Kirby Smart didn’t shroud the status of Dominick Blaylock and George Pickens in mystery. The Georgia coach made it clear the two receivers would not be playing for Georgia against Tennessee.
Their status will be the same as it was for the first nine games of the season. Neither has played this year as both recover from injury. Pickens tore his ACL in March, while Blaylock is now dealing with a hamstring injury that flared up while he was recovering from his own ACL injury.
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Pickens and Blaylock won’t help on Saturday but the duo has been contributing in other ways.
“This week we got a tremendous look between being a little healthier at wide out,” Smart said. You know Jackson (Meeks) has gone over there, Dom has gone over there, George has taken some reps. All of sudden that lineup at wide out has looked a little bit from a standpoint of competitive reps. Whereas before we didn’t have many guys that could give us a look at receiver because we were so down.”
Individually, Pickens and Blaylock are at different points in recovery. The former still needs to be cleared, just as was the case with the likes of Darnell Washington, Tykee Smith and JT Daniels.
Smart told reporters last week that Pickens was set to have a meeting with Dr. James Andrews for an update on his recovery. Pickens has been able to do more in recent weeks but is not yet working with the first or second-team offense.
With Tennessee expected to employ an explosive offensive attack, having Pickens give the starting defense a look should help prepare the nation’s No. 1 defense for the Volunteers.
“It’s good having Georgia back. I’ve always said I love guarding George,” defensive back Ameer Speed. “He gets you better. He’s a freak of an athlete. Having him back out there is good because it’s making us better.”
Blaylock has been working with the scout team a little bit longer than Pickens and seems closer to coming back for Georgia.
Of course, Blaylock has been close to coming back for weeks now. The hamstring injury has delayed his return to the field after finally seeming able to play through his knee injury.
It’s been almost two years since Blaylock last played in a game. Smart acknowledged some of the frustration Blaylock has felt on his long road to recovery.
But the Georgia head coach also praised the redshirt sophomore for how he continues to try and help the team.
“His mental disposition has been great,” Smart said. “The kid is a warrior, he goes out and competes, he listens in meetings, he’s a leader and he has done a great job.”
Blaylock seems like the more likely of the two to play this season, especially as Smart continues to reiterate that Pickens has to get cleared in order to see the field. Whether either sees the field this year will depend on how both recover improve in the coming weeks.
This Georgia team may not become the best version of itself if Blaylock and Pickens do not see the field. But the two receivers are still finding ways to help the current team, in hopes of propelling them to even higher levels.
“Seeing both Dom and George back on the field reminds me of how incredible they are,” safety Dan Jackson said. “They’re great players, and I feel blessed to go up against them every day. They’re getting back into the swing of things, and it’s really exciting to watch, especially for me and all the other DBs who go against that talent. We need it, and we’re glad to have it for sure.”
Where things stand with Dominick Blaylock, George Pickens ahead of Tennessee game
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