ATHENS, Ga. -- Bryan McClendon laughed and shook his head when he was asked if he had to learn anyone’s names before working out his Georgia running backs on Saturday. It seemed a good question, considering only one scholarship tailback was healthy and eligible for the opener -- and that player just got his scholarship two days before.
But McClendon was far from panic mode, and offered assurances that Richard Samuel and Isaiah Crowell (Carver High) would be fine well before the season opener in three weeks.
Samuel (strained left quad) sat out Saturday’s practice. Crowell (groin) was missing for the first portion of practice, but McClendon said the highly touted freshman returned later for some conditioning drills.
“You don’t want those guys to practice while they’re banged up,” McClendon said. “If we had to play a game tomorrow I’d be confident that both of those guys would step out there and do a darn good job.”
Ken Malcome, a redshirt freshman, is also out with an unspecified injury. Junior Carlton Thomas is healthy, but suspended for the opener. That left former walk-on Brandon Harton, who was full-go for the first time on Saturday after a concussion.
“That’s normal in camp,” McClendon said of the running back injuries. “Those guys take a beating.”
The injury front
Freshman Amarlo Herrera, likely to get time at inside linebacker when the season starts, was walking around with his right arm in a sling. But the injury wasn’t as bad as it looked.
Georgia reported Herrera to only have a shoulder contusion, and his status is day-to-day.
“He dinged the shoulder yesterday. I think he’s OK though,” inside linebackers coach Kirk Olividatti said of Herrera, who’s been getting snaps with the second team.
The players should have a few days to rest up. The team has today off, its first non-practice day since the preseason began on Aug. 4. The team also changed plans and will take Tuesday off.
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo pointed out the beginning of the fall semester on Monday meant the players would now be limited to 20 hours of practice per week, per NCAA rules.
“If they start missing practice when school starts, then it’s a concern,” Bobo said.
Figgins inches ahead
The plan remains for Bruce Figgins (Shaw High) and Zander Ogletree to share time at fullback this year. But Figgins, a senior who shifted over from tight end in the spring, might have the edge right now.
“Bruce has really progressed very nicely, which we thought he would,” McClendon said. “Hopefully you’ll see both of those guys in the game.”
It’s likely that playing time will be determined by what kind of play, and whether a bigger blocking and receiving back would be needed.
“That definitely has something to do with it. As far as goal-line situations hopefully we could use both of them if it came down to it. But hopefully (we’ll) let those two guys sort of duke it out a little bit.”
Class of 2013 commitment
Newnan (Ga.) High School safety Tray Matthews committed to sign with Georgia as part of the Classof 2013, according to scout.com.
Matthews is 6-foot-1 and 191 pounds.