Georgia will be missing one of their biggest offensive
weapons Saturday for one of their biggest game of the season as Tennessee comes
to Athens Saturday night. Junior kicker Brandon Coutu was injured during
practice while working on an onside kick drill.
"Brandon Coutu hurt his kicking leg today on the
back part of the leg where his hamstring is," said head coach
"I do not know how severe it is, but it is severe enough for him not to
kick this week and it could be more depending on what happens when we check
The injury occurred when Coutu was working on a new kickoff
technique during the first period of practice Thursday.
"It happened during period A as he was attempting
an new onside kick technique which put his leg in a slightly different position
than he is used to. I think it was something he saw in the NFL when somebody
popped one up real high and he was trying to do it in case we needed it,"
said Richt. "Quite frankly I noticed that ball because it popped way up
and it was perfect. I wonder if he had punted it, but he banged the thing into
the ground and I noticed it was new."
Coutu was seven for eight on field goals this season and
a perfect 15-15 on extra point attempts accumulating 36 points through five
games. Coutu is tied for the longest Division I-A field goal of the season with
his 55-yarder against UAB in the 34-0 win.
Junior kicker Andy Bailey will fill in for Coutu
on extra points and field goals and walk-on Ben Wilson will continue
to handle kickoff duties.
"Bailey will kick extra points and field goals and
Wilson will kickoff which he has been doing for the last couple of games anyway,"
said Richt. "The bad news is that the injury happened to Coutu, but the
good news is Bailey has been kicking beautifully even though he was banged up
last week. We had thought about moving Wilson up, but on Tuesday Bailey was
kicking awesome and of course Bailey finished the day kicking and kicked very
Bailey was the starting kicker during the 2004 season
before losing his job to Coutu. Bailey is 14 of 20 on field goals with a long
of 46 and 36 of 37 on extra point attempts for his career all of which occurred
during the 2004 season.
Coach Richt said the in fact work two kickers in case
of an injury, "Bailey has worked with the snapper and holder because we
work two kickers all the time, and so Andy will be that guy."
Coutu will have an MRI Thursday evening and the results
will determine what the timetable for his return will be.
Richt is confidant that there will be little drop off
from Coutu to Bailey and they can make the same type of kicks.
"There range is not much different, we have seen
Brandon do it, but I am less likely to try as long, but if we need to go for
one to win the game Bailey would be the guy because he has a very strong leg."
Turner will play early in Tennessee game
Senior offensive tackle Michael Turner will see
his first action of the season since the South Carolina game on Saturday. Turner
has been sidelined with an ankle injury and he was able to make it through the
week with minimal pain.
"He is ready to play and Neil (offensive line coach
Callaway) is going to play him early and kind of watch him," said Richt.
"If he warms up good and plays fine then he will probably roll, but if
he goes in there and looks like he is struggling or favoring it then we will
take him out of the rotation."
The Tennessee game is the first time this season Georgia
has had three offensive tackles available to play and Turner will backup seniors
Ken Shackleford and
Receivers working with tennis balls
Wide receivers coach John Eason has the Georgia
receiving core working on fundamentals this week in preparation for the Tennessee
game Saturday. All of the receivers have been catching tennis balls and footballs
from machines to improve their concentration on the ball.
"We had them work with the tennis ball machine in
the spring and it worked well for them because they have to focus harder to
catch the smaller tennis balls," said Eason. "Right now we need
to make a couple of catches in games to get on a roll and that will open the
passing game up and give our receivers confidence."
Ware happy to move up the depth chart
Junior running back Danny Ware is happy he is
finally moving back up the depth chart where he is now the number two running
back behind Kregg Lumpkin.
"I am glad I got the chance to show the coaches
what I can do and it does not matter if I am one, two, or three I am going to
work hard," said Ware. The Georgia running game will need to be effective
this week especially with senior
Joe Tereshinski playing quarterback with an injured ankle.
"We want to go out and pound (Tennessee) and keep
pounding them and pounding and see what happens," said Ware. "This
week Joe (Tereshinski) is coming back and we want to take a little pressure
off of him, but we like it like that."
Ware hopes he, Lumpkin, and Thomas Brown can
have a repeat performance rushing the ball Saturday.
"Kregg had a great game last week and he was seeing
everything and we love that for him and now we are going to go out there and
do the same thing," said Ware of Lumpkin's performance.
Goodman's confidence soars
Sophomore wide receiver Demiko Goodman is earning
more playing time this season through hard work on the practice field and game
"I think his confidence went up to another level
after this last game and he made a really big play in a really big game on national
television," said Richt of Goodman. "I know he dropped a couple
after that, but I think he got some juice and I like the way he is working right
Goodman was the leading receiver for the Bulldogs last
week with four catches for 71 yards.
Freshman center sidelined
Freshman center Kevin Perez from Miami, Florida
had his arm in a sling during practice Thursday due to a dislocated left elbow.
Coach Richt expects Perez to be sidelined for 4-6 weeks.
Perez will have his elbow popped back into the socket
and he will rest it for the next month.
Other Notes and Quotes
The Georgia Bulldogs had 39 former players on opening
weekend active rosters when the NFL season began. This number was the tied for
fourth among the colleges and the second highest in the SEC behind Tennessee
who had 40.
"It is going to be highly regarded people and it
will be a huge group to manage, but we know how to handle it," said Richt
of this weekend's game, which will be their biggest recruiting weekend.
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