Georgia’s six-man rotation on the offensive line paid off in Saturday’s win over Auburn.
When left guard Isaiah Wynn went down with a sprained left MCL in the first half of the 13-7 win, the Bulldogs had to turn to their sixth man on the line. That player is Dyshon Sims, who has sporadically filled in at both left guard and right guard to spell the starters – Wynn and Lamont Gaillard – when needed.
But in this instance, Sims was needed to fill in for Wynn for the remainder of the game. By having Sims get previous game experience as the sixth man, the line was able to regroup without an issue by not having an inexperienced player step into a game for the first time.
"It’s really good because I roll in a lot anyway," Sims said. "I was already in so I was warm. It’s good to have that extra person to come in and give someone a breather."
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Sims earned a start in 2015 against Kentucky at right guard, which gave him a brief feel of what it’s like to play college football. He competed for the starting right guard spot during the offseason and preseason but was beat out by Gaillard.
But during this season, Sims has received playing time at both guard positions.
Having Sims get those game reps prepared Georgia well for the situation it faced against the Tigers, when Wynn went down in the first half.
"The good thing is Dyshon had played quite a bit throughout the year, so you had a guy you could put in there with some experience," head coach Kirby Smart said. "That puts us one injury away from putting in somebody who hasn’t played much. I thought Dyshon did a good job coming in and competing, especially with the guys he was blocking. The talent level was really high at the interior positions (for Auburn)."
Being the sixth man on the offensive line, Sims has to be ready for multiple scenarios. He’s next up at right guard if Gaillard goes down. When left tackle Tyler Catalina sustained an ankle injury against Kentucky, and when he was briefly banged up against Auburn, Sims stepped in at left guard with Wynn kicking out to left tackle.
In practice, Sims has cross-trained at right tackle, which could make him a candidate to play there in 2017 with Greg Pyke graduating at the end of the year.
Given that Georgia’s been fortunate with injuries up front, Sims has only played a drive or two at a time for the most part. But the playing time he’s received throughout the year had Sims ready to go for his first extensive action of the year.
"I think I held up good. I think we all prepared well," Sims said. "We knew what was going on. When they called me in I was ready to go already."
Georgia’s offensive line has played well over the past two games. It helped pave the way for 215 rushing yards against Kentucky and 135 rushing yards against Auburn.
Sims said the line’s beginning to pick up the concepts much better after some early-season struggles.
"We’re starting to come along well," Sims said. "We’re starting to put all the pieces well. It’s starting to show in these games."