ATHENS, Ga. -- Freshman tailback Isaiah Crowell, a former Carver standout, is wearing No. 1, which junior cornerback Branden Smith also wears. That’s fine if neither is on the field at the same time, but Smith has played offense before and starred at wide receiver in the spring game.
So the Bulldogs would have to keep Crowell off the field when Smith plays offense -- or they could ask one of them to switch to No. 3 or No. 4. Those are now open, thanks to the departures of tailbacks Washaun Ealey and Caleb King.
“It’s possible,” Richt said. “We’ll go through camp. We’ll see how much offense Branden’s going to be involved in. If it looks like we’ll need both those guys on the field at the same time, then certainly we’ll have to do something.”
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If Jones can’t play, his replacement might be T.J. Stripling. The sophomore was in a regular contact jersey Thursday, a sign his surgically repaired leg is in good shape.
Stripling suffered a knee injury last year at Colorado, ending a promising freshman season. The 6-foot-6, 222-pounder from Decatur “has a chance to be productive,” according to Richt.
Dexter Morant also might be a candidate for outside rusher. But the redshirt freshman, recovering from shoulder surgery, still isn’t healthy.
“Right now, T.J. is much closer to being able to play,” Richt said. “Dexter had two shoulder surgeries back to back. T.J.’s was an injury that historically people heal 100 percent. And his surgery happened further back than some of Dexter’s was. The chance of Dexter being really productive this season, it’s not impossible.”
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Other players in green non-contact surgeries included defensive end Derrick Lott, who lacerated his leg last month in a scooter accident. Lott, listed as a second-teamer, is supposed to be able to return in a couple weeks.
Offensive lineman Austin Long, a sophomore reserve, is also out for a couple of weeks with mononucleosis.