September 15, 2009

Wood learns if he can play this season

Brandon Wood's season has come to an end.

Tuesday, the backup defensive tackle said he's been advised by team doctors to skip the rest of the 2009 campaign while he recovers from labrum surgery that was performed on him in February.

"Well, it was my third shoulder surgery and they (UGA doctors) think I need more time to heal," Wood told UGASports. "Otherwise, I'm actually doing pretty well. They're starting me back on 11-on-11 (Wednesday), but this is still the best thing for me."

Wood said Georgia will petition the NCAA for a sixth-year of eligibility on his behalf once the season is complete.

The former Haralson County star suffered the injury during Georgia's Capital One Bowl victory over Michigan State.

"I've got a strong mind, but this is still hard," Wood said. "Coming in, I had a shoulder, then an Achilles, then a shoulder again. It's rough. But I've got my boys behind me and Coach G (Rodney Garner) has been out there motivating me, so they're keeping me strong."

Reunion in store for Gamble

The way Darryl Gamble tells it, Arkansas offensive tackle Ray Dominguez and defensive tackle Malcom Sheppard have him to thank for winding up in Fayetteville.

Gamble, of course, was kidding. Although as Gamble points out, it was during a recruiting trip to see him at Bainbridge High that Arkansas coaches "discovered" the pair and eventually offered the duo scholarships.

"They were coming to scout me and saw Malcome, saw that he was a good player, saw Ray and offered him after they offered me," Gamble said. "I guess it was like a joint thing that we were able to help each other out."

Gamble, who talks weekly with his two high school friends, said he seriously considered joining them at Arkansas before deciding to sign with the Bulldogs.

"We used to talk about going to the same school, but it didn't work out," Gamble said. "But I think everything worked out good."

When the Bulldogs and Razorbacks meet Saturday, it will mark the first time they've been on the same field since their respective senior seasons at Bainbridge five years ago.

"We've always been pretty close," Gamble said. "We went to middle school together and played against each other throughout elementary school. I know we're all looking forward to this game. It's going to give us all something to look back to."

Smith dealing with fame

Freshman Branden Smith is learning how popular one can quickly become when you play football for the Georgia Bulldogs.

His 61-yard touchdown run against South Carolina ensured that.

"It's kind of weird, before nobody knew who I was and now everybody's asking me for my autograph," Smith said. "I'm not saying it doesn't feel good, but right now I'm just trying to focus on my school work and make sure I'm getting everything together."

Smith said he can't even begin to count the number of times he's been asked about his run, which came on a reverse handoff from quarterback Joe Cox.

"When I made the turn, it was like WIDE open," Smith said. "I had myself going for a second. I think I made a good play, but I also know that Mike Moore made an excellent block or none of that would have happened. That (run) never would have happened if not for the blocking."

This and that

• Georgia is a perfect 6-of-6 in the Red Zone through two games of the 2009 season. The Bulldogs have scored four touchdowns (one rushing, three passing) and connected on a pair of field goals.

• When Chris Davis failed to start last week's South Carolina game, that leaves defensive tackle Geno Atkins the Bulldog with the longest consecutive games streak at 20.

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