Yesterday, UGA announced that Brent Benedict was leaving the program for "personal reasons." It had been speculated that said personal reasons were injury related, but rumors were also floating around that his decision was also based upon his attitude.
ECDawg, who writes over at Leather Helmet Blog, stated in a post today that he'd heard Benedict's decision was a little bit of both scenarios. Benedict felt he was physically unable to do some of the summer workouts with CES (who was hired to help with conditioning), and UGA thought he was either ready to workout or needed to take a medical hardship. Benedict decided that it was best for him to move to another school, sit out the necessary year to help repair his knee (which was injured two years ago) and then get playing time.
ECDawg also makes the excellent point that Benedict had not been practicing 100% with the team and wasn't expected to play this year, regardless of whether or not he was wearing a "G" on his helmet. So, his transfer really doesn't mean anything in regards to UGA's season in 2011. It just creates depth issues for later on this season should his knee be ready ahead of time, and creates serious depth issues for 2012.
Not everyone agrees with ECDawg that Benedict wouldn't have played this season, but everyone is in agreement that Benedict wasn't feeling like he was ready. It's a pretty simple truth that no one's playing if they don't want to play, and it was evident that Benedict was fearful of his knee. I can't say I blame him, because it happens with every player who has blown out his knee. Physically they may be ready, but mentally, it's very tough to make that comeback. It happens to a lot of players, so you can't blame Benedict in the slightest over what happened.
There's a bottom line here and that is UGA cannot afford any injuries on the Offensive Line. Not only that, but how does Richt tell his Line to hit hard, hit often and hit through pain when you're so thin that you can't afford to lose a guy to injury? Belue made this point and as much as I hate to admit it, he's right. This kind of fear towards physicality is what got this team in bad shape a few years ago. Now, whether we like it or not, the dichotomy is back again.
If you're tall, fat and physical, Coach Will Friend would like to have a word.
Until next time kids.