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Injuries mar opening scrimmages around SEC

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Could highlite almost the whole article...

Injuries mar opening scrimmages around Southeastern Conference

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Ben Cook


With most schools around the nation winding up two-a-day practices, as coaches fear and fans expect, injury reports get to be the lead story of the day.It is inevitable that when college athletes start hitting each other at full speed after several months of not doing so, injuries are going to occur. In the Southeastern Conference, a quick scan of the injury reports of the 12 schools will verify that fact.At Alabama, after the Crimson Tide's first scrimmage on Monday there was a lot of excitement about freshman running back Terry Grant. Grant dazzled spectators by gaining 148 yards on 13 carries and scoring three touchdowns, one of which was a 50-yard scoring run against the first team defense. Another freshman, redshirt Roy Upchurch, also ran for 75 yards on 17 carries.

"I thought we saw some real good individual efforts," said Alabama coach Mike Shula.

He also saw sophomore tailback Glen Coffee leave the field on crutches afterward. Coffee, who played in 12 games last season and rushed for 179 yards on 48 carries backing up Kenneth Darby, was hit low by Alabama defensive back Ramzee Robinson and did not get up. He was scheduled for an MRI today.

At Arkansas, the Razorbacks had three players practice a part of the time as they try to get over injuries. Flanker London Crawford, quarterback Casey Dick and tailback Michael Smith all missed time.

"(Dick) got about a half a practice in," Arkansas coach Houston Nutt said. "He was throwing the ball well early and just tightened up. Dean (Weber, Arkansas' Director of Athletic Training) has got to help us there. Dean and Casey will be honest and up front with us. (Casey) wants to get on the field and I know it's frustrating. (Casey) is doing all he can. But I was glad to see him on the field tonight."

There were also injuries that clouded the Georgia practice field. Linebacker Darius Dewberry and fullback Des Williams will miss a couple of weeks.

"Dewberry pulled a muscle," Georgia coach Mark Richt said. "I think it's a fairly significant pull. I know it's more than just a day or two. It will probably take a week or two, but it's hard to predict those. Des is going to probably get a scope on that (right) knee, trim up some cartilage and those things are maybe 10 days to two weeks depending on how he comes off of it.

Cornerback Asher Allen and defensive end Jeremy Lomax missed the afternoon practice, but their injuries aren't as serious.

"Asher's OK," Richt said. "He landed on his elbow (this morning) and it really hit the funny bone. He got that numbing sensation when you hit the funny bone. Lomax is the groin/hip flexor strain area, but it isn't as significant as Dewberry's."

Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom has a long list of injuries to worry about. Senior fullback Casey Rogers (shoulder), true freshman tight end Chris Herrera (hamstring), sophomore defensive back De'Mon Glanton (hamstring), true freshman defensive end Rodney Prince (quad contusion), true freshman linebacker Jamon Hughes (hamstring), and senior wide receiver Will Prosser (shoulder) all were nicked up during Monday's scrimmage, joining an already long list of walking wounded. Junior linebacker Gabe O'Neal (shoulder), sophomore offensive tackle Roland Terry (back), and junior wide receiver Ryan Mason (quad) did not scrimmage Saturday or Monday because of injuries. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier had four players were out of action on Monday. Center Chris White, tight end Andy Boyd were out with shoulder injuries while wide receiver Mike West and safety Nick Prochak had pulled hamstrings."It was another normal practice," Gamecock coach Steve Spurrier said following Monday's practice. "Guys were hustling around and so forth. It was a good practice. I hope you got it on tape, because this was the last open practice of the year. We've just had too much stuff in the Internet that we have to close up. All the other schools close up and now I know why. So we're closing up after tonight. I'm sorry for the fans. They enjoy it. If it was just the fans, we'd leave it open, but we've got people reporting everything that happens and we just don't need to do that."Finally, while coaches anticipate a certain number of injuries, one of the most severe blows Monday came at Vanderbilt where Bobby Johnson announced that starting tailback Cassen Jackson-Garrison would be out indefinitely after undergoing an emergency appendectomy Monday afternoon.That's an injury you can't anticipate.

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