Injuries, NCAA ineligibility jeopardize Georgia’s O-line for Ole Miss

ATHENS – Georgia’s situation on the offensive line turned suddenly precarious on Wednesday. Starting right guard Chris Burnette went down in practice with a knee injury and head coach Mark Richt revealed afterward that offensive lineman Kolton Houston is currently ineligible with an “NCAA issue.”

Burnette

Burnette

Burnette fell out with a knee injury during individual work early in practice. Richt initially characterized the injury as “a tweak,” but the nature and extent will not be known until Thursday.

“Right this second we don’t think it’s anything serious,” Richt said. “We’ll see if it swells and see how he does tomorrow. Hopefully it doesn’t swell a lot.”

Richt said it was the same knee in Burnette injured last season that forced him to sit out as a redshirt. That was a patella injury.

Compounding the seriousness of the situation is former starting left guard Kenarious Gates just returned to practice Tuesday from an injured ankle that has kept him sidelined since the first half of the first game of the season. Sophomore Dallas Lee has been starting at left guard ever since.

“Gates did finish out the practice,” Richt said hopefully. “That helps. Between those guys hopefully we’ll have one of them ready, if not both.”

But what if neither is available?

“Don’t ask me that me that question,” Richt said with a feigned laugh. “I don’t know what would happen.”

Most likely, he allowed, the Bulldogs would slide over senior center Ben Jones to right guard and start David Andrews at center. Andrews, a true freshman from Norcross, got his first action last week against Coastal Carolina.

Meanwhile, Jones watched the first half of Wednesday’s practice in street clothes “because something he ate didn’t agree with him,” according to Richt. But Jones felt better later, went back inside and suited up and “toughed out” the second half of practice.

As for Houston, Wednesday was the first time it was revealed that he was sidelined for any reason other than “coach’s decision.” The 6-5, 291-poundredshirt freshman from Buford was competing for playing time at both guard and tackle in preseason camp but has not played in the Bulldogs’ first three games.

“It’s an NCAA issue,” Richt said. “It’s just an individual case that we’re not going to get into details about. It’s NCAA related. We think it’s going to cleared up. We just don’t know when.”

Numerous open records requests for documents regarding NCAA investigations filed by the AJC over the last few months have not uncovered any information stating that Houston’s eligibility was in question.

Georgia Athletics Director Greg McGarity declined comment Wednesday night, saying the matter was protected by federal student privacy laws.

Mitchell becomes main target

With Marlon Brown expected to be sidelined for a second straight week with an ankle injury, freshman Malcolm Mitchell is slated to get his third start in four games at split end. But the 6-foot-1, 184-pound speedster from Valdosta would likely be playing extensively anyway.

“Since camp started he’s shown his ability to make plays,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “We knew he was a guy we were going to try to get the ball to.”

Mitchell is the Bulldogs’ leading receiver with 14 catches for 159 yards and has two touchdowns. And it’s not all just natural ability.

“He’s worked extremely hard at perfecting his craft,” Bobo said. “He’s a competitor. He’s not scared; he doesn’t flinch. We saw that early on when we put him in competitive situations in practice and he’s been the same way in games. I think he’ll only get better and be a big-play receiver for us.”

One time, at kicking camp

Saturday’s camp will reunite two of the best high school kickers in the land. Georgia’s Blair Walsh attended the prestigious Chris Sailers Camp in South California in 2007-08. along with Ole Miss junior Bryson Rose.

“Yeah, I know him,” Walsh said. “I haven’t really kept up with him since he went to Ole Miss but I’m glad he’s getting an opportunity to kick there.”

Rose, who is from Raleigh, was rated in 12th by Sailers in 2007.. He was redshirted his first year at Ole Miss and didn’t take over as the Rebels’ starting kicker until last season. Walsh, who was at one time ranked No. 1 bySailers, has started all four years at Georgia and is threatening the school’s all-time scoring record.

Etc. . . .

