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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday Notes: Sturdivant Tears ACL

As if the news on offense wasn't bad enough after Saturday's 24-10 loss to Oklahoma State, things got worse Sunday when an MRI revealed that left tackle Trinton Sturdivant tore his ACL in his left knee -- the same injury that kept him off the field for the entirety of the 2008 season.

"Mentally would be the only thing that could keep him from making a full recovery," head coach Mark Richt said. "If he rehabs the same way he did a year ago, he'll be able to play again next year. It's just one piece of ligament that can be repaired, can be replaced, and then you just start over again. Psychologically it's tough, but physically I've had guys that had the injury a second time around and it went great the rest of their career. So it's just going to be Trinton's state of mind, but we know he's going to battle and he has goals in his life, and he's going to come back again."

Richt said Sturdivant was surprised by the injury but has kept his spirits up since learning the news.

"He really didn't feel like that was the situation after the ballgame, and we weren't predicting that," Richt said. "He seemed kind of more philosophical. He's just like, 'Well, I've got two choices. I can either give up or I can go fight again.' He knows and we know that he's going to fight and that he'll be back."

That leaves Georgia short a left tackle for the remainder of the season, and Richt said the current solution will be to use senior Vince Vance at the position, but that more options could open up down the road.

"It won't be long before Josh Davis will be able to play again also," Richt said. "He can play either tackle. All three of those kids (including Clint Boling) can play tackle, and Cordy (Glenn) can play tackle but would be more of a right tackle. So we still have some options there."

The offensive line was expected to be a strong point for Georgia this season, but Sturdivant's injury clearly puts a damper on the lofty expectations. More concerning was the lack of dominant play by the line during Saturday's loss -- and Richt said the struggles came in both the passing game and the running game.

"It was hot and cold," Richt said of the line's play. "It wasn't flawless by any means. The sack that caused the fumble was a protection issue. Most of the time we protected well, but that time in particular it wasn't very good."

On the run blocking, Richt said the scheme was strong, but the execution was lacking.

"Their safeties tackled well, they closed space quickly, and there was a couple times when we just didn't finish blocks," Richt said. "Schematically we were creating good space, but if we'd have stuck on our blocks a little bit better, we might have broken some big runs."


-- With Sturdivant out, Richt said there is clearly a concern about how Georgia's line will hold up against South Carolina's stout defense, led by linebacker Eric Norwood and defensive lineman Cliff Matthews.

"It's going to definitely create an issue for us," Richt said. "Hopefully we won't be in a bunch of third-and-longs where we absolutely have to live and die by the drop-back pass. Hopefully we can pass when we want to."

-- Regarding Joe Cox's performance -- 15-of-30 for 162 yards, 1 TD and 2 turnovers -- Richt said it wasn't as bad as it might have seemed, and he wasn't sure how much Cox's struggles could be pinned on his ailing health.

"I really don't know how he's feeling to be quite honest," Richt said. "He wasn't going to miss that game. Oklahoma State did some things that were good. I think Joe will be sharper as we go. Overall I think he played a pretty decent ballgame. It wasn't anything to sit there and say it was spectacular by any means, but it was solid."

-- Still, Georgia's passing game was far from impressive, and the burden of responsibility can be shifted in any number of directions.

"In the pass game, I would just say we weren't sharp at all," Richt said. "There were some times when we looked good, but for the most part, we just weren't consistent in our effort in the passing game."

Richt said improvements need to be made in all areas, including receivers hanging on to the football, better route running and quicker decisions from Cox.

"I would say the route running certainly needs to improve, and that's for the tight ends also," Richt said. "We've just got to get our timing squared away. We made some throws where we went to the right guy, but not as quick as we should. But we're not far off there either, but I thought we were closer to being in sync in the running game that we are in the passing game."

-- One receiver who managed to impress, Richt said, was redshirt freshman Tavarres King. Although King had just one catch for four yards, Richt said he saw an increased level of aggression from King that earned kudos from the coaches.

"I think Tavarres King has earned himself some more playing time," Richt said. "He really got after it as a blocker and made one catch across the middle where he had to really extend that took some bravery. We gained more confidence in Tavarres' ability to play more downs and get more opportunities."

-- Branden Smith got four touches on offense, and Richt said the decision to include the freshman cornerback in the game plan was a no-brainer.

"One was speed and agility and a confidence about him that we wanted to tap into," Richt said. "We knew he was going to play some defense, so it wasn't like we were worried about whether he was going to redshirt or not."

-- A missing ingredient from Saturday's performance was clearly tailback Caleb King, and Richt said he's hopeful that the sophomore will return to action quickly.

