ATHENS – Georgia’s starting offensive line appears to be set two weeks before the season opener against Buffalo. But all that could change should sophomore Kolton Houston return to the equation.
Houston is ineligible due to the presence of a banned substance that has been in his system since 2010. Georgia has appealed that suspension to the NCAA because of the insufficient dissipation of the steroid despite what Georgia claims is “no re-use.” But the appeal was denied, and Houston must wait until an acceptable threshold is reached. If and when that happens, Houston will be immediately eligible to play.
In the meantime, Houston continues to practice while undergoing testing once a week. He was listed as the starting right tackle entering preseason practice.
“There’s no update, nothing new,” coach Mark Richt said Thursday. “I would think as soon as we knew he was cleared to play, it would be something we’d want to tell everybody. We’d be excited about telling that.”
At the moment, freshman John Theus is taking most of the snaps at right tackle with the No. 1 offense. He’s splitting time with sophomore Watts Dantzler, who also gets work at right guard.
Houston gets the majority of his work with the Nos. 2 and 3 units.
“We’re still trying to rep him enough to keep him as ready as we can without taking reps from guys we know are eligible to play,” Richt said. “So it’s kind of a touchy deal. But he’s getting some good work. … He can practice, so we’re trying to keep him fresh and get him as game-ready as we can.”
Andrews solidifies position
Another question for the offensive line entering the preseason was whether sophomore David Andrews would be able to hold the job at center. The Bulldogs aren’t ready to announce starting lineups, but indications are the Wesleyan grad has earned the top spot.
“I think David Andrews has had a good camp,” Richt said. “To me he has solidified that job.”
Sophomore Hunter Long was practicing as the No. 2 center before breaking his leg last week. But the question the Bulldogs were looking to answer in camp was whether they needed to move Chris Burnette to center from right guard. They now have that answer.
“We were just trying to find the best combination of five,” Richt said. “We went into camp hoping [Andrews] would be the guy, I would say. … I think it’s the best combination for Georgia for David to be the center.”
Wide receiver Tavarres King missed practice Friday because of what was listed on the post-practice injury report as a “left lower leg strain.” He was one of two flankers out for Georgia, as Rantavious Wooten was sidelined with a right hip strain.
Richt indicated the injuries weren’t serious.
“It just affected them today,” he said. “I don’t know that it will affect them much longer. I don’t think it’s anything serious.”
With those players out of action, sophomore Chris Conley and redshirt freshman Justin Scott-Wesley got more snaps with the No. 1 offense.
Picture Day for fans is scheduled from 1-5 p.m. Saturday at Sanford Stadium. Football players and coaches will be there from 3-5 p.m. while other UGA athletes — including Olympic gold medalist Allison Schmitt — will be on hand from 1-3 p.m. Coupons to get pictures with Richt and bulldog mascot Russ will be distributed at 8 a.m. at the east-end ticket window.