Starting free safety Bacarri Rambo remained in a non-contact jersey Wednesday due to a strained neck. Richt expects him to play Saturday, however. . . . Offensive lineman Austin Long returned to practice this week from an eye infection that sidelined him last week. . . . Georgia practiced for two hours Wednesday on the Field Turf, the same surface it will play on Saturday atVaught -Hemingway Stadium. . . . Legendary Georgia coach Vince Dooley will be the special guest at a Georgia-Ole Miss viewing party at TheBuckhead Theatre on Peachtree Street Saturday at 11 a.m. He will sign copies of his book before and after the game and will conduct a Q&A with the audience at halftime.

236 comments Add your comment

Delbert D.

September 21st, 2011
9:18 pm

Good grief! I wonder if the O-line issues are going to limit the line calls.

Pago Pago DAWG

September 21st, 2011
9:28 pm

No problem, when you have a Top Ten recruiting class year after year, you expect the next ******* recruit to step up, right!!

F. Lee Bailey

September 21st, 2011
9:28 pm

This is just great. Mason may get some time at QB because Murray may get killed. Boy, Miss st,Fla and AU looming, we better get well. Hopefully Ogletree and Robinson at LB will be back for those games, but what happens if we get an injury on the OL Saturday. Will Lynch or White be playing tackle.
Who is managing this roster?

Boise in ATL

September 21st, 2011
9:29 pm

Rabun Dawg

September 21st, 2011
9:30 pm

Seems as though our O-line has been a “train wreck” for how many years now? Do we not recruit those positions? More excuses coming up if we were to lose to a very poor Ole Miss team. Nothing ever gets easier being a UGA fan!

JB

September 21st, 2011
9:30 pm

Let’s hope this season doesn’t turn ugly. These guys have worked hard all off season. I am concerned.

JB

September 21st, 2011
9:31 pm

Maybe this is the Lords was of telling Richt he’s not where he wants him to be.

JB

September 21st, 2011
9:32 pm

s/b Lords way..

Rabun Dawg

September 21st, 2011
9:36 pm

JB, my son and his wife are missionaries in a third world country in the South Pacific.I think they could use the Richts’ help down there. Maybe sooner than later?

I love this time of year

September 21st, 2011
9:39 pm

Not a dog fan at all & think grantham is a classless piece of crap, however, the NCAA is a joke. You can’t force a kid to sit out till u get around to clearing him. Whose gonna give him those games back? The NCAA is like the IRS more worried bout their authority than what’s right.

Carl Spackler

September 21st, 2011
9:39 pm

Better keep Murray in…he’s used to running for his life, errrr I mean playing behind a make shift line

yep

September 21st, 2011
9:39 pm

yep, God has his way of trying to get our attention sometimes. MR are you listening?

Tater Tot

September 21st, 2011
9:40 pm

Every year it’s the O-Line with injuries. Recruit some dewds in there that have not had some type of injury in HS for once. Tide Roll needs to recruit some for us with his knowledgeable self. … ;)

William

September 21st, 2011
9:40 pm

They recruited linemen. They either got hurt or left for some reason or both. Plus the ineligible situation. I’m sure linemen will be a priority next year. You can’t help injuries. You can’t sign but 25 a year. Only part of them are linemen.

bh

September 21st, 2011
9:42 pm

we went thru this with the offensive line back in 2003. Did we not learn our lesson? How does this happen at a school like UGA?

Tater Tot

September 21st, 2011
9:43 pm

Hey Chip, hehe, How about installing a “Like” button on here for others comments like they have on FaceCrook. 3:)

PigIron

September 21st, 2011
9:44 pm

@I love this time of year

The NCAA isn’t forcing him to sit out. Georgia could play him, if they want to. If they play him and he is later found to be guilty of NCAA violations, then the NCAA can vacate wins — as if anyone cares about an asterisk in a record book.

Prozac Dawg

September 21st, 2011
9:46 pm

My dawgs just cannot seem to catch a break. What sort of an NCAA issue would you need a lawyer for? I would think McGarity would spring for a lawyer like he did for jarvis

duluthdawg

September 21st, 2011
9:48 pm

We need the win on Saturday. Some of these injuries and the NQ issue is disturbing. CMR has got to know that the hot seat will be hotter than a kiln if we lose against Ole Miss.

