Will this be UGA’s best O-Line since 2002?

Athens—When a season fails to meet expectations, as was the case at Georgia in 2008, fans and media tend to concentrate on what went wrong. And by any objective measure a lot went wrong on the Georgia defense last season after it finished 10th in the SEC in scoring (24.5 ppg).

Lost in shuffle of a “disappointing” 10-3 season was the fact that offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and OL coach Stacy Searels did some of their best work.

That’s because a team that played musical chairs with its offensive line, the way Georgia had to do last season, is not supposed to finish third in the SEC in scoring (31.5 ppg). And when left tackle Trinton Sturdivant injured his left knee in preseason, that’s exactly what Georgia had to do. Over the course of 13 games last season Georgia’s offensive line:

**–Had six different players start one of the two tackle positions.

**–Had six different players start at one of the two guard positions.

**–Had two different players start at center.

**–Georgia’s longest stretch of starting the same offensive line was only four games.

By contrast, Alabama started the same offensive line in 11 out of 14 games last season. If LT Andre Smith had not been suspended for the Sugar Bowl, it would have been 12 out of 14. At the end of last season Alabama’s offensive line had collectively started 117 career games.

“The only way you become a dominant offensive line is when guys have been playing with one another—not just one season but a couple of years,” Bobo said when I visited with him last Friday. “Two years ago we were dealing with youth. Last year we were dealing with a lot of injuries. We had to do a lot of scratching and clawing to get things done but coach Searels did a great job. This year we’re hoping all of that is going to pay off.”

If Georgia can get a break on the injuries, this looks like the deepest and most talented offensive line since the SEC championship year of 2002. Sturdivant is not going through contact but he has gotten stronger in the upper body. Clint Boling played every position on the offensive line but center last season, which is a big plus. Sophomore Cordy Glenn (6-5, 340) is going to be a star—a big star. He can play guard or tackle. Ben Jones started the last 10 games at center as a true freshman. That’s not supposed to happen in the SEC.

“Ben Jones is the definition of a football player,” said Bobo. “To do what he did is unreal.”

There are a bunch of other guys who have proven they start and play in this league: Chris Davis, Vince Vance, Tanner Strickland, Josh Davis. And the list keeps growing.

“What we have to do now is find the right five guys and where they should go,” Bobo said. “Then they’ve got to work together as a unit.”

This process will very important. It doesn’t take an advanced degree to figure out that with a first-year starter at quarterback (Joe Cox) and a veteran offensive line, Georgia will run the ball more in 2009. Georgia was fifth in the SEC in rushing last season (148.3 ypg). Georgia averaged 32.7 rushing attempts and 30.76 passing attempts per game. Expect more rushing attempts.

With the exit of QB Matthew Stafford and RB Knowshon Moreno there will be the tendency to sell this offense short. Bobo will have none of that talk.

“I’ve already told my guys that we have everything we need here to win a championship,” said Bobo. “There is no doubt in my mind about that.

Later today I’ll be in Knoxville to watch Tennessee’s practice. I’ll report to you in the morning.

 

180 comments Add your comment

More of the Same

April 7th, 2009
11:41 am

Its gonna be a lean year for us dawg fans Mark my words…. Injuries are mounting again and the defense wont be any better until willie is gone. Well lets all go bowling, swiming at the Ramsey Center and maybe a little Dalton carpet and Ford truck selling……

reservoirDAWG

April 7th, 2009
11:42 am

Tony, if you’re going to Knoxville, tell Lane to keep his shirt on.

matt

April 7th, 2009
11:46 am

Win 1 of 8 and suddenly tech is the better program….

Have fun with Stephen Hill. I’m sure you’re right, he’ll be better than Green. What a joke.

Miles

April 7th, 2009
11:50 am

We’ll see how good Georgia’s offensive line is when they meet Florida…

On the Flats

April 7th, 2009
11:51 am

Don’t knock the Robot until you beat the Robot. Still waiting Georgia fans, still waiting.

Jeff Greissinger

April 7th, 2009
11:52 am

Alt Jacket…you keep talking about the Dawgs delivering pizza. At least, we don’t have to offer free pizza give-aways to get your pimpled-faced, nerds to actually show up on Saturdays!

As for the comment about UGA QBs not going to the pros…I believe the #1 QB taken this year will be none other than a Dawgs. I seem to recall a certain Tech QB, Joe “Magic” Hamilton not making the jump (unless you consider Canada a jump) to the pros.

I thought all engineers paid attention to factual details?!

Atlanta Jackets

April 7th, 2009
12:11 pm

Jeff (if that’s your real name!), we offer pizza giveaways as a job program for mutt grads. LOL! Burn!!

