McClendon not worried about injuries

semerson@macon.comAugust 13, 2011 

ATHENS -- Bryan McClendon laughed and shook his head when he was asked if he had to learn any names before working out his Georgia running backs Saturday. It seemed a good question, considering only one scholarship tailback was both healthy and eligible for the opener -- and that player just got his scholarship two days before.

But McClendon was far from panic mode, and he offered assurances that both Richard Samuel and Isaiah Crowell 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, 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 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 (Friday). I think he’s OK though,” inside linebackers coach Kirk Olividatti said of Herrera, who has been getting snaps with the second team.

The players should have a few days to rest up. The team has Sunday off, its first non-practice day since the preseason began Aug. 4. The team also changed plans and will take off Tuesday.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo pointed out the beginning of the fall semester Monday means 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 and Zander Ogletree to share time at fullback this year. But Figgins, the senior from Columbus who shifted over from tight end in the spring, may 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.”

He said it

“What do you think? Put yourself in my shoes and what would you think?” -- defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, when asked what his reaction was earlier in the week when he found out linebacker Jarvis Jones was cleared to play.

Grantham was smiling as he answered.

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