Prozac Dawg

September 21st, 2011
9:50 pm

@this time of year
go to top of page, hover your mouse pointer over the word ’sports’, when all the options appear select any of them besides UGA. Thanks.

Seth

September 21st, 2011
9:56 pm

Maybe you should learn the triple spread option so you can lead the nation in total offense, rushing, points, etc etc.

Strange Murphy

September 21st, 2011
10:00 pm

Dawgs are thin! But hey! Falcons beat Vick so it not all that bad!

Headley's Lamar

September 21st, 2011
10:03 pm

F.Lee, you need to call Johnny Cochran!

Delbert D.

September 21st, 2011
10:04 pm

This is the 3rd year in a row with these injury problems on the O-line. There must me some significant underlying issue.

Delbert D.

September 21st, 2011
10:06 pm

Typing with 2 fingers as I do, I still make these annoying typos. Or thinkos.

bitter dontavoius-hershal-cesar-walker

September 21st, 2011
10:06 pm

you trolls need to stop with the sour grapes—cry cry —wine–wine—————-a speard offence

does not require a big O line————-GT typically runs 600 yards a game with who knowns who

blocking———————–you practice all 15 lineman for the worst case situatioin

—————————–tech always has people banged up———-stop craying trolls

————–as a dawg fan you whinners make me wont to vomit——dawgs rule johnnie reb–44-6

duluthdawg

September 21st, 2011
10:08 pm

bitter dontavoius-hershal-cesar-walker,

Put the crack pipe down son and get your sheet together.

bitter dontavoius-hershal-cesar-walker

September 21st, 2011
10:09 pm

@delbert d.—you wont me on that wall —-you need me on that wall—-yes i gave the code —RED!!

————————————-GROW A PAIR—–D.D

Delbert D.

September 21st, 2011
10:15 pm

PigIron – Speaking of ex post facto punishment, did you happen to hear Chuck Oliver’s rant on the NCAA this afternoon?

bitter dontavoius-hershal-cesar-walker

September 21st, 2011
10:15 pm

COACH DOOLY—-aka CMR—–is honest a straight foward with the latest injury report

———-and you trolls have a melt down—–AKA–(duluthdawg)——-go back to your tool box at the

—local jiffy lube ——————-and leave the man hood —-support stuff to me —-hershal’s 5th personnality—hahah

Rabun Dawg

September 21st, 2011
10:20 pm

bitter, Dawgs will not cover 38. You are drinking way too much kool-aid and are delusional!

Prozac Dawg

September 21st, 2011
10:21 pm

Might be a steroids issue for Houston. But, someone tell me, how does this become an NCAA issue???

Idiot Dawg

September 21st, 2011
10:31 pm

I can’t wait for Saturday to get here. I want to watch the ball game. I think the dawgs will beat the rebels. They used to have a Johnny Reb as a mascot but now they have a bear. I guess the bear ate him. Maybe that is why coach Nutt always looks so worried he is afraid the bear will eat him too. I can’t wait for the dawgs to win. They will kick the crap out of the bear.

Delbert D.

September 21st, 2011
10:34 pm

Prozac – Georgia just lost the compliance director last week (moved to VT) and his assistant moved back to Ohio. There might be some things they are trying to figure out. That has to be a tough job. The rule book confuses even the NCAA.

GT

September 21st, 2011
10:36 pm

Ole Miss is so lousey that georgia should win with they 3rd string line…

Mobile Dawg

September 21st, 2011
10:38 pm

This crap may go on at all programs, but it sure is getting old here. We’re in Sandestin this week, I’m talking to a couple of distinguished gentlemen, one who’s had season tickets to UGA for “over 30 years”, the other an Auburn alum. Between conference realignment, UGA football, Cam Gate, Mark Richt hot seat, all of us are just shaking our heads. Is the game becoming a disgrace?

