Players and coaches don’t seem too worried about the injury status of All-American linebacker Jarvis Jones, who sat out last week’s game with a groin strain.
He was listed as “limited” during Monday’s practice, but teammates said the injury didn’t seem too serious.
They said Jones wants to get back for Saturday’s Southeastern Conference matchup against Vanderbilt, but head coach Mark Richt has yet to weigh in.
But one thing everyone knows for certain: Jones isn’t an easy player to replace.
“We got [Florida Atlantic] to third down quite a bit, but we couldn’t get them off the field,” Richt said after Saturday’s game without Jones. “Guys like Jarvis get you off the field. … I think it affected us. I don’t think there’s any doubt. If Jarvis played, I think we would have been more productive when it came to pressuring the passer and probably — knowing Jarvis — he would have gotten a sack or two just because he’s Jarvis.”
And Jones won’t be the only question mark for Georgia’s defense this week.
Richt said he may talk about the status of safety Bacarri Rambo and linebacker Alec Ogletree sometime this week, but has yet to release a definitive statement. Both players have sat out the first three games amid rumors of failed drug tests.
Linebacker Cornelius Washington said all the missing players has hurt the team’s chemistry, but they’re getting through it.
“We may be starting off kind of rough, but we’re winning,” he said. “We are winning these games and we’re being that second half, fourth quarter team and we’re getting it done.”
Tensions run high for Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt has proven itself to be a dangerous team to overlook.
After a 43-0 Bulldog win in 2010, they just barely squeaked by last year as the Commodores took two chances at the end zone for what would have been the game-winning touchdown.
The Bulldogs held on back then, and they haven’t forgotten about it.
“This series has gotten closer and closer and the games have gotten tighter and tighter,” linebacker Christian Robinson said. “This game is a mindset of they almost beat us last year. And we almost let it slip away. That would have ruined our 10 wins that we had last season.”
Tensions may run even higher than usual this year, following a emotion-fueled shouting match that ensued after last year’s game.
A brief skirmish broke out as the clock ran out and players headed toward the locker room. Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was in the middle of the confrontation as he seemed to argue with Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin.
But this year, he’s staying out of it.
When asked about any spillover emotions, Grantham danced around the issue saying, “the most important thing is the game.”
Franklin has taken a similar approach.
"I think everyone else is going to talk about it, but I know Coach Richt [is] going to focus on playing the game and the fundamentals and that's what we're going to do,” he told reporters according to a Vanderbilt press release.
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said the confrontation is over. Now, it’s just a distraction.
“I’m sure people are going to be talking about that all week,” he said. “But we can’t worry about that. … We can’t let that little silly nonsense effect us next week in the game. They let our emotions get the best of us.”
Hunter Long (foot fracture) and Cole Trolinger (concussion) were out of Monday’s practice. Taylor Bradberry (thumb sprain), Watts Dantzler (ankle sprain), Josh Dawson (shoulder sprain), Dallas Lee (ankle sprain) and Nathan Theus (shoulder sprain) were listed as limited action with no contact. Jarvis Jones (groin sprain), Cornelius Washington (hamstring strain) and Rantavious Wooten (knee contusion) were listed as limited.