As Georgia gets ready for its final practice in Athens Friday before reconvening in Orlando on Dec. 26 for the Capital One Bowl, head coach Mark Richt is hoping Santa Claus delivers some get-well tonic to some members of the Bulldogs' walking wounded.
That list includes defensive lineman John Jenkins, who Richt said Thursday was "getting better' from what's being described as a concussion.
The senior has yet to practice since the Bulldogs resumed workouts for the Capital One Bowl last week.
Richt also announced that junior offensive tackle Austin Long underwent outpatient surgery at St. Mary's hospital in Athens Thursday for a fractured right hand suffered in practice on Wednesday.
"Austin busted up his hand and is having surgery as we speak," Richt said. "Not long into it you can club a guy and protect what is done surgically, so there's a chance he can play in the game. It will not affect spring ball at all."
Long has appeared in all 13 games for the Bulldogs, who will face Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl.
Backup tight end Jay Rome also missed practice Thursday due to what Richt described as a hip-flexor.
There was some good news.
According to Richt, wide receiver (groin) got to practice with the scout team and [db]Tavarres King (groin) should be ready to resume practice once the team resumes workouts in Orlando.
But the best news of the day regarded defensive end Abry Jones, who has not played since injuring his ankle against Kentucky.
"Abry looked good today. He was running today, and is definitely a possibility (that he plays against Nebraska). I think it's a probability now," Richt said. "Just watching him run I think today gave him more confidence because he was running out pretty hard. He ran about as fast as he could and said he felt good. If he doesn't have any set-backs I think he'll play."
Richt has no doubt that Jones wants to play in one more game.
"A guy could easily say I'm not," Richt said. "But I don't think there's any doubt that he wants to and I'm glad he has that attitude."
Garner's name still being circulated
Richt had no comment when asked if defensive line coach Rodney Garner was engaged in talks with Auburn regarding a spot on new coach Gus Malzahn's staff.
"I'm not discussing any personnel stuff right now," Richt said.
Earlier, according to Jay Tate of AuburnSports.com, Garner has spoken with Auburn about joining Malzahn's staff.
Garner has not been reached for comment.
Dawgs make it official on Rumph
Georgia announced the signing of JUCO wide receiver Jonathan Rumph Thursday, joining defensive lineman Chris Mayes whose signing was announced on Wednesday.
"He's a very fast, explosive athlete and is going to come in and compete for playing time immediately, like we expect Mayes to," Richt said. "When we recruit junior college guys we expect them to compete right away for playing time."
Rumph spent the past two seasons at Holmes (Miss.) Community College). This year, Rumph caught 45 passes for 569 yards and three touchdowns following a freshman season which saw him catch 42 balls for 778 yards and four scores.
Richt said Mayes - who originally signed with Georgia in 2011 before enrolling at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College - can be used anywhere along the defensive line.
"Chris Mayes is a guy that we signed earlier and he had to go the junior college route," Richt said. "He's a big, D-lineman. I don't know if he will end up playing the nose but he can play inside. He's a 330-pounder and very athletic kid, a guy we really liked out of high school and I'm glad that he's with us now."
Richt to speak with Murray
Richt said he has yet to speak with Aaron Murray about his future plans, but anticipates that he will. "Sometime you'll have that conversation before the game just to see where the guy's at, but if Aaron's decision is to play the game then do all the thinking, soul-searching and all that kind of stuff, then we'll sit down and talk at that time," Richt said. "I'll just lay it out there as far as the history of the draft and why would there be an advantage to staying, why would there be a thought to go and all that."
Richt added that one positive to returning Murray might consider is the fact so many offensive starters will come back from this year's team.
"I think sometimes a quarterback may think 'All my skill guys are gone, all my linemen are gone, now I'm playing with a bunch of rookies, 'Richt said. "That may be something that would make a quarterback think twice, because he is very dependent on everybody else playing around him for him to play well. But in this case, with the great majority of everybody back, I don't think that will be a factor."
This and that
Georgia football team had a two-hour practice in cold, rainy weather on Thursday morning. After starting the day with overcast skies, a light rain and temperatures in the low 50s arrived shortly after practice started. Richt was pleased with his team's effort. "(Wednesday) there was not as much energy as there was out there today," Richt said. "There was a lot of really good energy out on the field today. I think when it's cold and rainy, the guys tend to move a little bit quicker. We bypassed the breaks today and just kept rolling which gave us a good pace. We had a little 'bull in the ring' drill and a couple mild fights so I thought it was a good day with energy."
Richt said that there has been no change in the status of offensive lineman Kolton Houston, who remains banned by the NCAA for having a banned substance that remains in his system. "He's still in the same situation, unfortunately. It's been tough on him to go this long and not get a chance to play. I'm not sure where he is at on that. We're in a situation whether he plays or doesn't play, he is part of our 85 number," Richt said. "We can't give him a DQ on this thing; he's either going to make it or he's not. If he ever gets to the point where he reaches the threshold that they're looking for, we want him to play. It will be up to him."
Richt said he won't be able to have any comment on academics until the Bulldogs arrive in Orlando for the bowl.