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John Theus will be the first to tell you he's not use to sitting on the sideline.
In fact, Georgia's sophomore offensive tackle said that before this season, he'd started every game he's ever played for the past six years, going all the way back to middle school.
But as the Bulldogs get ready to take on South Carolina Saturday (4:30 p.m., ESPN), Theus wrapped up Wednesday's workout still unsure if he'll be in the starting lineup or not against the 6th-ranked Gamecocks.
Last week against Clemson, he was not as the Bulldogs waited until the game's third series to insert the former Bolles star in place of starter Kolton Houston.
To his credit, Theus is not hanging his head, despite a solid effort against Clemson, a game which he gave up no sacks or pressures and was in on three of Georgia's five scoring drives.
"You can't let it frustrate you. You've got to take it as it is and try to be ready when you're called, try to get better every day and try to get as many reps as you can in the game," he said. "Obviously, as a competitor, you want to play every single play. But when I'm not, I'm over on the sideline preparing myself for when I do in."
So, what's up?
According to position coach Will Friend - nothing - denying that he's been disappointed with any aspect of Theus' play.
"He's a better player than he was this time a year ago," Friend said of Theus, who started all 14 games as a true freshman. "We've got to play who we think are the best guys and he played as many snaps as Kolton did last week. We played the best five that we thought going into the game Saturday."
Head coach Mark Richt seemed to echo Friend's statement in Wednesday's post-practice presser, but acknowledged he also likes what he's seen from Houston.
"I think on a weekly basis we'll decide who deserves to start. But yeah, we like what Kolton's been doing," Richt said.
Richt wasn't ready to see what will happen Saturday.
Theus said he's been practicing exclusively at right tackle this week while Richt acknowledged that coaches continue to consider Houston for other spots, just to see where he might fit the best. Against Clemson, Houston also spelled Kenarious Gates at left tackle and this week has seen reps at left guard.
"If he is one of the best five, he may end up anywhere just about," Richt said. "I don't know if he's going to find one home or not. He's kind of a putty guy, a guy who can play more than one spot and spell guys at different positions. If you can only spell a guard then you never let a tackle get any kind of a break so I think he'll end up playing both throughout the whole year."
Theus, although he's ready to regain his starting role, said he'll do whatever he's asked to do.
"I knew there was a rotation going in, so I just had to stay ready for when I did get called on," Theus said. "We all know we've got a lot of depth on the offensive line, there's a lot of completion and Coach is going to play who he thinks is best week in and week out."
Dawgs strap on the pads
For the second straight practice, Georgia donned the full pads Wednesday to hopefully iron out some of the tackling and blocking issues that plagued the team in its loss to the Tigers.
"If you want to practice certain kind of blocks it's hard to do without the pads, cut-blocks, things of that nature," Richt said. "We just kept everybody in full gear. It was about blocking and tackling."
Defensive end Toby Johnson acknowledged the extra day in pads the team was something the entire team needed to do.
"We didn't tackle that good in the last game so we're just trying to come out for South Carolina and be ready," Johnson said. "Those boys like to run the ball, so obviously we've got to be ready to tackle."
Johnson said Bulldog defensive coaches were adamant in their displeasure for what went down last Saturday.
"They were pretty upset about it. We swarmed to the ball on defense, especially the linebackers but we missed a lot of big tackles, including me. I missed a big sack," said Johnson, who played 10 snaps. "We've got to wrap up, keep our heads up."
Starting cornerback Brendan Langley missed Wednesday's practice with what Richt described as a "leg injury" but expects the former Kell standout to be back for workouts Thursday.
Backup Shaq Wiggins, meanwhile, was also held out due to a fever.
"Langley had some issue with his leg, but it was not severe in that we think he'll be able to play," Richt said. "Shaq was running a temperature. I don't know for sure. I don't think it was the flu but I know he wasn't feeling well. I assume both will be able to practice tomorrow."
The rest of Georgia's post-practice injury report included fullback Cory Campbell (concussion), backup running back Kyle Karempelis (right shoulder sprain), tight end Jay Rome (left ankle sprain), wide receiver Tramel Terry (concussion), linebacker Chase Vasser (two sprained ankles) and wide receiver Rantavious Wooten[/d]b (left ankle sprain).
Speaking of Terry, Richt said the Goose Creek, S.C. will likely redshirt while he continues his recovery from a torn ACL.
"My guess is that Tramel will not play this year, that's my best guess," Richt said. "We don't have to determine that for a while, but we've got some other guys we think that can play. It's tough to come off an ACL like Tramel did and really be the best he can be. We know he'll be better Year 5 than right now, as far as his ability to play full speed. He could play, but I'm not sure that he will."
This and that
Richt said wide receivers [db]Jonathon Rumph and Reggie Davis[/d]b are possibilities to play this weekend. "They're getting reps, they're getting quality reps in practice. I don't know if they'll get any (game) reps or how may reps they'll get as we get closer, althought the game may dictate it too," Richt said. "Whether it's the heat, or somebody struggling
sometimes a game will go at a pace where guys aren't getting blown up and sometimes guys will get worn out. A lot may have to do with how well we execute, how long of drives we have and things of that nature."
Richt said that suspended kicker [db]Marshall Morgan will return to action for Georgia's next game in two weeks against North Texas.
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