ATHENS — The remarkable return of Nick Chubb continued Saturday with another major milestone run down ahead of schedule.
Chubb was tackled as the Georgia Bulldogs conducted their first scrimmage of preseason camp at Sanford Stadium. And this wasn’t the grab-you-and-ease-down kind of tackling. The Bulldogs were ordered to bring down No. 27 the same way Georgia’s opponents have aimed to the past two seasons.
By all accounts, the Bulldogs’ defense also had a hard time getting him down.
Now Chubb didn’t carry the ball 20 or 30 times, like he has been asked to do often in his career. But it was just another test and another ace for Chubb.
“Nick got to carry the ball,” Smart said following the two-hour scrimmage. “He did well. He carried it seven or eight times. I think the officials were more worried about him than we were because they were blowing the whistle quick and we didn’t want that. But he got tackled and did well with it and it was important for him to get over that psychologically but also the physical conditioning part of it.”
Smart did not say if there was a direct correlation, but he said the defense missed too many tackles Saturday.
“A lot of yards after contact,” he said. “Way too much. But that’s typical of a first scrimmage.”
Chubb suffered three torn ligaments in his left knee on the first play of the Tennessee game last October. He had surgery later that month and has been on the fast track back to the field since. He was able to run plays in the spring and has been practicing without limitations since preseason camp opened Aug. 1.
However, the 2,294-yard rusher had not been tackled in a full-contact situation since suffering the injury.
“I can’t judge really yet,” Smart said of how good Chubb looked. “The first couple of runs I seemed to notice because he got them in and got them out of the way. After that, I mean, we’ve been through so many practices where he’s been carrying the ball, he wasn’t really center of the attention, wasn’t the focus.
“I mean, he broke some tackles. He probably didn’t have the suddenness that he’s had in the past. But a lot of these guys have camp legs. They’ve practiced a lot of days in a row.”
Conversely, the Bulldogs didn’t get much out of fellow tailback Sony Michel. He was held out of all scrimmage work while recovering from his broken left arm.