UGA's Cox keeps job; Green sidelined

Georgia will have Joe Cox at quarterback, but won't have A.J. Green at wide receiver, Saturday in Sanford Stadium.

Coach Mark Richt said Monday that Cox will remain the Bulldogs' starting quarterback because he "gives us the best chance to win" the four games remaining on this season's schedule.

Cox will need to win at least one of those games -- Saturday's against Tennessee Tech –- without the Bulldogs' top playmaker. Green will miss the game, Richt said, because of a "pulmonary contusion" –- bruised lung –- suffered on a jarring hit last week against Florida.

Speculation had swirled about Cox's status since he threw three interceptions in Georgia's 41-17 loss to the Gators. Richt had declined to say Saturday night and again Sunday whether the fifth-year senior would remain the starting quarterback.

But on Monday afternoon, Richt released a statement reaffirming Cox as the starter.

"It was unanimous among our staff that Joe gives us the best chance to win, and that's where our focus needs to be," Richt said. "There's still a lot of football left this season. We tell our players to finish the drill, and we are committed to doing that this week and each week the remainder of the season.

"We have faith in Joe that he gives us the best opportunity to do that. At the same time, we do plan on Logan Gray getting some playing time this weekend at quarterback."

Gray, a redshirt sophomore, is Cox's little-used backup. Gray threw the last of Georgia's four interceptions against Florida.

Monday's decision keeps in place the Georgia staff's apparent plan to redshirt freshman quarterbacks Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger. Neither player has appeared in a game this season, and if either were to do so, he would lose the redshirt and have three -– rather than four -– years of eligibility remaining after this season.

Cox, who took over at quarterback after Matthew Stafford left UGA for the NFL, has had some highs and more lows as Georgia has struggled to a 4-4 record (3-3 SEC) this season. He was the National Offensive Player of the Week after passing for 375 yards and a school-record-tying five touchdowns in a 52-41 win at Arkansas. But he has thrown 12 interceptions, at least one in each game.

Green, the SEC's leading receiver, was injured on what turned out to be Cox's third interception against Florida. Trying to make a leaping catch, Green took a hard hit to the midsection from Florida safety Major Wright.

Green was attended to by trainers on the ground for a couple of minutes before walking off the field on his own. Georgia players were off Monday from football-related activities, per their weekly schedule, but Green attended team meetings on Sunday.

It is not known whether he might miss additional playing time beyond the Tennessee Tech game.

An NFL receiver, the Houston Texans' Andre Johnson, suffered a bruised lung under similar circumstances on Oct. 25. Johnson returned to play against Buffalo on Sunday.

In other injury fallout from the Florida game, Richt said defensive end Justin Houston is doubtful to play this week because of a hyperextended elbow. Offensive lineman Clint Boling probably will play despite a knee contusion, Richt said.