August 20, 2011

A 'uniformed' opinion?

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Nike revealed the Pro Combat Jerseys to be worn by the Bulldogs for their Sept. 3 opener in the Georgia Dome and the reaction, as expected, was mixed.

Much of the dissatisfaction came from fans, who took to Facebook and Twitter to express their displeasure with the uniforms, which will feature red tops, red bottoms and a silver helmet with a black G and a large red stripe from back to front.

Head coach Mark Richt, however, was not among them.

"I think that Nike did a nice job trying to capture some of the tradition of Georgia football. There are things very subtle that the fans probably can't see that the players can see," Richt said. "When the players saw it, they liked it and that's the big thing. It's a special game, it's not what we would call a traditional uniform, but it's not a traditional game, either. That's why we did it."

Linebacker Christian Robinson agreed.

"It really is for the team. I loved the black jerseys. That's one of the reasons why I came here," he said. "I was already committed but I was like, that was probably the most excited that I've ever been watching them run out, so the new jerseys - they excite the team, it's something new that we haven't worn before. It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing."

Many of the complaints from fans came from traditionalists who prefer not to see the Red and Black home uniforms trifled and tampered with.

Richt said he understands their point of view.

"I think there are a lot of people who just don't want to get away from that and I don't blame them," he said. "That's part of the reason we're sticking it out there two weeks in advance so everybody can get over it (laughing). I doubt we'll do any more surprise uniforms anymore, but if everybody's got time to digest it, to just think about what's most important - playing the game - I think we'll be fine."

Robinson added he doesn't see the harm in doing something unique with the uniforms at least one time a year.

"I do like tradition, but I'm thinking one game all year we can do something new," he said. "We're not changing our whole style for the whole season, it's just one game. If it's upsetting somebody that bad, I'm sorry."

You can count wide receiver Tavarres King as firmly being in the Nike camp.

"I love them, I think they're awesome. It's not like it's a magic potion or anything, but I like what Nike has done," he said. "It's 2011 - you've got to have a little swag."

Richt happy with ranking

Although he thinks Georgia could have been Ok without it, Richt said he was happy to hear that the Associated Press voted his Bulldogs No. 19 in the preseason college football poll.

"It's very important if you don't have a schedule that can catapult you in there," he said. "This year in particular, we probably could have survived not being ranked if we win because of who we're playing to start the season, but it is nice to be ranked right now."

Boise State - Georgia's opponent in two weeks at the Georgia Dome - is ranked No. 5.

"It's an opportunity to play a top five team, which is a big deal," Richt said.

Offense wins the day at practice

The Bulldogs conducted full-pad competitive drills prior to Saturday's picture day with the offense getting the better of the Bulldog D.

According to Richt, the offense won the team run, play-action, 1-on-1, 11-on-11 and red zone. The Defense won the pass skeleton drill.

"All those drills were tightly contested, very close," Richt said. "But what I'm loving is seeing every play be so meaningful and see guys getting after it, getting a little adrenalin flowing. Coaches are excited, motivating. Guys are wanting to win."

Crowell goes live for Dawgs

One of the highlights Saturday morning was the play of freshman running back Isaiah Crowell, who despite still being in green, took part in 11-on-11 drills.

Apparently he, along with a few of his teammate did very well.

"He made some plays, made a couple of good runs; he had a catch, a run after the catch for a touchdown," Richt said. "Orson (Charles) made some really great plays on offense. The protection with the No. 1s was great today. I thought (Aaron) Murray was really able to stand in there, sight it up and make some throws."

Richt admitted the team has aired on the side of caution with the freshman, who has battled what's been described as a sore groin for just over a week.

"His injury we didn't think was a true pull. It was more of a fatigue issue. But if you get a muscle fatigue, the next thing is a pull so you want to be careful. If you're a track guy or a sprinter, and you know if you go hard again there's a chance this thing is going to give way, so that' s why we were being cautious with it," Richt said. "But sometimes when you get warmed up, a hot day, we had a little adrenalin flowing, a great competitive day, he wanted to be a part of it. So, his adrenalin took over, he competed and did well. It was great to see."

As for junior Richard Samuel, the Bulldogs continue to be very cautious with him as well.

"I talked to him today and I would like to think early next week but I can't sit here and say it's a certainty," Richt said. "He does say he's getting better, but any kind of quick burst, he would be very cautious."

Geathers back, Jenkins still out; other injury news

Nose Kwame Geathers was back and practicing for the Bulldogs Saturday after missing Friday for what was described as a "non-serious" injury.

Richt didn't elaborate, only to say the redshirt sophomore was back on the field.

Jenkins, who suffered a "mild hamstring pull," did not participate.

Richt doesn't believe the injury is serious.

"I don't know. I hope not. I just don't know. Sometimes for bigger men who play in a smaller space you come back a little quicker. It's the guys who burst, change direction and go, possibly 40 or 50 yards on any particular play that it typically take a little longer," Richt said. "It just depends on the severity of it. Usually when a guy pulls a muscle in the box, it's not that they're not playing hard, but it's a little bit different than when he's sprinting. Usually, it's not as severe - usually."

• Wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell missed practice due to what Richt said is due to a muscle issue in one of his legs. "It was either a fatigue cramp or a slight pull, I'm pretty sure."

• Outside linebacker Ray Drew continues to rehab his shoulder injury suffered during his scooter accident last Sunday. "It's going to be a week or two on Drew, although I'd hope he'd get some time next week," Richt said. "For Ray, it's more of a pain tolerance issue, but also range of motion. You've got to be able to move." On Friday, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said Drew would be ready to play against Boise State.

• Freshman Linebacker Amarlo Herrera (shoulder contusion) is expected back at practice next week.

Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at [email protected]