ATHENS — Not surprisingly, a number of Georgia players have made their way back to practice from the training room this week. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be on the bus to South Carolina.
Wide receiver Terry Godwin and defensive back Tyrique McGhee were among the Bulldogs going full speed on Woodruff Practice Fields on Tuesday. Both were starters and/or regulars last season.
Godwin is a key piece of both the Bulldogs’ offense and special team. The senior from Hogansville is the leading returning pass-catcher from last season and also returns punts and an occasional kickoff. But Godwin missed all of preseason camp and most of practice last week with what started out as a mild knee sprain, and then a calf strain. He sat out last Saturday’s opener versus Austin Peay.
“I thought Terry did good today, looked good, pushed though, took some hits,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said after Tuesday’s practice. “That was big.”
As to whether Godwin would actually be on the bus to Columbia, Smart said, “it’s going to depend on whether he’s healthy or not. That’s still be determined. We can’t take somebody that’s not going to play, and we don’t know that yet. I feel good after watching him today, but that won’t be certain until after Thursday probably.”
Fellow wideouts Jayson Stanley (quadriceps) and Kearis Jackson (hamstring) also returned to practice.
“Jayson and Kearis seemed good,” Smart said. “Jayson seemed back to normal. Kearis is still pushing through. We use those guys on special teams and hopefully on offense, too. But they’re both very good special teams weapons.”
McGhee was taking snaps with the No. 1 defense at Star before suffering a foot injury midway through preseason camp. He also did not dress out last weekend.
“He was pushing through. ” Smart said of McGhee. “He was able to take 25 percent of the reps — and we take a lot of reps on Tuesday — so he took about a quarter of them. He looked pretty good, but I’ll reserve judgment until I watch (the practice video). I didn’t notice him messing up or anything. It seemed like he had fresher legs than everybody else. We’re hoping he’ll be able to play but we won’t know until closer to the end of the week.”
Determining the “dress-out roster” for an SEC game is much more difficult than a non-conference game. Conference rules limit rosters to just 70 players. Last Saturday, the Bulldogs dress out 105 players and played 83 in a 45-0 win over Austin Peay.
Georgia typically travels at least eight wide receivers for away games as at least six are needed for the offensive rotation and several usually are heavily involved in special teams. Defensive backs are similarly valuable as their speed and athleticism makes them ideal for special teams.
“We’ll have to figure out the right 70 to take based on special teams, depth, how many of those receivers can play If all of them can play, we’ll take whatever it takes, maybe nine, 10 or 11.”
Tight end Jackson Harris is recovering from foot surgery and won’t make the trip.