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No Pain, No Gain?: Preseason Practice, Injuries, and the Georgia Bulldogs

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Either way, both tailbacks back practicing, which is an encouraging sign for their health. ... Also, freshman CB Nick Marshall back in pads.

Seth Emerson (August 19, 2011)

This, obviously, is good news. After Washaun Ealey was given his walking papers and Caleb King flunked out, the Georgia Bulldogs needed all the healthy bodies they could find at running back, so Isaiah Crowell’s groin injury and Richard Samuel’s strained quadriceps briefly gave the Red and Black faithful cause for concern.

No sooner had Seth Emerson sent out the good news about Crowell and Samuel, though, than he reported that Kwame Geathers and John Jenkins both missed practice time with what (fortunately) appear to be minor injuries. This comes after the news that Jakar Hamilton has been lost for the season due to an ankle injury.

After the last three years, it is tempting to look at all these preseason injuries and conclude that the ‘Dawgs are cursed. The more likely explanation, though, is that tankertoad is right: full-contact practices and a tougher strength and conditioning regimen make for more injuries. Obviously, none of us ever wants to see a player hurt, both because of an injury’s effect on the player and because of its effect on the team, but only Hamilton appears to have suffered a harm sufficiently grievous to keep him out of the lineup on September 3. While I would never minimize a player injury, I believe, on balance, the salutary effects of two-a-days, tackling to the ground, and turning Joe Tereshinksi loose in the weight room outweigh the increased likelihood of guys spending part of August listed as "day-to-day."

Robert Neyland said it best: "You don’t develop good teeth eating mush, and you don’t learn good football going through the motions." Actually, that’s wrong; with all due respect to General Neyland, Pat Dye said it better: "At Auburn, practice is Hell, but, when you line up across from the big, fast, smart, angry boys from Florida and Georgia and Alabama, where there is no quality of mercy on the ground and no place to hide, you’ll know why practice is Hell at Auburn." Actually, that’s wrong, too; with all due respect to Coach Dye, Erk Russell, who knew whereof he spoke, said it even better: "Sometimes, you have to bleed for the cause."

Where do you stand? Are the Bulldogs better off taking it easy in practice, in order to avoid an injury that could end the season before it starts, or are they better off rolling the dice and playing all-out in their preparations for the coming campaign?

Go ‘Dawgs!