Georgia Bulldogs Football: Coach Richt Unsure How to Deal With Injured Defense

Robert HollandCorrespondent IApril 1, 2009

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Mark Richt of the Georgia Bulldogs looks toward the scoreboard late in the game while taking on the Alabama Crimson Tide at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2008 in Athens, Georgia. Alabama defeated Georgia 41-30.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

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.


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