The 2013 summer has been another troublesome one for the Georgia Bulldogs, as two of their starters have been suspended and two more are hurt and will most likely miss the season opener against Clemson.
Josh Harvey-Clemons, who was supposed to be Georgia’s starting free safety, was suspended for violating the teams substance abuse policy. On May 15th police officers came to Harvey-Clemons’ dorm room and smelled the odor of marijuana. Georgia’s starting safety and his then-roommate tight end Ty Flournoy-Smith, who recently transferred out of Georgia, admitted to “smoking a blunt” when they were questioned by the police officers.
Clemons’ absence in the season opener vs. Clemson could allow the Tigers’ up-tempo, no huddle offense to put up big numbers against a defense that lost its two best players in the draft last year. Without Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree to apply pressure on Tajh Boyd, the Dawgs could have a long day trying to contain the explosive Clemson offense.
But will a sophomore safety who didn’t even start one game at safety last year be missed that much? Only time will tell, but look for Clemson to try and exploit Georgia’s secondary early and often.
Perhaps even a bigger loss for the Bulldogs was when starting kicker Marshall Morgan was arrested for BUI (Boating Under the Influence). According to betonline.com, one of the internet’s best online betting sites, the Tigers are currently 2-point favorites. This is saying that the two teams are basically evenly matched, given the fact that Clemson is most likely given 3 points for having home-field advantage. In a game projected to be this close, kicking can make all the difference. Morgan was 8 of 14 on field goal attempts last year and hit 63 of his 67 PAT attempts. While the 8 of 14 attempts seems average at best, Morgan brings the experience of having a full college season under his belt along with pressure moments including Georgia’s game against Alabama and their Capital One Bowl win over Nebraska. Now Georgia will either turn to sophomore punter Collin Barber or redshirt freshman Patrick Beless to handle the kicking duties for at least the season opener. In a close game, one missed field goal or a botched extra point could be the difference.
Georgia’s offseason mishaps may once again hinder their hopes of making a National Championship run. Look for Clemson to exploit the Bulldog’s defense, and if Clemson can come up with a few big stops on their half of the field, the game could be decided by one made or missed field goal.