ATHENS - It looks like Corey Moore and Jonathan Rumph can be scratched from the plans for Georgia's season opener at Clemson. Moore, a junior safety, has a badly sprained knee, and Rumph, a receiver, has a hamstring.
"I don't think we'll have either one of those," head coach Mark Richt said prior to Tuesday's practice.
Rumph's absence would be mitigated by the depth Georgia has at receiver, and the fact he wasn't among the projected top six. But Moore had a chance to start at strong safety before his bruised knee derailed those plans.
The good news for Georgia is the secondary is rounding back into healthy shape, with freshman free safety Tray Matthews practicing without limitations for a second straight day.
“You’ve got guys that are going to end up playing safety for us, like Connor (Norman) and Tray, if he has no more setbacks," Richt said. "You have (Quincy) Mauger that will be able to play, and Shaquille Fluker has been practicing again, so I think those guys will be available. We’ll figure out where we’ll set them up when they snap the ball.”
The time Matthews missed this preseason hurts, but defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said the fact Matthews went through all of spring practice was "a big help."
"He knows the terminology, he knows what to do, and it's a lot cleaner than if he had come through in July," Grantham said. "He's pretty much on top of everything, and it's a matter of going and playing."
Elsewhere on the injury front, it's unsure whether freshmen tailbacks Brendan Douglas (knee sprain) and A.J. Turman (knee and ankle sprain) will be able to play at Clemson.
"I don't know yet," offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said.
Admiration for Clemson
Grantham was an assistant at Virginia Tech in the late 1990s. So Grantham reached back to those Big East days in finding a comparison to Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd.
"The quarterback has the ability to make a guy miss, and make things happen. He can throw the deep ball well. He reminds me a little bit of Donovan McNabb when he was at Syracuse," Grantham said.
Bobo said Clemson's victory over LSU in last year's Chick-Fil-A Bowl was one of the few bowls he watched, and he came away impressed with the Tigers' effort and ability to play for 60 minutes.
"That game's gonna give them confidence going into this year," Bobo said. "Confidence in their system. A coordinator going into his second year there's gonna be a lot of carryover, a lot of things they can clean up from last year's package, and things they'll be able to add because of familiarity. So I expect a hungry defense that's gonna fly around and be fast. Like I said last week, it's gonna come down to guys making plays in one-on-one situations, and we've gotta come up with our fair share."
Bobo was also frank about some head-to-head recruiting battles the two programs have had.
"They recruit Georgia, they're only about a half-hour, 45 minutes away. They try to come in and recruit like it's their home state, like we do with a couple states are neighboring to us," Bobo said. "We run into them, it's not civil out there. You're recruiting guys, and that's part of it."
Richt gets testy
Richt is famously laid-back, but not on the practice field when it comes to the media. For a second straight day, he yelled at the media, and this time with a little more fervor.
Reporters were walking off the field after viewing the first two periods of practice, their allotted time. A photographer apparently (because I didn't witness this) took a photo, and spotting that, Richt yelled out: "Photographer!" He then yelled (either at the photographer or all media members) to respect the allotted time periods, or their entire viewing time would be yanked.
A day earlier, Richt yelled at media members to move back on the sideline before a receivers drill.
Former Georgia quarterback David Greene was in attendance at practice. Greene comes often to Athens, but perhaps the Bulldogs were hoping some of Greene's history vs. Clemson rubbed off.
Greene was 2-0 vs. the Tigers, winning the last two times the two teams met.