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August 4, 2011

Heart of the Matter: Georgia's Offensive Line

Need a big year from Cordy (Image:SBNation)
In February, what if I told you Georgia would have more Preseason All-SEC players on the offensive line than any team but Alabama? We know we have 86 starts and combined 113 games across the projected starting line. We have Army All-American Game participants and highly recruited players. In all honesty, I'd have been surprised to hear we had more than anyone but the Tide.

For what it is worth, until the we start play, I view the 'line sucks' talk as a media storyline to discuss the players that have left the program. Yes, it is an area of concern, but if you read most media accounts, Georgia will have two decent returning starters and a bunch of walk-ons playing. When have we had too many non-injured, game tested linemen? Last year? That group didn't exactly set the world on fire, allowing 25 sacks on the season.

Looking at this starting group:

PlayerHtWeightStartsGames
Cordy Glenn6-53483639
Ben Jones6-33163539
Kenarious Gates6-5328310
Chris Burnette6-231300
Justin Anderson6-53421225
Orson Charles6-32411625

I am not worried about the starters. The only one without game experience might be the smartest player on the team, played in the Army All-American game and was a four star recruit. Sure, we face very tough tests the first two games (and the rest of the SEC schedule, for that matter). But the players with game experience have faced the very best players in the nation during their time in Athens. They'll be fine. Do I worry about injuries? Always. Conditioning, in particular will play an important role here. Bobo and Richt like to rotate in linemen and probably won't be able to do that as much as they like early.   We are stout with our starters, though.

The backups might be green, but by no means are they bad.  All are big kids that will need to adjust to the speed of the game. All are talented.  Several will have to step up and be big contributors early. This will be where the Coach Friend earns his money.

Before you start on the new offensive line coach, the last one we had, who everyone seemed to think was the greatest thing since sliced bread and is part of the solution at Texas, didn't exactly burn it up last year. The play last year seemed to be as much a part of the general lack of giving a damn than lack of ability. That and a continued insistence on calling plays that required a freshman QB to stay in the pocket without options. Searles certainly didn't work the wonders last year that we saw in past seasons.

Play calling will be a big part of the success of this line, as it was part of the lack thereof last year. Plays that give us the opportunity to put another big man on the line, think Lynch or White, and flex Orson out will help. Plays that the give playmakers options in space. Or that put Murray in the backfield with Nick Marshall on one side, Crowell on the other and Branden Smith at slot, just to watch defensive players panic.

The real question in my mind is will the play book adjust to take some pressure off the line, through innovation in rushing plays, a mindset change in passing philosophy, or both. If we do that, the line will be fine.

TD

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

ahhh...that formation is a 15 yard penalty because of the Jersey #s.

Tyler Dawgden said...

ahhh...that non-sense will be worked out.

 
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