Georgia’s sudden lack of depth on the offensive line after Trinton Sturdivant’s knee injury and A.J. Harmon’s departure has one silver lining for Georgia coach Mark Richt.
He’s been there before when he won his first SEC title at Georgia.
“In 2002, we had six guys really that were game-ready and then we had a bunch of freshmen behind them,” Richt said Tuesday night speaking to fans in Gainesville. “Thankfully we stayed healthy. …I know we’ve got what it takes on the front line, but we need to stay healthy. If somebody does get hurt, somebody’s got to step up.”
Georgia will lean heavily on seniors Cordy Glenn, Ben Jones and Justin Anderson along with sophomore Chris Burnette and Kenarious Gates.
“If something happens to the tackles right now, our first choice I believe would be Kenarious Gates to go to tackle,” Richt said.
That 2002 line that paved the way for the conference championship was all senior starters: Jon Stinchcomb, Kareem Marshall, Kevin Breedlove, Alex Jackson and Ian Knight.
“It was the type of offensive line that you’d want: guys that played hurt, got after it and liked to play hard,” quarterback David Greene remembered last summer.
Those are characteristics that Georgia could certainly use up front this fall.
Richt has often said that he wanted to finish his coaching career at Georgia.
“Georgia is a beautiful place, the University of Georgia, the city of Athens,” he said Tuesday night when he put out a timeline or sorts of just how long he would want to continue coaching if he could make the call.
Richt said “I love Georgia and want to spent another 10 years at least.”
That would probably be more than fine for the fan who stood up to tell Richt on Tuesday night this:
“I want you to know that I appreciate you as a coach, I appreciate you as a person, I appreciate you as a husband. I appreciate you as a Christian man. And I thank you for standing up to people who criticize you at some of these past meetings and think they know more about you and how to run the University of Georgia football program. I’ll hang up and listen.”
Richt told him that he appreciated most Georgia fans “passion and love for their team. …The bottom line is we all want better than what happened last year.”
Richt said he has a “bunch of young men,” that are buying into the program.
“When you have a season like that, you better buy in or you may not be on the team,” Richt said.
Not sure if that’s a reference to Washaun Ealey or not.
Interesting to see one name that made former longtime NFL personnel director Gil Brandt’s list of the top 2012 NFL draft eligible prospects.
Georgia punter Drew Butler checks in at No. 99. That’s a spot ahead of Florida running back Jeff Demps.
The only other Georgia players on his list: cornerback Brandon Boykin at No. 74 and offensive tackle/guard Cordy Glenn at No. 77.
–Please follow me at Twitter.com/marcweiszer