finalists will travel to Houston for the ceremony and the winner will be announced on Dec. 9.

Curran, a 5-11, 222-pound native of Snellville, leads the Southeastern Conference with 63 tackles, including 3.0 tackles for loss. He is the only player in the league to be averaging 10+ tackles a game at 10.5, which is tied for 15th in the NCAA. Curran has had nine games with 10 or more tackles during his career.

Curran set a career high with 16 tackles versus #4 LSU this season and has led the Bulldogs in tackles every game this year. He also tallied a game-high 15 tackles and had a game-saving pass break-up to help clinch the win over South Carolina earlier this season.

This and that

Richt said Bulldog assistants will take the first of six furlough days required by the state this Wednesday. Richt will take his first furlough day next Friday. … With the furlough days set, next week Georgia will practice Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.

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