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Post Two starters face suspension, but story is still developing

Thursday March 29, 2012

By now most know that two more defensive starters are facing multiple-game suspensions for failed drug tests. Rather than rehash (npi) the details, a few random thoughts:

The story is a bit unique in that the news wasn’t broken by an announcement from the program. Of course news sites break stories all the time before there’s confirmation, but there’s usually something concrete like a police report on which to base the story. This is a purely internal issue that was brought to light before the program had anything to say about it.

I don’t mean to say that Georgia was caught unprepared, but it’s clear that they weren’t ready to comment on the situation yet. That might tell us that the story was broken during a process that’s not yet complete. It’s worth remembering that no suspensions have been announced by the program yet. It’s also worth remembering that the news report everyone is referencing might also not be comprehensive.

Along those lines, we’re learning additional details – at least from Rambo’s side. (If Rambo’s accounts of both of his infractions are accurate, that has to be some of the worst luck I’ve ever heard.) If all that has him facing a four-game suspension, I wouldn’t blame him for at least considering the NFL Supplemental Draft. He did consider leaving after his junior year, but there were very specific reasons and goals for which he came back.

Rambo was humble and contrite after his one-game suspension a year ago.

“I broke a team rule,” he said. “It was a selfish mistake. I will not allow it to happen anymore. It was a big mistake that I did. It messed up the team goal by me sitting out that one game. I’m not saying we could have won, but I know I could have helped the team out as much as I can and the results of the game could have been different.”

That doesn’t mean that he couldn’t have a moment of weakness on Spring Break or behave like many other college students at any given moment, but that’s also the sign of a guy who understands what’s at stake.

Yes, there’s the usual hand-wringing about the discipline on the Georgia team, and that’s been the case just about every year since “Ring-gate” and the suspensions of a number of players leading up to the 2003 season. If this annual ritual is a sign of a program out of control or if “fire the coach” or “kick them off the team” is your first response, it might be time to follow another sport.

Yes, Georgia plays by different rules than most everyone else in the SEC. That’s comforting, but it’s irrelevant. There’s no lack of education or any misunderstanding within the program as to Georgia’s policies on these things. Work towards unification of the rules if you like – I’d be all for it – but don’t let that be an excuse for failure to comply with the policies in place now.

Granting for a moment the worst case and the absense of these starters from the SEC opener, it is significant. Georgia’s thin secondary could be down at least two, if not three, starters for the game at Missouri against an offense that can be explosive. There is at least the depth at ILB to deal with Ogletree’s absence, though of course the team is better with him in there.

A silver lining? Since no one was arrested, there at least won’t be any Fulmer Cup points from all of this.

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