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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Richt elaborates on the impact of Harmon's departure

GAINESVILLE – Mark Richt is here to speak at the tour stop in Gainesville – that would be Georgia – and per usual he spent a few minutes with us media hacks.

First off, Richt didn’t want to say much about A.J. Harmon’s announced transfer.

“That’s kind of why you say it’s personal reasons. Because it’s personal,” Richt said. So that’s all I can really say about that.”

But Richt did make clear that after the departures of Harmon and Washaun Ealey, he didn’t expect any more, at least for academic reasons.

“I don’t. I don’t,” Richt said. I expect everybody to be here in the fall.”

He also elaborated on what Harmon’s departure means for the offensive line. Harmon finished the spring as essentially the third tackle, the top backup on the left and right side.

Kenarious Gates, projected as the starter at left guard, could move out to tackle “if need be,” according to Richt. And if that happened, Kolton Houston would be the next option at one of the guard spots.

Richt said the “jury was still out” on Austin Long, but said he has time to move up the depth chart. Brent Benedict knows he has a ways to go as he heals from his surgery, the coach added. Dallas Lee, a guard, missed most of spring practice.

Throw in the injury to Trinton Sturdivant, and Richt admitted the team is scraping a bit on the line.

“You’d like to have more depth by now. You’d like to have more guys waiting in the wings for their opportunity,” he said. “I’d rather not go through another cycle of freshmen playing, they kind of go through the program and when they leave you’re playing freshmen again. It really is not ideal. But if that’s what it takes, that’s what we’ll do.”

Watts Dantzler, Zach DeBell and Xzavier Ward are the signees who project as tackles.

”I do feel like we’ve got enough guys right now to be able to play well,” Richt said. “But as we all know, when you’re short on depth, you’ve gotta stay healthy.”

In other news, Richt confirmed that the plan “at this time” was not to sign a quarterback for the 2012 class. But he cautioned that they didn’t plan to before they signed Hutson Mason.

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