UGA’s Mark Richt vague on A.J. Harmon, concerned about O-line

Gainesville – Georgia coach Mark Richt didn’t shed any more light on the sudden departure of A.J. Harmon on Tuesday, but he acknowledged that his loss was yet another blow to a precariously thin offensive line.

Richt was here at the Gainesville Civic Center to speak at a “UGA Day” alumni gathering. Beforehand he spoke with reporters about Harmon, a junior offensive tackle from Jefferson County who left the program Tuesday for “personal reasons.”

Asked if he could expound on the reason for Harmon’s departure, Richt quipped, “No, that’s why you say it’s personal reasons. That’s all I can tell you about that. I wish him the best. Good kid.”

Harmon (6-5, 320), a rising junior, projected as a possible starter at right tackle and was going to be at least a primary backup at both right and left tackle. Coupled with the loss of starting left tackle Trinton Sturdivant to a season-ending knee injury and other injury issues, the Bulldogs’ situation on the offensive line is potentially troublesome.

“Well it’s less,” Richt said of the depth on the line. “It’s just going to be an opportunity for someone else. We have confidence that Justin [Anderson] and Cordy [Glenn] play tackle. We believe that [guard] Kenarious Gates can play tackle if need be. . . . We’re getting confidence in Kolton Houston’s ability to play football for us. I would think if something happened to one of the tackles and Gates had to go outside, Kolton would be the next guy inside.”

The problems begin after that.

Georgia thought it had recruited its future tackles the previous two years in Austin Long and Brent Benedict. But both former five-star prospects have incurred serious injury problems that have delayed their ability to contribute.

Long (6-5, 302), a redshirt sophomore, had to have back surgery shortly after arriving in Athens from Memphis. He has basically recovered from that injury before suffering a partially torn pectoral muscle early in spring practice.

“I think the jury is still out on Austin right now just because of the injuries and lack of productivity to this point,” Richt said. “I’m not sure whether he’d ready to go at this point. By the time camp is over, he may get to the point that we’re comfortable enough in him.”

Benedict (6-5, 301), a redshirt freshman, had to have a complete knee reconstruction his senior season at The Bolles School in Jacksonville. He, too, should have been sufficiently recovered by now.

“We had him pegged as at least a right tackle when we signed him,” Richt said. “He was really a tremendous high school football player. Then he has an injury where he gets not only an ACL but nerve damage. He’s having trouble triggering his foot and he’s still trying to recover from that.”

Dallas Lee, a sophomore guard from Buford, is experiencing asthma-like symptoms that may or may not be due to mold issues.

Richt said there’s a chance they may have to turn to true freshmen for depth. Georgia signed three tackles – Watts Dantzler, Zach DeBell and Xzavier Ward – and five offensive linemen overall.

“I think we’ve got enough guys who can line up and play football at a very high level,” Richt said. “But you’d like to have more depth by now. You’d like to have more guys waiting in the wings for their opportunity. I’d rather not go through another cycle of freshmen . . . It’s really not ideal. But if that’s what it takes that’s what we’ll do.”

As for Harmon, there are strong indications his departure was academic related. Harmon had to sit out the Liberty Bowl with an academically-related suspension. His next destination is unknown.

“He called me one day last week and said he was leaving Georgia and that’s all I know,” said J.B Arnold, Harmon’s coach at Jefferson County High. “I told him that we needed to sit down and talk before he did anything, but I haven’t heard from him since.”

Harmon signed with Georgia as a defensive lineman in 2008. He was moved to offensive line that fall and redshirted. He played in three games as a redshirt freshman in 2009 and four as a backup offensive lineman last year.

150 comments Add your comment

dlind87

May 17th, 2011
7:46 pm

hmmmm.....

May 17th, 2011
7:47 pm

Dawg_Mike

May 17th, 2011
7:48 pm

.

May 17th, 2011
7:51 pm

Trolls…..start your engines!!!!

