Georgia worked on its special teams Thursday afternoon at Sanford Stadium and after it was over head coach Mark Richt had some surprising news.
When asked who the Bulldogs were looking at as potential punt returners, Richt said the list has been narrowed to three – star running back Knowshon Moreno, third-team quarterback Logan Gray and freshman running back Carlton Thomas.
"Knowshon, Carlton and Logan are probably doing the best job right now," Richt said. "Asher's (Allen) capable, but I don't think we'll have him on punt return and kick return."
Gray could even be doing a lot more than that.
"Logan wants to help us win. Logan's a gunner on the punt team, while working on being a punt return man," Richt said. "He's also working on some other roles, he's been working as a safety on the kickoff team, and kick return, I don't know if Coach (Tony) Ball has him working there or not. But he's got at least three roles that he's working on. He just wants to help us win."
As far as concerns, Richt concedes it could be somewhat of a risk. The thought of losing Moreno on a punt return is no doubt something that will have to be weighed, although the Bulldog coach has no question that his star runner could do the job.
"I think he could be pretty good at it," Richt said. "I don't know if we're going to pull the trigger, but he's working there."
Apparently, Moreno has no problem doing it, either.
"Knowshon will do anything you ask him to do," Richt said. "We're trying to get our best players at every position on special teams and he has an aptitude for it. I even talked to him about it. He's done everything we've asked him."
Walsh close to wrapping up starting kicker job
Although nothing is official, Richt said that freshman Blair Walsh has all but sewn up the starting kicker position.
"Blair definitely leads the extra-point and field goal race," Richt said. "We don't have a kickoff man just yet, but I like the way (Brian) Mimbs has been kicking the ball and Drew (Butler) is much improved."
Walsh, along with walk-ons Andrew Jensen and Jamie Lindley are battling for the kickoff duties.
Freshmen will play
A.J. Green and Tavarres King, get ready. Bacarri Rambo, Sanders Commings, pay attention. Dontavius Jackson, Carlton Thomas, you're next.
Thursday, Richt revealed that all the team's freshmen running backs, wide receivers and defensive backs are all but assured of seeing considerable playing time this fall.
"We're going on the premise that they're all going to play, every one of them," Richt said. "We're still sorting it out, and there's other seasons you're generally sure that a guy won't be ready to play. But every one of these defensive backs will play, including Makiri Pugh (ankle), because I think once he's healthy he has shown that he's able to understand the concepts pretty quick.
"Our true freshman backs, our true freshman receivers, our true freshman defensive backs are all in the running for playing time. A much higher percentage will play, that's the way I see it now."
Defensive ends hurting
Injuries are taking their toll on Georgia's defensive ends.
Seven of the Bulldogs' eight scholarship players at the position are nursing an injury of some description, a fact that caused Richt to just shake his head.
"The only defensive ends who aren't hurt are Jarius Wynn and two walk-ons (Wes Jacobs and Andrew Gully)," Richt said. "It's not very good."
Of the injuries, junior Roderick Battle's hamstring appears to be the most serious as he's now missed over a week. Justin Houston (hamstring), Jeremy Lomax (turf toe), Demarcus Dobbs (ankle), Neland Ball (leg), Jeremy Longo (broken hand) and Cornelius Washington (stiff neck) are expected back soon.
This and that