ATHENS - What has seemed a foregone conclusion is now official: Freshman tailbacks Sony Michel and Nick Chubb will not redshirt.
Georgia’s two highly-touted freshmen tailbacks have been assigned to special teams units, so at minimum they will play there this year. And they’re still in the mix to get carries, along with veterans Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall and Brendan Douglas.
“All five are on special teams, and all five will play,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said after Friday’s practice. “Offensive snaps, that’s still to be determined.”
Indeed, Bobo was noncommittal on how many offensive touches, if any, Michel and Chubb would get. He did indicate that they wouldn’t force it, especially with the presence of Gurley.
“You feel like if you have a difference-maker as a skill guy that you want to try to get that guy that you can feel like can make a difference in the game as many touches where he can make an impact,” Bobo said. “If you have skill guys that are just guys, then they might get a touch based on what the defense does.”
Georgia’s offensive coaches all spoke to the media following Friday’s practice. Here were the other revelations:
- Bobo has not decided on the No. 2 quarterback job. Faton Bauta and Brice Ramsey have continued to split reps behind starter Hutson Mason.
Bauta, the redshirt sophomore, has the advantage of mobility, while Ramsey, a redshirt freshman, has the stronger arm. Both have had their ups and downs this preseason, and there has yet to be clear separation.
“We’ll have a better idea, maybe after Tuesday’s practice with them what we’ll do if something happens (with Mason),” Bobo said.
- The coaches are also undecided on their third receiver spot, after starters Michael Bennett and Chris Conley. The injuries to Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley have opened up snaps for a cadre of candidates.
Receivers coach Tony Ball listed the receivers in contention: Blake Tibbs, Reggie Davis, Kenneth Towns, Michael Erdman and Jonathan Rumph, as well as freshman Isaiah McKenzie.
“If you say, OK, who are you gonna line up in that first three- or four-wide receiver set, it’s still up in the air,” Ball said. “Not because we don’t have the talent. It’s because the competition has been really good.”
Ball called Tibbs “a pleasant surprise” this camp. Bobo said McKenzie “is gonna have to play some.”
It appears Brendan Langley, the sophomore who moved over from cornerback last year, is headed for a redshirt. Ball said Langley was “struggling” and gaining an appreciation for how hard the receiver position can be. But Ball also likes Langley’s long-term potential.
Scott-Wesley, meanwhile, is now dealing with an ankle injury, in addition to working his way back from last fall’s ACL surgery. He’s expected to be suspended for the Clemson game anyway.
- Offensive line coach Will Friend did not name a starting five, though Brandon Kublanow remains the favorite at left guard, which was the main starting spot available when the preseason began.
Senior Watts Dantzler is also making a push at tackle, and has been subbing in for Kolton Houston. Freshman Isaiah Wynn, who was getting first-team reps a few weeks ago, appears to have fallen a bit behind in the pecking order.
Friend has said he would like to have a rotation heading into the Clemson game. But he now also expects to have an ongoing competition, both for starting spots and playing time.
“I think if you want to get your program in a position to be the best you’ve gotta make them feel uncomfortable,” Friend said.