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UGA NOTEBOOK: UGA player defends claims he faked injury to slow Clemson down; Gurley named SEC Player of the Week

Georgia Bulldogs fullback Quayvon Hicks (48) fumbles the ball during the third quarter Saturday against Clemson.

Georgia Bulldogs fullback Quayvon Hicks (48) fumbles the ball during the third quarter Saturday against Clemson.

ATHENS — Leonard Floyd insists he wasn’t faking an injury when he fell down on national television Saturday night. He said Monday he was hurt — really hurt — and his only issue was not knowing what to do next.

Video replays of Floyd being directed to get on the ground after a play against Clemson on Saturday were circulating as evidence that Georgia was feigning injuries to slow the Tigers’ hurry-up offense. But Floyd said he was kicked in the groin and was walking around in pain on the field when coaches and teammates told him to get down.

“It happened on a play where I like to have gotten a sack,” Floyd said. “The running back tried to cut me, and I guess his leg whipped around and hit me in the privacy area. … I was tapping my head trying to get out, so they just told me to fall because I was injured. So I did.”

Georgia coach Mark Richt on Sunday did not deny that his defensive players were directed to stay down, but only when they were actually injured.

“When a (defensive) guy is injured, he just needs to stay down,” Richt said. “In the past you’d say, ‘Be brave and be tough and try to drag yourself off the field.’ But what happens now if you do that you’re giving the other team an advantage. So if you’re hurt just stay on the ground until the officials stop play.”

Video of the play in question substantiates Floyd’s claim about getting kicked in a vulnerable area.

“I couldn’t bear the pain anymore,” he said. “It wasn’t nothing to slow the game down or anything. I was injured.”

Junior defensive lineman Mike Thornton said Floyd, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound freshman who started in his first college game, simply made a rookie mistake.

“Should have had a cup on,” he said.

UGA KICKER MORGAN TO MISS SECOND GAME: Georgia placekicker Marshall Morgan will miss the South Carolina game Saturday as a continuation of his suspension for an offseason arrest, Richt confirmed on his radio show Monday night.

“We will see more of Patrick Beless this week as (Morgan) will not be playing this week against the Gamecocks,” Richt told listeners of “The Mark Richt Show” 680 The Fan.

Morgan also sat out the Clemson game Saturday. He pleaded guilty to boating under the influence after his late-June arrest on Lake Sinclair in Putnam County. Beless, a sophomore walk-on from Atlanta, kicked five extra points against the Tigers. But a high snap prevented him from getting off an attempt on the Bulldogs’ only field-goal opportunity, a 20-yarder in the fourth quarter.

Interview requests for Morgan and Beless were denied by UGA earlier Monday.

GURLEY HONORED: Tailback Todd Gurley was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week for his 154-yard, two-touchdown rushing performance against Clemson. Gurley’s production came on only 12 carries. He was sidelined for much of the first half and part of the second with a strained thigh muscle injury suffered on a 75-yard touchdown run. His per carry average is 12.8 yards.

Gurley a 6-1, 232-pound sophomore also was named the national running back of the week by the College Football Performance Awards. Gurley was named the SEC Freshman of the Week three times last season. He now has 10 100-yard games in his career. Georgia had 545 total yards in its 38-35 loss the No. 8 Tigers, including 222 rushing.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: Labor Day was no holiday for the Bulldogs on Monday as they logged a full day of work with weightlifting, meetings and a 90-minute practice.

“I was happy with the focus our guys showed throughout the day,” Richt said. “We were just in shorts at practice, and we started introducing them to South Carolina. It was a good start to the week. We know it will be a tough, physical game on Saturday, and we’ll have to get prepared for that with our practices on Tuesday and Wednesday.”

QUOTABLE: “I’m just going to treat it like any other game. It’s not just me (against him) as an individual. We’re going to do it as a team. We’re going to fight as a team, and we’re going to work together.” — Georgia senior left tackle Kenarious Gates, on facing South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

NOTES: Captains for the South Carolina game as selected by Georgia’s coaches are tight end Arthur Lynch and Gurley for the offense, defensive lineman Garrison Smith for the defense and Justin Scott-Wesley for special teams. … According to UGA’s depth chart released Monday, Smith will start at nose guard Saturday. Harvey-Clemons, coming off a one-game suspension for smoking marijuana, is listed as No. 2 strong safety behind Connor Norman.