October 8, 2009

Backfield set for Vols

When Georgia kicks off against Tennessee Saturday at Neland Stadium look for Richard Samuel and Washaun Ealey to get most of the snaps at tailback.

Thursday, head coach Mark Richt made it official, announcing that Samuel will get the start, but that the freshman Ealey will also see approximately equal time.

Redshirt sophomore Caleb King is not expected to travel with the team while he recuperates from a fractured jaw suffered last week against LSU.

"I think it will be very similar and won't be any different than it was between Richard and Caleb," Richt said. "It's going to similar to whatever it's been, although I don't track the carries at all."

Barring any more injuries, it would appear that Samuel and Ealey will have to shoulder the bulk of the running game alone.

Redshirt freshman Carlton Thomas has only played in three games and has missed the last two. The last time he played was against Arkansas and had just one carry for two yards.

Richt was asked about Thomas during Thursday's press conference, but denied that the Florida native has done anything to play himself out of more playing time.

"Carlton's getting it. Again, when Caleb came back that was kind of more of the issue than anything else," Richt said. "We're not disappointed in Carlton. But you know, we've had a lot of extremely close games and one more healthy back in the lineup so to speak than we did in Game One when Caleb was out."

Longo working hard to get back

This was the season that Jeremy Longo thought he would be making an impact with the Bulldogs at defensive end.

A torn labrum during the spring took care of that.

The time away has been frustrating for Longo, but the redshirt freshman continues to push on. Although he has no timetable for when he might be able to return, Longo told UGASports that he's slowly making progress and isn't ruling out being able to play by the end of the year.

"I'm just working hard trying to come back," Longo said. "We've started a little contact work with my shoulder, drill-wise and stuff and my shoulder feels really good. Hopefully, this next week they're going to start phasing me into it practice-wise."

But even if Longo is able to start taking some reps with the rest of the defensive ends, he acknowledges it would be late in the season at the earliest before he would actually be able to get on the field.

"I'd love to help out the end of the season," he said. "It would be good to able to help give some depth. If I can, I'd love to do it."

However, neither he nor team doctors will rush him back to do so.

"I feel good from my perspective, but we want to take it slow and make sure that next year and after that something doesn't happen to my shoulder and we have to backtrack," he said. "We'll just see how it goes."

Richt: Dawgs miss Sturdivant

Richt said the Bulldogs continue to miss left tackle Trinton Sturdivant who went down in the opener against Oklahoma State with a torn ACL.

"It's been big," Richt said. "If we had Trinton I know for a fact we'd be more solid up front, no question about it."

The Bulldogs do have Josh Davis back in the fold after undergoing surgery on both shoulders following the Capital One Bowl, but the junior has yet to work himself into the lineup.

"He's healthy," Richt said. "He's coming off the two surgeries in the off-season but he's been cleared to play. He just hasn't had an off-season to get stronger."

Injury update

Richt said that backup cornerback Chad Gloer (hamstring) will not travel to Knoxville. … There's no timetable for the return of defensive end Kiante Tripp (shoulder, stinger), but Richt said he is improving. … Richt said that linebacker Akeem Dent (hamstring) will continue to be evaluated on a week-by-week basis.

This and that

Richt was asked about former boss and mentor Bobby Bowden, who reportedly will return as the Florida State head coach despite the fact that the head of the FSU board of trustees suggested he step down. "I'll make the same comment I always make, and that is I love Coach Bowden and anything that happens to him that is not a positive thing, it bothers me." … Richt said that defensive end Roderick Battle continues to have a positive outlook despite seeing his Georgia career ended with a torn ACL. "Rod's a bright young man, a mature guy and he understands that life does not always go like you expect or want to in life," Richt said. "But there's no question that he's going to be success in whatever he chooses to do and pursue. He's got a lot more going for him than just football."

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