Caleb King's injury could cost him starting job

ATHENS — Caleb King’s chances of being Georgia’s season-opening starter at tailback diminished Thursday, when an injured hamstring sidelined him.

King missed Georgia’s practice, and coach Mark Richt said such injuries usually keep a player out of action for seven to 10 days.

For now, Richt said, Richard Samuel “obviously” will work as the No. 1 tailback.

“It’s hard to compete when you’re not there,” said Richt, referring to King. “Luckily, Caleb has been here long enough where he does know what to do. If he was a true freshman, it would hurt him a lot more than it happening right now.

“There is a lot of time between now and then [the Sept. 5 opener at Oklahoma State], and there’s a lot of season, too. So there will be plenty of time for Caleb to get back in it. But right now he can’t get any work.”

King had entered preseason camp No. 1 on the depth chart, with Samuel No. 2. In a scrimmage Wednesday, Samuel ran for 108 yards on five carries, while King had 18 yards on five attempts.

King injured the hamstring during the closed-to-the-media scrimmage, according to Samuel and another tailback, Carlton Thomas. King was not available for comment.

“Caleb was having a good camp, and we’re disappointed he got hurt,” quarterback Joe Cox said. “But someone else has to step up.”

While Samuel now appears to be the frontrunner, he is taking nothing for granted.

“When [King] gets back, we’ll still be competing for the position,” Samuel said. “So, we just keep on moving.”

Said Thomas: “I feel sorry for Caleb. Caleb has been working hard.”

Banks injured again

Backup safety Quintin Banks missed almost all of last season with injuries to his left knee, and now an injured right knee has sidelined him.

Banks was on crutches Thursday and will need surgery to “clean up” cartilage damage, Richt said. He estimated Banks will miss three weeks.

Walsh leads Bogotay

Sophomore Blair Walsh narrowly leads the competition with junior-college transfer Brandon Bogotay for the kickoff job.

“Right now I would say Walsh has got an edge in that race,” Richt said, “but it’s a very tight race.”

Bogotay is “getting a lot of distance” on his kicks, Richt said, but “his hang time has been a little erratic.” Walsh “has been more consistent with his hang time,” Richt said. “Both of them have kicked very well.”

Etc.

Richt was displeased with Thursday’s practice: “We made way too many mistakes. ... I was a lot disappointed.” Cox agreed: “We just looked sloppy on both sides of the ball ... We did our running for it [after practice].”

Cox had his shoulder wrapped in ice after practice, but he said he does that routinely as a precaution. “I was just hoping I wouldn’t be on camera,” he said.