Is anyone really surprised to hear a UGA football player has been suspended?

Josh Harvey-Clemons has let his team down. (Associated Press)

Josh Harvey-Clemons has let his team down. (Associated Press)

If, as a Georgia fan, you’d been asked after spring drills to pick a single player (besides Aaron Murray) you’d absolutely not want to lose for the season opener at Clemson, it probably would have been Josh Harvey-Clemons.

The sophomore, signed as a five-star prospect and pegged as a rising star in Todd Grantham’s rebuilding defense, was slotted to start at safety and at the hybrid linebacker-safety “star” position in the nickel defense — which is where he primarily would have played against Clemson’s explosive, uptempo offense. Grantham basically had guaranteed this spring that Harvey-Clemons would be a starter this fall, no matter what. “He’ll be one of the 11,” the defensive coordinator had flatly stated.

Well, not against Clemson.

Almost predictably (as Steve Spurrier would note), the Bulldogs once again will find themselves opening the season with at least one key player, Harvey-Clemons, suspended for violating team rules.

Naturally, there’s a lot of frustration among fans (not to mention the coaches) over UGA players continuing to ignore the rules at a school they know has one of the nation’s toughest drug policies for athletes. (And, again, it’s worth noting that at quite a few other SEC institutions of higher learning a transgression like Harvey-Clemons’ would not result in any loss of playing time.)

But this kind of situation is getting to be old hat in Athens, so the news of Harvey-Clemons being suspended for a game also was greeted with a sort of we-knew-this-would-happen-soon-or-later resignation.

(Also, now we know why tight end Ty Flournoy-Smith, Harvey-Clemons’ roommate, was encouraged by coach Mark Richt to transfer, having chalked up his second spate of trouble in the past few months. In that case, I think we can safely say: good riddance.)

Is losing Harvey-Clemons a game-breaker?

Probably not. Sporting a high-octane offense that was ranked sixth in the nation last year in scoring and ninth in yardage, Tajh Boyd and Co. were probably going to move the ball and score points in abundance against a very green Georgia defense whether Harvey-Clemons was playing the star position or not.

Even if his replacement as the nickel back — be it junior Devin Bowman, fast-learning early entrant Reggie Wilkerson or maybe an incoming freshman like Shaq Wiggins — plays a superlative game, Georgia’s chances against Clemson likely will ride mainly on Mike Bobo’s offense.

Still, the situation is disheartening, because Harvey-Clemons was on the team last year and knows how disruptive it was to Grantham’s defense to start out the season with several players suspended. (A case can be made that the Georgia D never really recovered fully from that handicap and yet still came within one play of being in the national championship game.)

Maybe that guarantee of a starting spot from Grantham gave Harvey-Clemons some sort of misguided Teflon mindset, like it couldn’t happen to him. News flash, son: You’re at UGA, where violating the rules actually results in punishment!

This isn’t a major blow to the chances for Richt’s 2013 team, but it’s indicative of a bigger problem that seems to recur season after season.

Bulldog players talk a lot about how much potential they think their team has, and yet they continue to shoot themselves in the foot.

There’s still more talking the talk than walking the walk in Athens, and until that changes, the program isn’t likely to fully live up to its potential.

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88 comments Add your comment

Dennis

May 29th, 2013
10:09 am

Hi Bill,

Yes, disheartening at some level. Surprising? No. However, and it’s a BIG however….Georgia is far stricter in it’s drug testing and policies. I know from a player on the team, they have a one-strike policy on drugs. Mathieu of LSU said he had failed over 10 tests before something was done. If same standards were in place at other schools, they’d have a lot more players suspended. Just saying…not comparing apples to apples here.

GTBob

May 29th, 2013
10:17 am

I actually was a little surprised. I figured the suspensions would have started before now. Kudos to UGA for lasting almost until June before the first one came down. Also, kudos to everyone who had Harvey-Clemons in the pool.

