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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Post-Game Notes: Sturdivant Waiting For MRI

Of all the disappointments in Georgia’s 24-10 loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday, none may loom larger than the injury suffered by left tackle Trinton Sturdivant.

On a run by tailback Carlton Thomas in the third quarter, Sturdivant landed awkwardly on his left knee and needed assistance leaving the field. Sturdivant was playing in his first game since the 2007 season after suffering multiple ligament tears in the same knee during fall camp last year.

Head coach Mark Richt said the team would have to wait for the results of an MRI before knowing the severity of the injury, but Sturdivant was wearing a cast down the length of his leg and was on crutches after the game.

“We’re not going to jump to any conclusions right this second,” Richt said. “He’s keeping his spirits up and is optimistic that it’s not a real severe thing. An MRI will basically tell the story, but he’s not in pain at all that I could see.”

Georgia was in the midst of a promising drive prior to the injury, but quarterback Joe Cox was sacked on the next play after senior Vince Vance replaced Sturdivant, and the Bulldogs settled for a long field goal from Blair Walsh.

After the game, Richt said the injury didn’t stymie the drive and that Sturdivant’s loss wasn’t responsible for the second-half problems for the offense.

“When it happened, we just said, ‘Get in the game, Vince, and let’s go,’” Richt said. “We didn’t think that much about that part of it as much as we did when the game was over.”


While Cox tested negative for the H1N1 virus and was able to catch a late flight to Stillwater for the game, the prognosis wasn’t as good for redshirt freshman Makiri Pugh.

The reserve safety also came down with flu symptoms Wednesday, but Richt acknowledged that Pugh tested positive for the H1N1 virus and was not able to travel for the game.

Richt said he was not sure how long Pugh might be out while recovering.

“Even with guys that have had that H1N1, sometimes it’s a quick turnaround, sometimes it’s not,” he said.

The information was a slip of the tongue from Richt, who is typically barred from dispensing health information about players due to privacy regulations. Noting that, Richt refused to discuss whether any additional players had exhibited symptoms or had been tested for the illness.


Georgia’s defensive line had a bit more heft to it during much of the first half of Saturday’s game as tackle Geno Atkins lined up at end, a plan defensive coordinator Willie Martinez said has been in place for a while.

“We don’t have enough depth and Geno is an outstanding player,” Martinez said. “We put our best players on the field any way we can.”

Martinez said Atkins will continue to play both end and tackle for the foreseeable future.


Throughout the preseason, Georgia’s defense touted a renewed focus on turnovers, finishing plays when an opportunity arose.

Any success enjoyed during the month leading up to the opener, however, was overshadowed by a series of missed opportunities Saturday. Georgia’s secondary had at least three chances to intercept passes from Oklahoma State’s Zac Robinson, but failed to capitalize on any of them – a crucial turning point in a game that featured three turnovers by Georgia’s offense.

“We had opportunities to get some turnovers and we didn’t capitalize on that and they did,” Martinez said. “That’s probably the difference in the game.”


Georgia’s wide receivers struggled to get open against a stingy Oklahoma State secondary, with only sophomore A.J. Green providing any significant productivity.

Michael Moore and Tavarres King were the only receivers other than Green to catch a pass, combining for just 10 yards in the game.

“I think we have guys that can do it,” Cox said of his receivers. “I just missed some people, they had some stuff covered well. That’s just how it was (Saturday).”

Freshmen receivers Marlon Brown and Rantavious Wooten didn’t see any action, and that’s a problem offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said will need to be resolved.

“You’ve just got to play those guys and let them learn through experience,” Bobo said. “I’m sure we’ll talk about that after the game and realize we’ve got to get those guys some more reps. They’re going to make mistakes, they’re young, but we’ve got to get them ready to play.”


Freshman cornerback Branden Smith saw action in all three facets of the game for Georgia on Saturday, which he said surprised even him.

In addition to seeing work at cornerback in nickel packages, Smith returned two kicks and saw significant action on offense. Smith ran the ball three times for 11 yards – once taking a direct snap in a “Wild Cat” package – and caught another pass for a 3-yard gain.

“I really didn’t know that much, but it was a good feeling that I got the touches,” Smith said. “I wish I would have gotten the ball more to help the team out.”

Smith said the performance was bittersweet at best in light of the outcome of the game, but he said he planned to take a positive outlook on the experience.

“I’ve been waiting for this day all my life,” Smith said, “and I think I played pretty good.”


