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October 2, 2013

Another injury of concern

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Already facing the possibility of being without starting tailback Todd Gurley for Saturday's game at Tennessee (3:30, CBS), the Bulldogs may also be minus starting free safety Tray Matthews as well.

Matthews did not practice Wednesday as head coach Mark Richt revealed the freshman had tweaked his left hamstring.

"He was (here) at the end of practice, but he didn't practice though," Richt said. "We'll see how bad it is, but it was bad enough that he couldn't go today."

Matthews suffered the injury on Tuesday.

Richt wouldn't speculate whether or not the Newnan native would be able to suit up against the Vols.

If he's unable to play, it's expected that Georgia would turn to freshman Quincy Mauger, Connor Norman or perhaps Corey Moore.

"I don't know," said Richt, when asked who would replace Matthews. "I'd have to ask Todd (Grantham). Sometimes that means I don't want to tell everybody, but I'm honestly not sure how we'll do it. We'll make some decisions if in fact he can't go."

As for Gurley, he tried to test his sprained left ankle inside but was unable to go.

However, Richt refused to say that his star runner was definitely a no-go for Saturday and that Wednesday was not necessarily a cut-down day for any decision to be made.

"There used to be that, but a lot of times it just depends on a guy and what type of a veteran he is," Richt said. "If you think he has to practice Wednesday and Thursday in order to be mentally prepared then maybe, but if a guy knows what to do and he feels good on Saturday even though he didn't feel good on Wednesday I think I'd still play him anyway."

Richt said Gurley attempted to test his ankle Wednesday with no success.

"It's still just day to day," Richt said. "He tried it a little bit today in the green room and he knew he couldn't go."

Richt added he's more than comfortable with Keith Marshall if the Raleigh native has to carry the load. "I think he's very capable of carrying it as many times as we need him to. Especially if the weather is like it has been," Richt said. "I think he could easily carry it 15-20, 20-25 times if he had to."

In Gurley's absence, freshmen J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas have been working with the second- and third-team, respectively.

Richt said both will be ready if called up.

"They've done well. They've done pretty well all along," Richt said. "They've been getting a lot of reps in the competitive period because we haven't been giving Todd and Keith a whole lot of those, they've been getting a fair amount in the game so we didn't need to add to the contact for those guys. So they've been getting a lot of that work all along and done well."

Richt feels Dawgs are focused

For all the worry as to whether or not the Bulldogs have suffered some sort of letdown after last week's exciting win over LSU, Richt made it sound Wednesday like that won't be a problem.

"I think we definitely got better today. I think the effort was outstanding," Richt said. "The scout team did their part, the special teams, everyone really busted their tails and really seemed to have a good focus today."

Richt was also pleased with what he saw from his secondary during scout team drills.

"I probably saw more interceptions by our defense. It was scout team work, and sometimes you get in that and it's not the same tempo as competing with the offensive team and they end up dropping balls and not going to the highest point or creating the best of habits," Richt said. "But I thought we did a really good job today in that area. It seemed they were really focused on making every play that came their way and not be just satisfied to break it up, which was good. That was a good sign."

More injury news

Wide receiver Jonathon Rumph strained hamstring once again kept him from practicing Wednesday.

He wasn't the only one.

Safety Shaquille Fluker and freshmen linebacker Shaun McGee were out again due to an undisclosed illness, while linebacker James DeLoach continues to recover from a concussion.

Junior wide receiver Michael Bennett was limited Wednesday but Richt said there's no cause for alarm.

"He hit his knee yesterday and it was bothering him," Richt said. "But he worked during the competitive phase just on the side and when we got to scout team work he did the scout team work. We think he will be fine."

Richt wants no let-up from offensive line

Georgia's offensive line enjoyed its best game of the year against LSU, but Richt said he and the Bulldogs' other offensive coaches are making sure they don't rest on their laurels.

"I've been telling the O-line and I've been telling the whole team that I don't know if we're good enough and that good where we can line up, say 'We're Georgia and we're going to whip you,'" Richt said. "I think we've got to be focused like we were this last game, we've got to be on our game, we've got to be really prepared and understand what we're doing. We don't have a lot of margin for error in my opinion but when we get locked in, mentally and physically, collectively we're pretty good.

"I don't want them to think for some reason that they've arrived because we've got to do it every week and it takes a lot of work."

Quotables

"(Ray Drew) is playing hard, gaining a lot of confidence and momentum. I think Sterling Bailey is in that category too, guys who came in as outside linebackers and grew into ends. They're 285-pound type of guys so now you've got these long, athletic ends to go along with Jordan (Jenkins) and Leonard (Floyd) outside. That's how we should look body-type wise. We like the way those guys look but part of the transitions was going from outside to inside." - Richt on Ray Drew.

"Tony's done a great job. He's a great teacher, they all run good routes and they know what to do. We're in a cycle where we've had guys around for a while. You don't have many freshmen or first-year guys right now because we've had guys who have been in the program for a while - Bennett, (Chris) Conley, Rhett (McGowan), Justin Scott-Wesley has been around a while (Rantavious) Wooten. Those guys have been around and it's so nice the same coordinator, the same receiver's coach all this time and these guys, those cumulative reps in practice have really helped them be prepared to play in the game." - Richt on wide receivers coach Tony Ball.



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