O-line key for Jackets' season

Special to the Ledger-EnquirerAugust 12, 2013 

ATLANTA -- The Georgia Tech offense put up some gaudy numbers again last year. The Yellow Jackets were fourth in the nation in rushing and scored 470 points.

If they are going to approach those figures again, the senior-laden offensive line will be expected to come back and again be the cohesive, dependable group that fans have become accustomed to seeing. The group isn't huge, but they are determined and know how to get the offense started.

"Our offense is predicated on getting us getting out of our stance and being aggressive and making the defense guess right," said senior guard Will Jackson. "Playing up front is all about firing off the ball and getting on a guy. Our thing is to fire off the ball and make them adjust to you."

Tech's offensive line lost All-ACC guard Omoregie Uzzi, but otherwise returns intact. This group is one of the most experienced assembled since Johnson arrived on the Flats.

The line is led by center Jay Finch, who was named to the watchlist for the Rimington Award, given to the nation's best center, for the second year. Finch (6-3, 285, Sr.) is still working his way back from shoulder surgery that kept him out of spring practice. Finch has played 37 games and made 28 starts and is one of the guys who spends a lot of time in the weight room. But he's still at full strength and the staff is being cautious with his return.The tackles will be Ray Beno (6-2, 292, Sr.) on the left and Morgan Bailey (6-, 298, Jr.) on the right, with the starting guards expected to be Will Jackson (6-3, 290, Sr.) on the left and Shaq Mason (6-1, 305, Jr.) on the right.

Beno and Jackson have already graduated from school, but wanted to come back and finish their eligibility.Although Beno and Finch are both ailing, the real problem is at right tackle, where Bailey suffered an undisclosed injury and could be out until September. But the offensive line got a big lift when the NCAA granted Nick Brigham's appeal for residency reasons. That means the 6-foot3, 300-pounder who transferred from Maryland will be immediately eligible at Tech. Brigham was a redshirt last year for the Terps. Brigham was an all-state player at Atlanta's Marist School.

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