Carlton Thomas doesn't know what the future will hold, but said Monday he appreciates the opportunities he's been getting to show what he can do in the Bulldog backfield.
He's certainly making the most of his chances.
Thomas - an afterthought by some before the season began - comes into Saturday's game against Mississippi State as the Bulldogs' second-leading rusher behind Isaiah Crowell with 20 carries for 108 yards and one touchdown.
"It's been good. It's been how I expected, to come back and have some type of role in the offense," Thomas said. "It's been good getting back out there, getting used to the playing style, just getting in the game and contribute to these two wins."
After being suspended for the opener against Boise State, Thomas' first real opportunity thus far came in Georgia's third game against Coastal Carolina.
With the game in control, Bulldog offensive coaches led the Frostproof, Fla. native take the bulk of the carries and he responded with 15 carries for 71 yards, both career highs for the junior.
"That helps out a lot. Any back knows that you like to get in that rhythm, but being on this level that comes with the territory, too. Some games you're going to get a chance to get in that rhythm, some games you're not. You've just got to be prepared for whatever reps you do get, to be able to go out and make the best of it."
Last week against Ole Miss, Thomas was at it again.
Although he only carried the football five times, he picked up 37 yards, an average of 7.4 per carry with a long run of 17 - also a career high.
"Coming in, watching the film, one thing Coach (Bryan McClendon) always tells us it's never as good as it seems and it's never as bad it seems. There's always something you can improve on, but in my eyes I feel I did run a little better against Coastal Carolina," he said. "Maybe it's because I got more carries, but it really doesn't matter. We've got two wins, we're going to see how it goes. Next game I might get 20 carries. I just have to prepare for what happens."
Jones not worried about repercussions
Center Ben Jones would just as soon forget about the waning moments of last year's game at Mississippi State.
In the contest, Jones was headed downfield when he cut MSU player Fletcher Cox on a play away from the ball.
Jones was subsequently suspended for the first half of last year's game at Colorado.
"I wrote him a letter as soon as the game was over. I wrote him a letter and sent it to him. I felt bad. When I got home I was like 'Man, that was wrong,'" Jones said. "If it had been one of my teammates I would have been hot. But I apologized, sent it to him, got it out of the way and hopefully that's gone and it's a new year."
Earlier, it was an excited Jones who urged Bulldog fans to get to Sanford Stadium early for Saturday's noon kickoff against Mississippi State.
"We've got a new mentality. We're ready to roll. This team's on board," Jones said. "Just make sure they don't miss this one. We know it's early, but hey, treat it like an 8 p.m. game. We want everyone there. We're going to have some fun and we want everybody there to see it."
Linebacker Christian Robinson (foot) said he hopes to play Saturday against Mississippi State but Monday wasn't making any guarantees.
"I don't know," Robinson said. "At this point I'm just taking everything they let me do. The two guys who played last week (Mike Gilliard and Amarlo Herrera) played great. If I play or not, they're going to play great."
Robinson said he's getting better.
"I got out there and did some work," Robinson said. "I took about 20 plays (Monday), just normal walk-through stuff."
• Linebacker Alec Ogletree (broken bone in foot) is still expected to miss at least the next two games.
• Offensive lineman Chris Burnette (knee) was seen walking to class wearing a brace and using a crutch Monday. His status for Saturday is uncertain.
• Wide receiver Rantavious Wooten remains out after suffering a concussion during a recent car accident.
• Cornerback Damian Swann is still recovering from a hip flexor, but the injury is not considered serious.
This and that
Crowell was named the SEC Freshman of the Week for the second time Monday by the SEC. Teammate Bacarri Rambo also picked up an honor Monday when he was named the College Football Performance Awards Defensive Player of the Week.
The SEC announced that the Oct. 8 game at Tennessee will kick off at 7 p.m. and be televised by either ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.
Mississippi State's offensive will be bolstered this week by the return of left tackle James Carmon (6-foot-7, 320 pounds), who has been out with a knee injury since the first half of the Bulldogs' game against Auburn.
One report had sophomore cornerback Derek Owens deciding to transfer but the story could not immediately be confirmed. UGA officials had no word of a possible transfer Monday afternoon.
Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at [email protected]