Nomobama

May 17th, 2011
7:56 pm

Time to recruit some if the heffers from the softball team…

JDawg1785

May 17th, 2011
7:57 pm

Not good news for an OL that needed some of that. Coach Friend really has his work cut out for him this season. Let’s hope some of the kids coming in are able to contribute right away. Otherwise, it could be a long year up front.

Ssgt Dawg

May 17th, 2011
8:02 pm

Seems as if CMR can’t keep the big guys healthy. Not really his fault that these guys are getting hurt in high school. Hopefully this year we get Theus and Vadal Alexander in NSD. Those guys could come in next year as freshman and contribute.

LogicalUS

May 17th, 2011
8:03 pm

“guys could come in next year as freshman and contribute”

The EXACT same words were said about Harmon just a couple of years ago.

UGA is in for a rough season.

RichmondDawg

May 17th, 2011
8:05 pm

Roll Tide? No racist comments about our O line recruiting? You are slacking,troll…

buzzDawg

May 17th, 2011
8:05 pm

Hate it for Harmon and the Dawgs. I wish him luck wherever he ends up.

RHALL55

May 17th, 2011
8:09 pm

Poor planning for the future!!! What would have happened if K Gates had gone on to KY? Would Da’Rick Rogers had played OL? LOL!!!! What happened to UGA recruiting the OL that N Gwinnett produced a couple years ago: James and Sheppard; one @ TN; one @ AL; UGA, also should have recruited a couple of JUCO lineman from last year’s class!!! Remember Vince Vance!!! Gues CMR will be responsible for the lack of these forsight!!!

Beast from the East

May 17th, 2011
8:16 pm

Tough break. We’re lokking at a thin o-line down in Gainesville, too. Let’s hope we can both keep ‘em healthy.

Beast from the East

May 17th, 2011
8:17 pm

Looking….not lokking (whatever that is)

Ghost of TK Harty

May 17th, 2011
8:17 pm

It’s Swedish

BigDawg

May 17th, 2011
8:18 pm

Hope the freshman recruits can pan out like Trinton did in his first season!!

LogicalUS

May 17th, 2011
8:22 pm

Let me paraphase the delusional UGA fans….

“Good, it opens the door for the real All-Americans who have been sitting on the bench for three years and anyway he did not want to compete against the Dream teamers, so he left.”

As a post script, UGA has decided that the Dream teamers are so awesome that they are going to forego competing against overmatched college teams and have declared themselves as the newest NFL team with a special bye to play in the Superbowl against whomever is unfortunate enough to survived the NFL season.

KickSlideRed

May 17th, 2011
8:23 pm

Will Adams 6′6″ 280 lb OT from Sandy Creek quick smart strong great passprotect good feet loves to work 2-time state champion 30-1 as a starter – UGA needs this kid

Steve

May 17th, 2011
8:29 pm

Anyone who types “first” on any blog is a total loser with no life.

To:Nonobama osama

May 17th, 2011
8:32 pm

Come back to us when your “alma mater” has produced in every student athletic sport as the Univ of Georgia. I mean every Championship!! We can also discuss academics; do you know what that means??????????

Goof ol' Richt

May 17th, 2011
8:42 pm

Has there been a single year in the last 5 or 6 where our Coach does not start with some excuse as to why we underperform? Every team has casualties (academic, crime, injuries) but we seem to be the only team that comes up with excuses before the season even starts!!! My goodness the team at Tenth Street lost two starting offensive linemen because they could not get into that schools grad program but their coach simply stated “That’s just how this game is….someone will have to step up.” Our coach and our journalists always make it sound like the sky is falling. There is a military saying that morale is the single most important component to combat. So why write a negative article? Make something positive out of the negative and boost the team or at least give them no worries. Now they can already underperform and have a built in excuse! My goodness!!

DodgerDawg

May 17th, 2011
8:45 pm

Good Luck AJ, and welcome to UGA Mr. 6′7″ 325 Watts Dantzler

JDawg

May 17th, 2011
8:48 pm

Logical, it must be sheer misery to pull for a team that is so irrelevant, that you have to troll the blogs and comment about the team you most envy. Looooooooooooooser!

