By Brian Paglia
MACON - In the maelstrom of injuries for the Georgia Bulldogs in 2008 came the loss of left tackle Trinton Sturdivant before the season started, a knee injury that precipitated a season-long experiment with the offensive line, which worked to the advantage of Riverdale native Cordy Glenn.
Sturdivant's injury thrust Glenn into the starting right guard position for the season-opener against Georgia Southern as a true freshman. He started in all but three games for Georgia at both right and left guard, and though Sturdivant returns this season, the experience Glenn gained in 2008 has positioned him to regain a starting role.
"I would think he'll start somewhere for us," Georgia coach Mark Richt said at the annual Pigskin Preview at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in Macon. "He can be a guard or a tackle. He's very capable of playing all our positions beside center. He's big and strong and agile and much more experienced now."
Glenn gained more playing time than he might have expected or Richt and his staff might have wanted. He started at right guard in the Bulldogs' first three games against Georgia Southern, Central Michigan and the Southeastern Conference opener against South Carolina. After losing the starting role during the next three games, Glenn seized the left guard position for the rest of the season as the Bulldogs went 10-3 with a 24-14 victory over Michigan State in the Capital One Bowl.
Richt had expected Glenn to struggle understanding the idiosyncrasies of the Bulldogs offense, as any freshman lineman might. College defenses change formations and disguise blitzes more often and with greater cunning. Thus, college offenses change plays at the line of scrimmage, requiring advanced knowledge of the playbook.
But Richt found Glenn handled the process with aplomb, more than he expected, and Georgia's offense thrived despite its youthful offensive line. The Bulldogs led the SEC in passing and finished second in total offense.
"He was more ready than I thought he'd be," Richt said. "The thing you worry about the most is, will he figure out what to do down after down? So to see him not bust a lot of assignments - you expect a lot of freshman to bust a lot - he just seemed to do well."
Bulldogs coaches lured Glenn to Athens partly on the prospects of receiving playing time as a freshman. They told him then, as Richt reiterated Tuesday, that a player with the physical tools of a 6-foot-5, 330-pound build were too intriguing to keep idle on the sideline.
"He is a guy that's so intriguing that you wanted to get him in there and just see what he can do," Richt said.
Sturdivant's injury accelerated Georgia's promise and Glenn's prominence on the team. Now, he's played games against five Top-25 teams and endured an arduous SEC schedule. Now, he's experienced the climatic finale to the college football season when he started in the Bulldogs' bowl game.
Sturdivant's injury might have thrown Georgia's offensive line into disarray.
But it threw Cordy Glenn's college career into fast forward.
"He's going to play a lot," Richt said. "I'd be shocked if he wasn't one of our starters."