ATHENS -- Malcolm Mitchell’s return for the Florida game is no longer a certainty, after the freshman receiver suffered a setback in Monday’s practice.
Mitchell, who leads the team in catches and receiving yards, missed the Vanderbilt game with a hamstring injury. After also sitting out the bye week of practice, he was a full-go on Monday, only to pull himself out of drills.
“He didn’t do well (Monday), he practiced for about five minutes,” head coach Mark Richt said during Tuesday’s news conference.
Mitchell didn’t return to Tuesday’s practice, but his quarterback and offensive coordinator remained hopeful the freshman would play against Florida.
“I am optimistic, but you never know with a muscle pull, strain, whatever it is,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “He’s a guy that we hope will be out there and will give us a threat.”
“I talked to him. He’s said he’s good to go,” quarterback Aaron Murray said. “They just didn’t want to push it too much with him and make sure he’s close to 100 percent by game time. He’s a competitor. I know he’s gonna do whatever it takes to get that thing as close to 100 percent as he can.”
Dealing with suspensions
The defensive coaches insisted there was little change in preparation despite nose tackle Kwame Geathers and safety Shawn Williams each being suspended for the first half of Saturday’s game.
Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said both players were still taking snaps with the first and second teams.
“We repped a little bit to where if something happened to, say, somebody in the first half, then we’ll have to be ready for that,” Grantham said. “But other than that, it’s been business as usual, not a big deal.”
Defensive line coach Rodney Garner said DeAngelo Tyson, the starting end who played nose last year, would play nose again when starter John Jenkins needs a rest.
“Obviously, we’re gonna try to get everything we can out of him,” Garner said of Jenkins, who hasn’t had to play a full game yet. “But the bottom line is we want guys that can play fast, and can be productive and all that. So we’re gonna make sure guys are fresh.”
A better problem to have
So who will start at inside linebacker now that Georgia has Alec Ogletree back?
The Bulldogs aren’t saying, although inside linebackers coach Kirk Olividatti said there were seven different possible combinations.
“I kind of suspect who it’s gonna be,” Olividatti said with a smile. “It depends. It’s Tuesday right now and we’ve still got a couple more days where we’ll shine things up.”
Ogletree broke his foot in the opener, and then Christian Robinson chipped a bone in his foot in the next game. Robinson has been back for a few games, but in their absence, Mike Gilliard and Amarlo Herrera played very well. Gilliard was named SEC player of the week for his performance at Tennessee.
Murray’s off week trip
What did Aaron Murray do on his bye week? The Georgia quarterback sheepishly admitted on Tuesday that he became a Florida State fan for a day.
Murray, a native of Tampa, traveled to Tallahassee to visit friends, and ended up in the stands for the Florida State-Maryland game. He said teammates Arthur Lynch and Marlon Brown were with him on the trip.
At one point, a friend asked Murray to don a Florida State shirt, and he reluctantly agreed.
“As long as I wasn’t wearing a Florida shirt,” Murray said, laughing. “My friends were like: ‘Here, wear this!’ I was like, ‘All right, it’s not a Florida shirt. I’ll just wear an FSU shirt to fit in a little bit.’ ”
A few people recognized Murray. And he confessed to doing the tomahawk chop a few times.
Murray also posed for a photo with a shirtless man, and the photo has been making its way around the Internet. Murray said he didn’t want to take the picture, but the man -- a Georgia Tech graduate -- kept pressing him, so he finally gave in.
“Yeah, that probably wasn’t the smartest thing in the world,” Murray said. “That was not one of my smartest moves. But at least I wasn’t being stupid, so that’s a good thing.”