We’ll see how Stafford does in Detroit. In three years he’ll be Joey Harrington. And you’ll be proud of that.

I like what Flats said… don’t knock the Robot, till you can beat the Robot. Now shut the pie hole! LOL!

Tony, speaking of OL, how much does Tech improve in year two under Johnson now that the OL has a better grasp on the scheme? My guess is that the offense really takes a big step forward. Now if we can just hold on to those punts. LOL.

Duke

April 7th, 2009
12:19 pm

M. A three point victory and you call it “kicking the dawgshiite” out of somebody. How incredibly desperate you nerds are. Get a life and maybe another ring in eight years. The only difference will be that now we will actually have to practice to play you, instead of looking ahead to playing on New years Day

RAMBLE ON!!!

April 7th, 2009
12:29 pm

Umm, until Mr. SEC Football changes his name from Mr. College Football. I’ll continue to come here and bring the truth.

Since when did “Mr. College Football” become the UGAg blog?

I wonder if he gets a tingle up his leg when he hears St. Richt speak?

Haha, all this talk about UGAg OL…GT ran up and down the field with walk-on playing OL.

WALK-ONS, PEOPLE!!!

You probably didn’t know that since we don’t cry about injuries and use them for excuses at GT.

AltamahaDawg

April 7th, 2009
12:54 pm

sigh….try to read about football and eventually this always degenerates to the same thing. Seriously fellow! DON’T RESPOND to the school boy tech fans. Let them ride 45-42. I want them to. I am proud of them for beating us, glad they did. We are not going to win that game every year for eternity. The best part about loosing last year…..its over, picked a pretty good year to give one away, and its just that much closer to not having to hear about for a few more years.

Reality Check GT

April 7th, 2009
12:55 pm

1 of 8 guys. Seriously. A single 3 point win in 8 years and all of a sudden GT rules GA. Come on. Year in and year out GA is one of the most solid teams in the country. GT rarely finishes top 25. Getting a ring for beating someone by 3 that is on your schedule every year…. Hell of a program. Come on now. GT played well and won but seriously. 1 in 8 far from warrants you declaring yourselves better than GA. LSU gave everyone the blueprint to dominate an obsolete 40’s style offense. GT had a good year but it was the first year of a gimmicky offensive system that everyone will soon figure out. GO DAWGS!

Pago Flyer

April 7th, 2009
12:57 pm

Bottom line…..Tebow still playing for FL!

Gerry

April 7th, 2009
12:57 pm

Who the hell says burn anymore? Tech fans take it up the ass.

murfdawg

April 7th, 2009
1:01 pm

Tony,
why didn’t you look at UGA’s ol last year before you picked them to win big? why didn’t you look at the schedule and look at the “trap” games before you picked?
Here’s a tip for predicting this year. South Carolina–will be a trap game. not because of your hero SOS, but because it is the week after coming back from out west. Going out west is not the problem. It’s the next week. Of course OKST is going to be a problem. I’ll have more for your later.

griffdawg1

April 7th, 2009
1:02 pm

RAMBLE ON!!!, To tell you the truth you know nothing about Georgia football and alot about running your mouth! You are an effin moron.Every stroke of the keyboard tells us what an absolute idiot you are. I’d be willing to bet that your dad was ashamed of you and your insane opinions. That probably explains whay your dad graduated from UGA and he sent you kicking and screaming to GT you fa**ot!!!!

m

April 7th, 2009
1:07 pm

Gerry, you must not have gone to the game last November in Athens…because it was definitely you dawgs that were taking it up the arse.

Otto

April 7th, 2009
1:11 pm

I like Tech grads they make great employees. They work long hours and have no social life. 14 of the past 18 Go Dawgs

Percy Harvey

April 7th, 2009
1:13 pm

I wish I still played for the gator.

RAMBLE ON!!!

April 7th, 2009
1:15 pm

griffdawg1, while you were calling me an idiot, you missed spelled “why”.

Odell Thurman

April 7th, 2009
1:21 pm

I wish I had a blunt.

BILLY JACK

April 7th, 2009
1:25 pm

Ramble On -You techies cry about everything.That is why you always have to be on a UGA blog because you are so irrelevant to real college football in the United States and the south and you hate it.Nothing is going on on your Tech blog,so you think people will think of you if you are constantly on our blogs.Most Tech people are liars and lowlifes and they are the worst people as far as a fanbase that we play.You can always pick out a tech nerd anywhere.If UGA people will stick together and state fact on our blogs,we will drive tech people back to thier blogs.They hate it when you state fact.Fact 1-UGA is 59-37-5 total domination fact 23-7 since 1978 total domination.When Uga won in 2007 31-17 Georgia people barely mentioned it.Techies won by 3 points last year and you made rings.Ramble On -if you and your queer friends were really smart, you would lay low after that peach bowl beatdown.That game will go down in college football history as one of the most uncompetitive bowl games of all time.What you and your techies always forget to mention is how many yards UGA put up against Tech that same day.

