published Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Georgia Bulldogs eager for Todd Gurley's return

Georgia sophomore tailback Todd Gurley is expected to play this week for the first time since spraining his ankle Sept. 28 against LSU.
Georgia sophomore tailback Todd Gurley is expected to play this week for the first time since spraining his ankle Sept. 28 against LSU.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia football coach Mark Richt is "convinced" sophomore tailback Todd Gurley will play against Florida this weekend provided he doesn't have any setbacks in practice.

And he's happy about that.

"He's a great player," Richt said Tuesday. "Usually if you've blocked for zero yards, he gets 2 or 3, and if you block for 3 or 4, he gets about 7 or 8. If you block it just right, anything can happen.

"He's a dynamic player, so hopefully he's 100 percent and we can get him some space."

Gurley has not played since spraining his ankle in the second quarter of the 44-41 win over LSU on Sept. 28. The 6-foot-1, 232-pounder already had 73 yards on eight carries against the Tigers, and he began the season with 154 yards at Clemson and 132 against South Carolina.

In last year's meeting with Florida, Gurley had 27 carries for 118 yards and a 10-yard touchdown less than three minutes into the game.

Tuesday's practice was the second in a row in which he worked in a regular jersey.

"He just adds so much to the offense and the run game, obviously," quarterback Aaron Murray said. "He allows us to do more in play-action, and he just brings an excitement to the team. When he's running guys over and stiff-arming guys, that just pumps everyone up."

More picks coming?

Murray will enter Saturday's game with 112 career touchdown passes, two short of Danny Wuerffel's SEC record, and with 38 career interceptions. Seven of his interceptions have occurred against Florida, including three as a redshirt freshman in 2010 and three again last year.

"Part of that has been me making bad decisions, and part of it is that they're always a really talented defense," Murray said. "The windows are going to be tight, and they're going to man us up and say, 'Hey, you're going to have to beat the press.' I haven't done that the past couple of years in tight coverage, so I've got to be extremely accurate this week and decisive with my decisions."

When the Tampa resident was asked if he experiences more nervousness against the Gators, he said, "Not really. If I do, it's very minimal."

Even thinner inside

Freshman inside linebacker Reggie Carter injured his knee last week in practice and underwent surgery Tuesday to repair cartilage. Carter was the primary backup to juniors Amarlo Herrera and Ramik Wilson, but now providing support will be two other freshmen: Tim Kimbrough and Johnny O'Neal.

"Those guys are next in line, and they're tough thumpers," Richt said. "They're really good run-stopping guys, and they're helping us on special teams."

Wilson has 69 tackles and Herrera 65 to lead the team, and they are used to playing almost every snap.

"We're ready," Herrera said. "That's what we worked hard for all offseason."

Odds and ends

Georgia tight end Arthur Lynch on whether Murray regrets coming back with the national championship out the window: "He wanted another shot at it, and technically he got another shot it. I don't think he regrets it all. You can't predict injuries." ... Nathan Theus will continue snapping on extra points and field goals, and Theus and Trent Frix are having an open competition for snapping on punts. ... Richt on Georgia's longest play at Vanderbilt being a 17-yard screen pass: "I would say that if we had to play the game again, we would have taken a couple shots downfield. Whether you complete it or not, it's just good to do." ... The Bulldogs are preparing as if freshman safety Tray Matthews (hamstring) will not play. ... Richt: "The only goal we've had to adjust is the thought of winning the national championship."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

about David Paschall...

David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...

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