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Richt disappointed with Bulldogs’ practice game.


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Richt disappointed with Bulldogs’ practice game


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Friday, August 22, 2008

Athens — On second thought, Thursday night’s practice game pretty much stunk.

That was coach Mark Richt’s assessment after he watched the videotape of the scrimmage in his office late Thursday night. As a result, Richt made the whole team do it all over again Friday. But this time — at full speed and with full contact.

“I was so disappointed in yesterday after looking at the film, I decided to do it again — only this time tackle,” Richt said after the 45-play scrimmage Friday evening. “So we played every snap live, and I was very pleased with the attitude this time. I was pretty mad with the team yesterday, but I feel better now. I think it was pretty good medicine for everybody.”

Richt took some of the blame for Thursday’s lackluster showing because he told the team to go full speed but not tackle.

“That’s just not easy to do,” he said. “I felt like I was doing the guys disservice not to play full-speed football. The biggest disappointment was you couldn’t evaluate. We didn’t know if we were ready or not.”

So instead of a light-workout in partial pads Friday, the players were surprised to find out they would be going at it at full speed in full pads on the practice fields. Richt said, they responded how he had hoped.

“This time it was crisp. Very crisp,” he said.

Richt not down on King

Redshirt freshman tailback Caleb King sat out again Friday and will also miss Saturday morning’s practice with a hamstring injury. But Richt said he’s not overly concerned about King’s absence just a week before the season opener.

“That’s football. Injuries are part of it,” Richt said. “If he doesn’t come back for this game, maybe we’ll get him for the next game. It’s a long season, and he has a long career ahead of him.”

Richt said King’s injury doesn’t necessarily mean freshman Richard Samuel has sewed up the job as Knowshon Moreno’s backup.

“It may be a Thursday decision,” Richt said. “He’s not out of the race for No. 2. I’ll say this, too, Dontavius [Jackson] has been coming along. I wouldn’t think anybody is out of the race for playing time.”

White out for season

The news on linebacker Charles White was as bad as expected — ruptured Achilles tendon, out for the year.

“He’ll probably need surgery to repair it,” Richt said of White, who was running third team at middle linebacker but played on several special teams. “It’s normally about a six-month rehab.”

That leaves Georgia with only seven scholarship linebackers — including two true freshmen — for the three linebacker positions. But Richt didn’t think it would be necessary to bring converted fullbacks Justin Fields or Ben Boyd back to linebacker. The Bulldogs primarily play a nickel defense that features two llinebackers and five defensive backs because they face so many spread teams.

“If everybody was playing base football, we would be feeling it more than we are now,” he said.

Injury update

Two other frontline players remained in green jerseys and out of action Friday: guard Tanner Strickland (foot) and defensive tackle Kade Weston (knee). Richt indicated both should return next week.

Strickland, a redshirt freshman who set two weight-room records this summer, was at one point this month starting at right guard. He missed valuable practice time last season with a similar foot injury but said this is not as serious.

“We’re trying to hold out and be ready to play on Saturday,” Strickland said. “I feel like I’ve rehabbed it well and it’s getting close. … It’s not that big of a deal.”

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