Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wednesday Practice Report


The 13th-ranked Dawgs held a two-hour practice in full pads Wednesday as they moved closer to wrapping up preparations for the annual clash with Georgia Tech.

“We practiced in full pads today, and we’ll get together in the morning for a few periods with the pads on and then take a break and finish up without them,” said coach Mark Richt.

The extra work in full pads is twofold, according to Richt. “Number one, it’s to prepare for their (Tech) scheme and secondly, it’s the physical part of defending against that offense with the cut blocks. You can’t practice that without pads on. You have to go full speed and hope the guys are getting better at it.”

Georgia (9-2) boasts one of the nation’s top defenses, and it will be challenged by Tech’s spread option offense. Last year, the Yellow Jackets held the football for 38:14, running 92 plays and tallying 512 yards of total offense (411 on the ground). Still, Georgia registered a 42-34 victory.

This season, Georgia ranks fourth nationally in total defense and second in rushing defense. The Dawgs are riding a nine-game winning streak. Tech (8-3) is coming off a 38-31 road win over Duke last Saturday where it posted 549 yards of total offense. Meanwhile, Georgia captured the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division crown after beating Kentucky.

When asked about the Dawg tailbacks, Richt said there’s “too much drama there, and it’s not as settled as I’d like it to be. There’s a tremendous opportunity at the University of Georgia for running backs in this class to make an impact. If I was a running back, if I was a great running back, I would want to come to Georgia, I would be so excited about my opportunity at Georgia.”

Richt indicated that as a whole this season, the running backs have been productive and that guys have stepped up when players have missed games due to injuries or suspensions.

Ken Malcome and Brandon Harton have been getting a lot of work this week,” said Richt. “Ken will be in there, I’m just not sure how much.”

Freshman Isaiah Crowell, who has started seven games, is battling an ankle injury that limited him to two carries last week against the Wildcats. Richt said he was not 100 percent sure what he was going to do with junior tailback Carlton Thomas who did not play last week. Junior tailback Richard Samuel, who has three starts, has been out with an injury since the win over Florida in late October when he got hurt on the final play of the game.

Saturday’s kickoff in Atlanta is set for 12:01 p.m. and the contest will be televised nationally on ESPN. The Dawgs under Richt are 9-1 all-time against Tech.

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