As if the Georgia Bulldogs defense isn't dealing with enough coming off a disappointing season last year, they are now finding themselves plagued with injuries, especially at the defensive end position.
This does not help Willie Martinez—Georgia's defensive coordinator—in the quest to rebuild a defense that can get redemption from last years performance.
Granted, the Bulldogs are only in the their spring drills and the season is a long way off. But it still makes the fan base very uneasy when we see a lot of injuries coming so soon.
Part of the reason for the injuries can be attributed to Head Coach Mark Richt making sure that spring practice is aggressive and hard hitting. He obviously wants to build a team that is disciplined both mentally and physically, and more intense practice sessions is his strategy to make sure that happens.
But if if intense practice is causing these injuries, it's at least fair to assume that the injury bug might even be worse in live games—especially in the hard hitting SEC.
The search to fill the defensive end position
Georgia's need for more bodies came after the coaching staff learned that Jeremy Longo will most likely miss the rest of spring practice with a shoulder injury—which makes Longo the fifth scholarship defensive end to be sidelined.
That left only two defensive ends, Justin Houston and Kiante Tripp.
To compensate for the deficiency at the defensive end position, redshirt freshmen walk-on tight ends Ben Harbin and Trenton Turner were shifted over to fill the gaps.
“We just got to do what we got to do,” Coach Richt said. “We’re not going to cancel spring ball.”
Entering the spring sessions, Georgia already had three scholarship defensive ends sidelined while rehabbing from off-season surgeries—Neland Ball, Roderick Battle, and Cornelius Washington.
And the injuries at the defensive end position continued last week when Demarcus Dobbs broke a bone in his left foot, and Monday, at the first scrimmage of the spring session, Longo injured his shoulder.
The good news
Coach Richt stated that he expects all five of the injured defensive ends to be back in action by the end of summer.
Join the Georgia Bulldog crowd at www.BulldogVoices.com