Georgia first-team preseason All-SEC selection D’Andre Swift was back for the start of Thursday practice after creating a stir by missing part of Tuesday’s workout.
There was no indication that Swift is back in the No. 1 spot at tailback, however.
Senior Brian Herrien was the first tailback running through drill work, and redshirt freshman Zamir White took the first handoff in a team period.
Swift’s injury history is well-documented, though it’s worth noting much of it was hidden throughout much of last season.
It wasn’t disclosed until after the Auburn game in November that Swift underwent double hernia surgery in January 2018, leading to his limited action in the spring before his sophomore season.
Swift, who started the first four games last season before he was overtaken by Elijah Holyfield, has since admitted he was less than 100 percent at the start of last season.
“I was trying to save myself, I would say,” Swift said, explaining the mindset he brought into the 2018 campaign. “Not trying to push it too much where I would hurt myself.”
Swift is one of the more explosive and dynamic running backs in the nation, but his durability has been questions by onlookers and NFL personnel.
Even at 100 percent, Swift said he was carefully maintaining his body in fall camp.
“I’m always in the training room. I live in the training room, so I’m ready to go and I’m ready to get to work,” Swift said last week. “Whatever workload the coaches throw at me, I’m ready for that workload.”
Swift might have some work to do to get back atop the depth chart at his position, first.
Here are five observations from Thursday’s practice, the 12th of the preseason:
The eyeball test: White looked every bit as explosive and physically imposing in Thursday’s workout as Kirby Smart said he was in Saturday’s practice.
White, who suffered a torn ACL in the second scrimmage of Georgia’s 2018 preseason camp, is cutting sharply and with confidence.
Sophomore James Cook appears noticeably bigger than his freshman season and was running third through drills behind Herrien and Swift on Thursday.
Landers holding on: Sophomore receiver Matt Landers appears to be holding on to the No. 1 spot at the outside wideout position opposite senior Tyler Simmons.
Landers has been locked in competition with Miami grad-transfer Lawrence Cager, the two splitting repetitions with the ones throughout camp.
Freshman George Pickens, who wowed spectators at the scrimmage with his one-handed catch, was back running at No. 3 wide receiver behind Trey Blount and Landers. Cager is lining up on Simmons’ side.
Demetris Robertson continues to be the No. 1 slot, with Kearis Jackson and Dominick Blaylock behind him.
Line dance: Georgia’s offensive line has remained healthy and intact to this point of the preseason, not a given considering the amount of live snaps they’ve endured.
Isaiah Wilson was the only UGA lineman to start and finish every game last season, and he continues to run first team at right tackle.
Junior Ben Cleveland was running with the first team at right guard, Trey Hill was at center, Solomon Kindley at left guard and Andrew Thomas as left tackle.
Thomas, Wilson and Kindley opened the season on the Outland Trophy Watch List.
Injury returns: Cornerback Tyrique Stevenson, linebacker Nate McBride and tight end Ryland Goede were back at practice Thursday.
Stevenson was back in a limited capacity, held out of drills that required explosive movement. McBride was working with the inside linebackers.
Fromm stays sharp: Quarterback Jake Fromm, who struggled in Saturday’s scrimmage, continued to be on the money during Thursday’s open viewing period.
Fromm is hitting receivers in stride on each throw, markedly better than the other quarterbacks during the drill work.
Smart no doubt took notice after calling out his first-team offense for a “lethargic” effort in Scrimmage 1 last Saturday.