The story coming out of Georgia’s first fall scrimmage Wednesday was supposed to be the first real semblance of a depth chart at running back.
But with Thursday’s news, it only got more complicated. With only 23 days left until the Bulldogs kick off their season against Oklahoma State, it was announced that redshirt sophomore Caleb King will miss time with a hamstring injury.
“Hamstrings are difficult to predict, but they’re usually seven to 10 days,” said head coach Mark Richt. “It just depends on how bad it is.”
King, Georgia’s No. 1 tailback, at least on paper, did not practice Thursday. He and Richard Samuel had been sharing duties with the No. 1 squad all fall, with King getting the snaps in spring practice while Samuel sat out following wrist surgery.
Now the roles have been reversed.
“Obviously Richard’s going to work No. 1 right now,” Richt said. “It’s hard to compete if you’re not out there. “Luckily Caleb’s been here long enough where he knows what to do. If he was a true freshman, it would hurt him a lot. There’s a lot of time out there still, and there’s a lot of season too. So there will be plenty of time for Caleb.”
King was not available for comment following Thursday’s practice, and Richt wasn’t getting into too many details. But with Samuel’s big performance in Wednesday’s scrimmage (five carries for 108 yards and two touchdowns, as well as a 70-yard reception for a score) compared to King’s (five carries for 18 yards), Samuel may have the upper leg, for now.
“It’s really just an opportunity for somebody else,” quarterback Joe Cox said. “Caleb had been having a good camp. We’re definitely disappointed that he got hurt. But somebody else has to step up. It’s the same at every position. We’ve been pleased with everybody that’s been in, and that’s really all there is about that.”
The shoe is on the other foot for Samuel. But he’s not necessarily viewing it that way.
“I really don’t think anything,” he said. “He’s hurt, we’re going to still compete, and we’re going to continue doing what we’re doing. Just keep on moving.”
SAFETY BANKS OUT
The injury news continued to roll in Thursday, and the bug continued to bite safety Quintin Banks.
“He hurt his knee. He’ll have to get (the cartilage) cleaned up. Probably three weeks for that,” Richt said. “It shouldn’t cost him the season, and it may or may not cost him the first game.”
Banks tore the MCL in his left knee during preseason workouts last year before finally playing in the Tennessee game. He tore the PCL in his same knee the next week.
This time around, it was the right knee.
With senior Reshad Jones out for the near future with a hamstring injury, redshirt freshman Bacarri Rambo is now in the No. 1 spot. Walk-on Josh Murray is also out with a minor shoulder injury, so Richt anticipates Makiri Pugh, another redshirt freshman, to split time between his usual position in the nickel spot and Banks’ void at strong safety.
“Makiri certainly has the ability to do both,” Richt said.
‘THE PRACTICE BEAT US’
As if the injuries weren’t bad enough for the Bulldogs, add this to the mix — a far from stellar practice.
“I would say my overriding feeling from that practice is that the practice beat us. We didn’t win the day (Thursday),” Richt said. “We made way too many mistakes. They were hot, they were tired, and I thought they gave into that more so than any day in the camp. I didn’t think they had given into it until today, actually.”
Richt had given mostly overwhelming praises through the spring and thus far this fall. But that changed Thursday
“We just looked sloppy on a lot of things,” Cox said. “We had a lot of guys on both sides of the ball that had penalties and missed assignments. And every now and then it happens. Everybody’s going to have one day where everybody’s mind kind of goes off somewhere else and people start messing up. But we did our running for it, and we all talked about it and know that it can’t be that way.”
Cox merely said the players did “plenty” of running, and the offensive line was pushing sleds well after the rest of the team was off the field. Today, they’ll look to regain the discipline they say they’ve had all fall.
“A lot of times so many people are worried about what they have to do on the play that they’re not thinking about the little things like staying in there on a hard count or taking the proper steps,” Cox said. “It’s just one of those things where you have a lack of focus. So it’s something we have to do as leaders, just staying on everybody, making sure we concentrate on the little things, and pay attention to detail.”