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UGA’s Owens optimistic about return and Moreno on Doak Walker Award List.


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UGA’s Owens optimistic about return

By CHIP TOWERS

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Monday, September 01, 2008

Athens — Two days after losing his season to what he called a “freak” knee injury, Georgia defensive tackle Jeff Owens seemed upbeat Monday.

“You’ve always got to face adversity to be the best, and this is my first true big test of adversity here at Georgia,” said Owens, who is scheduled to undergo surgery Sept. 9 to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. “I’m just going to … stay positive and get back.”

Owens, a senior, can take a redshirt season this year and return for a fifth year of eligibility in 2009. He seemed inclined to do that Monday but said he has not had time to fully think matters through.

“My main thing is just get healthy and come back 100 percent — get my knee healthy and let it go from there,” he said.

Georgia coach Mark Richt has said he expects Owens to return next year.

Owens said he faces six to nine months of rehab.

“The storm is going to be over,” he said. “I’ve just got to weather the storm.”

Owens described how the injury occurred: “I was jumping … and landed on one leg and my body shifted one way and my knee went the other.”

But he seemed to take the injury, which came in the first quarter of the season’s first game, in stride emotionally.

“Injuries are going to come,” he said. “I’m not down on myself and saying ‘if this’ and ‘if that.’ It’s football.”

Owens expressed confidence Georgia’s defensive line would thrive this season without him.

“No doubt in my mind,” he said. “I was just a small piece of the pie.”

Moreno on Doak list

Sophomore tailback Knowshon Moreno on Monday was named a candidate for the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s top running back.

Moreno, who rushed for 1,334 yards and 14 touchdowns as a freshman last season, is one of 43 candidates for the award, including five SEC running backs.

Garrison Hearst is the only Bulldog to win award (1992).

Expect more of Cox

Despite a shaky performance in his season debut, quarterback Joe Cox will likely to get in the game again this week against Central Michigan, Richt said.

“We’ll play it by ear,” Richt said. “We have confidence in Joe. And Joe did play well. … He handles the system extremely well, he’s accurate and he’s mature enough to play in any game regardless of the score or situation.”

Replacing Matthew Stafford in the third series Saturday against Georgia Southern, Cox’s first pass was in the dirt on a flanker screen; his second play was a screen pass to Moreno for 16 yards; and his third play resulted in a fumbled exchange between him and freshman tailback Richard Samuel, which Georgia Southern recovered.

Cox rebounded to play better during fourth-quarter, mop-up duty. He finished 4-of-6 passing for 48 yards with a touchdown pass to A.J. Green.

Injury update

Wide receivers Kenneth Harris (ankle) and Kris Durham (shoulder) were the only players other than Owens to come out of the Georgia Southern game with any notable injuries. Durham practiced Monday and is probable this week. Harris sat out practice but was off crutches, out of a plastic boot and walking around the field without problems. He’s considered questionable.

Defensive end Neland Ball (hamstring) and defensive back Makiri Pugh (ankle) returned to practice Monday.

Meanwhile, neither fullback Brannan Southerland (foot) nor safety Quintin Banks (knee) will likely be back before the sixth game of the season, according to Richt. Both players had intimated that they’d like to be back at least by the Arizona State game in week four.

Etc. …

The Bulldogs held a light, hour and a half practice Monday without pads. … Despite the depth issues on the defensive line, Richt said freshman A.J. Harmon won’t likely play this season. Fellow freshman DeAngelo Tyson of Statesboro played Saturday.

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I know AJ Harmon was having weight issues coming into spring practice and Gardner told him that he had to get it under control or else move to the OL. I am wondering if he is still dealing with that?

yes he is and right now he is a definite redshirt. he won't play at all unless something bad happens.

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