October 27, 2010

Richt unsure if Ealey will start

The right knee injury to Washaun Ealey could keep him from starting Saturday's game against Florida, head coach Mark Richt said after practice at the Ramsey Center Wednesday afternoon.

"I can't sit here and say because I don't even know who's going to start right now," Richt said. "If Washaun was healthy the entire week then he might have gotten the nod, but that's just something I'll have to discuss with Coach (Mike) Bobo and Coach (Bryan) McClendon to decide what's best."

Ealey suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of last Saturday's 44-31 win over Kentucky, a game which saw the former ECI star rush for 157 yards and score a team-record five rushing touchdowns.

Even if he doesn't start, Richt said Ealey will certainly play, although his carries could be limited due to the injury.

"It could if we played today. I'm sure the adrenalin would have kicked in and he would have been fine," Richt said. "It's actually more of a bone bruise than anything structurally wrong. It is bothering him right now, but in a few days that will subside and the adrenalin will kick in. He will be fine."

If Ealey is unable to start, look for Caleb King to get the call after missing the last two games after serving his two-game suspension.

Does winner gain recruiting advantage?

Does the winner of Saturday's Georgia-Florida game gain any kind of recruiting edge against the other for players who might be considering both schools?

Richt wouldn't doubt it.

"I don't know. I think maybe sometimes it does. I always thought that when let's say a recruit has two or three teams he likes, and a couple of those teams plays each other, sometimes it helps him define who he likes the best," Richt said. "He usually finds himself cheering, maybe not out loud, but in his spirit or says 'I kind of hope so and so wins,' or 'I find myself cheering for a certain team' so sometimes it helps define where their heart is."

More often than not, however, Richt said a team's depth chart will play the larger role.

"A lot of this recruiting still has a lot to do with where they see themselves fitting and where they see their opportunity because there's a lot of really fine schools, teams in the SEC and sometimes it's just the timing of what that depth chart looks like too," he said. "I still do think proximately to the school is important. There are some who say I'll go anywhere but more times than not the closer you are to a prospect, the better off you are, I think."

Neither team is able to use the annual game in Jacksonville for recruiting purposes, but Richt said it has been discussed.

One idea was to allow the home team to bring in recruits for the game, although that's something the Bulldog coach concedes probably will never happen.

"It's been brought up for the home team to bring in recruiting guests," Richt said. "But no one's bought that one yet and it would probably be tough just because you don't have your own facilities to entertain and then all of a sudden you are entertaining on an away trip. It's probably better to leave it like it is."

Rain forces Dawgs inside

Due to severe weather and heavy rain, the Bulldogs moved indoors Wednesday, practicing approximately 90 minutes at the Ramsey Center on campus.

"I would've rather been outside, but we had a walk-through inside and everybody was focused, and we got about as much out of it as we could have," Richt said after practice.

The Bulldogs spent about 25 minutes on kicking/special teams work and the rest of the time the offense and defense worked in separate gyms.

"We're not going to change anything in our routine Thursday, it will be our normal work tomorrow," Richt added. "We'll go to the stadium and work with the crowd noise."

Dawgs get it done in the classroom

Bulldog student-athletes graduated at a rate of 77% for the latest NCAA Graduation Success Rate (GSR) survey period according to figures released Wednesday by the NCAA. That's up from 75% a year ago and is the highest percent for the Bulldogs since the GSR was implemented in 2005.

In the GSR four-year average rate, UGA teams improved in eight sports including football, men's basketball, men's golf, women's cross country/track, women's golf, soccer, softball, and women's swimming and diving. Three sports repeated their 2009 score of a perfect 100%--men's swimming and diving, gymnastics, and women's tennis.

Football's 68 percent was second among all SEC schools behind only Vanderbilt. The three Georgia teams that recorded 100% were all at the top among all SEC schools.

The four-year average rate includes not only freshmen but transfers in and out of the institution. The current report tracks the freshman classes of 2000-2001-2002-2003.

"The overall report is encouraging and it definitely continues an upward trend," said UGA Director of Athletics Greg McGarity in a statement. "The improvement by eight of our sports as well as the three that remained at 100% is particularly noteworthy. At the same time, we want to get better and will continue to work hard in the academic area with our student-athletes."

This and that

Sophomore Jeremy Longo, who is currently playing defensive end, told UGASports that coaches plan to move him to outside linebacker in the spring. ... Cornerback and punt returner Branden Smith has officially been cleared by team doctors to play against the Gators. ... Defensive end Justin Houston reiterated what he told UGASports two weeks ago that he has not thought at all about the possibility of leaving early to apply for the NFL Draft. During that earlier interview with UGASports, Houston conceded that a possible NFL lockout could play a role in his decision.

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