ATHENS, Ga. - Some springs, or perhaps more than just some, Mike Bobo has left worried about the state of Georgias offensive line. This year, however, Georgias offensive coordinator was notably upbeat.
I think the offensive line has played well. I think weve got a chance to be better up front this year, Bobo said after Thursdays final spring practice. I think weve got a chance to be more athletic at all five positions. Maybe a little bit better physically stronger than years past.
OK, there were a lot of qualifiers in there. But when Bobo talked about Georgias receiver position, he used words like concerned several times. So for him to be optimistic about the line, especially considering its been the offenses main worry the last few years, might say something.
Georgia finished the spring feeling it has four of the five starting spots all but decided. The surprise is at right guard, where Greg Pyke is poised to be a starter after sitting his first two years.
Left guard, on the other hand, is up in the air.
We played some guys to try to be there, but theyre not the guy, offensive line coach Will Friend said after Thursdays practice.
As the spring ended, there were three lineups Friend and Bobo feel comfortable with, and they all hinge on what happens at the left guard spot:
- If rising sophomore Brandon Kublanow wins the left guard spot, then John Theus stays at left tackle and Kolton Houston at right tackle.
- If rising senior Mark Beard plays his way into the starting lineup, he can be the left tackle, with John Theus moving to right tackle and Kolton Houston to left guard. (Beard could also play left guard.)
- And if rising senior Watts Dantzler can win a job at tackle, then Houston goes to left guard, and Theus is at the other tackle spot.
Heres how Friend summed things up:
Brandons been up and down. Koltons looked good the last week-and-a-half. Obviously Zach (DeBell) was moved there and kept there to see if he could figure it out. But that hasnt gone as well as we wanted. So were still looking.
As a result, hold off on anointing Theus the left tackle, at least all of the time. But thats because Friend says he can rotate between both spots, and without more depth he has to be ready to play both.
He can handle playing both, Friend said of Theus. Hes been in the system long enough, hes a smart guy. Some guys struggle with playing more than one spot, more than one side. He can handle it. Kolton can handle it.
But why all the rotating? Why not keep guys at one spot?
Hey, Friend wouldnt mind that. Right now the rotating is out of necessity, not design.
What Ive told my guys, and they know this, when there is no doubt in our mind that somebody is without a question the best center, he doesnt come out of the game. When there is no doubt in our mind that somebody is the best guard, he doesnt come out of the game, if hes healthy, Friend said. So they need to separate if they want to be one of those guys.
Friend said hes seen that at center, right guard, and both tackle spots, most of the time.
I didnt see that at the other guard, he said. The other guard was here and there with people. I guess thats why you practice. I guess you gotta figure it out in August.