This is not the way Georgia wanted to go into preseason camp, without one of its projected starters on defense.
Senior linebacker Akeem Dent had surgery Tuesday morning on an injured toe stemming from what Georgia called an “off-field accident” last week. He’ll be sidelined for four to six weeks, meaning he’ll miss just about all of preseason practice and possibly the first game against Louisiana-Lafayette. With Dent out for at least the next month, sophomore Christian Robinson is the favorite to move into his spot, while junior Marcus Dowtin is the top candidate to be the starter at the other inside spot.
The Bulldogs have lost more than their share of players the past couple of years, some of those to injuries and some to dismissals.
There is some depth at linebacker. That’s the good news. But first-year defensive coordinator Todd Grantham will be the first to tell you that his guys need all the reps they can get in the new 3-4 scheme this preseason. Dent came out of the spring as the starter at one of the two inside linebacker positions, the position the Bulldogs call the “Mike” linebacker.
Go back and count over the past few years how many players the Bulldogs have lost permanently or for large chunks of the season.
They were without offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant each of the past two seasons after he blew out his knee in the opener last season and during preseason practice the year before.
Earlier this year, quarterback Zach Mettenberger and outside linebacker Montrez Robinson were dismissed from the team. Offensive guard Tanner Strickland missed all of last season following shoulder surgery, and receiver Kris Durham was out with a torn labrum in his shoulder.
The 2008 season was even worse with players going down all over the place. The number of players returning from surgery was staggering.
So you know the Bulldogs are keeping their fingers crossed that this latest deal with Dent isn’t a sign that more of the same is on the horizon in Dawgville.