JDawg

May 17th, 2011
8:49 pm

And by the way, don’t reply back with the predictable. I’m a Bama fan! I’m a Gator! I’m an Auburn man! Spare us, and go back to your miserable existance of doing every thing your wife orders you to do.

Larry Bird

May 17th, 2011
8:50 pm

I don’t hear Richt whining Goof ol’ Richt. Pull your head outta ur @ss. There’s also a military saying: “Shut ur manpleaser $hitbird!” We’ll be ok, relax gents.

Worm

May 17th, 2011
8:50 pm

Arthur Lynch could become the NEXT Adam Meadows…UGA has a strong history of turning TE’s into good OL..Guy McIntire, Meadows, the late Troy Stark..Chris terry and Bernard Williams have come over from the DL…Morrant needs to put on 25 and play right tackle if Lynch can’t produce.

MCDAVIDASTRO

May 17th, 2011
8:57 pm

The program is falling apart right out in front of everyone. Georgia has lost to other schols already enough that there will be no dream team recruiting in 2012. Richt has got to go while there is still something left.

JB

May 17th, 2011
8:59 pm

Maybe we can play one of our 8 TE’s on the roster at tackle. We’ve already moved one to fullback. Thank goodness the punter and place kicker are back.

JB

May 17th, 2011
9:00 pm

Butler could be our MVP this year. We’ll need a good punter.

AltamahaDawg

May 17th, 2011
9:03 pm

Goof, I read his word twice. Where are you completely making up that any of them equate to him making any excuses? specifically? my goodness.

In fact did he not just put a positive motivational spin on the deal by saying :

“It’s just going to be an opportunity for someone else. ”

“We have confidence that …..”

“We believe that…….”

“We’re getting confidence in…..”

He then went on to give some encouraging words about guys who have legit injuries , would be able to contribute in the fall.

Where in fact did he say anything negative or set up any less expectations for the season? Seems more like you are the one guilty of that.

51WTGW50

May 17th, 2011
9:06 pm

Richt is as Thick with info as his Hairbrush is with hair.

51WTGW50

May 17th, 2011
9:09 pm

WTGW?
What is the Good Word?
THWG.
To Hell with Georgia!
What is the better WORD?
Sorry but UGA Players and Fans can’t even read or pronounce it!

51WTGW50

May 17th, 2011
9:13 pm

NUB
U know that is A LONG LONG LONG SHOT. Bobo is still on the staff.

Nub

May 17th, 2011
9:13 pm

Nothing less than winning the east

51WTGW50

May 17th, 2011
9:20 pm

The REAL 51WTGW50
Winning the EAST is sill a Stretch. If the Dawgs don’t win it then what? Is BOBO gone? Is Richt finally getting the call that the SEAT is way way past HOT?

The Real Alabama Roll Tide

May 17th, 2011
9:25 pm

I as a real Alabama fan fully understands what it is like to suffer through injuries and various other self inflicted issues. I am not a “sidewalk” fan as I did actually attend the school on athletic scholarship and while I was there I made a great deal of friends, some graduated and some did not even make it out of their sophomore years. If some clown decides to come on here saying he is an Alabama fan and starts to smack talk, then he is just some guy who clings to being part of the program.

The fans of UGA have had a nice run with CMR and I have no doubt he hired a great O line coach( by the way a heck of fella, I personally knew while at Alabama) and they will put a line together that will make holes for Crowell, King, and other backs and do a good job of allowing your young quarterback to make his throws.

I know UGA fans have had their share of bad new lately, but it is all cyclical. It will turn around. Good luck to all my SEC brothers. I hope your kids do well in the off season programs and hopefully no one will cause any of our great institutions any embarrassments over the summer.

51WTGW50

May 17th, 2011
9:30 pm

HAHAHAHAHAH
you can’t chose a name and stick with it?
I guess that is what you learned from you mama.
Just get a new Man to every you need to spit something out that is still worthless.