ARdawg

May 29th, 2013
10:22 am

Obviously, the tightest policy in college football isn’t the answer either. We still have 93 days to go. I’d venture a bet this won’t be the only one

True DAWG

May 29th, 2013
10:45 am

Maybe now that Adams is gone UGA should lighten it penalties to be on a fair playing ground with other SEC schools! Do yall agree?

Jones Dawg

May 29th, 2013
10:55 am

The SEC needs a policy that will allow all cases to be handled consistently. UGA catches a lot of unfounded grief in situations just like this. Kids will be kids, not just football players at UGA. They are already under the microscope. At least let’s all play by the same rules.

dawggirl

May 29th, 2013
10:55 am

Annoying as hell is how I’d describe it. It’s not like these players don’t know the policy and don’t know the consequences. If you are playing a sport of any kind, you should only want healthy things in your body, period. I despise the fact that Spurrier continues to be right.

dawggirl

May 29th, 2013
10:57 am

McGarity has already stated that the policy isn’t changing, and I don’t think it should. I think the other school’s should change their policies.

GTBob

May 29th, 2013
11:08 am

Maybe now that Adams is gone UGA should lighten it penalties to be on a fair playing ground with other SEC schools! Do yall agree?

Or you could ask the players to stop smoking pot so much.

7576DAWG

May 29th, 2013
11:13 am

For the NCAA not to have a STANDARD DRUG POLICY proves they are all show and I wish the SEC would drop out of the NCAA as the governing body and just abide by their own rules which I would hope would include a STANDARD DRUG POLICY for every SEC team.
Why don’t we have a standard drug policy now? We probably should but it would put our Conference at a disadvantage , which I guess is more important not to do.

True DAWG

May 29th, 2013
11:15 am

Well lets ask players around the SEC to stop smoking pot so much GTBob- not just UGA. And Mcgarity will change his policy mighty quick dawggirl if the new president wants to change policy!!!

Dawg_Mike

May 29th, 2013
11:17 am

JHC’s Grandfather just said “I told you not to go there son”…..

SC Dog fan

May 29th, 2013
11:17 am

Predictable and sad. Don’t like the sound of them having a scale in their room to verify quality, etc, either, as has been reported elsewhere. I know nothing about such things, but that makes me think this is not a first innocent flirtation with drugs. Maybe I’m wrong.

Dawgoneit

May 29th, 2013
11:18 am

One suspended player should not make the difference in winning or losing to an ACC team. Clemson has been exposed numerous times as not being able to block a strong DL. They also are not strong against the run. Whether we have a player out for team violation or injury or academics, we need to go into Clemson with the expectation of showing them what a real SEC football team looks like!

Dawg_Mike

May 29th, 2013
11:18 am

The problem with this generation is that they think its “only weed ” and it isnt a drug.

McDawg

May 29th, 2013
11:20 am

we will still whip Clemson

GTBob

May 29th, 2013
11:26 am

we need to go into Clemson with the expectation of showing them what a real SEC football team looks like!

They played three SEC teams last year. I think they already know.

GTBob

May 29th, 2013
11:28 am

Well lets ask players around the SEC to stop smoking pot so much GTBob- not just UGA.

You should probably worry about your own issues and let other schools worry about their supposed drug problems. Stop making excuses. Its pretty easy to not smoke pot.

JP Dawg

May 29th, 2013
11:30 am

Hate to agree with a damn bug, but YEP.

JP Dawg

May 29th, 2013
11:33 am

Dawgoneit, I’d consider LSU as a “real” SEC team, and would also think they have a strong DL. Clemson beat them. Recently.

Bulldawg35

May 29th, 2013
11:46 am

Mark my words…another suspension a coming….plus we will lose to Clemson and SC!!! Our drug policy is one of the toughest in the nation and is a thorn in our side..none of the major teams in the SEC will have will have players suspended for failed drug test!!….only us. This crap is getting old!

