ATHENS - It probably won't look this way on G-Day, and potentially the best member isn't on campus yet, but as Georgia began spring practice here was how the offensive line went out:
LT - Kenarious Gates
LG - Kolton Houston
C - David Andrews
RG - Chris Burnette
RT - Watts Dantzler
LT - Mark Beard
LG - Dallas Lee
C - Hugh Williams
RG - Hunter Long
RT - Austin Long
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A few pithy observations:
- Houston's presence on the first team, with Lee backing him up, jumps out the most. Houston sat out last year with an unspecified NCAA issue and his status hasn't changed. Lee was one of the team's better linemen last year before breaking his fibula against Florida.
- Gates at left tackle makes sense, but that spot is still likely to be reserved for John Theus when he arrives this summer. But it's probably smart of the coaches to work Gates there so Theus knows he still has to earn the job, and have Gates ready as the other tackle. Dantzler and Mark Beard, the junior college transfer, also appear to be competing for one of the two available starting tackle spots.
- Andrews seems fairly secure at center, as long as he doesn't get hurt or have a poor spring. Williams, a walk-on, has shifted to center after being a backup tackle. The player who could give Andrews a push is Burnette, because he was a backup center in 2010.
- Zach DeBell (foot) and Xzavier Ward (knee) could also be factors once their injuries heal. They are each in green jerseys right now.
- Greg Pyke is the other offensive line recruit, who gets here in the summer.
I asked Gates about what may happen when Theus arrives.
"You never know, you never know. I just wanna keep working for myself, motivate myself that I'm going to do better, I'm gonna get better. You never know what's going to happen when the new freshmen come in."
Gates did say he likes left tackle better because he can show his athletic ability.
"I played basketball in high school," Gates pointed out.
Incidentally, Burnette has taken on the role of unofficial spokesman and leader of the unit, taking the role Ben Jones had last year, and Clint Boling before him. (Dantzler said Burnette was the leader, and UGA said Burnette will be the only linemen to speak to the media for awhile.)
Offensive line coach Will Friend, who is usually pretty up front with the media, will be available after practice on Tuesday. He should be able to shed more light at that point.