ATHENS, Ga. - Whether he gets the better of defensive linemen this season or not, Georgia fifth-year senior guard Chris Burnette will not be lacking for support.
Burnette, who has started 24 games for the Bulldogs the past two seasons, married Arielle Haynes in May. The two were introduced nearly four years ago, and Burnette proposed to her last September at Athens Church several hours after the Bulldogs hammered Vanderbilt 48-3 inside Sanford Stadium.
His proposal, which was witnessed by quarterback Aaron Murray and tailback Todd Gurley and several other teammates, included a quoting of Proverbs 18:22 and has been seen nearly 40,000 times on YouTube.com.
“I married way above my pay grade, and when you marry well you can’t do anything but succeed,” a smiling Burnette said last week. “Both of us are really solid in our faith, and we understand that regardless of the outside distractions that are going on, we have each other to lean on as well as the Lord. I think we have a really solid base, and hopefully it will help us last 50 or 60 years down the road.”
The 6-foot-2, 314-pounder from LaGrange, Ga., was a second-team All-SEC selection last year despite playing most of the season with a separated shoulder. He underwent surgery in January and sat out spring drills.
Burnette has reclaimed his spot as the starting right guard during preseason camp, but what about life now as a newlywed?
“We definitely cherished the summer time, because we knew this was imminent,” he said. “She has been through the ringer these last few years just by dating me, so she knows how busy the fall can be.”
The Bulldogs appear to be as deep on the offensive line as at any point during the Mark Richt era. Kolton Houston, Watts Dantzler and Greg Pyke are fighting for playing time at guard behind Burnette and Dallas Lee, while Mark Beard and Xzavier Ward are doing the same behind top tackles Kenarious Gates and John Theus.
Georgia had just six starting linemen last year — Burnette, Gates, Lee, Theus, Beard and center David Andrews — with Beard starting the two games Burnette missed due to his shoulder.
“It’s great when you have that continuity and you know what that guy next to you is going to do,” Burnette said, “but there is nothing wrong with getting a spell every now and then. You want to give 110 percent all the time, but guys get tired. It’s always good to have the option.”
Odds and ends
Freshman linebacker Leonard Floyd underwent surgery Tuesday after fracturing his left hand in Monday’s practice, but Floyd is expected to be available for the Aug. 31 opener against Clemson. … The Bulldogs actually had 15 players out Tuesday, including Burnette and Dantzler, but Richt said most everyone will be back in “a matter of days.” … Richt said it may not be until the Clemson opener that the status is revealed for kicker Marshall Morgan, who pleaded guilty to a pair of misdemeanor charges last week as a result of his arrest earlier this summer for boating under the influence. … Georgia held a special-teams practice Tuesday morning and a shorts and helmet workout in the afternoon leading up to this morning’s scrimmage.
<em>Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.</em>