Tag:Will Friend
Posted on: April 11, 2011 12:30 pm
Edited on: April 11, 2011 12:52 pm
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UGA's Sturdivant tears ACL for third time

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Football is a cruel game. And though it is occasionally, it's not often more cruel than it has been to Georgia  senior offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant.

Sturdivant burst on to the scene as a true freshman in 2007, starting every game for the Bulldogs at left tackle to earn freshman All-SEC honors and a handful of freshman All-America nods. But in 2008, he tore his anterior cruciate ligament and missed the entire season. In 2009, he started the Bulldogs' season opener against Oklahoma State and tore another ACL, ending his season again. He battled back to start seven games in 2010, and entering Saturday's scrimmage had been penciled in -- though it was more like ink -- for one of Georgia's two starting tackle spots.

That won't happen. Sturdivant left the scrimmage  having torn his third ACL in four years . Per Georgia head athletic trainer Ron Courson, Sturdivant will have surgery this week to repair the ligament. He is expected to miss the entire 2011 season.

The blow is a severe one for the Georgia offensive line, a group that underachieved substantially last season, is working for a new position coach in Will Friend, and will now have to replace Sturdivant with either a converted guard or a player of limited (if any) SEC experience. If no unit on the team was as important this spring  as the offensive line, it's possible no injury aside from one to Aaron Murray could hit them as hard as this one.

But the blow is no doubt even more savage for Sturdivant personally. He had previously discussed his furstration with having to undergo rehab a second time after his second tear, and had considered leaping to the NFL a year early while he could. With his injury history, a sixth year of eligibilty is a certainty if he wants it, but there's a lor of arduous rehabbing work and consideration to be done before that bridge is crossed.

If Sturdivant does elect to return to the Sanford Stadium field,  we'll be wishing him nothing but the best. Football may be cruel, but there are times it  seems to be too cruel, and this is one of those times.



Posted on: March 10, 2011 1:42 pm
 

Spring Practice Primer: Georgia

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

College Football has no offseason. Every coach knows that the preparation for September begins now, in Spring Practice . So we here at the Eye on College Football  will get you ready as teams open spring ball with our Spring Practice Primers . Today, we look at Georgia , who begins spring practice today.


Spring Practice Question: Is the Bulldog offense ready to make a push up front?


Entering 2010, the biggest reason Georgia was supposed to be the biggest challenger to two-time defending SEC East champion (and heavy 2010 favorite) Florida was, not coincidentally, their biggest players. Led by veterans like bookend senior tackles Clint Boling and Josh Davis, the Bulldogs boasted the nation's most experienced offensive line . With highly-regarded (and well-compensated) OL coach Stacy Searels leading the unit, the line was believed to be the SEC's best.

Entering 2011, things are very, very different. That line fell far short of the advance hype, with the Bulldogs finishing a disappointing 10th in the SEC in rushing (ahead of only Vanderbilt and Tennessee), doing nothing special in pass protection, and even seeing Searels juggle the lineup late in the year. Though the line wasn't the only problem, it also did precious little to help as Georgia scored 12 points or fewer three times (all losses) and finished a mediocre 56th in the country in total offense. Following the disappointment, Boling, Davis, Trinton Sturdivant (who eventually replaced Davis) and guard Chris Davis all graduated. Searels accepted the same position at Texas. And the advance hype will almost certainly move on to some other team this offseason.

But that doesn't mean it's too late for the Georgia line to get Mark Richt to another SEC title game. For starters, there's still plenty of talent on hand even after the departures, starting with senior center Ben Jones (pictured, a 2009 All-SEC pick before being overlooked last year), 325-pound senior guard Cordy Glenn, and junior guard Kenarious Gates, another player who ascended to the starting lineup late in the year. After seemingly tuning out Searels last year, the Bulldogs will have a new voice in their ears in new coach Will Friend. And maybe most importantly of all, the remaining Bulldogs will have the sting of last year's failures -- rather than an offseason of praise -- fueling them. If Georgia's spring practice shows that the line is enjoying the proverbial addition by subtraction and looks poised to make good on the hype a year late, the rest of the SEC should look out.

Previous Spring Primers
Why? Because if the Dawg line falls into place, everything else on the offense should, too. Aaron Murray was arguably the nation's best freshman quarterback in 2010 and could be the SEC's best signal-caller as a redshirt sophomore. Even with A.J. Green and Kris Durham gone, players like Tavarres King and Marlon Brown, and Rantavious Wooten -- not to mention future NFL tight end Orson Charles -- give the Bulldog receiving corps plenty of potential. And maybe most importantly of all, though he won't be in for spring, incoming tailback recruit Isaiah Crowell could deliver a Marcus Lattimore- like impact for an offense that spent 2010 crying out for a game-changer in the backfield.

Add all of that to a defense that seems certain to improve in the second year of Todd Grantham's 3-4 scheme, in a division that's as wide open as any in the SEC's recent memory, and the tools are there for Richt to forge a championship season out of even the miserable ashes of 6-7. But they won't do much good without a huge step forward from the offensive line, and that's where Bulldog fans' primary focus ought to be this spring.

 
 
 
 
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