ATHENS – Kirby Smart said James Cook should be cleared for Georgia’s game at Alabama on Saturday, adding even more depth to a competitive field situation.
“We expect to find him, we thought he could go there in an emergency on Saturday, we felt good that we could go if we needed Saturday,” Smart said during his Monday Zoom press conference.
“We have good depth there right now so hopefully he’s 100% healthy and ready to go.
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The No. 3-seeded Bulldogs (3-0) take on the No. 2-seeded Tide (3-0) at 8 p.m. Saturday in Tuscaloosa.
Cook, who was to be a centerpiece of Todd Monken’s new attack, injured his shoulder in the first half of Auburn’s game on October 3 and was taken to the locker room before half-time.
The Miami junior had a rough start in Arkansas, dropping two assists and fumbling for the ball, but seemed to have found his stride against the Tigers with five carries for 41 yards.
Many Georgia fans were excited about the production of future full-backs Kenny McIntosh and Kendall Milton, but Smart said he was excited about the entire running back room.
“I was very happy with the full backs, I think protecting the ball is key for us,” said Smart, referring to how junior rookie Zamir White has protected the ball this season. “They run hard after contact and break tackles, each one is a little different from the other.
“James brings an exciting quality to our offense and brings a different flair than maybe some guys.
Indeed, but Milton and McIntosh also showed great attributes in terms of power and explosiveness, while true rookie Daijun Edwards showed versatility.
Cook said last week he often postpones leading game coordinator and running backs coach Dell McGee, who handles running back substitutions and personnel decisions.
Here’s a look at the stats for each UGA back:
White 54 carries, 209 yards 3.9 yards per carry
Milton 15 carries 90 yards, 6.0 yards per carry
McIntosh 17 carries, 80 yards, 4.7 yards per carry
Cook 12 carries, 67 yards, 5.6 yards per carry
Edwards 12 carries, 38 yards, 3.2 yards per carry
McIntosh 4 attrapés, 51 yards
White 3 sockets, 19 meters
Cook 2 outlets, 10 meters
Smart said offensive linemen Warren Ericson and Ben Cleveland left last Saturday’s game due to “fatigue,” and said neither was injured.
Smart also said wide receiver Tommy Bush was in a “minor (traffic) accident” and had “a little concussion, he’s got injuries, but we’re thankful Tommy is doing well because it’s was a dangerous situation.
Projected player availability
OLB Jermaine Johnson (shoulder) probable
WR Matt Landers (main / poignet) probable
RB James Cook (shoulder), probable
WR Arian Smith (knee), doubtful
OL Netori Johnson (academics), released
OL Tommy Bush (concussion), released
DB Kelee Ringo (Labrum), exit
WR Dominick Blaylock (genou), sorti
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