Bulldogs Blog

Eason reveals WR rotation

John Eason hasn't always had this luxury, but he's got it now.

Because of injuries and attrition, Georgia's receivers coach sometimes hasn't had the chance to be selective.

But with at least 12 healthy scholarship receivers at his disposal, Eason can force competition through a simple equation.

If you drop passes, you don't play.

That was the rationale Eason used when detailing the rotation he envisions for next Saturday's opener against Oklahoma State -- Sean Bailey as the starting split end, Mikey Henderson at flanker and Mohamed Massaquoi as the slot receiver. Backing them up will be Tony Wilson, Kris Durham, Kenneth Harris and Michael Moore.

"It was close, it was based on (practice and scrimmage) grades and some of them eliminated themselves with a dropped pass," Eason said.

Among the veteran names who didn't make Eason's list were A.J. Bryant, who started 11 games last year, Demiko Goodman and T.J. Gartrell.

"The ones that I did not name basically threw themselves out of the mix at this point," Eason said. "They've got to kind of earn their way back in. They've got to do a better job in order to earn playing time."

Eason said as many as 10 receivers will likely dress for the opener, but the aforementioned rotation includes the players who will see the field. He said their final opportunity to convince him one way or another came in Thursday's practice game.

Bryant was understandably unhappy to be left out of the top seven, but part of that status stems from missing several practices with heat and sinus problems. He expressed confidence that he can work his way back into Eason's rotation.

"Coach said don't worry about the depth chart," Bryant said. "I know I'll still be in there. Nah, I'm not worried about what the depth chart says."

Perhaps the most pleasant surprises of the preseason were Wilson and Moore, the No. 2 and 3 flankers, respectively. Eason complimented Moore on his route-running and pass-catching in camp and said redshirt freshman Wilson brings toughness that was sorely lacking amond the receivers last year.

"It's one of the things I talked about in the meeting room. I said, 'Tony Wilson's the toughest guy in the room,'" Eason said. "And I feel that he is based on the way that he blocks -- he really gets after it. I think that's what we need."

Brown's comeback

Thomas Brown wasn't ready to declare himself next week's starter yet, but the senior tailback said he's excited that things appear to be heading in that direction.

If he does hold onto the starting spot he currently occupies, Brown understandably said it will be much more meaningful than last year's starting nod in the opener against Western Kentucky.

After all, only 10 months ago there were questions whether he'd play this season at all.

Brown tore his the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against Vanderbilt last October -- an injury that often requires a year of rehabilitation -- but Brown worked his way back to have an outstanding preseason camp.

"Just coming back and being able to play this year period means a lot to me. Not even adding the fact of being able to start. That kinda just puts the icing on the cake in a matter of speaking," Brown said. "Just being able to come back and perform the way I did, and probably even better than I did in years past, is really a blessing to me. I'm really excited about it."

Georgia's coaches continue to guarantee that senior Kregg Lumpkin and redshirt freshman Knowshon Moreno will share carries with Brown.

Although Brown and Lumpkin have the coaches' confidence because of their experience, Moreno has had those around the program buzzing for a year with his gamebreaking ability.

"He'll get to play and he'll get a chance to keep people buzzing," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "Hopefully he'll play great."

Injury update

Add weakside linebacker Darius Dewberry to Georgia's list of injured players, although Richt said the injury was not especially serious.

Dewberry practiced in a green no-contact jersey, although he participated in the Bulldogs' special teams work before Friday's practice was eventually rained out. Richt said Dewberry injured his shoulder in Thursday's practice game, but he does not expect it to affect his status for next Saturday.

Offensive guard Scott Haverkamp (ankle) was also in green Friday, but worked in drills with his fellow linemen before the rainout. Richt expects him to return to full-speed on Monday.

Tight end Tripp Chandler (ribs) and tailback Caleb King (hamstring) could also return Monday.

Linebacker Justin Houston was not wearing green, but walked laps around the practice field with a member of the conditioning staff during practice.

Rainy day blues

Heavy rainfall in Athens Friday evening first sent the Bulldogs indoors and then canceled practice altogether, leaving Richt to make a familiar complaint -- the program doesn't have an indoor practice facility to cope with wet weather.

"It's a royal pain to have to deal with this kinda stuff. It would be nice to have a little indoor facility nearby where you wouldn't have to spend your whole life trying to figure out a new plan," Richt said. "It's very frustrating and it gets very old and I'm about tired of it. But maybe one day we'll get that done."

Georgia was to practice approximately two hours on Friday, but made it through only the special teams portion of practice before the skies opened up. The Bulldogs broke into team meetings, but the staff eventually decided to send everyone home for the night.

Instead, they will practice twice today -- for an hour and 50 minutes starting at 8 a.m. and for two hours beginning at 6:45 p.m.

It's not an ideal set of circumstances with the first game a week away, but Richt said the team needs both practices to remain on pace in its installation of the Oklahoma State gameplan.

"We've gotta get certain things done," Richt said. "When camp starts, you're installing your offense for the year. But now we're installing our gameplans for the week, for our first opponent. We want to stay on track with our installation."

Quick hits

Richt said true freshman Logan Gray will be the emergency quarterback behind Matthew Stafford and Joe Cox in the opener, while junior Blake Barnes serves a one-game disciplinary suspension. ... Richt was unsure who will be the lead kickoff return man out of Brown, Moreno and Asher Allen. ... True freshman Aron White worked with the scout team on Thursday, but Eason said the receiver/tight end's status for the season is still undetermined.

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