ATHENS, Ga. — It was breezy but sunny with temperatures in the lower 70s Tuesday afternoon as the Georgia football team returned to the practice field during their second open date week of the season.
A welcome contrast from the messy, rain-soaked Saturday night in Sanford Stadium when the Bulldogs poured on three second half touchdowns to break a scoreless game and post a 21-0 win over Kentucky.
Georgia is getting in scout team work this week not for a game Saturday, but for some of its opponents they’ll see during a five-game home stretch of the season that starts Nov. 2 against No. 7 Florida in Jacksonville.
The No. 10 Bulldogs have a bye week before the Gators for a seventh straight year.
“It falls at a good time for us because we are beat up, but who’s not?” coach Kirby Smart said. “Hopefully we’ll get some guys back from injury and get them back out there working.”
Senior wide receiver Lawrence Cager may not be one of them. The team’s second leading receiver has been “an impact player for sure,” Smart said,” comparing him to Javon Wims who led the team in receiving in 2017 after transferring from junior college.
Cager, a Miami grad transfer, missed the Kentucky game after sustaining injured ribs to go with the separated shoulder he already had.
Cager did not practice Tuesday and Smart termed him “week to week,” saying “he’s conditioning and running he’s just not practicing.”
His impact on a wide receiver group that includes its share of inexperienced players has been big,” Smart said.
“He’s just very mature, he’s played a lot of football in his career, and he’s a positive impact on other those guys in the room,” Smart said.
Cornerback Tyson Campbell practiced Tuesday. The sophomore starter has missed four straight games with a turf toe injury.
“I thought was the best he’s been in a long time,” Smart said. “He practiced for the first time and did things. We just didn’t put him in there with the ones quite as fast. We tried to slow it down for him some. But he did practice.”
Campbell took part in pregame warmups Saturday but hasn’t played in a game since Georgia’s 55-0 win over Arkansas State on Sept. 14.
Smart was asked what odds he’d put on Campbell being able to play against Florida.
“I don’t think there’s any way I can answer that,” said Smart, who had yet to watch practice film of Campbell. “I ask every day the medical staff, when is he going to be back just like you guys do. I was very encouraged today. The time off has helped, but his repetitions have helped, he got back out there. He’s very mentally, he’s into the practice. He always has a sheet of paper, he’s always watching the script, but there’s nothing like the speed of the game, but that’s important. He’ll have to be going 100 percent by next week to be able to play.”
Smart said he freshman defensive end Travon Walker, who has missed the last two games after wrist surgery, probably will be cleared medically by Monday.
Smart was pleased with the tempo and enthusiasm Tuesday and said the players looked fresher after getting off both Sunday and Monday.
Smart said he’s doing quality control this week on both the beleaguered offense and a defense he said isn’t playing nearly as well as its shiny numbers indicate.
He’s looking at things like “what’s been the most successful run,what front have we struggled the most against and I’m looking at it from a defensive coach, saying, what is Todd Grantham, what is Kevin Steele, what is the next guy going to do to stop us.”
Florida’s Grantham and Auburn’s Steele are defensive coordinators of top 10 teams that Georgia will play in a three-week stretch in November.
Georgia’s staff is doing a check-up or sorts this week on its team.
“We’re all trying to go to the doctor right now,” Smart said.