With Kearis Jackson sidelined for several weeks with a broken hand, Georgia finds itself needing some help at slot receiver. Fortunately for the Bulldogs, there appears to be plenty of remedies available.
Jackson, a redshirt freshman from Fort Valley, started the opener at Vanderbilt on Saturday. But he shared reps there with Demetris Robertson, who happened to finish the game not only as Georgia’s leading receiver, but also its most targeted receiver. Jackson had two catches in the game, including a 32-yarder that resulted in the hand injury and a fumble.
Freshman Dominick Blaylock appears to be the next up at the slot, also known as flanker position. A 5-star signee out of Marietta, Blaylock made the travel roster for Vanderbilt but did not get into the game.
“That was unfortunate Dom didn’t get to play the other night because he’s really earned the right to play,” coach Kirby Smart said after Tuesday’s practice. “We didn’t get an opportunity to put him in. We kept trying to put the game away and score and really just never played itself into a position to put him in there. He’s going to be thrust into it now.”
Running back James Cook also was getting some work at the slot in practice Tuesday, as he has fairly regularly since preseason camp began. So he is an option. Junior Trey Blount also gotten some work in the slot, and Smart has emphasized that all of Georgia’s receivers are capable of playing there. But generally, smaller players with quick bursts and cutting ability are best suited for the many specialty plays designed for the slot.
Blaylock was recruited to Georgia with that fit in mind, just as Jackson was.
“I thought he had a really good practice today,” Smart said of Blaylock. “He caught some balls; he makes contested catches. He finds ways to get open. He’s really smart, he’s tough, he’s physical. He and Kearis are similar. Kearis probably has got a little more experience than him, (and) Kearis is a little stronger. They’re both really good players."
Practice update …
Sophomore offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer has been going full speed the first two days of practice this week after missing the Vanderbilt trip due to a sprained left ankle. He was working behind Isaiah Wilson at right tackle Tuesday. The extent of his recovery even surprised Smart.
“I was like, ‘where was that last week?’” Smart said. “He jumped into being in shape pretty quick. But he had Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday off, so he got a lot of recovery time. But … I thought he looked better.”
Sophomore Quay Walker appears to be getting more work with the first and second units at inside linebacker. He had four tackles against Vanderbilt.
Also, freshman center Clay Webb and defensive lineman Tramel Walthour did not practice Tuesday. Smart said Webb was "ill" and Walthour is "dinged up."