51WTGW50

May 17th, 2011
9:32 pm

Fake 51WTGW50
What do you want to bet that the Dawgs don’t have a new mascot this year and that the Dawgs don’t finish higher than 3rd in the SEC EAST?

dawgster

May 17th, 2011
9:32 pm

@The Real Alabama Roll Tide…very classy comments and as a former dawg I thank you for your comments and understanding of our program…You are correct we have done very well with Coach Richt..Of course with some nothing short of a NC will detour the negative comments toward our players, coaches and our program..As you stated very well things run in cycles, but many on here just can’t understand or won’t try to understand that..Its only what have you done for me lately…Best of Luck to you also and hope to see you post on here often..We could really use some great insight and respectful comments from people such as you…go dawgs

Delbert D.

May 17th, 2011
9:32 pm

I’m planning on driving over to Ga. 316 tomorrow down by the Clarke county line. I’ll be the tall older guy with thinning blond hair waving the “Will Block for Food” sign. I have 4 years of eligibility left, and I’ll go for my PhD or consider a BS or MS in other areas. Those gigs wearing the shiny green statue of liberty suit didn’t work for me. I’m very good in decision-making except for when I make job changes. Navy veteran, family man.

51WTGW50

May 17th, 2011
9:42 pm

You must be a UGA grad Lawyer.

51WTGW50

May 17th, 2011
9:43 pm

Wait there is a 7-in-10 chance that you are a white female uga grad and a 1-6 public school teacher.

FBfan

May 17th, 2011
9:44 pm

Is anyone keeping score? How many have we lost so far this year? The over is eight right? CMR you da man!

joe taxpayer

May 17th, 2011
9:44 pm

Yep this is CMR farewell tour. No doubt.

The Real Alabama Roll Tide

May 17th, 2011
9:45 pm

dawgster,

Good Luck to you too, thanks for the comments. Just tired of folks who have never left anything on the field or saw their teammates go through 4 or 5 years of sometimes hell come on a blog and talk smack while never spending a penny to support their program yet are experts in everything including teams they do not even root for. I guess the society we live in has become that demented that some feel the need to beat or chastise others. I guess the way one is raised and taught to respect others is a lost art left back in the 70’s or 80’s. Good luck again.

Zoli

May 17th, 2011
9:49 pm

Yes it leaves the Dawgs thin at the O-line. I believe we had this problem when David Green and Shockley were QB’s. We still finished in the top 5 and 10 finishes with a SEC Champ belt. We are fine. One door closes and another one opens. We are weeding the cancers and will become a stronger team because of this. I have complete faith in Richt and the coaching staff. We have a lot to look forward to when the Dream Team arrives next month!

51WTGW50

May 17th, 2011
9:51 pm

fake 51WTGW50
I love you.
You LOVE me so much, that you have to steal my name to feel good about yourself.
I have all you mentioned in spades. Well, except for friends. If you can count TRUE friends on more than your 2 hands, then you are lying or have never been in a situation needing a REAL FRIEND.

Delbert D.

May 17th, 2011
9:55 pm

Chip, what did I do wrong?

Delbert D.

May 17th, 2011
10:00 pm

Let me try this. Talk to me 51. I know you are a former RiverRat. Your spelling is unusually good tonight, and I’m wondering if you are who you say you are.

Tideman

May 17th, 2011
10:04 pm

@ The Real Alabama Roll Tide & Dawgster………Good post guys. I agree. I get so sick and tired of the negative post about other schools. I have always thought you should pull for you school and don’t trash others. CMR is a good coach & a better person. Injuries, Depth, & Chemistry have so much to do with a season. Best of luck to the Dawgs. Hope we see you in Atlanta.

Delbert D.

May 17th, 2011
10:07 pm

Not authentic. I’m signing out for tonight. No, I’m not going over to Ga. 316 tomorrow. Just poking fun at myself, as usual.