Saint Nick

April 7th, 2009
1:27 pm

Atl Jacket,
Did you skip school today??? You type like a ninth grader!!!My suggestion is you take your AZZ back to high school…. SEC football is king in the SOUTHEAST IDIOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

m

April 7th, 2009
1:36 pm

billy jack, explain to us how it was possible for Tech, with a first year coach, could come into athens and beat the #1 preseason dawgs, with their best QG ever, best running back ever…how is that even possible? Every dawg fan I know told me before the game that it was going to be worse than the 51-7 thrashing you gave chan gailey in his first game. So tell us, what the helle happened to you dawgies?

RAMBLE ON!!!

April 7th, 2009
1:37 pm

Billy, Billy, Billy, again, this blog falls under “College Football”, not yours and only yours, GET IT!!!

So tell me Billy, how many yards did UGAg gain in the 45-42 beat down? LMAO.

Please tell “how relevant” that is, you crack me up man.

What ever happened to “On the bloody morning after, one tin solider rides away”

Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend, do it the name of UGA you can justify in the end. There won’t be any trumpets…oh never mind.

Atlanta Jackets

April 7th, 2009
1:38 pm

Staint Drip, skipped school? Have you ever gone to school? From your handle, I guess you’re an Alabama fan. UA has a nice little second tier engineering school. You should be proud of that. Way to go. It’s cute. It really is.

Come back and post again after McElroy leads you to a 5 loss season. Tell us all how powerful you are then.

Robot to Hill will be the call all over the southeast this fall. Just you watch… here it comes… automatic.

RAMBLE ON!!!

April 7th, 2009
1:41 pm

Be careful m, that’s Billy Jack. He may take his right foot and put it…oh never mind.

m

April 7th, 2009
1:46 pm

ramble on, remember…final four next year or hewitt gets a bus ticket.

RAMBLE ON!!!

April 7th, 2009
2:01 pm

m, your bar for Gailey and Hewitt are different levels.

Let’s keep it College Football on this blog. You know how the fleabags cry.

Voice of Reason

April 7th, 2009
2:01 pm

Did a tech fan actually just say that Nesbitt will play on Sundays, which something that UGA QBs never do? Although UGA does not have but two to play QB on sundays (andy johnson played FB) we have a hall of fame QB in Fran Tarkenton. What Tech QB has ever played on Sundays? And if Nesbitt is the Robot because he is so “automatic”, why does he fumble so much. You should have your nerds take a look at his programming.

Voice of Reason

April 7th, 2009
2:04 pm

You talk own about UA not HAVING an elite engineering school, yet all Tech is is an engineering school. Your school is the equivalent of a division of most major universities.

Otto

April 7th, 2009
2:07 pm

m that is assuming GT can afford the bus ticket after what GT owes to Hewitt and Johnson.

A UGA grad as Hewitt’s agent and 1 loss in football resulting in signing Johnson to one of the largest contracts in the ACC after a mediocre season and one win over their rival is priceless to UGA. UGA is in good shape after strapping GT for cash not that is ever a concern. Back in Athens UGA has plenty of cash on hand. Which school has the better business school?

RAMBLE ON!!!

April 7th, 2009
2:11 pm

UGAg has plenty of cash, but not enough to hire a Basketball coach. Hmmmm

[...] 7, 2009 · No Comments Mr.College Football says that Georgia might have their best offensive line, wait for [...]

Voice of Reason

April 7th, 2009
2:16 pm

a 43% completion percentage with 2 TD and 5 INTs in a season? Yep, sounds pretty automatic to me. He is destined for greatness in the NFL. I feel sorry for Steven Hill. Thats almost like Calvin having to catch passes from Reggie Ball.

Voice of Reason

April 7th, 2009
2:17 pm

except that Nesbitt and Hill are not as good as Reggie Ball and Calvin Johnson.

Otto

April 7th, 2009
2:17 pm

A GT cracking on a team that comes off 2 losses after they come off a 4 loss season and their first with less than 5 since ‘03. Predicting a 5 loss season none the less lol. As far school all GT has is Engineering which would be one department in many schools.

UGA is not locked down in a contract like GT is in BB and FB. If he works out great if not let him go and get someone else.

