LSU’s Ed Orgeron expects a fully healthy D’Andre Swift running the ball for Georgia on Saturday, and Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart has no reason to expect otherwise as the opposing coaches in the SEC Championship fielded questions from reporters Friday afternoon at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Swift left the Georgia Tech game with an ice bag on his left shoulder after exiting the game in the third quarter with what was described as a “contusion,” or bruise.
Smart was asked if his star junior had progressed in the week of practice since and, if he’s not 100 percent, what percentage he might be when the No. 4 Bulldogs (11-1) take on No. 2 LSU Saturday at 4 p.m. (CBS Sports).
“It's hard to tell in practice,” Smart said. “At this point of the season, you don't go out and tackle and hit and do all those things. We practice against each other, and he's practiced. He's done everything we've asked him to do. I'm excited to see him go play, and we'll have the expectation that he'll play well.”
Swift became the fifth Georgia back in history to rush for more than 1,000 yards when he passed the mark in the second quarter of Auburn game on Nov. 16. After being limited to 73 yards on 10 carries in the regular-season ending game against the Yellow Jackets, Swift shows up for the SEC Championship Game with 1,203 yards rushing and 8 touchdowns and averaging 6.2 yards per carry.
Orgeron, whose team features a pretty good back of its own, expects to see a fully functioning, highly-effective SEC back on Saturday.
“We’re planning for him to play,” Orgeron said. “Just like other great players we’ve played, I’m assuming this guy is a great competitor, and I’m assuming that he’s gonna play. Obviously, we’re looking at their second-team and third-team backs. They’ve got about five backs that could be first-round draft picks. But I’m almost sure (Swift) is going to play and he’s going to play well.”
One player who definitely won’t play is graduate receiver Lawrence Cager. He showed up at the walk-through on Friday pushing himself on a scooter with his left leg in a full cast. He had surgery last Friday to repair a fractured ankle.
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