Going into this week’s game with South Carolina, Georgia will be without two of its offensive linemen – one, Daniel Inman, is a starter. Inman and backup interior lineman Ian Smith were suspended for the first two games of the season for violating team rules.
So when the Bulldogs struggled to get their much-talked-about running game going in their season opener there was reason for concern.
“We didn’t play as well as I would have hoped,” admitted Richt about the line’s performance against the Hilltoppers. Georgia finished the contest with 136 yards on only 27 carries. Richt said during Tuesday’s press conference that the team didn’t run as much as they wanted to because of punt returns and a safety. The head coach estimated that took about ten plays from the Bulldogs’ offense.
Now Georgia, which played only six offensive linemen in its season opener, will be forced to play in hostile Columbia in a critical early-season match up against South Carolina.
“I know there are only six guys, but that’s just the way it is right now,” the Georgia head coach stressed.
Seth Watts, the only scholarship backup who played last Saturday, was flagged for holding in the end zone, which resulted in a safety.
But the problem of depth on the offensive line is not unique to the Bulldogs this weekend. South Carolina, too, played a limited number of offensive linemen in their 15-0 win over Mississippi State last week.
“We didn’t block very well in Starkville, and we have to give Blake (Mitchell) some time,” head coach Steve Spurrier said earlier this week. Carolina’s starting quarterback, Mitchell, was hurt after protection broke down last Thursday. He will not return to practice until this Tuesday, but should start against the Bulldogs.
Because of the situation on the line Richt said he would be watching the weather report closely for this Saturday night hoping to get favorable temperatures.
“I just hope it’s a cool night (Saturday night),” Richt said.