"I would love it," Richt said. "He's a guy that we need to get healthy and get in there and compete and play. We need him."

Richt said that he hasn't spoken with trainer Ron Courson about King's progress following a pulled hamstring, but I've spoken with multiple sources who said there's a strong possibility King won't be able to return until at least Week 3.


NYCDawg said...

ugh. Such a shame about Studivant. DGD and will be missed.
Feels like we're still recovering from last year's Bama game. Sturdivant hurt, untimely penalties, no pressure on the QB...deja vu all over again?

Excellent coverage during the game D Hale, excellent coverage.

Anonymous said...

How is it that Richt doesn't know what type of progress King is making? That doesn't seem right.

Anonymous said...

Will you ask Coach Richt a question for me?

Richard Samuel - Do the coaches coach this kid?? I saw zero improvement over last year. He still goes down on first contact, he doesnt protect the football with both arms (EVER), and he might as well just cut off his non ball carrying arm. Does he know what a stiff arm is? With his size and speed, he should be coached up to run through tackles, use his lower body strength, WAKE UP AND RUN THE BALL LIKE A FOOTBALL PLAYER. If this kid had ANY football instincts, he could be great...but at this point, we should just yank his scholarship cause he is a waste of a physical specimen.

Carter said...

Over the past few years I've noticed growing similarities between our coaches and contemporary politicians.

Both never want to take accountability when they screw up. When is the last time you heard either say, "I made a mistake" or "I was wrong"? It’s like they live in fear of having such a sound bite on record. They are always parsing words and offering qualifiers. If I were to witness honest to goodness frank discussion on their part, I would react with a combination of mouth agape bewilderment and joy.

Political parties seem to be more concerned with self-preservation and what their respective camps can gain rather than the good of the country as a whole. Our AD and coaching staff seem more concerned with circling the wagons to protect their own self interests (their jobs) rather than doing what is necessary for the good of the program.

I became disillusioned with politics long ago, and it want take much more for me to get to that point with our current coaching and administrative regime.

Carter said...

"Richt said the scheme was strong, but the execution was lacking."

That’s right, just like last year: blame the players, not the coaches.

"The healthcare plan we've drawn up is great, but you Americans are too dumb to realize it."

Sorry, David, for bringing politics to your blog. This was a brief indulgence brought fourth by uncanny resemblances.

a-de said...

Wow. Those notes sound like a they are from a press conference after a mediocre win...i.e., "Overall everything is fine, just some things to work on here or there.."

Was that really the tone of what CMR said or am I getting the wrong idea?

I agree with pretty much everything you said in your "Fleeting Thoughts" post, and I would expect a bit more admission of wrong, and a sense of urgency from the coaches and the team after that game.

Also (I hope I'm wrong) but Okl. State did not look that impressive at all, in fact I think they are way overrated.

Thanks for the great coverage.

Curt said...

Where was rantavious Wooten and Marlon brown

Dog Tired said...

I agree with Curt where are all these 5 star players that we are suppose to have. I think they might be helping water girl serve drinks to the opposing team because we were dehydrated for most of the game. Lets learn from Urban Meyer he plays playmakers we blame playmakers for execution or like Moreno from a few years back he hasn't learned our simple playbook.

Anonymous said...

Two questions:

Is Studivant able to petition for another medical redshirt?

At what point does Richt realize that the special teams approach isn't working and he personally needs to take over coaching it? Urban Meyer coaches the special teams for Florida and it seems to work pretty well.

Personally I think Fabris should have been let go last year because of the specail teams failure and zero production from the DE's he coaches.

BC said...

as Carter pointed out, "Richt said the scheme was strong, but the execution was lacking." It is up to the coaches to develop a scheme the players can execute to win. If the players can't execute the scheme it is a bad scheme.

Muttman said...

I agree with a everything Carter said and I am completely baffled as to what is going on with CMR. I love this man and I'm proud he is our coach but something has changed. Something is not right. It has nothing to do with this loss either. If we won Saturday and played the same, I would feel the exact same. I did not see very good execution or very much passion on either side of the ball. Bobo was totally out of sync. Sadly, OSU is not very good either. Call them a top 10 team if you like but they did not play like a top 25 team. The Dawgs are in big trouble and there's no excuse for this either. Did anyone watch the Alabama-West VA game? Those guys are in a totally different league than we are. The Dawgs simply are not very good.

Keep up the incredible job David! You are the best!

Anonymous said...

Right there with you on the Bama and VT observations. Both of those teams would absolutely dismantle us. Here's a sobering thought raised by someone over on the run: We're 6-4 over our last 10 games. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Oh, but we shouldn't panic, we have unity and togetherness on our side. Yippee!!!