Okay, you can officially start getting nervous now.

They’ve gone from counting on Tray Matthews starting against Clemson to this.

Richt also sounded guardedly optimistic, while cautioning that the missed practice time could affect his playing time.

“We hope he’s healthy enough to play. We think there’ll be a good chance of that,” Richt said. “But how much practice time to that, I don’t know how much he will get. So it’ll be hard to say what his role is gonna be.”

I know there are times when Richt tries to play it cute – gosh, I wonder who will be handling kicking duties in the opener? – but this doesn’t strike me as one of them.  Matthews hasn’t fully participated in practices in a while and time is getting short.  Hoping seems appropriate.

So I’m hoping the front seven is ready to pick up some of the slack.  Otherwise, Murray, Gurley and company better not miss, because the Dawgs will need every drop of offensive production they can get.

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UPDATE:  Chip Towers lays on the pessimism thickly.

Secondary is huge concern. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, secondary coach Scott Lakatos and Richt have generally downplayed the injury and youth situation in the defensive backfield. Don’t be fooled. This is a huge deal and a major liability heading into the Clemson game. Tray Matthews’ hamstring and shoulder injuries in preseason camp were a major setback, as was, of course, Josh Harvey-Clemons getting suspended. Equally as disconcerting was strong safety Corey Moore going down with a knee injury. I don’t see him playing at all against Clemson, at this point. So at this juncture, your starting safeties are former walkon Connor Norman and true freshman Quincy Mauger. Meanwhile, neither Matthews nor Moore competed in a single full-speed scrimmage since practices began Aug. 1. So even if they do play against the Tigers, imagine the shock to the system it’s going to be to be asked contain Sammy Watkins and Martavis Bryant and the like with Tajh Boyd at the controls. Barring more injuries, Georgia’s OK at the corners with Damian Swann and Sheldon Dawson. But it could be a long day in Death Valley for the defensive backs.

Gonna be interesting, that’s for sure.

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30 Comments

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30 responses to “Okay, you can officially start getting nervous now.

  1. DawgPhan

    that is a bummer…i was really looking forward to seeing him on the field. Rather get him healthy and ready than rush him out there. The kid is a thumper.

  2. ugahairydawgs

    I’d be more concerned if we were talking about a seasoned vet.

    But a freshman DB with a propensity for head hunting potentially missing time against an offense that will want to do a lot of motion and misdirection…..having Norman in there may not be the worst thing. Matthews is the better overall talent, but at this point his inexperience makes him somewhat of a liability. Norman can still cover the ground and proved to be a serviceable stopgap for Rambo when he was suspended last year.

    • JG Shellnutt

      He can cover the ground… in twice the time.

      • ugahairydawgs

        Twice the time?

        Just stop. Seriously.

        • JG Shellnutt

          I’m sorry if my hyperbole was taken too literally by you. But, if you honestly did not notice how often he was out of position last year as a direct result of his relative speed deficit, then you weren’t watching.

    • Hank

      I agree. If all of our hopes in that game rely on a true freshman we are sunk to begin with. If that’s the case, Lord help us when we play USC and LSU even with him. Clemson is not the toughest team we will play. Maybe someone with experience will help us at the beginning of a season. It would be nice to get him playing time before the big two come to town.

  3. TennesseeDawg

    I think he plays and, barring injury, he plays most of the game. We are better off at CB right now than safety in terms of health. RTDB and keep the Taters on the sideline.

    • Steven Gibbs

      Matthews will play, most likely start. His injury situation is more of getting him ready for game week preparations and the actual game. Grantham has said they already know what Matthews brings and they just want to take precautions. No need to read too much into it. Him and Fluker will probably play the most snaps

  4. adam

    Someone asked him on twitter if he was going to play in the first game and he gave an unequivocal “yes”. I also got the impression from Grantham’s interviews this week that he expects to have EVERYONE back for this next week of practice.

    If they don’t come back til Wednesday, I’ll be worried. If they’re back on Monday, that’s a different story.

  5. Oh Lord, it is so close…let’s do this.

  6. I Wanna Red Cup

    If the front 7 can get Boyd on his ass early and often and get him throwing off his back foot it won’t matter. GATA

  7. If only you guys were young players… Knowing so much about GEORGIA FOOTBALL, you could do this! Do a little mental telepathy next week. Transfer your knowledge to our DAWGS.

  8. TennesseeDawg

    If the young DBs can get at least a full week of game prep, then it would be no different from a typical game week during the season

  9. JRod1229

    I’m in the camp of this beng complete coach speak. Kid is playing, Richt is just trying to play what little mind games he can.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      After the CMR comment about Clowney being the best in the world has the Evil Richt developed a little Spurrier attitude?

  10. Doesn’t matter. Our defense was so bad last year that anything is an improvelment, even if it’s walk-on backups. Right?

  11. Ross

    Defense was actually pretty good against the pass there, spence.

  12. DamnGoodDawg

    I said this on another site… Tray was an early enrollee. He’s got at least 5 months experience between spring ball and summer “player supervised” workouts (passkel). I think he’ll be alright regardless.

  13. RocketDawg

    I think he plays for sure and I think that Connor Norman will be fine as a stop gap this game until we get JHC back against the Chickens. I would rather be at full strength for the Poultry than for the Felines.

  14. E dawg

    If Conner is the guy we have big problems.

  15. Josh G

    Our practices are closed. We have no idea what has happened during practice.

  16. Steven Gibbs

    Even though we have a few youngsters , i doubt we are as bad as last year starting out. Even so, we arent Wake forest, Nc state, and Duke, so i personally don’t see Clemson lighting up the scoreboard. Just a honest opinion.

  17. Josh G

    I’m not scared of Clemson. At all.

  18. AmericusDawg

    I am trying to think positively about Matthews.

    On another note … I enjoyed “The requisite Leonard Floyd update” … “Well I think Leonard’s gonna play early, middle, late.” Sounds good to me!

  19. Keese

    Is Marc Deas really that bad after 3 years in the system?

  20. 81Dog

    heard Tahj Boyd on ESPN Radio Saturday morning. He didn’t sound worried about our D, kind of matter of factly said something to the effect “We just have to concentrate on doing what WE do and it will all be ok.” I wouldn’t expect him to weep and gnash his teeth in an interview, but he didn’t exactly have the edge in his voice talking about us that he did when they asked him about Clowney and the Chikins.

  21. Chikins….we are going to handle them like DAWGS handle chikins. Smoke that, Steve….go on and retire, before you have a stroke.