A decision to have Shaun Chapas undergo season-ending ankle surgery has opened the door for tight end Bruce Figgins to add another position to his resume - fullback.
Saturday, Richt announced that the Columbus junior has begun taking snaps at the position where he will battle for reps with Fred Munzenmaier, Alexander Ogletree and Dustin Royston.
"It's not necessarily a full-time thing, but we are getting him there because of some depth issues," Richt said. "With Shaun, it was just something that needed to get done."
The decision to undergo surgery was made jointly between Bulldogs coaches, trainers and Chapas, who originally suffered the injury in Week 2 against South Carolina. Chapas appeared in 11 games for the Bulldogs this fall, with nine starts rushing 15 times for 44 yards and two touchdowns. The St. Augustine native and team overall captain, also had two catches for 29 yards and scored twice.
He underwent surgery Friday.
Figgins, who a few times would line up in the backfield for short-yardage situations this fall, appeared in 12 games catching three passes for 19 yards and two touchdowns.
Richt said he hasn't ruled out Figgins getting an extended look at fullback this spring.
"It's possible," he said. "We'll see this thing goes and how he responds to it. It's a possibility."
The idea of the 6-foot-4, 265-pound Figgins lining up is an intriguing one.
"He's had a little experience at this. This isn't the first time because if you have a tight end that can also do some of the fullback-type things, it's a little bit tough for the defense to know what personnel groupings you might be in," Richt said. "You might be in two tight-end sets and if one of them can learn the fullback then all of a sudden you can be in a Pro-I or a one-back set. It gives you versatility."
Wood's status in doubt
Backup defensive end Brandon Wood may not play in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl after injuring his right shoulder, Richt said.
According to Richt, head trainer Ron Courson said Wood may return to practice after Christmas once the team arrives in Memphis.
Sources tell UGASports, however, that looks doubtful.
This and that
Richt said freshman running back Ken Malcome is not a candidate to play fullback. … Jakar Hamilton is back working at safety after playing some at cornerback against Georgia Tech. … Bulldogs completed a nearly two-hour practice on Saturday afternoon to cap the second of three two-a-day sessions during preparation for the upcoming AutoZone Liberty Bowl. "It was cold out there," Richt said. "So far we've practiced in the snow, we've practiced in the rain, we've practiced in the sunshine and we've practiced in the overcast skies of Athens, Georgia. It's been a lot of fun." The Bulldogs concentrated on special teams play during an earlier morning session before returning to the Woodruff Practice Fields in the afternoon. It marked the fifth of eight days of bowl practice in Athens for the Bulldogs which will include a total of 11 practice sessions. The remainder of the on-campus practice schedule features a single-practice on Sunday, another two-a-day workout on Monday and concludes with a Tuesday morning session before breaking for the holidays. The team will reconvene in Memphis, Tenn., for final preparations starting on Dec. 26.
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