Georgia Football News and Notes for Tuesday

Mitchell practicing; Smart explains why no tightrope surgery

There seems to be a little news AD Mitchell Front.

Head coach for the first time in several weeks Kirby Smart admitted that the second wide receiver has begun to take part in exercises. However, it remains to be seen if he can play against Georgia Tech on Saturday.

“Yes, he practiced something. He was out there doing some reps and stuff. He took a few today; I wouldn’t say he’s 100 percent. I wouldn’t even say he’s close to playing,” Smart said. “But he did more this week than any other week. He’s closer than ever, so I’m confident.”

Smart also clarified one last time why Mitchell didn’t have the same tightrope surgery to repair his sprained ankle as former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.

“I don’t know the technical reason, but Ron does [Courson] could tell you We asked Ron that a long time ago. To have a tightrope, you have to have a certain type of injury,” Smart said. “When they go to the MRI, there has to be something floating around in it. He hasn’t. It wouldn’t have helped him; it was a different deal. So if you get the rope, you must have a specific type of high ankle sprain; it has to be completely demolished. He wasn’t like that. His was a grade one plus, or a grade two I think, and you’ve got to have it worse to walk the tightrope.”

Mitchell suffered the original injury in Week 2 against Samford. He later improved the injury again against Auburn. At that time an MRI was done.

“There was no difference between the two MRIs. There was never anything seen between the first MRI and the second MRI that suggested further damage,” Smart said. “It just bothered him more. He felt like he had tweaked it. But since the second MRI, there has been no damage or anything in it. So in both cases there was never a tightrope walk.”

Information on Arik Gilbert; Tate Ratledge Injury Update

Smart was asked to provide an update on the tight end Arike Gilbertwho only played three games this year.

“He’s fine. It keeps growing,” said Smart. “We’re trying to help Arik as a person and as a student right now.”

Gilbert did not travel with the team to last week’s game in Kentucky.

…Right Guard Tate Ratledge (shoulder subluxation) remains in doubt for this weekend.

“Tate worked out every day, but Tate worked out every day last week,” Smart said. “It will depend on how much he can play.”

If Ratledge can’t play, Devin Willock should start in its place.

One last ride for Stetson Bennett

The last home game on Saturday in 2022 also means the last home game for the quarterback Stetson Bennett who, even if Georgia didn’t fight for another trip to the playoffs, would be fondly remembered for what he helped the Bulldogs over the past year.

Everyone knows his story, arguably one of the best stories college football has had in recent memory.

When Bennett trots onto the field alone on Saturday during Georgia’s annual Seniors’ Day celebrations at Sanford Stadium, the noise should be deafening.

Bennett’s is a story Smart will never forget.

“Yes, it needs a competitor. I mean, it takes someone to push through the odds because there’s no advantage to you in the doubt,” Smart said. “You know, you have to earn it. You have to beat the boys.”

Smart admitted that Bennett actually proved Georgia’s coaches wrong.

“We as coaches did everything we could not to give him an opportunity and he just kept banging on the door,” he said. “He was very persistent.”

With 28 career starts, Bennett starts Saturday with a record 25-3 in those games, including last year’s victories over Michigan and Alabama in the college football playoffs.

There may be more to this story.

Bennett can lead the Bulldogs to their first SEC title since 2017 with a win next week against LSU before targeting a second straight national crown.

“Thank God we made the decision to bring him back when we were in a tough quarterback situation,” Smart said. “Probably the best decision we’ve made, looking back, to bring him back here in some sort of backup role, but not for him. I mean he saw it as an opportunity to come in and play and he took it.”

More Bulldogs finalists for awards

linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson was named one of five finalists for the 2022 Butkus Award, given to the top collegiate linebacker in the country, according to an announcement by the Butkus Foundation.

Former Bulldog and current Philadelphia Eagle Nakobe Dean was the 2021 Butkus Award winner and continued a series of Georgia ties with this award. Tennessee titan Monty Rice was a 2020 Butkus Award finalist and Baltimore Raven Roquan Smith won the 2017 Butkus Award.

Dumas-Johnson is the Bulldogs’ second-best tackler with 54 stops, including seven tackles for loss and three sacks. Dumas-Johnson fills the spots of three Georgia inside linebackers now in the NFL and anchors a unit that leads the country in scoring defense (11.1 points/game) and ranks fifth nationally in total defense (272.1 yards/game). The Bulldog defense has recorded 24 goalless quarters, including five goalless teams in the first half of this year. The Bulldogs have held six teams at a season-low in points, including No. 1 Tennessee and No. 11 Oregon.

…The Bulldogs have a trio of players named to the College Sports Communicators (CSC) Academic All-District Team. Senior pitch table football Jack PodlesnyRedshirt recipient sophomore Ladd McConkey and a tight end in the sophomore year Brock Bowers have been added to the roster that recognizes players who have achieved at least a 3.50 cumulative GPA.


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