ATHENS — It’s still far from being able to play in a real game, or even in a full-contact practice. Still, there was a pleasant sight for Georgia at its first spring practice: Nick Chubb in a helmet and shoulder pads.
The star tailback could be seen working out on the side of Tuesday’s practice, doing a variety of exercises under the watch of head athletic trainer Ron Courson. Chubb skipped for about 50 yards up and back, walked as he flexed his legs and high-stepped.
Chubb even participated in some small drills, taking handoffs and catching passes. Then he went back to the sides when the team broke up into other more slightly intensive drills.
Earlier in the day head coach Kirby Smart said Chubb was “dead on schedule,” and perhaps ahead of schedule, as he returns from the serious knee injury he suffered last October.
There’s still no assurance that Chubb will be able to play in Georgia’s season opener against North Carolina. Smart couldn’t even say whether Chubb would be able to participate fully in summer preseason practice. There’s a difference between being able to run on the side and being able to practice in full pads, absorbing hits along the way.
Still, the fact Chubb was healthy enough to do what he was on Tuesday is yet another positive sign that he could see the field sooner rather than later.
A few other observations from the 15-minute viewing period at the revised club fields that Georgia is practicing at this year:
- Kirby Smart was moving around during the media viewing period. At one point he came over to watch — and briefly interact with — the inside linebackers, which is the position he coached last year at Alabama. The inside linebackers coach, Glenn Schumann, who was a defensive analyst at Alabama with Smart, was very vocal and active with his group.
- The lineup at offensive line appeared to be, left to right: Kendall Baker, Isaiah Wynn, Brandon Kublanow, Dyshon Sims, Greg Pyke. That matches up with indications from interviews earlier in the day, but should be cautioned that it’s just the first day of spring practice.
- Inside linebacker Roquan Smith (wrist surgery) was participating, albeit with a big club on his left hand. Smart said earlier in the day that Smith and other injured players would be limited.
- Receiver Kenneth Towns, who has elected to play his senior year after all, was on the exercise bike, still working his way back after the leg injury he suffered during bowl practice. Chuks Amaechi (labrum) was also on the exercise bike.
- Keyon Brown, the redshirt sophomore, is now with the outside linebackers. He had been a defensive lineman.
- Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot else that could be gleaned because of the set-up. The media was confined to an area closest to one field, so the other two fields were harder to see. That’s where the quarterbacks were, for instance.