Smart issues statement following a recent string of injuries
Georgia defensive back Tykee Smith (23) during the Bulldogs’ practice session in Athens, Ga., on Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Georgia is dealing with a ton of injuries right now, so the “next man up” mentality is in mind.
Sixth-year head coach Kirby Smart pointed out this past weekend that a lot of teams are probably experiencing the injury bug.
“We are beaten up a little bit at wideout, we have some injuries so we don’t have all of our guys out there,” Smart said. “We have a lot of guys injured all around, but this time of year I think everyone does. “
Recently, the news broke that tight end Darnell Washington and defensive back Tykee Smith both suffered football injuries at Tuesday’s practice, according to Seth Emerson of The Athletic.
Smart issued a statement in an email sent to reporters on Wednesday afternoon.
“Darnell Washington and Tykee Smith sustained foot injuries during practice this week,” Smart said. “They are both undergoing treatment and have an excellent prognosis. Their status is day-to-day.”
Both Washington and Smith are expected to be starters this season.
If neither is available for the season opener against Clemson, then there are luckily several scenarios that could playout for the Bulldogs at both these positions.
What it could look like…
Washington played in ten games last season and recorded seven catches for 166 yards. The 6-foot-7, 265-pound pass-catcher was expected to play a huge role in Georgia’s passing game this upcoming season. His size makes him a clear advantage against opposing defenders. So, with multiple receivers injured, Washington was primed to get plenty of targets, especially against the Tigers.
Smart said recently that redshirt junior tight end John FitzPatrick is dealing with a foot sprain. However, it’s unknown if he will be available for the season-opener, which leaves freshman Brock Bowers at the top of the depth chart at tight end. Bowers has impressed early and had a productive G-Day scrimmage. So, either way, he will likely receive a ton of more snaps against Clemson. Both Ryland Goede and Brett Seither are also available.
Smith, who transferred from West Virginia in the offseason, was slated to start at the STAR position. He was recognized by Pro Football Focus as one of the nation’s top-returning defenders in 2021. Now, it’s likely that senior Latavious Brini will fill in for Smith. The Miami (FL.) native started against Cincinnati in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl and had a career-high five tackles. Brini also played in all 10 games last season, so at least he has some reputable snaps under his belt.
There are also some options at STAR with senior William Poole and freshman Javon Bullard being available. Poole is obviously the next best option following Brini because of his experience. The fifth-year senior has played a lot over the past four seasons at different spots in Georgia’s defensive backfield. So, his experience proves to be invaluable for the Bulldogs and the coaching staff. On the other hand, Bullard has been enrolled at UGA since the start of January and practiced with the team before the bowl game.