Kirby Smart discusses Georgia injuries, championship depth on display

Georgia football-offensive line-2021
Georgia offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer (69) during the Duke’s Mayo Classic against Clemson at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC, on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. (photo by Rob Davis)
Rob Davis

ATHENS — Georgia has built the most dominant football team in the country by recruiting talent and developing it into quality depth.

The No. 1-ranked Bulldogs (12-0) have sustained a high level of play despite having a revolving door of injuries at receiver and on the offensive line, in particular.

UGA’s depth was put into perspective on Monday, as coach Kirby Smart causally discussed the potential return of Georgia’s best offensive lineman, most experienced receiver and interceptions co-leader.

Bulldogs team captain and left tackle Jamaree Salyer, senior safety Christopher Smith, receiver Kearis Jackson and tailback Kendall Milton are questionable leading into the week of practice for the 4 p.m SEC Championship Game against Alabama (11-1) on Saturday in Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Smart explained that Salyer, who started the first eight games at left tackle, is only part of the equation against the Tide’s defensive front

“I’m not sitting here overly concerned about just left tackle,” Smart said. “We have to block, we have to throw and catch, we have to have run the ball, and we have to some form of balance and do what we do better than what they do.”

Salyer, who has been dealing with a foot injury, had a setback in practice last week that kept him out of the Georgia Tech game.

Georgia plugged in former 5-start recruit Broderick Jones, a sophomore who has proven adept at pass blocking while growing stronger in the run game.

“Broderick has played in some big games, now, too,” Smart said. “He’s gone on the road and played in the Auburn environment and Tennessee environment … Broderick is a really good athlete.”

Smart said that senior safety Christopher Smith, who had the game-winning Pick-6 in the 10-3 win over Clemson, has been running again.

Smith has missed the past two games after Smart said his knee “buckled” in a practice.

“We’re hopeful he’s able to go today,” Smart said, “he did some running today, but until I see it out there in practice, I won’t know.”

Jackson left the Georgia Tech game early after injuring his ribs

“We think he’s going to be fine, it’s not bothering him as bad right now,” Smart said. “We won’t know until he goes out and practices this week.”

Smart said that Milton, who has missed the past six games with a sprained MCL, was close to playing against Georgia Tech.

“He was close this week, wasn’t able to go,” Smart said. “We would have loved to have played him.

“It’s a confidence issue with the MCL in the knee. He looked a lot better on Saturday (in warmups) than he did last Wednesday and Thursday.”

Georgia injury report

WR Kearis Jackson (ribs), probable

RB Kendall Milton (knee), questionable

OT Jamaree Salyer (foot), questionable

SS Chris Smith (ankle) questionable

WR Justin Robinson (hamstring) questionable

WR Arian Smith (leg), OUT

LB Trezman Marshall (knee), OUT

DB Tykee Smith (knee), OUT

LB Rian Davis (quad), OUT

CB Jalen Kimber (shoulder), OUT

OL Tate Ratledge (foot), OUT

OLB Adam Anderson (suspension) OUT

WR Arik Gilbert (personal) OUT

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