ATHENS — Georgia is back in red jerseys, and is hoping to get several key players back in red as well on Saturday. Check here for updates on injuries as well as plenty else as Georgia prepares to host Georgia Tech at noon at Sanford Stadium:
11:45 a.m.: Senior Day
Might be wrong on this, but to my own ears it seemed the biggest applause came for someone who’s only been at Georgia since August: Maurice Smith.
11:30 a.m.: Another inside linebacker update
Roquan Smith and Reggie Carter are the starters in pre-game 7-on-7 drills. The second teamers are Juwan Taylor and Rashad Roundtree.
Natrez Patrick is standing back with his halmet off and watching.
11:25 a.m.: DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle update
Hawkins-Muckle is in uniform and going through a contact drill with the other defensive linemen. After missing three games with an ankle injury, the sophomore was planting and pushing during a warm-up drill.
11:20 a.m.: Natrez Patrick update
Just like lasat week, Patrick is in uniform, but he’s not hitting during early warm-ups. As the other inside linebackers went through an early contact drill, Patrick stood to the side.
It could just be precautionary, and avoiding re-aggravation of the injury in warm-ups. We’ll see.
11:15 a.m.: Two big names at Sanford Stadium today
Jarvis Jones, the two-time All-American, will be handling the pregame “calling of the Dawgs.”
Matt Stafford, whose Detroit Lions played on Thanksgiving Day, is also here at the game. Stafford often drops by this game because the Lions always have played two days before.
11:10 a.m.: One receiver ruled out
Sophomore receiver Jayson Stanley is not dressed out. He will miss a fourth straight game with a foot injury.
Stanley has not caught a pass yet this season, but started five games prior to his injury.
11:05 a.m.: Brian VanGorder is not hiding
… The temporary defensive consultant and former Georgia/Notre Dame/Atlanta Falcons/let’s stop listing them now defensive coordinator is in the press box for today’s game. In fact, VanGorder is decked out in a red Georgia jacket.
VanGorder told the AJC’s Jeff Schultz that the Georgia jacket is an old one, from his days here in 2001-04. VanGorder, if for some reason you haven’t heard, has been retained by Kirby Smart to help gameplan for this game, given his experience at Notre Dame, which played Georgia Tech last year and Navy in 2014 and 2015.
11:00 a.m.: Natrez Patrick watch is on
The latest we heard during the week on Patrick – who has missed two games with a shoulder injury – was just that the team hopes to get him back. He was not participating in contact reps as of Tuesday’s practice, but had enough of a chance to play that the defensive staff was having him stand 15-20 steps behind the play to watch.
The key will be what Patrick does in the final warm-ups. He was in uniform last week and warmed up initially, then didn’t participate during the 11-on-11 final warm-ups.
10:45 a.m.: Michael Chigbu update
Chigbu, Georgia’s sophomore receiver, looks like he’s going to suit up today. Whether he actually plays is uncertain, but last week when receivers came out for warm-ups Chigbu was throwing to the other receivers, and was obviously not going to play.
This time, Chigbu is running around doing routes with the other receivers. So that’s a hopeful sign. Chigbu, who missed the Louisiana-Lafayette game with knee soreness, has nine catches for 88 yards this season, and has started six games. He’s one of the team’s best blocking receivers.
10:30 a.m.: Bowl implications?
If you read the tea leaves – those leaves being which bowl reps called us back this week – the most likely bowls for Georgia are the Music City and then the Liberty. But events over the past couple days have a chance of altering that.
Thanks to losses by Texas A&M and Arkansas, it’s possible Georgia’s position in bowl selection has improved. Texas A&M finished 8-4, the same record Georgia will have if it wins today, while Arkansas fell to 7-5. If Auburn loses to Alabama today, then Auburn will also be 8-4, and Tennessee, while favored to beat Vanderbilt, could also lose and be 8-4. There’s also Florida, which could be 8-3 if it loses to Florida State.
So with that glut of teams, it’s possible Georgia could be more enticing to a warmer bowl site. The Citrus (Orlando) is still far-fetched, but maybe the Outback makes a push for Georgia if it wins today?
It’ll be Alabama in the playoff, barring something strange, and probably either Tennessee or Florida in the Sugar Bowl, with LSU a possibility. And then the Citrus gets next pick, and you’d think it would go with one team that’s left between Tennessee, Florida or LSU.
After that you have the “six pack” of SEC bowls, and if you haven’t please re-read the story posted earlier this week on the selection process.