ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart revealed that freshman middle linebacker Nakobe Dean missed scrimmage because he was “banged up,” but “he’s going to be fine, we think.”
Dean backs up starting inside linebackers Monty Rice and Tae Crowder, but his strong spring camp has brought him great fanfare.
The Bulldogs have had a healthy fall camp, the successful rehabilitation of redshirt freshman tailback Zamir White receiving the lion’s share of media attention.
Smart updated the health status of pivotal senior defensive linemen Julian Rochester (ACL) and David Marshall (foot) following Saturday’s Scrimmage Two.
“Julian is coming off the ACL repair and he’s practiced every day, (and) he does some periods with us and he does other periods with a trainer where he runs and gets his mileage up, not as much contact stuff,” Smart said. “David does about 50 percent with us and 50 percent with a trainer.
“Julian and David are both older players, fourth-year players, who are not 100 percent. So we’re trying to control their volume of reps, also giving the other guys reps. But they’ve practiced each day.”
Smart classified tailback D’Andre Swift, who was late attending Tuesday’s scrimmage while receiving treatment, as “fine.”
“D’Andre’s been good,” Smart said. “D’Andre’s a leader in that group, he’s very bright.”
Swift’s durability has come into question after he played through pain in the aftermath of double groin surgery in January of 2018, and foot and toe injuries during the season.
Projected starting cornerback Tyson Campbell, who was injured in Scrimmage One, has been full-go all week and was a full participant in Scrimmage Two.
Smart said quarterback D’Wan Mathis, who underwent emergency brain surgery on May 23, remains sidelined in contact drills and scrimmage. Walk-on Nathan Priestly remains the third-team quarterback behind back-up Stetson Bennett.
Smart didn’t specify the extent of practice that reserves Nate McBride (linebacker), Tyrique Stevenson (cornerback) and Ryland Goede (tight end).
McBride missed the first scrimmage but returned earlier this week and did not appear to have any limitations.
Stevenson was banged up in Scrimmage One and, while dressed out in full gear, appeared limited in Thursday’s practice.
Goede returned after missing a week’s worth with a hand wrapped.
“We had a couple of guys who couldn’t go today that haven’t been able to practice some but, knock on wood, no major injuries,” Smart said. “They’re going to have (Sunday) off. Monday is going to be a light, light walkthrough.”
Smart said the Bulldogs will focus on getting the team full strength as the opening game at Vanderbilt (Aug. 31) approaches.
“This is kind of where we say, ‘okay, we’ve got to start getting them back, we’ve got to get recovery,’ “ Smart said. “We’ve got to get fluids. So when you have 48 hours, you can almost recover to a full extent and we’re hoping to get everybody’s legs back. You could see it today.
“The GPS says it. A guy that was running 19 (mph) is running 17. A guy that was running 21 is running 18, 19. They’re hurting a little bit but part of that is mental toughness and the grit. They’ve been able to handle that.”
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