Voice of Reason

April 7th, 2009
2:20 pm

Ramble on.. according to Forbes magazine, UGAs athletics department is the 3rd most profitable in the country. Yep, we have plenty of cash on hand when we bring in around $95 million a year.

RAMBLE ON!!!

April 7th, 2009
2:25 pm

The lottery is profitable too…and we know who plays that.

RAMBLE ON!!!

April 7th, 2009
2:26 pm

One of you mutts translate stupid for me so I can understand what in the hell Otto just said, please.

RAMBLE ON!!!

April 7th, 2009
2:34 pm

Voice, Josh is much better than Reggie, we’ll never have another Calvin.

the big difference is the coach, isn’t that right m?

Atlanta Jackets

April 7th, 2009
2:42 pm

Voice, speak up I can’t hear you. Tell me more about this one you call Tarkenton? When did he graduate? Was it under Richt? Donnan? What? It was before we were all born? Wow. And Red Grange was a good running back too.

Automatic touchdowns. What’s that? The Robot just scored a touchdown in Athens, again! LOL! You are owned.

83 Dawg

April 7th, 2009
2:46 pm

Lots of smack talk on here as usual. Gator people can talk smack because they can back it up. They have won the past 16 of 10 against our Dawgs and that is a heck of a statement. I do not like them but my hat is off for them. Tech people talking smack is like taking a water gun to a real gun fight. However, I do not wish to get in a spitting contest. I played for a gentleman and I will conduct myself as one. You win with class and you lose with class. The ironic thing is the majority of Tech players do not talk that much class. Most of the players we grew up and competed against each other and still talk as friends to this day. It is the fans who sit, watch and most have never even played the great game we all cherish. I had the pleasure of being a Dawg from 1980-83. I am proud to say I competed against both the Gators and Jackets and never lost to either. The football season can be long and hard. Trust me by the time the Dawgs play the Jackets they are beat up, sore and getting ready for exams. The same goes for the Jackets. The game is beyond emotional for both groups. Anything can happen and the best team does not always win. Wins and losses run in cycles. Tech has a good coach in Johnson. He reminds me of Pepper Rodgers. He has brought some fire to Tech and the fans and alumni appreciate that. The key is can you keep him? You better go to the games or he will not stay if another school comes calling. My last comment is for RAMBLE ON. Do you realize how big of a fool you are making of yourself on here? You can brag because you did win last year but give it a break. You are going overboard.

RAMBLE ON's Daddy!!!

April 7th, 2009
2:52 pm

RAMBLE ON SUCKS!

JustCallMeChamp

April 7th, 2009
2:55 pm

Wow, I think this guy RAMBLE ON!!! could be the most hated man in Athens! Yep, I’d have to say he’s as about as popular as the academic InvestiGATOR is in Tally these days! I love reading the “banter” on this blog between Tech and UGA, most of it being extremely insightful and intellectual in nature.LOLOLOLOL…And thanks everyone for the Go Gator!…it’s sweeping the Nation!

JustCallMeChamp

April 7th, 2009
3:13 pm

Oh, and by the way Tony, while you’re in Knoxville this afternoon, would you ask Lane Kiffin when Tennessee is gonna get a real coach??? I know he won’t specifically answer tha question, just want to know how long he chews on his pacifier when you ask it…

JustCallMeChamp

April 7th, 2009
3:21 pm

Sorry Tony…I meant to say sucks…

RAMBLE ON!!!

April 7th, 2009
3:36 pm

Folks, lets get back to the topic here…GT’s OL pushing UGAg all over the field with Walk ons.

Wil Walton

April 7th, 2009
3:38 pm

Atlanta Jackets, would you please provide a link to that quote from Scout and/or Rivals stating that Stephen Hill is a “more polished AJ Green with better hands” (your words)?

59bulldawg

April 7th, 2009
3:40 pm

delusions of grandeur (noun)
a delusion (common in paranoia and often found in Yellow Jacket fans) that you are much greater and more powerful and influential than you really are. Example: Georgia Tech wins one game against Georgia in eight years and all of a sudden they have delusions of grandeur.
Common explanation: Even a blind hog finds an acorn now and then.

BAMA STAN

April 7th, 2009
3:41 pm

12 National Titles – 21 SEC Titles!!!

I agree with Tony’s article regarding UGA’s O-Line being a work in progress for several years.

How did UGA get into the O-Line situation a few years ago? Poor recruiting??? Injuries??? Academics??? A combination of all three????? add in some bad luck?????

Where has the UGA Defense been the last 3 years????? Since Van Gorder left – UGA’s defense just does not strike fear into anybody.

Bobo is seriously joking when he says UGA will be SEC championship caliper.

