O-line issues: Houston ineligible for now, and another injury

September 21, 2011 

ATHENS - Now we know why offensive lineman Kolton Houston hasn't dressed for games: The redshirt freshman is not eligible, per an NCAA issue that the team would not say much about.

Richt made the revelation after Wednesday's practice.

"Just an NCAA issue is all I can say," Richt said. "It's an individual case that we're not gonna get into details about. But it's NCAA-related. We think it's gonna get cleared up. We just don't know when."

Meanwhile, starting right guard Chris Burnette "tweaked" his knee on Wednesday, and his status is up in the air.

"Right this second we don't think it's very serious as far as the long term," Richt said. "We've just gotta see if it swells and if it would keep him from playing this week or not. I don't know if it would right now or not."

Kenarious Gates, the starter at left guard in the opener, has also missed the past two games with a leg injury. But Richt said Gates practiced on Wednesday.

"We're very thin with guys that have played, but between those two guys hopefully we'll have one of them ready to go, if not both," Richt said.

Center Ben Jones, the anchor of the line, was in street clothes for the early portion of practice. But there was good news on that front, as Richt said Jones was only under the weather and returned to the latter potion of practice.

In fact, Richt mentioned perhaps shifting Jones to guard or tackle "in a pinch" if Gates and/or Burnette can't go.

Some other notes after Wednesday's practice:

- After all the hullaballoo over Shawn Williams' move to linebacker, is the junior now BACK at safety? It looked that way early in Wednesday's practice, but Richt was remaining coy - just like last week when asked if Williams had moved from safety to inside linebacker.

"I like all you guys a lot," Richt said, smiling at the media. "But I'm just not in the habit of telling you all what our intentions are prior to the game. It has nothing to do with other than trying to prepare for a game and not telling the enemy what you're doing. I don't have a real good answer for that one right now."

- It was also the first time Richt was available after the announcement that Jakar Hamilton was transferring.

"I hate to be evasive again, but when we announce something that's for personal reasons we like to leave it like that. Or I do," Richt said. "And we wish them well."

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