Sturdivant’s substitute shows mixed emotions

Josh Davis likes the opportunity to start. But he’s not happy about why it happened.

Trinton Sturdivant suffered a season-ending knee injury this past Monday. Since Davis was first in line as Sturdivant’s backup, he gets the first chance to start at left tackle.

“It’s sad that he got hurt,” Davis said. “I’m really, really upset about that because he’s one of my best friends. I’m definitely going to go out and do what I can do. I’m excited to get this opportunity. But I wish it hadn’t happened this way.”

Davis, a 6-foot-6, 293-pound redshirt sophomore, visualized increased playing time anyway. He handled spot duty and played in eight games as a redshirt freshman last season and he thought that another year of added weight and strength would help him hold up in the SEC. But Sturdivant’s injury not only moved Davis up the depth chart but also moved forward his time table.

“I’ve just got to go out there and grind,” Davis said. “I’ve got to play hard and keep going at it. He was a huge part of our team so I’ve got some big shoes to fill. I’ve got to make sure I’m putting out the effort and I know what to do.”

Davis worked as left tackle with the first-team offense this past Tuesday, the first full practice after Sturdivant’s injury. Clint Boling and Vince Vance also took snaps at left tackle as offensive line coach Stacy Searels rearranged his depth chart.

“We’re really happy with how Josh is playing right now,” coach Mark Richt said. “He’s stepped in and is doing a really good job.”

Wilson itching to get back

Tony Wilson can see the end of his long trip back from an ankle injury. But he’s not there yet.

Wilson can take part in some preseason drills, but coaches have not cleared him for full participation in drills while his ankle completes rehabilitation.

“I try to stay away from the full tackling and the contact while my ankle heals up,” Wilson said.

“I can tell it’s starting to get stronger, but I still can’t do a lot of things. It hurts when I make cuts and things like that. But I can tell a difference this week from last week. I feel like sometimes you’ve got to take one step back to take two steps forward.”

Wilson doesn’t know when he might be cleared for full-time duty. He began preseason camp as the No. 2 starter behind Mohamed Massaquoi at flanker and caught 14 passes for 124 yards last season.

“It’s very, very, very frustrating,” Wilson said. “Some people don’t understand what it really, truly means to be hurt. You may have days that you don’t want to practice but when you have that taken away from you, the opportunity to go out with your teammates and practice, it hurts. You want to go out there and hurt with your teammates, so it’s frustrating.”

– Courtesy of Athens Banner-Herald