I’m just back from a brief family trip to Nashville, where we had a nice reunion with an old friend, saw a great concert (Paul McCartney) and began a day with the jarring sight of a guy at the hotel breakfast buffet strolling around in a bright orange UT shirt and green pajama pants. It was like passing a wreck on the highway; I had the urge to tell the kids to look away.
Catching up on the news, I see nothing really surprising came out of the Atlanta fan gathering, which is probably a good thing. And it’s also no big surprise that the NCAA wants to talk with only one UGA player. Most folks always assumed that. But at least now we know that coaches need to pay attention to whether they’re answering an e-mail or a text from a prospect. Mind-boggling.
Meanwhile, the news about inside linebacker Akeem Dent being sidelined four to six weeks because of toe surgery is a bit worrisome, especially since preseason camp hasn’t even begun yet. While he’s likely to miss only the opening game, the loss of practice time for him might hinder progress for Todd Grantham’s revamped defense in the middle — an area that already concerns me, especially against the run. It looks like this pretty seals the deal that Richard Samuel won’t be redshirting, since depth is an issue at linebacker.
Injuries pretty well derailed the Dogs season before last and were partly responsible for the running game getting off to a very slow start last year, so a lot of fingers are crossed that Mark Richt’s team makes it through August without a bunch of guys in green jerseys.
We all know how important it is that Aaron Murray stays healthy, but thinking about what would happen with injuries at a few other key spots is scary. Without Justin Houston harrying quarterbacks, the new defense would look more vulnerable. If Washaun Ealey and Caleb King both were to get banged up, Shaun Chapas might have to shift over from fullback. And while there appears to be a fair amount of talent behind A.J. Green, the drop-off there still would be considerable should he get hurt again.
Maybe those UGA researchers who unlocked the secret to producing four-leaf clovers should send a shipment over to Butts-Mehre, just in case.
Does the prospect of injuries worry you as much as it does me? What else is on your mind in this last week before preseason practice starts?