When the Georgia Bulldogs take the field against Clemson on August 31, they will need all the help they can get, especially on the defensive side.
So the suspension of Josh Harvey-Clemons does not help the cause for the Bulldogs. A lot of what they wanted to do on defense revolves around the sophomore safety.
But when push comes to shove, does losing Harvey-Clemons for the season opener make a huge impact for the Bulldogs?
Harvey-Clemons did have a great spring, and he’s expected to make an impact this season. But because he did not play a lot in 2012, there is no telling if he would have made that next step, especially against an offense like the Tigers offense.
With Harvey-Clemons out, Tray Matthews will still start at free safety, and either Corey Moore or Connor Norman will start at strong safety. But the Bulldogs are likely going to play in a 4-2-5 scheme against Clemson because of the spread offense it runs.
That meant Harvey-Clemons was going to be the nickel corner. Now, the Bulldogs will have to find another player to play that spot. Possible candidates could be Devin Bowman, Reggie Wilkerson or an incoming freshman such as Brendan Langley.
Losing Harvey-Clemons does hurt the Bulldogs in terms of what they want to do on defense. But it doesn’t change the whole game plan.
As much as they need the secondary, the key to defensive success for the Bulldogs is the front seven.
Like the secondary, the defensive line and linebackers don’t have a lot of experience outside of DE Garrison Smith, OLB Jordan Jenkins and ILB Amarlo Herrera. But DE Sterling Bailey, NT Mike Thornton, ILB Ramik Wilson and OLB James DeLoach have to disrupt QB Tajh Boyd in order to shut down the Tigers offense (if possible).
No matter what happens in the Clemson game, the Bulldogs will get Harvey-Clemons back for the South Carolina game as well as the rest of UGA’s conference opponents. So when it comes to the goals set for the Bulldogs, losing Harvey-Clemons for the Clemson game won’t derail the hopes and dreams for Bulldog Nation.
What Harvey-Clemons did to get a suspension was a mistake on his part. He should have known better. Even though he was not arrested for marijuana possession, he did admit to smoking marijuana and deserves to be suspended.
But Harvey-Clemons is a young kid and will learn from this mistake. He will hate not being out there to help the Bulldogs get a win against Clemson, and the Bulldogs will also hate that he is not out there.
But with Clemson being a non-conference game and the fact that Harvey-Clemons will make his 2013 debut in the Bulldogs' SEC opener against South Carolina, having one key defensive player suspended for the opening game will not make or break the 2013 season for the Bulldogs.