UGA notebook: Isaiah Crowell's availability remains uncertain

ATHENS — The saga that is Georgia’s tailback situation continued on Wednesday as coach Mark Richt would not concede that either Isaiah Crowell or Carlton Thomas will be available to play against Georgia Tech on Saturday.

Richt met with the media for the final time this week before Wednesday’s late-afternoon practice. He said that Crowell still hasn’t gotten clearance from trainer Ron Courson to return from a sprained ankle that limited him to two carries against Kentucky on Saturday. Richt said it would come down to how much work Crowell would be able to get in against the scout team Wednesday and Thursday.

“It’s very similar to what we did with Malcolm Mitchell and his hamstring,” Richt said. “We’re just trying to get him as ready to go as we can without putting him in a competitive situation. The most important part is the scout work, the game plan and simulated work. So we’ll see how much work he gets.”

Meanwhile, Richt remained cryptic regarding Thomas, who served his third one-game suspension of the season Saturday. “I’m not sure what I’m going to do there,” he said, quickly changing the subject.

For what it’s worth, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said Tuesday he expects both players to play. In the meantime, Brandon Harton and Ken Malcome are getting a lot of work in practice.

Regardless, not knowing who is going to the primary ballcarrier each week has become an issue for the Bulldogs.

“It’s been a pain in the rear this year, no doubt,” Richt said. “But there has been different reasons for all this. In football, whether it’s injuries or suspensions, guys end up not being there and other guys have to step in to play. So you just play who you’ve got to play.”

Shout out to Marshall?

It’s no secret that Georgia is in hot pursuit of Keith Marshall of Raleigh, the consensus No. 1 running back prospect in America. Marshall lists the Bulldogs among his favorites and is scheduled to make his college choice Dec. 6. Richt seemed to be talking to Marshall directly when he spoke of Georgia’s need for more tailbacks on Wednesday.

“There’s a tremendous opportunity at the University of Georgia for running backs in this class to come to Georgia and make a big impact,” Richt said. “I hope that’s not breaking a rule, but there’s tremendous opportunity, I can say that. If I was a running back, if I was a great running back, I would want to come to Georgia. I would be so excited about my opportunity at Georgia.”

The message reached Marshall. He retweeted Richt’s comments after they were circulated on Twitter by reporters.

Geathers close to ready

Nose guard Kwame Geathers is practicing this week and expects to play Saturday against Tech. He missed Saturday’s game with a sprained right ankle.

“It still hurts a little bit, but they’re going to keep working on it,” said the 6-foot-6, 350-pound Geathers. “It’s the time of the season where everybody’s hurt. You just have to play through it.”

Geathers started three games this season and splits time with John Jenkins at position.

Thanksgiving plans

Georgia’s players will be cut loose for the Thanksgiving holiday at 11 a.m. Thursday after a morning practice. Players who live close enough will head home, and those who live far away either will accompany teammates home or will attend assistant coach Rodney Garner’s annual Thanksgiving extravaganza in Oconee County.

The Bulldogs’ defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator has been hosting displaced players on Thanksgiving since he came to Georgia in 1998 and before that when he was at other schools.

“It’s just a traditional thing now,” Garner said. “I hated eating in the dorm on Thanksgiving when I was at Auburn. I thought it was the worst thing that ever happened. Being from the country, I didn’t think it was fair that we had to eat cafeteria food.

“So when I got into coaching I just decided I was going to make sure those guys had home-cooked food.”