The way Rantavious Wooten sees it, every opportunity he gets to show position coach Tony Ball he's someone the Bulldogs can depend on, he's going to try and take advantage of it.
Take Wednesday afternoon's scrimmage at Sanford Stadium, an outing which saw the junior catch five passes for a team-high 61 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown pass.
"For me, its game time," said Wooten, who seemed to fall out of favor last fall when he caught just seven passes for 41 yards. "Of late, I've been trying to catch the coaches' attention. Like I've said, I have to try and be more consistent myself. I have to show that I can be dependable, so ever since camp started that's what I've been trying to do. I caught the ball, and that's my main focus right now."
Head coach Mark Richt was pleased with what he saw.
"We didn't have any injuries, which is always good," Richt said. "We did have a little cramping going on from the heat afterwards with Ben Jones. It's nothing too serious. Ben had an hour aerobics class today, and he probably didn't do a good job of hydrating. After aerobics and scrimmaging and running wind sprints, it got to him."
Quarterbacks Aaron Murray and backup Hutson Mason both enjoyed solid days.
Murray completed 11 of 16 passes for 108 yards, the touchdown to Wooten and an interception, while Mason completed 13 of 27 for 125 yards.
"I thought it was a pretty good scrimmage," Murray said. "The offense made a lot of plays here and there. There were some lulls, but that's going to happen. I'm very proud of both sides of the ball and how they played today."
Meanwhile, walk-on Brandon Harton took advantage of the absence of Richard Samuel (quad) and Isaiah Crowell (groin) to rush 12 times for a team-high 51 yards.
Israel Troupe added five catches for 50 yards to help Wooten lead the receiving corps. Freshman Malcolm Mitchell added three receptions for 37 yards.
Defensively, starting Moe linebacker Alec Ogletree led the way with eight tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss, with safeties Shawn Williams and Bacarri Rambo adding seven and six tackles, respectively. Rambo also had an interception.
"Tree" gets after it," said Sam linebacker Jarvis Jones, who also contributed a sack. "He loves the game of football. He loves to work hard. He works hard every day. He would've been successful at safety, but I think moving him to linebacker is one of the best decisions our coaches could've made for the overall success of our defense and our team. He can get off blocks. He can run sideline to sideline. He can make big plays. He's a high energy guy and brings it everyday."
Kicker Blair Walsh converted 4 of 6 field goals, including a long of 49.
Crowell, Samuel still on the mend
Richt said he hopes both Crowell and Samuel will be ready to return to the practice field by early next week.
"I do think Isaiah is a little closer than Richard," Richt said after Wednesday's scrimmage. "We have a kicking practice tomorrow and a regular practice on Friday. I'm not going to say Isaiah will be ready for Friday but there's a chance. Richard would probably be more like early next week. As you watch them moving around, Isaiah looks closer."
Hamilton likely out for the year
Richt confirmed earlier reports that safety Jakar Hamilton will likely miss the entire year after trainers discovered he suffered a fracture in the lower part of his leg toward his ankle.
"Jakar has a fracture that historically takes two or three months to heal," Richt said. "My guess is he won't play this year. He does have the opportunity to redshirt. That's my best guess on what will happen. It's in his leg down toward his ankle. It's something he's been having issues with but (the pain) was moving a little on a daily basis. A bone scan showed it. It was something we couldn't detect otherwise."
With Hamilton on the shelf, Richt mentioned true freshman Corey Moore as the player who should benefit with the extra reps.
"Jakar is a very good special teams player and was competing for downs as a safety," Richt said. "A young guy like Corey Moore will have a better opportunity to play on specials and is one step closer to the field as a safety. Maybe this will light a fire under him."
This and that
When Williams was asked what five defensive backs are seeing the field when the Bulldogs are in the nickel, Rambo's name was conspicuously absent. "It's me, (Brandon) Boykin, (Branden) B. Smith, Sanders and Jordan Love," said Williams. "It is what it is."
According to Murray, redshirt sophomore Chris Burnette was still feeling sick and was not able to practice. He was replaced at right guard by Dallas Lee, who saw most of the snaps with the first team.
Murray said he had no idea who country singer Jason Aldean was when the two posed for a picture together recently at the Butts-Mehre Building. "I don't really know country people so I didn't really know who he was," Murray said. "I heard the name, but I really didn't know what it was for, but I took a picture with him - just in case. I'm not a big country fan."
Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at [email protected]