ATHENS — Georgia team captain Tyler Simmons spelled it out where players’ attitudes toward injuries are concerned at this stage of the season.
“You can either sit out and miss those opportunities,” Simmons said, “or you can go and do what you can do.”
Simmons is an example of the latter, playing with a shoulder brace since the third game of the season even now that he’s no longer returning punts or being targeted with multiple passes.
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For center Trey Hill, mobility will surely be limited after spraining his left ankle in the 27-0 win over Missouri. Hill was already playing with his right ankle heavily taped.
Coach Kirby Smart insisted Hill was fine on Tuesday, however.
“Trey has been fine,” Smart said. “He’s taken all the reps and done everything.”
South Carolina’s defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw made Hill not look so fine on Oct. 12, and this Saturday it’s future NFL starter Derek Brown chomping at the bit to attack the center of the Georgia offensive line.
The Bulldogs’ line has been deemed one of the nation’s 10 best by the Joe Moore Award committee after finishing among the three finalists the previous two seasons.
But only left tackle Andrew Thomas has started every game, and the line has not yet made a convincing case that it’s the best in the nation.
Auburn, with what’s regarded as the SEC’s best defensive front — and quite possibly the best in the country — will provide the ultimate challenge.
Georgia right guard Ben Cleveland was nominated by the school for the SEC’s offensive lineman of the week award, which is more telling in some ways than the fact that he won it.
Cade Mays has split starting duties with Cleveland at right guard, so it’s fair to speculate if Mays will continue to play center in place of Hill even if Hill is cleared.
Mays left the Missouri game after his ankle was “rolled up on,” but he said in the postgame press conference he’s fine and he was featured on Georgia’s Game Day show this week.