ATHENS, Ga. – "Probably at least 10” players will be out of Saturday’s G-Day game because of injury, Georgia coach Mark Richt said Thursday.
Washaun Ealey missed the final three weeks of spring ball with a pulled hamstring.
That includes tailback Washaun Ealey (hamstring), safety Bacarri Rambo (sprained knee), safety Jakar Hamilton (concussion), cornerback Sanders Commings (concussion), defensive end Garrison Smith (neck), cornerback Jordan Love (hamstring) and offensive lineman Austin Long (shoulder).
Each of those players started spring healthy and are now expected to miss the spring game, according to coaches.
Richt also said cornerback Brandon Boykin (concussion), one of two captains responsible for helping draft the Black squad, likely won’t be cleared to play either.
“We’re leaning towards him not going right now,” Richt said of Boykin.
Injuries have been a recurring theme of Georgia's spring. At least 18 players were held out of last Saturday’s scrimmage at Sanford Stadium because of various injuries, and that total did not include tackle Trinton Sturdivant, who tore his ACL during the workout and underwent knee surgery Tuesday.
Tailback Ken Malcome was one of the players to miss the scrimmage, though he is expected to play Saturday on a lingering groin injury, according to Richt.
The scratch of Ealey, however, ends a disheartening spring for him. Last season’s leading rusher was hurt early and missed both scrimmages leading up to G-Day, in fact never going through a full-contact practice.
Richt noted that Ealey hadn’t had a hamstring injury before this season.
Despite helping draft the Black team, cornerback Brandon Boykin may not be cleared to play Saturday.
“Guys don’t realize that once they feel like they’re ready," Richt said, "it’s usually another week to 10 days before they can go if it’s a pretty significant pull, which it was."
However, Richt is confident that tight end Aron White (a “cartilage issue,” in Richt's words), linebacker Alec Ogletree (groin), linebacker Mike Gilliard (knee) and linebacker Christian Robinson (concussion) are expected to be able to participate in the G-Day game.
Ogletree returned to full-speed at Thursday’s practice. So did Gilliard, prompting a late roster switch to accommodate the now-healthy players. In other to even out the inside linebackers, Ogletree was to be switched from the Black squad to the Red one.
“We had to take Ogletree and move him to other side,” Richt said. “So we made a few adjustments that those guys (who drafted) didn’t like much just to make sure we enough on each side of the ball.”
Smith and Love were new injuries logged during Tuesday’s practice. They were each out Thursday for the final practice of the spring. Boykin, White, Robinson and receiver Israel Troupe (shoulder) practiced but did so wearing green, no-contact jerseys.
While basically each area of the team -- except quarterback and special teams -- has been impacted by injuries, none were harder hit than Coach Scott Lakatos' secondary.
Shawn Williams and Marc Deas figure to be the only healthy scholarship safeties for G-Day, while the absence of Boykin, Commings and Love would push Branden Smith, Derek Owens and potentially Blake Sailors into top roles at cornerback.
“We got knocked around kind of quick in the process (this spring),” Lakatos said. “There are some different things that we wanted to look at, and we never had a chance to do it. … You want to see what your best combination of people are, but you don’t get a chance to do that.
“We worked around them enough to get a decent idea, but there’s things you’d like to certainly get better at, and you can’t do it when they’re hurt.”
Boykin stressed that the spring wasn't a total loss in the defensive backfield because of the injuries.
"We’re still out there getting mental reps and telling people what to do," Boykin said. "From that aspect, we’re still in the mix and knowing what’s going on.”