JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Georgia offensive guard Ben Cleveland made the trip to Jacksonville, while redshirt freshman linebacker Robert Beal is not on the dress list.
The Bulldogs are also getting nose guard Devonte Wyatt back from a lower body injury. Defensive lineman Mikhail Carter did not make the 70-man travel squad.
Georgia plays Florida in a 3:30 p.m. showdown in TIAA Bank Field (TV: CBS, Radio: WSB 750 AM, 95.5 FM).
Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said last Tuesday that Cleveland would not play against the Gators. Cleveland has been out since breaking the fibula in his left leg in the Missouri game on Sept. 22.
True freshman Cade Mays has replaced Cleveland in the starting lineup.
Smart said getting Wyatt back from an injury would be a key factor because of Georgia’s lack of defensive line depth. The Bulldogs struggled in short-yardage defense situations against LSU two weeks ago. The Tigers were 4-for-4 on fourth-and-1 situations and also converted a third-and-1.
Beal’s absence is another surprise, as Smart praised him during the bye week. Beal, an outside linebacker, has nine tackles and a sack this season.
“He’s still on scout team and getting those reps …. He played really physical in the game. He held the point. We actually did a little better against the run with him playing in there,” Smart said. “But Robert has had an opportunity to continue to grow on the scout team. Robert works really hard. Robert got a little bit of confidence cause, because for the first time in a game he had two pass rush situations where he beat his guy pretty quick, and I feel like he knows what to do a lot faster now and it shows up on the field. That helps him.”
Smart said the Bulldogs’ defense will prioritize stopping the run game, going into detail on how Georgia plans to go about that.
“You have to build a wall, control the line of scrimmage. This game has been decided by the team, for many years, that ran the ball better. The team that controlled the line of scrimmage,” Smart said. “And we have to do a good job of building the wall up front. We can’t have second-level players having to make a bunch of tackles, and a lot of that comes by how you hold up in pass defense.
“How are we able to cover them outside and how are we able to control the line of scrimmage up front with five and six guys at times.”
Georgia reserve defensive lineman Michail Carter has played in seven games and has two tackles, but he’s another player who did not make the trip to Jacksonville.
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