August 8, 2009

Richt gives lowdown on Ealey injury

When Washaun Ealey posted on his Facebook page that he had injured his elbow during Friday's workout at the Butts-Mehre Practice Facility, many who read it feared the worse.

Fortunately, the news isn't as bad as first thought.

According to head coach Mark Richt, Ealey simply hyper-extended his elbow. Although the coach could not predict exactly how much practice time the freshman will miss, he didn't seem to think it would be that long.

"He stumbled and fell and as he fell when he put his arm down to brace his fall it hyper-extended just a slight bit. There's no damage as far as no broken bones and won't need any kind of surgery," Richt said after Saturday's practice. "When the swelling goes down and when he can tolerate going again, he'll go. I can't say how long that will take."

Ealey wasn't the only Bulldog freshman to come up a bit lame.

Freshman defensive tackle Derrick Lott also hyper-extended his elbow, an injury Richt said was exactly the same as Ealey's.

"They've got the same, exact prognosis," Richt said.

Richt said he doesn't believe Ealey's injury will keep him out long enough to jeopardize his chances for earning playing time this fall.

"I don't think it's going to be that long. What are we, a month away from the first game? I don't think it's going to take that long. If he can keep learning without the reps, which is kind of hard to do sometimes, he'll be fine. We do the walkthroughs, which helps and he'll be able to do ball handling drill. He'll be able to do some pass skeleton relatively soon, but just won't be able to go full pads for a while."

Nickels awarded scholarship

Richt announced that junior offensive lineman Casey Nickels has been awarded a scholarship for the 2009 campaign, but his mind wasn't on the honor that had just been bestowed.

Nickels' 14-year-old sister Calli has as form of cancer and is currently undergoing chemotherapy and will undergo surgery next Tuesday.

"My little sister has cancer and things have been real rough. But things have been going good with her so that's a blessing, so Coach Richt giving me a scholarship was really nice," Nickels said. "But she's doing good. She went to her first day of school yesterday, she went to school today. She's in the middle of chemo about to have her surgery this coming Tuesday. There are so many people praying for her. I just hope it's God's will."

The 6-foot-4, 280-pound native of Tignall in Wilkes County is currently listed at No. 2 on the depth chart behind Clint Boling.

Williams back at linebacker

"I'm ba-aak."

Those were the words of sophomore Nick Williams, who has been moved back to Sam linebacker from safety for the second time in his brief Bulldog career.

"Late in the summer, they (coaches) told me they were thinking about it and I said 'If that's where they need me, I'll go back, it's no problem,'" Williams said. "I played there last year, I remember all the plays."

He should.

Williams signed as a safety out of Bainbridge High, but was moved to linebacker before coaches asked him to go back to safety when former Bulldog John Knox left the program.

But his most recent move was not made due to an issue of depth.

Richt apparently has something special in mind.

"He's just talking about putting me in the right spots to make plays," William said. "I pride myself on running to the ball. Whatever that may be, even I don't know yet. He'll let me go as the camp and season goes."

That knowledge suits Williams just fine.

As someone who prides himself on running to the football, Williams believes there probably are some ways which he can implemented into the blitz package to get more pressure on the quarterback.

"I'm real excited. When Coach called me and said we've got something special in store for you it made me feel good that he's trying to work me into the defense," he said. "If he needs me safety, I'll go back to safety. I'm just excited to do whatever I can."

Bailey gives Smith some advice

Former Bulldog and All-Pro cornerback Champ Bailey offered some words of advice recently to freshman Branden Smith.

"He said just be patient, just take my time," Smith said. "He told me to listen to the vets, study the playbook, things like that. He's one of the best corners in the league right now. I want to be like him one day."

A former five-star performer out of Washington High, Smith has been deemed by some as the next, great Bulldog cornerback, one who could potentially follow in the footsteps of Bailey by playing on both sides of the ball.

But right, that's down the road.

Smith said he's been working exclusively at corner with Brandon Boykin, as well as a member of special teams returning kickoffs and punts.

"Right now I'm just taking it game by game, day by day, trying to get better and learn from the vets," he said. "And I want to win a national championship."

Seventy-nine Bulldogs earn 3.0 or higher

A total of 79 football student-athletes, including 20 freshmen, posted a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher for summer semester, according to figures released by the University.

Overall, the team posted a 3.148 GPA for the summer session.

In addition, 22 members of the football team were named to the Dean's List, including one Presidential Scholar. To be named a Presidential Scholar, students must earn a grade point average of 4.0, earn at least nine hours with a minimum of six hours in courses graded A-F (numbered or higher) and receive no unsatisfactory or incomplete grades.

This and that

• Wide receiver Israel Troupe left practice early with a minor hip injury but said after practice it was not serious. Richt expects to return to practice Monday.

Sanders Commings returned an interception for a touchdown during 11-on-11 drills, Richt said.

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