Georgia coaches scoured over the tape Monday afternoon and evening trying to finalize some decisions regarding their freshmen and how many may actually play in Saturday's season-opener against Georgia Southern. The answer may or may not surprise you.
"The main thing we did was talk about the true freshman, whether it be a walk-on or scholarship guy and whether or not he'll get in the game," head coach Mark Richt said during Tuesday's weekly press conference. "I know you're going to ask who will, but I'm not going to answer that question right now except to say that a large number of true freshmen should play. I would say 8-12 would probably play, true freshmen."
Two who will certainly see action include wide receivers A.J. Green and Tavarres King. Both youngsters have been impressive during preseason, and barring a last-minute decision from coaches, will see the field against the Eagles.
Senior Mohamed Massaquoi remembers his first game quite well.
"You're pumped. It's almost like your first day of high school, first day of college," Massaquoi said. "It's a big step, a big jump in your life. I know it's exciting. I went through it. They're just anxious to get out there and get a chance to play."
They won't be the only ones. Richt said that freshman Ben Jones will play some center against the Eagles at some point during the game and will likely line up alongside fellow frosh and starting right guard Cordy Glenn. Also look for Richard Samuel, still battling redshirt freshman Caleb King for the No. 2 tailback spot behind starter Knowshon Moreno.
Others who may play include linebackers Christian Robinson and Marcus Dowtin, who is listed on the Tuesday's depth chart as the No. 2 Will position behind Rennie Curran and ahead of redshirt sophomore Akeem Hebron. Defensive backs Makiri Pugh, Bacarri Rambo, Sanders Commings, Brandon Boykin and Nick Williams could also see action.
Blair Walsh has won the starting kickers job, while defensive end Cornelius Washington along with running backs Dontavius Jackson and Carlton Thomas could also see spot duty.
No punt return duties for Knowshon: at least right now
Richt has momentarily ruled out the idea of having Moreno return punts: At least for right now.
"There was a spell there where he was getting some reps, but that's kind of fallen by the wayside," Richt said. "That's not to say we couldn't revive the idea one day."
Tuesday's depth chart still lists Asher Allen and Prince Miller as the top two punt returners, but Richt has said that Thomas and backup quarterback Logan Gray could also get looks. As for Moreno, Richt admitted he wouldn't mind seeing what his start running back could do.
"The idea of Knowshon in the open field with the kind of blocking we've gotten lately would be an exciting thing to see," Richt said. "So, we might get him some work there before the year is over. I know he'd be excited about the opportunity. We might trot him out there. It would be exciting to see what would happen."
Other depth chart news
Richt had to shake his head when asked about a couple of unexpected changes on the Bulldog depth chart for Saturday's game. Included, was the fact that Dowtin had replaced Hebron as the top backup at Will linebacker, while Bryan Evans is listed as the starter at Wide corner ahead of Prince Miller. Also, Darryl Gamble was listed as the starter at Sam linebacker ahead of Akeem Dent, who is now listed as the top backup to Dannell Ellerbe at Mike.
"Bryan and Prince have been playing back and forth for the starting role, so it's not that big a deal. It could go either way, it doesn't matter who's going to start," Richt said. "You guys (reporters) worry too much about the depth chart. These guys are all going to play."
Some other news of note: Justin Anderson is listed as the top backup to Josh Davis at right tackle, with Ben Harden the top backup to Glenn at right guard. Kevin Perez is being listed as the No. 2 backup to Vince Vance at left guard. Justin Fields is down as the No. 2 fullback behind Shaun Chapas.
Defensively, Jarius Wynn and Jeremy Lomax are listed as the starters at defensive end with Roderick Battle and Justin Houston listed at second team.
Hatcher doesn't buy Eagles' hype
Georgia Southern coach Chris Hatcher said Tuesday he doesn't know what the folks who vote on the Football Sports Network Top 25 poll were thinking when they selected his Eagles No. 17.
"I know that was based on what we did last year, but no two teams are ever the same and that's certainly the case for us this year," Hatcher said. "Thirty of our 44 on the two-deep who have never suited up in a college game and we're going out to play the No. 1 team in front of a sellout crowd."
Hatcher did discount the notion; however, Appalachian State's victory over Michigan last fall served as some kind of eye-opener to the rest of major college football than anything can happen on any given afternoon.
"I don't think so. I think they were already good coaches they already knew that anything can happen, it's just this time, it did," Hatcher said. "I don't think it makes any difference whatsoever."
This and that
Richt said that Ramarcus Brown and Asher Allen will open the season as the team's top two kickoff returners. … Captains for Saturday are Matthew Stafford, Tripp Chandler, Dannell Ellerbe and Brian Mimbs. … Georgia Southern starting defensive tackle Dakota Walker and linebacker Quentin Taylor are transfers from South Carolina and Ole Miss, respectively.