Shoulder injuries will keep one, and maybe two of the most dangerous weapons in the Southeastern Conference on the sidelines for Saturday night's Kentucky-Georgia game.
Georgia sophomore receiver A.J. Green won't play after hurting his shoulder in last week's 31-24 win over Auburn. And it will be a game-time decision for Kentucky sophomore receiver Randall Cobb, who aggravated a shoulder injury in UK's 24-13 win over Vanderbilt that had been nagging him for weeks.
Green's 47 catches are more than double any other Georgia receiver's total, and he's averaging 16 yards a reception to go along with six scores.
UK sophomore cornerback Randall Burden looked at Green's absence as a mixed bag.
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"It's somewhat disappointing because he's going to be in the league, and you always want the chance to match up with an NFL player," Burden said. "But at the same time, it means they probably won't be throwing quite as much, so that could be good."
Kentucky Coach Rich Brooks doesn't expect Georgia to alter its approach, noting that on the first play after Green went down, quarterback Joe Cox hit backup Israel Troupe on a 50-yard touchdown pass.
"I don't think they're going to make any changes at all," Brooks said. "Instead of going to him, they'll go to the other guys, and the other guys are pretty good.
"They won't change what they do, but obviously he's a major, major guy in what they have been able to do offensively and has been able to make a lot of great plays. But they have plenty of other talented players. They weren't in the top five in recruiting classes the last four or five years for nothing."
Cobb's loss would be just as damaging, if not more so, than Green's. In addition to being UK's leading receiver, Cobb provides big plays at quarterback out of the Wildcat formation.
Last year Cobb accounted for 187 yards and four touchdowns in UK's 42-38 loss to the Bulldogs. But Brooks said that even if Cobb is healthy enough to play, the offense hasn't been practicing the formations they used in last year's game.
"It's a totally different scheme this year," Brooks said. "Last year we went with a pony backfield, two tailbacks and used a lot of zone option read stuff. And (Georgia) wasn't prepared for it on that day because we hadn't shown a lot of it. It's a totally different scenario, and we have to go make things work within the context of what we're doing now."
Brooks said it will be a game-time decision on whether Cobb will play. Cobb refused to come out of last week's Vandy game, and when a reporter mentioned to Brooks that Cobb is the type who will insist on playing no matter what, Brooks said, "That's all well and good if he can. The doctors will advise me on what the best scenario is and then we'll go from there."
Brooks said that it's nagging injuries like these that make him hesitant to give Cobb too heavy a workload.
"For all those fans out there that want him to touch the ball all the time, it's a tough job when you take as many hits as those guys do," Brooks said. "And he's not the biggest guy in the world. He's one of the most talented, but he's not the biggest."
Cats get commitment
Kentucky received a commitment this week from Avery Williamson, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker from Milan (Tenn.). Williamson is rated a three-star prospect by Scout.com and Rivals.com and had offers from Arkansas State and New Mexico. Williamson is the 17th known commitment for Kentucky's 2010 recruiting class.
Big Blue Meter
Now that Kentucky is bowl-eligible, these last two weeks are all about bowl positioning. If the Cats win Saturday night at Georgia and can knock off Tennessee the following week, a return trip to the Outback Bowl 11 years after their initial appearance could become a reality. A win in one of the last two games knocks UK down a peg, possibly to the Music City bowl. Two losses could mean the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La.