Smith wasn’t the only Georgia player to see action at quarterback Saturday. Backup Logan Gray came in during the first quarter to take one snap on offense, running for a two-yard gain.

The designed run was a formation offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said he hoped to use more often, but the Bulldogs’ offensive struggles negated the play.

“Logan was part of the plan in the red zone,” Bobo said, “and we were down in the red zone one time.”


Sophomore Drew Butler isn’t calling it a perfect day, but his 57-yard average on six punts helped Georgia stay in the game well into the fourth quarter. It was the second-best average for a punter in Georgia history.

Butler boomed a 68-yarder and a 75-yarder, the latter coming a bit more on a lucky bounce than on a strong kick.

“It was short enough and maybe ugly enough where (Oklahoma State returner) Dez (Bryant) decided he wasn’t going to mess with it,” Richt said. “Then we got a great roll.”

So despite the impressive statistics, Butler said he still has a lot to work on.

“I could have done some things better,” Butler said. “A couple of my punts were pretty low, and I need to give my coverage team a little more time.”


Freshman tight end Orson Charles finished the day as Georgia’s second-leading receiver, catching two passes for 46 yards in the game.

Richt said Charles made a couple of nice plays, but still had some other mistakes he needed to improve upon.

“Orson did get a couple opportunities and he’ll get more as the season goes on,” Richt said.

In addition to Charles and Smith, five other freshmen saw action for the Bulldogs – tight end Arthur Lynch, safety Shawn Williams, defensive tackle Abry Jones, defensive end Montez Robinson and linebacker Michael Gilliard.


-- This was the first loss in a season opener under Mark Richt. The last time Georgia began a season 0-1 was 1996.

-- Oklahoma State's only scoring drive of more than 32 yards consisted of just three plays and took only 40 seconds. All three of the Cowboys' other drives were on short fields, two following Georgia turnovers and one following a long kick return by Perrish Cox.

-- Walsh's 53-yard field goal was a career long. His previous high came on a 52-yarder in last year's opener against Georgia Southern. It was the longest by any Georgia kicker since Brandon Coutu connected from 55 yards against UAB in 2006.

-- Rennie Curran and Marcus Dowtin tied for the team lead with eight tackles.

-- Georgia's defense played well overall, but failed to record a single sack.

-- Despite dominating the scoreboard, Oklahoma State had just one more first down than Georgia and just 50 more yards of total offense.

-- Oklahoma State racked up 15 penalties for 106 yards in the game.

-- Mark Richt's teleconference is set for 5:!5 p.m. tomorrow. I'll have more details then.


ArchDawg said...


“You’ve just got to play those guys and let them learn through experience,” Bobo said. “I’m sure we’ll talk about that after the game and realize we’ve got to get those guys some more reps. They’re going to make mistakes, they’re young, but we’ve got to get them ready to play.”

...stuck out like a sore thumb from the above post. And I love how it comes right after you mention that Marlon Brown didn't get in the game at all, too. *Sigh* I just don't get them sometimes.

Hopefully, this portends a little more variety in our offensive gameplan in the coming weeks.

rbubp said...

I'm really disappointed the OL couldn't dominate the line of scrimmage more in the running game. Too bad Searels won't be around to explain it.

Anonymous said...

The myth of this OL has grown out of control. Theyre good, solid, steady. Dominant is something they'll never be.

SavDawg said...

Stuck out to me too.

Is it possible there's some kind of riff in the coaching staff. If not, perhaps someone's not going to meetings or something.

rbubp said...

I always thought that Moreno did not get enough credit last year for the numbers he put up with a small OL that couldn't run block at all. But they are supposed to get bigger and stronger in the off-season, right? And why did Richt say pre-game that they haven't played together much?

They did open some holes for Samuel. It is hard to tell if his tripping over toes and yard lines limited him to four yards per carry when the hole where there, if OSU loaded up the box on run formations and that limited effectiveness, or if the OL could not get on the linebackers so RS could break out often enough. We did try to run the ball. We just didn't do it very well.

ArchDawg said...

I don't know about a rift, don't think so. But I do know that--as has been mentioned before and elsewhere--Richt directed some of the most overwhelming offenses at Florida State. I'm pretty sure they had some great special teams there too. At least not this mess we have now. He's the head coach, he needs to jump in and start regulating a little more, because what I saw on offense and special teams yesterday ain't gonna cut it.