ATHENS — Georgia safety Jakar Hamilton said he was not aware Washaun Ealey had a suspended license when he let the sophomore tailback borrow his car Friday morning.
Ealey was arrested and charged with leaving the scene and driving under a suspended license after hitting a parked vehicle in an on-campus parking garage.
“Stuff happens,” Hamilton said. “If it was me or anyone else, my friends would’ve let me use their car. It’s just a brotherly type hood that we have. And I treat Washaun like he’s my own brother. I look out for him just like he looks out for me. Unfortunately, that happened. It’s just a minor setback thing. It’s nothing really major. Anything could’ve happened. It could’ve been worse.”
Ealey sat in jail for more than six hours and missed practice Friday. Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt has suspended Ealey for a minimum of one game, adding there also will be “internal discipline.”
“But thankfully he’s back with us now, he’s still playing football, so that’s just water under the bridge,” Hamilton said.
Many anticipate Ealey to have a successful season, teaming with junior Caleb King in a powerful backfield tandem. The news of his arrest sent fans, players and coaches into a realm of initial worry.
“People blew it up, of course that’s what’s gonna happen because you’re a superstar,” Hamilton said. “But, I don’t hold no grudge against Washaun. He’s my brother, regardless of what happened to my car. That’s just a material thing.”
One of Richt’s wishes has come true: The Bulldogs entire starting offensive line is healthy and now has a full week to practice together to prepare for Louisiana-Lafayette.
A strong point coming into fall camp, the line suffered numerous injuries in the month of August.
Senior Cordy Glenn missed weeks with mononucleosis. Center Ben Jones had arthroscopic knee surgery. Senior Josh Davis sprained an ankle.
Weeks ago, Richt said his wish was to have the entire starting line together for at least the week building leading up to the season-opener.
That wish has been granted.
While there were tense moments spent adjusting for the injuries, now all three are 100 percent and working together as the starting unit.
Now, with three practices remaining, the hope is this week will further the group’s chemistry and continuity.
“To get the offensive linemen back is great,” Richt said. “It helps a lot. We just weren’t in sync.”
Glenn lost 20 pounds while battling mono. The training staff advised him to drink multiple protein shakes each day to help gain back the lost weight.
“Obviously it’s been a little bit of a challenge, but it’s great to be back out there with my teammates,” Glenn said.
The news of Jones’ knee injury was worrisome, as are all injuries pertaining to the joint. But, Jones, who has his meniscus ligament trimmed, claims he could have returned to practice less than 72 hours after going under the knife.
“I knew I could’ve practiced two or three days out,” Jones said. “I just had to make sure I had my strength”
Originally told he would miss 2-3 weeks, Jones was back in less than two.
Now, the same line that performed brilliantly against Georgia Tech and Texas A&M to finish 2009 and opened fall camp together is back intact.
“That’s a big part of the O-Line, working together, getting the feel, everybody’s blocks,”Jones said. “But we have a week to get back, and that’s plenty of time to get back together.”
Depth chart changes
Georgia released an updated depth chart Monday, complete with a few changes and mild surprises.
Senior Akeem Dent was listed as a starter at middle linebacker. Dent missed almost all of fall camp, but coaches and players say his experience and knowledge makes him a valuable asset to the defense.
Nick Williams is listed as the starter opposite Bacarri Rambo at safety, but junior Jakar Hamilton said he, instead, was the starter after practice Monday.
Richt confirmed Hamilton was the current starter at free safety, but added Williams will see playing time.
Also, senior Brandon Wood is listed as a starter at defensive end, but the defensive line as a whole is in flux, as indicated by Richt.
“Depends on what day it is, I guess,” he said.