August 7, 2013

Freshman backs impress

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Although you might not be able to tell it from the final stats, head coach Mark Richt said freshmen running backs Brendan Douglas, J.J. Green and A.J. Turman represented themselves just fine in Wednesday's scrimmage at Sanford Stadium.

Douglas only gained five yards on six carries running against the No. 1 defense, while Turman picked up 36 yards on five attempts.

Green, meanwhile, who has been working with the third team in practice, rushed eight times for 21 yards and added three receptions for 20.

"I'm really happy with how A.J. and Brendan have been practicing," Richt said. "Even though their numbers might not show it because they did not have a lot of space, I thought they ran well and showed some good vision for what they had to work with. As far as pass protecting, Brendan, for a true freshman, is one of the better ones I've seen just coming out of high school so that part of his game has been good."

The fact that Green is just as adept catching the football as he is running it only adds to his value.

"J.J. had three nice catches and Turman scored a touchdown in the red zone against our No. 1 defense that I thought was impressive," Richt said. "He bounced outside, used a good stiff-arm and dove just across the pylon. It was a very impressive run. I like what I'm seeing there."

Injury update

Georgia did not provide a post-practice injury report, but it appears the Bulldogs escaped the scrimmage relatively unscathed.

Richt did, however, hold out a number of players for precautionary reasons, including safety Tray Matthews (shoulder) and cornerback Shaq Wiggins (groin). Also starting right guard Chris Burnette (shoulder surgery in Feb.) was kept out.

"We just didn't want to throw him in there and beat the guy down," Richt said. "We're just trying to be wise."

Wide receiver Michael Bennett was also kept out after his hamstring tightened up.

Stripling appears to be ready

It's been a long journey for senior linebacker T.J. Stripling, but Richt said the former Southwest DeKalb star is ready to be an integral part of Georgia's defensive plans.

Listed at 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds, Stripling's career got off to a rocky start after he tore his patella tendon on a kickoff in 2010 at Colorado, but in the time that's now passed, he's ready to contribute in the way most projected that he would.

"You finally see his lower body has caught up with his upper body," Richt said. "The injury absolutely slowed his career down but he's put himself to help us on some scrimmage downs and we do try to find the best personnel grouping or best grouping, whatever we think T.J. does best we want to get him in the game to do that."

In Wednesday's scrimmage, Stripling was credited with five tackles, including three for loss yardage and one sack.

"He's had a good camp so far," Richt said. "He's in terrific condition."

Scott-Wesley to have expanded role

Toward the end of last year, redshirt sophomore Justin Scott-Wesley finally began to show signs of being a regular contributor in Georgia's receiving corps.

But apparently that's not all.

"I think Justin Scott Wesley is ready to produce for Georgia in ball games more than he has. He was beginning to at the end of last season, but we also are expanding his role on special because he's a guy who can run and he's physical," Richt said. "I think he can protect the punter in cover kicks and get people on the ground, I think he can cover kicks and do some things even on our punt return block. His role is expanding."

On Wednesday, Scott-Wesley caught four passes for 53 yards.

This and that

So, who's the fastest player on the Bulldogs team? Is it Scott-Wesley, Malcolm Mitchell? Perhaps freshman Reggie Davis or Keith Marshall? According to Richt, wrong, wrong, wrong and wrong. "The last two years Blake Sailors has been the fastest," Richt said. … For the second straight day, Richt had encouraging words to say about wide receiver Jonathon Rumph. "As I watch him, I don't sit there thinking this is a guy struggling in any way." Richt also had a somewhat surprising revelation regarding Davis. "I know all the guys have talked about his speed, and he has caught the ball well," Richt said. "We don't think you'll see a redshirt for him, either." …. The Bulldogs will resume camp Thursday morning.

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