Aug. 1 is finally here and with it comes the first day of Georgia’s fall camp. Summer classes ended today and the players reported Tuesday. Today they will have a testing day, and tomorrow, their first on-field practice. So far we have discussed who we expect might have a breakout camp and which position group needs to be more productive in 2012. Now we turn our attention to an ugly part of the preseason -- injuries. The Bulldogs have been plagued by numerous injuries in fall camp and, despite all wishes to the contrary, will likely have a few this year as well. So the DawgNation Roundtable question for the staff and DawgNation Insiders alike this week is:
“Which position group can least afford injuries in August?”
David Ching: Since we still don't know whether All-American Bacarri Rambo will be suspended -- or how long any suspension might last -- Georgia's safety depth might be less of a concern than it appears today. Rambo reportedly failed a drug test during the spring, which would trigger a suspension, but Mark Richt has not confirmed anything related to Rambo's status.
When he's available, Rambo and Shawn Williams form one of the nation's top safety duos. If Rambo is out, Corey Moore, Connor Norman and Marc Deas are the top options on the roster and none of those players has much in the way of experience. The Bulldogs would benefit from every available safety remaining healthy -- not only in August but throughout the season -- in order to break in the backups under less stressful conditions.
Radi Nabulsi: With the likely suspension of both of Georgia’s starting cornerbacks, Scott Lakatos has to be a little nervous every time Malcolm Mitchell or Damian Swann takes a big hit or gets up slowly after a tackle. Sanders Commings is going to miss two games and Branden Smith will likely miss some time as well as a result of his arrest in January. That leaves Mitchell, Swann, Devin Bowman and former walk-on Blake Sailors to cover until they return.
Mitchell missed some games last year with a hamstring issue and Bowman has yet to play a down since he redshirted last year. Sailors is primarily known for his speed and aggressive special teams play. Swann started a game last year and was named the most improved defensive player of the spring. These four and newcomer Sheldon Dawson should be able to hold the fort so to speak, but one or two injuries could be very costly early in the season.
Carlybot: Quarterbacks! I'd like to think that Hutson Mason or Christian LeMay could step in without one skip of a heartbeat. More likely, though, it would take weeks, if not all season, to recoup from a loss of Aaron Murray under center. Experience and leadership like that are not easily replaced so quickly, and going to the SEC championship game again would not be as likely a scenario.
Clint_b11: Offensive tackle. It seems like Georgia’s tackles are guards, Georgia’s guards are guards and the centers, well, are guards. True, we have high hopes for David Andrews at center and John Theus at tackle, but the guys are young and unproven at this level. The offensive line is the one area coaches most talked about needing to come together over the summer. The starting lineup is not set, but to me the linemen Georgia has are versatile. All of them can play guard, that is for sure -- though how many of them can play tackle? I'm not sure how many true tackles Georgia has on the team. Or how many guys Georgia has who could play tackle in the league.
GAbread: Tight End. There are only three on the roster -- pretty thin for a position that is usually an important part of the offense. If Arthur Lynch or Jay Rome were to get hurt I'd be pretty concerned. The blocking would suffer with Lynch out, especially with a young line. Receiving would seem to take a hit with Rome out, but I think Ty Smith could do more of the things that Rome provides if that were to happen. The experience is already at a minimum, so I'd say this position would suffer a lot with just one injury.
Alan Kelley: Offensive line
Stewart Smithwick: Offensive line
Jake Boldin: Offensive line
Aimee Birdsong: Offensive line
Brad Hodnett: Safety
Steven Holt: Defensive coordinator
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