Georgia's offense moves on what's left

semerson@macon.comOctober 8, 2013 

Flanker Blake Tibbs (8) goes through a drill during Georgia's practice Monday, Aug. 5, 2013, in Athens.

STEVEN COLQUITT — UGA

ATHENS - There were 10 receivers at Georgia's football practice on Tuesday afternoon. Out of those 10, only half were recruited to Georgia with the promise of a scholarship.

Justin Scott-Wesley was at St. Mary's hospital, recuperating from knee surgery that morning. Michael Bennett was also at St. Mary's, having surgery on his right knee.

Malcolm Mitchell was likely in the training room, where he's been most practices since tearing his ACL the second drive of the season. Jonathan Rumph and Tramel Terry, neither of whom have played this year, were also in the training room, rehabbing their own injuries.

Bennett is expected to return "at some point this season," according to an announcement by Georgia. Scott-Wesley and Mitchell are done for the year, along with tailback Keith Marshall, while the team is hoping to get tailback Todd Gurley and fullback Quayvon Hicks back soon.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo has been around the Georgia football program for a long time. Asked if he could remember a team with a run of this many injuries, he went all the way back to Ray Goff's final year as head coach, in 1995. Bobo, a quarterback, was among the injured that year, breaking his leg.

"We were on our like our sixth-team tailback, our third-team fullback, third-team quarterback. That was one of those years," Bobo said.

This year, or at least at Tuesday's practice, Georgia was on its third-team tailback, second-team fullback and three of its top receivers. The seventh-ranked but decimated Bulldogs have to face No. 25 Missouri, which is unbeaten.

"There's no excuses on Saturday," Bobo said. "Nobody's gonna feel sorry for us. The other team's not, I can promise you that."

The 10 players at Georgia's disposal on Tuesday account for 38 catches this season, 20 of them by Conley.

"We've had a lot of adversity during this season at this position, it's kind of been a story of one guy goes down, and another steps up. And we've had quite a few guys go down," Conley said. "I don't think it changes the way we do things. It's just another young guy is gonna have an opportunity to step up, and you're gonna be seeing some new guys."

So which new names? Walk-ons Michael Erdman and Kenneth Towns have been mentioned, along with redshirt freshman Blake Tibbs. Those three were among those 10 at practice on Tuesday. The fact Rumph and Terry were not is another indication they would not be.

"It's an opportunity for the guys on this football team to step up," Bobo said. "Coaches gotta coach, and players gotta play. We've gotta do our job and get ready to play."

Conley admitted he's been teaching some of the younger players who may now be thrust into action.

"It's learning on the fly, because they're not only just learning it, they're running it and they're having to execute it," Conley said.

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