ARdawg

May 29th, 2013
11:59 am

It would appear that we are on par to match last year’s suspensions. The policy isn’t going to change thus, it makes no sense to whine about it. It is a right and just policy. If you wish to compete athletically at UGA, don’t do drugs. It’s a good message. JHC, feels the sting hopefully, he will get the message. I’m afraid he doesn’t. His teammates should insure he gets it. Isaiah never did along with a host of others

True DAWG

May 29th, 2013
11:59 am

“You should probably worry about your own issues and let other schools worry about their supposed drug problems. Stop making excuses. Its pretty easy to not smoke pot.”

its not an excuse I just want UGA kids to be treated like the schools we compete against!! This is SEC football fighting for a nat championship not Adams philisophy of who can be the biggest Mr straight guy! Thats gets you 0 championships

AltamahaDawg

May 29th, 2013
12:00 pm

Once again, the “headline” is fishing for response, with little to do with the content of the article.

NO. It’s not surprising. Inevitable. Not having any suspensions, with our policies would be the bigger surprise.
The good surprise is that they seems to be having the desired effect at cutting down on the knuckle headedness.

Sure be nice if it wasn’t THAT particular guy, but it’s one guy. Do you think very many Football programs have had less issues than what we have seen so far this year?

ARdawg

May 29th, 2013
12:04 pm

Altamaha
I think we smack Clempson in the mouth anyway. I’m not even looking for it to be close. What say you?

AltamahaDawg

May 29th, 2013
12:07 pm

I actually agree with BOB, on the surface, that what happens at other schools is their problem.
OUR university has made decisions about how we deal it here, and that’s really our only business.

If people would leave it at that and discuss it purely objectively, that would be one thing… But….
The problem is that others bring thier schools into the discussion, by comparison, and THAT makes it relevant.

Also if we are discussing it from a pure football competitive angle, obviously it’s a factor.

AltamahaDawg

May 29th, 2013
12:11 pm

I say we are STILL in better shape in the defensive backfield than Clemson will be.

Skokie Dog

May 29th, 2013
12:15 pm

Bill, for the record, I could live with losing Aaron Murray for the opener, but he’s smart enough to avoid pot smoking as a recreational activity, and I applaud him for that choice.
And I don’t believe that Josh Harvey-Clemons will be the only player suspended for the opener, which is three months away. There are lots of opportunities to go astray in Athens during a summer.
Remember, for every suspension, another player gets a chance to prove his worth to the team by playing rather than standing along the sideline.

AltamahaDawg

May 29th, 2013
12:19 pm

Spurrier is just putting out a self fulfilling prophecy.

Don’t suspend anybody for anything, then take a shot at the guy who does. Bold.

ARdawg

May 29th, 2013
12:20 pm

Losing the backfield talent we did last year will probably be a cry of many but, many of the defensive guys did play last year and performed admirably

AltamahaDawg

May 29th, 2013
12:30 pm

For those wanting some standard NCAA penalty for smoking pot.
First off, you would have to have uniform testing requirements, so that’s a whole nuther deal.
Secondly IF they were to standardize, the penalty could be much stiffer than some schools are now, and still not up to the severity of some already. I really doubt that that any NCAA standard is going to be missing 10% of the season on the first offence.

Bulldawg35

May 29th, 2013
12:31 pm

I will not watch the Clemson game if Conner Norman starts….I would rather eat a possum covered in ketchup and mustard!!!

AltamahaDawg

May 29th, 2013
12:32 pm

NOT having players test positive for pot is really not a difficult thing to do, even if they are doing it. Just don’t know about it. What you do IF you know, if only one side of the equation.

AltamahaDawg

May 29th, 2013
12:41 pm

Actually Tray Matthews and Corey Moore, were probably going to be your starters at safety anyway.

JHC was coming in as a nickel back, or “star” when needed. (which is pretty often). Now we have less athletic options, but several of them.

Actually, if Clemson runs(literally) a traditional spread much, we wouldn’t be in that alignment.

AltamahaDawg

May 29th, 2013
12:45 pm

JHC was not arrested, nor was it a result of a failed drug test, so a NCAA standard would not really have applied here.

This was truly an institution over-ride, or layering on, of even their own stated policy.

Cuz

May 29th, 2013
1:59 pm

I picked five as a joke before Spring practice. Please Lord do not let me turn into a prophet.

gsuga

May 29th, 2013
2:30 pm

If the SEC standardized the rules. Someone would interpret them to their advantage.

