ATHENS, Ga. — As if Georgia’s beat-up secondary didn’t have enough of its players spending time in the training room, junior cornerback Damian Swann became the latest to join the injury list.
Swann was limited in Tuesday’s closed practice with what the school says is a hip flexor and groin strain. The junior led the Bulldogs with four interceptions last season and is the only returning secondary starter.
Two more projected starters, safety Tray Matthews and cornerback Sheldon Dawson, are also still battling ailments, as is safety Corey Moore, who was competing at the other safety spot.
Safety Josh Harvey-Clemons, who would have started, is suspended for the opener.
Matthews remains out of practice with a strained hamstring and coach Mark Richt said he’s “day-to-day.” Dawson is limited with a shoulder sprain. Moore hasn’t practiced for two weeks with a knee sprain and seems the most likely to not be available for the Aug. 31 opener against Clemson.
• Georgia’s scholarship depth at tailback looks thin again after freshman and former Aquinas standout Brendan Douglas sustained a sprained MCL to his left knee on Monday and missed practice Tuesday. Douglas and J.J. Green were drawing praise from coaches as they competed for the No. 3 spot behind Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall.
• The practice game before the real game against Clemson comes tonight.
Kickoff at Sanford Stadium, like in Death Valley, will be about 8.
“Now the No. 1 units get to play on the same team, get to cheer for each other instead of give each other a hard time. The coordinators can actually have fun together instead of competing against each other,” Richt said.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Sophomore tailback Mike Davis will get the first chance to replace Marcus Lattimore.
Gamecocks running backs coach Everette Sands said Tuesday Davis would get the start against North Carolina on Aug. 29.
It’s the first time since the 2009 season that someone other than Lattimore will open the year at tailback. The injured Lattimore left after his junior season as South Carolina’s all-time leader with 38 rushing touchdowns.
Sands says the No. 6 Gamecocks will also use backups Brandon Wilds and Shon Carson against North Carolina.
ALABAMA: Coach Nick Saban has suspended cornerback Geno Smith for the season opener with Virginia Tech after a weekend drunken driving arrest.
Saban said Smith has some “in-house” things to do in order to return in time for the Sept. 14 game against Texas A&M.
BOWL DEAL: Conference USA has reached agreements on deals with six bowl games that will guarantee the league four postseason spots each year for the 2014-19 seasons.
Deals were announced with the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl, the Armed Forces Bowl, the Heart of Dallas Bowl, the New Mexico Bowl and the Hawaii Bowl,