|After struggling so bad two weeks ago against South Carolina, Kentucky figures to be the perfect elixir for Aaron Murray and Georgia's passing game.|
Of the Wildcats top eight players in the secondary, five are true freshman. That includes a trio of starters, safeties Daron and Zach Blaylock, along with cornerback Cody Quinn.
All total, 14 true freshmen have seen extensive playing time for the Wildcats (1-6, 0-4) thus far.
"They have had a lot of injuries. No coach wants to make any excuses for anything, but there's no question that if you're playing a bunch of true freshman on your team and in the back end of your defense, that's tough," Georgia coach Mark Richt. "I think they're almost all true freshmen playing in the back end, so it's tough. Those guys all want to play SEC ball, but if you get too many of them playing at the same time, you're going to have some problems."
Bulldog wide receiver Marlon Brown certainly hopes so.
"I feel like from playing in this league for two or three years, we know what to expect," Brown said. "We've played in some big games, so we're not going to be rattled by most things."
The Wildcats are giving up an average of 232.3 yards per game. Georgia is averaging 257.5 yards through the air.
"We've just got to be ready to make plays based on their coverage and who's guarding who," Murray said. "We've just got to be ready no matter who we see and what we see."
Richt said his Bulldog offense can't approach it any other way.
"Some teams, especially young teams, play better at home than away, and we'll be at their home and they'll have a comfort zone there," Richt said. "We just have to get after it because we have our own problems. We have enough problems of our own."
But as far as feeling sorry for the Wildcats, Richt draws the line there.
"Well people have asked me those types of questions before, and especially last season when we went 0-2, so I think somebody addressed that question in regard to me and how we're doing at Georgia. My answer was that I don't expect anybody to feel sorry for me. I expect everybody to hook it up and play the very best that they can play," Richt said. "I expect everybody to watch film and get the best plan possible and try to exploit whatever can be exploited and play 60 minutes as hard and as fast as you can play against anybody you play. So I'm sure that's how all of the coaches feel in the league."
Jones no longer a sure thing
Two days after indicating that linebacker Jarvis Jones (sprained ankle) would be able to play in Saturday night's game against the Wildcats, Richt seemed to be singing a different tune Tuesday.
"We'll see. We're not counting him out yet. He had been running on a treadmill underwater and did extremely well," Richt said. "We figured when we put him on land, he'd hit the ground running literally, but he wasn't ready to practice."
Jones, who sprained his ankle in the fourth quarter against South Carolina, has not practiced with the Bulldogs since.
"If he's healthy enough to play, we want him to play. There's no thought of holding him out this game so that he's 100 percent next game," Richt said. "I don't know if anybody's 100 percent this time of the year when you're six games in. Just about everybody has something bothering them, but if he gets the okay to go, he'll play this weekend."
It's OK to root for Florida
Murray joked that it's OK to root for arch-rival Florida in their game Saturday against South Carolina, considering the Bulldogs need a Gator victory over the Gamecocks to get back in the chase for the SEC East crown.
"Yeah, I think everyone gets a free pass to root for Florida this week," Murray said. "I'm not saying to get decked out in Florida gear, but it's OK to hope they come out with a victory."
Should the Gators win, Georgia (5-1, 3-1) would actually control its own destiny as far as the SEC East crown is concerned. If South Carolina wins, however, the Bulldogs would need to win their remaining conference games and hope that the Gamecocks lose one of two to Tennessee or Arkansas, both of which will be played in Williams-Brice Stadium.
This and that
Richt said that Rhett McGowan will continue to serve as Georgia's main punt returner, although Malcolm Mitchell could also still get some looks.
Richt had plenty of praise for nose tackle John Jenkins, who is coming off an eight-tackle performance against South Carolina. ""Considering that he's only been here less than two years and he was a junior college kid that came in for the purpose of trying to make us more stout up front in this 3-4 scheme, I think he's done very well," Richt said. "He was very productive in the last ballgame, and he's been difficult to move out of there. He's put some pressure on the quarterback, and not so much with sacks, but with pushing lineman up in the face and he's been stout against the run. I think he's done very well, and he's been a great team guy. He's a pleasant guy that shows up every day with a good attitude, and he's fun to coach."
Speaking of Mitchell, Richt is not ruling out the sophomore getting some looks at cornerback. "Malcolm is playing more offense obviously, and getting more opportunities. He's still getting more reps defensively. Today the majority of his practice will be defense, although he will get some offensive snaps today," Richt said. "Certain things are being installed, and we want to keep him up to speed offensively in case we have some issues with injuries because we don't want to throw a brand new freshman in there."