ATHENS — Georgia is missing one of its most productive defensive players.
Tim Kimbrough, the Bulldogs’ third-leading tackler this season, missed practice for a second straight day on Friday. Why the 6-foot, 226-pound junior linebacker is out is unclear at this point. Neither Kimbrough nor any of the Bulldogs’ defensive coaches have been available for comment since bowl practices began on Wednesday.
“I’m not allowed to answer that,” senior Jake Ganus, a fellow inside linebacker, said Friday. “That’s one for the coaches. Sorry, specifically told.”
Kimbrough started alongside Ganus for seven of Georgia’s 12 games this season. He did not start in the season finale against Georgia Tech, however, as the Bulldogs went with freshman Natrez Patrick in a special alignment designed to defend the Yellow Jackets’ option. Patrick had four tackles in the 13-7 victory.
Patrick and Roquan Smith were first up with the inside linebackers during Friday’s brief viewing periods for media.
“I can talk about our young linebackers all day because they’re just awesome,” Ganus said. “Natrez, Roquan and Juwan Taylor, I think all three of those guys are just going to be phenomenal linebackers. I can’t say enough about them and how much they’ve grown over the year. I’m so excited to watch them in the future.”
Georgia just completed final exams this past week. Football players who walked in Friday’s commencement ceremonies were excused from practice. Kimbrough was not among them.
The Bulldogs had a long, full-pads practice session on Friday that started in the afternoon and extended into the cool and brisk night.
“The last three days have been very good,” interim head coach Bryan McClendon said via UGA’s sports communications department. “There has been a lot of energy, and competition has been going well. The guys are working hard at getting better fundamentally, and they all understand the importance of preparation each day.”
The Bulldogs will hold a closed practice on Saturday and continue workouts at Woodruff Practice Fields before breaking for Christmas at noon Tuesday.