Snoop Dawg

September 21st, 2011
10:40 pm

I’m already starting to see the Excuse of the Week. Now it’s the offensive line.

My question is why Richt can’t manage to keep enough players to cover the different position skill sets? He doesn’t seem to have a plan. You’d think that the team would want to keep x number of offensive linemen, so many linebackers, so many safeties, etc. Instead, there doesn’t seem to be an overall strategy as we recruit each year. This isn’t rocket science. Except for Richt and Bobo…

JRW7

September 21st, 2011
10:41 pm

Things can’t get any worse! If CMR loses to Ole MISS, it may be the nail in CMR’S job at UGA?

Mobile Dawg

September 21st, 2011
10:42 pm

Come on Snoop, they have done their job, the recruits just keep transferring. Where have you been all season?

Prozac Dawg

September 21st, 2011
10:46 pm

Delbert,
Didn’t know about the compliance director (and the asistant). I think you are right about it being a tough job. Even OSHA isn’t as bad as the NCAA; as least you can still produce while you’re being investigated.

Amazing

September 21st, 2011
10:49 pm

Great programs re-load (most of the time) instead of re-building. Yes players get hurt, transfer, quit, etc., but UGA seems to have slipped into the average status instead of the elite.

GT

September 21st, 2011
10:52 pm

GA sould be able to beat Mrs. and Mrs state…

Delbert D.

September 21st, 2011
11:04 pm

I’m looking at the Ole Miss depth chart, and their D-linemen aren’t particularly large. I’m not up to speed on their injury situation, but the starting NT is the only 300 lb. guy, and he’s 6-0, 300; the other DT is 6-3, 290. Their subs are 270 and 250. These guys are not Boise State-like, either.

Might Georgia move Figgins back to TE to get another big body over there? Georgia isn’t exactly deep at FB, though.

Javaris C.

September 21st, 2011
11:18 pm

If it was Tech they’d let Houston play anyway and just have games stripped from the record books later.. no big whoop.

dbc

September 21st, 2011
11:19 pm

Mark Richt’s excuses never end. Hint: If you had recruited properly like the winning coaches in this conference, your O-line situation wouldn’t be “precarious.” Ditto for other spots that require multiple bodies to perform at a high level. Every year it’s something with this guy. And don’t even start with a 3-4 and not enough linebackers. I hope McGarity takes the bag off his head soon…

Dawg48

September 21st, 2011
11:32 pm

Were is tide roll and his o- line wisdom when we need him!

angry mangy mutt

September 21st, 2011
11:36 pm

It is not the UGA is not recruiting the linemen, it is that they are not recruiting the right lineman. First, Olinemen are generally smart guys, not certain how consistent the coaches are about making this a priority when offering the scholarships for this position. Secondly, our guys are big, but not nasty. Two things that could very much influence the o’s effectiveness and to a degree, lighten the coaching load across the front. Third is conditioning, look at other lines around the country and look at ours. This is not to say that the individual players are excused of blame, but it is a problem this program has had for years (not pointing fingers, just saying). Get this in order and we would have a big, strong, athletic line with a quick learning rate who want to destroy the opponent in front of them. Of course, this will also help with the injuries too.

angry mangy mutt

September 21st, 2011
11:39 pm

Here I am suggesting that UGA recruit more intelligent guys while I type with such poor spelling.

oldbird

September 21st, 2011
11:40 pm

I hope that we don’t sign anything but OL and LB next year. Recruiting rankings are fun, but its all based on signing stars, not signing needs. If you already have 2 5star qb’s on the roster and sign three more, your ranking is better than a team that has signed 3 4 star O linemen. Recruit for depth on the offensive line. We have not had OL depth since Donnans last recruiting class ran out of eligibility. Just how many of Richt’s O linemen are in the NFL? I think overall that Richt is the better coach, but funny how his two SEC titles came with offensive linemen that Donnan recruited.

DAWG LOVER

September 21st, 2011
11:40 pm

Ole Mess is a mess and can’t compete with UGA. Exit Nutt.