ATHENS - One week from the start of the season, the only unresolved starting spots for Georgia are on special teams.
Freshmen kicker Marshall Morgan and freshman punter Collin Barber are still regarded as the favorites at their spots. But the team is thinking of giving the walk-ons some shots in the game.
“The freshmen are still in the lead,” Richt said. “But I like what Adam Erickson’s been doing at punter, I like what (Jamie) Lindley’s been doing at kicker. So they’re still competing. I don’t know if anybody can separate themselves until they start doing it in a ballgame.”
The kick and punt returners could also be in a rotation, as sort of an in-game tryout. The punt returners are Malcolm Mitchell and Branden Smith. The kick returners are a bigger group, including freshmen tailbacks Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall.
Long moves up
Junior Austin Long has emerged as one of the top two reserves on the offensive line, joining sophomore Watts Dantzler. Long and Dantzler are both tackles who have gotten snaps at guard.
But the main backup to left tackle Kenarious Gates, if he were to get hurt, is still John Theus, who is slated to start at right tackle. Long would be the secondary option, Richt indicated.
“I don’t like to think about it,” Richt said. “I don’t know what’d we do.”
The top group of receivers consists of five players: Seniors Tavarres King and Marlon Brown, sophomores Chris Conley and Michael Bennett, and junior Rantavious Wooten.
Redshirt freshman Justin Scott-Wesley is also trying to get in the mix, according to offensive coordinator Mike Bobo.
“I feel good about the first five, and I think Justin’s gonna have a good year,” Bobo said.
Freshman Blake Tibbs, the only receiver signed this year, is also like to see the field eventually.
“We’re preparing to play him. When, I don’t know yet,” Bobo said.
Tight ends update
Reserve tight end Jay Rome (hamstring strain) has missed the past few days of practice. Junior Arthur Lynch is the "solid No. 1" at tight end, according to Richt, but with a caveat.
“The bottom line is both those guys are gonna play. They have to play,” Richt said. “We usually play three tight ends. So it’s not a matter of who’s going to start.”
Freshman Ty Flournoy-Smith is being prepared to be the third tight end, but is still learning the offense, according to Richt.