Matthews joins Gurley on the injured list

semerson@macon.comOctober 2, 2013 

ATHENS - While star tailback Todd Gurley's status remains in doubt, another key Georgia player has been added to the injury report.

Freshman safety Tray Matthews "tweaked" his hamstring in Tuesday's practice and did not practice on Wednesday, according to head coach Mark Richt. That leaves Matthews' status in doubt for Saturday's game at Tennessee.

"We'll see how bad it was, but it was bad enough where he couldn't go today," Richt said. "I'm really not exactly sure how we'll (replace Matthews in the lineup), we'll make some decisions if he can't go."

Matthews tweeted after practice: "Everything happens for a reason right."

Matthews also had a hamstring injury during the preseason, causing him to miss more than a week of practice. He was able to return in time for the season opener against Clemson, and has started all four games thus far, ranking fourth on the team with 20 tackles.

Gurley, meanwhile, did not practice again because of his sprained ankle, and Richt indicated that sophomore Keith Marshall was more likely to start on Saturday.

"I'm not gonna say for sure on that. But it would make sense to do that," Richt said. "It's still day-to-day. (Gurley) tried a little bit today in the green room. He knew he couldn't go today."

The fact Gurley hasn't practiced yet seems a bad sign, but Richt indicated that if the ankle heals enough they will play him.

"If a guy knows what to do, and he feels great on Saturday even though he didn't go on Wednesday I think I'd still play him anyway," Richt said, speaking generally.

A few other practice updates:

- Junior receiver Michael Bennett was running on the side during the early portion of practice. But Richt said Bennett was able to go later in practice and will be fine for the game. Bennett, who tore his ACL about this time last year, hit his knee in Tuesday's practice and it was bothering him. The knee didn't appear to be holding him back on Wednesday.

"We think he'll be fine," Richt said.

- Sophomore outside linebacker James DeLoach was back at practice, albeit in a green jersey. DeLoach has missed about 10 days with a concussion.

- Redshirt freshman Blake Tibbs, who has yet to see the field, had a nice catch early in practice, drawing Richt's praise.

"Bet that feels good Tibbs!" Richt yelled out towards the receiver, cupping a paper around his mouth to make his voice louder.

Swann not in doghouse

Junior cornerback Damian Swann was supposed to be the cornerstone of Georgia's youthful secondary. But Swann has been beat on several big plays this year, including the win over LSU.

Still, Swann retains the confidence of secondary coach Scott Lakatos.

"He's getting better. I'm sure he'll tell you that there's things I'm sure he'd like to get better at. He's aware of those things," Lakatos said. "He's got a great work ethic. he's honest with himself on things he needs to improve on. He's a guy with great work ethic, he's aware of things. So I think he'll continue to work on things and work to get better."

Lakatos answered "no" when asked if he was disappointed in Swann's play thus far.

"He gives us a chance to win," Lakatos said. "He's out there doing what he's supposed to do. He makes plays that nobody knows about because it doesn't get exposure. But he covers guys. It's just the one that everybody sees that jumps out. This guy, oh he does this, he does that. But six other times he did a great job. But it just doesn't jump out at you."

Hicks owns up to 'horrible' game

Fullback Quayvon Hicks was getting first-team snaps in Wednesday's practice, though it appears he remains in a close competition with Merritt Hall to be the starter.

It was a surprise on Saturday when Hall got most of the snaps at fullback. Hicks, a sophomore, emerged as a force at fullback in Georgia's first two games, mostly as a blocker but also as a weapon: He has rushed for 67 yards and a touchdown, and caught two passes for 61 yards.

But coaches were unhappy with Hicks' performance in the third game, against North Texas. Hicks owned up to it this week, saying he had a "horrible" game.

"Honestly, I would say a lot of blocks weren't made. That was on me, and I felt like fundamentals were lost on me as a person," Hicks said. "I looked at film and it was horrible. It was a horrible game for me.

"We got the W, I just know me as a player I've got to get better. I can't get complacent in what people say or whatever. That's what happens sometimes, you get caught up in what the media says or the fans said or whatever, and you lose sight of keeping the foundation. And that's mastering the basics and keeping those throughout the season."

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