Georgia Tech starting offensive tackle Phil Smith will miss the first two games of the season for a violation of team rules, according to a school spokesman.
Smith, who has played in 23 career games with 12 starts, is one of the Jackets' most experienced offensive linemen. The good news is that Georgia Tech starts the season against unheralded opponents Western Carolina and at Middle Tennessee, but this is a big hit for an offensive line in desperate need of some cohesion. The group struggled through injuries this past spring and was less-than-impressive overall.
Smith's replacement will be either redshirt freshman Catlin Alford or Ray Beno, who played three games as a redshirt freshman last season. Complicating matters is the fact that a handful of other key linemen, including starting guard Will Jackson, have also been injured.
It's hardly an ideal situation for an offense with a first-year starting quarterback and a team trying to rebound from a losing record. It's not a good start to summer camp for Paul Johnson's offense, as a lack of depth on the offensive line has already been exposed.