Make no mistake about it, losing Harvey-Clemons for the first game of the season leaves a huge void in the UGA defense. A unique combination of size and speed, Harvey-Clemons won the job as the starting strong safety and was expected take over at the all-important star position when the Dawgs go to the nickel defense. His versatility would have come in handy against the Clemson offense, whose up-tempo style makes it difficult to get the right personnel on the field at times.
Although they will miss having Harvey-Clemons in the lineup, the Dawg’s D will rise to the challenge against the Tigers.
Let’s be honest, this isn’t the first time that Georgia has had to play a big game shorthanded. The Dawgs had several key players out for the first few contests last season, including Sanders Commings (two games), Bacarri Rambo (four games) and Alec Ogletree (four games). While losing this many starters would cripple most teams, UGA’s reserves got the job done, leading the team to four straight victories, while allowing just 16.5 points per game.
After watching the defense in action this spring, there’s no reason to believe that the same thing won’t happen again in 2013. Even though the D gave up a few big plays during the G-Day game, it managed to get pressure on the quarterback on every snap. That doesn’t exactly bode well for a Clemson offense that allowed 15 sacks in three games against SEC competition last season. After all, you can’t complete a pass if you’re laying in the grass.
In other words, it’s time to stop with all of the “Georgia’s national championship hopes have gone up in smoke” jokes. The Bulldogs couldn’t have won back-to-back SEC East titles without learning how to overcome adversity from time to time.