How Will Georgia's Secondary Survive Josh Harvey-Clemons' 3-Game Suspension?

Barrett Sallee@BarrettSalleeSEC Football Lead WriterJanuary 17, 2014

Georgia S Josh Harvey-Clemons
Georgia S Josh Harvey-ClemonsSam Greenwood/Getty Images

Death, taxes and Georgia Bulldogs players being suspended for the beginning of the season.

This time, it's a familiar face who will be sidelined to start the season.

Georgia head coach Mark Richt
Georgia head coach Mark RichtSam Greenwood/Getty Images

Safety Josh Harvey-Clemons will be suspended for the first three games of the 2014 season, according to Chip Towers of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The suspension is a continuation of the punishment that cost the rising junior the chance to play in Georgia's 24-19 Gator Bowl loss to the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Towers reports that the punishment stems from a second violation of Georgia's marijuana-use policy.

So where does Georgia go from here?

The month of September is no slouch for the Bulldogs, who host Clemson, visit South Carolina and host Troy to open the season.

Georgia S Corey Moore
Georgia S Corey MooreSam Greenwood/Getty Images

Corey Moore will likely take on more of a role at strong safety for the Bulldogs once toe meets leather. The 6'2", 214-pound rising senior from Griffin, Ga. had 35 tackles, three for loss, one sack and one interception last season, and he played significant snaps in nickel situations. 

He has the size to help out against the run and is solid in coverage. The biggest issue he, or any potential replacement for Harvey-Clemons, needs to do is adjust to new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt's system and make sure the entire secondary is on the same page.

Georgia S Quincy Mauger
Georgia S Quincy MaugerSam Greenwood/Getty Images

That was the biggest issue last season, not talent.

If Moore isn't the guy for Pruitt or drops down to play nickel—as Harvey-Clemons does from time to time—the Bulldogs can always slide rising sophomore free safety Quincy Mauger over to the strong safety spot. 

Mauger finished sixth on the Bulldogs in tackles in 2013 with 57, added one tackle for loss, broke up a pass and picked off another. The 6'0", 200-pounder from Marietta, Ga. was only a 3-star prospect coming out of Kell High School, but he showed during his freshman season that he is capable of handling the speed of SEC football.

Harvey-Clemons' absence during the first three games is a big loss for the Bulldogs. Sure, Clemson and South Carolina will both be breaking in new quarterbacks; but both of those programs still have weapons to be dangerous. 

One loss could knock Georgia out of the running for a College Football Playoff spot, and losing the head-to-head tiebreaker to South Carolina is certainly not ideal in the wide-open SEC East.

Georgia's issue on defense isn't talent, it's coaching. It has the depth to withstand the temporary loss of Harvey-Clemons, and now it has a defensive coordinator who is a coach and a teacher. 

The Bulldogs will be fine, as long as more suspensions aren't added on top of the one for Harvey-Clemons.


All recruiting information courtesy, and all stats courtesy