The Ballad of Poor Joe Cox

May 29th, 2013
3:28 pm

The biggest pot smokers I know are all from Georgia Tech. I guess what can you expect when you live on Hemphill Ave ?

randawg

May 29th, 2013
3:32 pm

If we have to lower the drug penalty standards UGA isn’t the school I attended or the school I love. Let Auburn have the drugs and thugs.

ARdawg

May 29th, 2013
3:49 pm

Cuz….5 seems to be the going number

dawgfan

May 29th, 2013
4:28 pm

I don’t know how all these guys play football after smoking all this weed. It makes you lazy and worthless and it’s just as bad on your lungs as cigarettes. I know they are young but it still has to affect their athletic performance.

Dawg89

May 29th, 2013
5:17 pm

GTBOB, what is the policy at teck. Do you know? And don’t tell us that nobody at teck ever smokes a blunt, particularly football players.

My son's mom

May 29th, 2013
5:19 pm

It is obvious that these athletes do not respect the coaches and their rules. Also, a number of football players recruited by UGA are lacking in character and personal integrity evidenced by this continued problem. The coaches at UGA are getting what they deserve. Start demanding better behavior from your athletes and stop recruiting those that do not demonstrate the necessary intregrity to represent our state’s flagship university. Their actions are making us all look bad.

Dawg89

May 29th, 2013
5:20 pm

What would have happened at LSU, Alabama, SC, UF? When it comes to pot, there should be a uniform rule in the SEC. UGA should not assign more emphasis to it than other top tier schools. That’s stupid. I don’t agree with it, but smoking pot is common among teens and will soon be legal in most places. Not so soon here in the Bible belt, but it will come. Think about it, you can even buy beer in most places on Sunday now.

Dawg89

May 29th, 2013
5:21 pm

Get off of your soap box My sons mom. The only reason you don’t hear about from other schools is they don’t have such a strict policy. If UGA had a policy consistent with every other team in the SEC, we wouldn’t be having this issue.

CobbDawg

May 29th, 2013
5:53 pm

GTBob, you are just a little boy or really need some friends. What kind of loser continually post about rivals. That accused killer from GT would probably welcome a visitor.

Rabun Dawg

May 29th, 2013
6:11 pm

Same song, second verse. Who cares what other schools do or not do. These kids just do not use good judgement. It will probably not be the last time for JHC, so maybe cut him loose and move on with kids that care about UGA football. What selfish punks some of these guys are.

Cali Dawg

May 29th, 2013
6:22 pm

These guys know the rules…they need to follow them. Period. To flat out dieregard the rules and in the Dorms? Maybe that is why the roomie (bad apple) was asked to transfer?
Kudos to GTBob for being the unofficial moderator of almost all UGA blogs….something to be proud of!

AltamahaDawg

May 29th, 2013
7:21 pm

I’m all in on the stupidity gets what it deserves.

BUT you guys preaching need to stop and consider. If Richt doesn’t announce this, it NEVER happened, as far as you know. from that standpoint, Getting this perfect behavior from 120 ruff housers, nobody ever getting in trouble is pretty easy. They could make that happen tomorrow. If that is your goal.

Or you can be realistic and understand that IF we are going to have these policies, then only having a couple of kids suspended for a game on occasion is actually a pretty admirable accomplishment.

Huh?

May 29th, 2013
8:24 pm

I really don’t understand the mentality of some UGA fans…smoking weed is STILL illegal, and shouldn’t be tolerated. Some UGA fans are so concerned about what other schools are doing about drug usage, that they are using UGA’s “policy” as some type of excuse for the inexcusable behavior of some members of the football team.

Quit worrying about what other schools are doing or not doing, and worry about YOUR favorite school. The bottom line is that regardless of how strict the policy at UGA is regarding drug usage, it aparently is working. The policy is either not as tough as you want to believe, or you have idiots on your football team….either one is a problem.

Huh?

May 29th, 2013
8:26 pm

isn’t working