August 21, 2009

Richt hints Samuel is the back to beat

It appears that the job of starting running back for Georgia's season-opener at Oklahoma State is Richard Samuel's to lose.

"Richard is a solid No. 1," head coach Mark Richt said following Friday's workout at the team's Woodruff Practice Facility. "He's playing with a lot of energy. He seems to be a very good stamina guy, even in these hot practices and he keeps going and he goes hard. I hope he's guy that as the game goes on he'll get stronger because in some of these practices at the end he's still blazing a trail and when some of these other guys look fatigued, he looks even faster."

Richt said the 6-foot-2, 218-pounder barely compares to the player who took to the field as a 17-year-old freshman last fall.

The Cartersville native has been the talk of preseason camp after rushing for a combined 163 yards on just 18 attempts.

"He knows what he's doing right now. I don't think there's any excuse not to know an assignment," Richt said. "He definitely wants to block physically to get the job done. He's confident that he can get the job done."

Redshirt freshman Carlton Thomas appears to be a solid No. 2.

"He's done a very nice job in this camp, too, running, securing the football, he's caught the ball well and certainly knows what to do," Richt said. "But I'd say Richard is a pretty solid No. 1."

Richt hasn't counted out redshirt sophomore Caleb King, who continues to recover from an injured hamstring.

However, despite the injury, Richt Samuel's performance in the first scrimmage (five carries, 108 yards) would have put him atop the depth chart even if King had not gotten hurt.

"Richard would have been No. 1 at the end of the scrimmage regardless of any injury anyway," Richt said. "Again, we're anxious to get Caleb back healthy, I can promise you that."

Injury update

Richt seemed to allay any concern that starting center Ben Jones (sprained ankle) would not be ready for the season-opener against the Cowboys.

It's been two days since Jones suffered the sprain, but according to Richt, he doesn't expect the Alabama sophomore to be out much longer.

"I'd be shocked if he's not ready for that game. He really is day-to-day," Richt said. "When it happened it looked to be a little more severe than it ended up being, thankfully. I wouldn't be shocked to see him work next week."

Richt said the injury was simply a lateral ankle sprain and not of the high ankle variety.

"It's maybe between a Grade 1 or a Grade 2," Richt said. "The quicker the swelling can get out the more ability he'll have to get back sooner. But Ben has been through that before. His first spring here he hurt his ankle he just taped it up and went. We don't want to set him back but I'll bet you next week he'll get back in there and practice."

Also, Darius Dewberry (hamstring), Brandon Wood (shoulder, wrist), Reshad Jones (hamstring), Bryan Evans (hamstring), Kiante Tripp (shoulder), Demarcus Dobbs (neck) Akeem Dent (hamstring) all wore green-non contact jerseys.

However, it seems most of the group getting closer to returning to play.

"We're just being overly cautious as far as these hamstrings go," Richt said. "But most of those guys should be back next week."

• Marcus Washington missed practice, but Richt wasn't sure the situation was. "I don't know if he was sick," Richt said. "I've got to find that out myself."

• Richt said Dobbs' neck is not a concern and the junior is running full speed.

Fields giving it one more try

Backup fullback Justin Fields admits he was just a little ticked off upon awaking in the recovery room last November following knee surgery only to find out that his ACL had not been repaired after all.

"The first operation they were supposed to go in and fix everything. But the meniscus was messed up so bad they could only fix the meniscus so I went around on crutches for six weeks without my ACL repaired," Fields said. "I was pretty ticked after surgery when they told me I was going to have another one. I had my first surgery at Thanksgiving and my next surgery in January."

Fields admitted he was frustrated.

But with one more year of eligibility, the walk-on from Savannah decided he'd give do whatever he could to get the knee back in playing shape.

So far, so good:

"I'm not 100 percent. I'm still rehabbing every morning trying to get it right," Fields said. "I still have some pain every once in a while, but I'm good enough where I can go full speed out there and give everything I've got."

Listed as the Bulldogs' third-team fullback behind Shaun Chapas and Fred Munzenmaier, Fields figures to get his share of work on special teams as a member of the kickoff return squad.. He's also a candidate to serve as the personal protector on the punt team.

Picture Day set for Saturday

Georgia's annual Picture Day is set for Saturday at Sanford Stadium and will feature Bulldog football coaches and players, other UGA athletic teams and Uga VII.

Uga VII and the other University of Georgia sports teams will be available from 1:00-3:00 p.m. The Georgia football players and coaches will be on hand for photographs and autographs from 3-5 p.m. Concessions and merchandise sales will be available throughout the event on the 100 level concourse of Sanford Stadium.

Fans will be able to enter Picture Day through Gate 6 located off East Campus Road and Gate 2 located on Sanford Drive across from the UGA Bookstore and Tate Student Center. Both gates will open at noon. Fans may bring in just two items to be signed, and Picture Day event staff will enforce this number at both the main entrances and autograph line entrances.

Parking is available to the general public in the following campus lots: any lots along East Campus Road, Journalism-Psychology Building, Clarke Howell Hall, Legion Field and Tate Center lots. Handicapped parking will be available in the Tate Center lots.

All activities associated with Picture Day will take place only on the 100 level between Sections 101-125. Signage will be displayed throughout the concourse directing all fans to the team locations and concession and merchandise stands.

The Georgia offensive unit and Richt will be located throughout the North side concourse of Sanford Stadium between Sections 101-109, while the defense will be located on the Gate 6 Plaza between Sections 121-125.

At 9 a.m., fans can pick up a ticket at the East End Ticket Windows located off East Campus Road to reserve their place in line for the Uga VII photo opportunity. The first 150 fans will receive a ticket and guaranteed opportunity for a photo with Uga VII.

Also beginning at 9 a.m. fans can pick up a ticket at the East End Ticket Windows located off East Campus Road to reserve their place in line for a photo opportunity with Richt. The first 250 fans will receive a ticket and guaranteed opportunity for a photo with Richt.



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