Since 2005 season – UGA teams have been similar to the Jim Donnan era – fielding good athletic teams – but getting blown out at least one or two times a year – and trouble breaking into the Elite group. Jim Donnan teams were always considered “the next level” of good teams after talking about which teams are truly relevent to National and Conference Title contenders.

In the EAST:
– Florida is the beast in the EAST. Big time seperation between Florida and the rest of the East. Meyer is obviously the real deal. How soon will he leave for either Notre Dame or the NFL?

The rest of the east:
– Tennessee – all eyes are on Knoxville to see if and when (how soon) they put UGA in the rear view mirror going after the Gators.
– So. Carolina – will they beat UGA again between the hedges??? SC’s biggest SEC east rival in terms of hate is UGA. UGA does not consider this team a rival (If I am UGA – I would feel the same as AUBURN, FLORIDA and TENNESSEE are the rival teams). Spurrier has recruited well the last few years – and they are close – but seem to fizzle midway through the season. Unfortunately for UGA – you have to play them early.

In the West:
– LSU has been the best program for several years while Bama was in self-induced exile. After going through a recharge year in 2008 – will be top notch in 2009.
– Bama has passed UGA in recruiting and coaching – depth is now on par. Talent is a notch above. In short – Bama passed UGA in 2 short years after hiring Nick Saban and coming off probation. ON par with LSU – this should be a great game this year – 50/50)
- OLE Miss appears to be better than UGA as well. They picked up steam and will have key players returning next year. Reminds me of UGA 2007 – in that they finished amazaingly well from where they started and earned respect.
Big question for Ole Miss – can they keep it going and earn more respect – or will they fall back and lose position and the respect of the SEC leaders like UGA did last year.

That makes UGA either the 4th/5th or 6th best team in the SEC – very Jim Donnanesque!!!!!!!! And UGA appears to be holding serve at best from 2008 to 2009. May not be as good in 2009 – but not too far off form 2008. Zero improvement. 2010 appears to be more of the same as UGA will be breaking in a new QB.

POSITION BREAKDOWN:
O-Line – will be improved.
QB – Cox is a leader – which may compensate for average at best physical skills. Nothing special here.
RB – Nothing special at this position. Samuel is a big stiff back (should be a LB) and King is doing good to be an average SEC back.
WR – this is a strength for UGA – rate high in the league
TE – fallen off for UGA from year’s past – will call it average at best.

Defense:
D-line – Interior will be OK if Jeff Owens can make it back 100%.
D-Ends – Hello??? anybody out there???
LB – undersized Curren is a beast – the rest are the same as KY, Vandy, Auburn, MS State – all teams seem to be athletic – but nothing stands out or seperates from teams mentioned above.
CB – Miller is the only person with real experience. Average.
Safeties – athletic and physical – but worst tacklers in Richt era.

How does 2009 shape up for UGA?????
LOSSES:
FLORIDA – another Goff era blow out in store for UGA.
LSU – will win by 2 touchdowns in Athens. LSU much improved.
OK STATE (OK State returning a very good team and should be much improved over a solid 2008 team – can’t say the same about UGA). Also – this is a key game for OK STATE in terms of making a statement. They have a lot to gain in beating UGA – UGA has a lot to lose if they get beat by OK STATE.

50/50 games
GT – (GT will be improved – will be hard fought and close game)

SO. CAROLINA – (SC and UGA always make this an ugly – ugly knife fight in a ditch game – expect the same. If UGA fumbles or does the stupid penalty thing at the worse possbile moment – like the did in 2008 – then the chickens will win this game).

ARKANSAS – at Arkansas – Petrino is a good coach and Ark was playing pretty good at the end of last season – I think Ark and Tennessee will be the most improved teams over last year. Overlook this team – and you will get bit. UGA shows up to play – they should win.

TENNESSEE – upset written all over this one. Tennessee defense will keep them in the game – if improvements are made with the offense – they will be in position to beat UGA. I look for Tennessee to be a handfull sooner than later – Kiffin likes playing the fool – but he has masterfully put Tennessee on the minds of many big time national recruits – and he has a serious coaching staff. Also, he is putting some 80’s era swagger into the Vols. College Footbal just may be his niche.

AUBURN – as bad as Auburn was last year – man did they come close to beating UGA. Like Tennessee – Defense will be very good – if offense improves – game on!!! UGA should win this game – but I have seen too many bizarre games between these two schools where the clear cut favorite lays an egg. Plus the game is in Athens – and Auburn seems to play better there against UGA than at Jordan-Hare.

WINS
AZ STATE – UGA will win this game – rather easily I would suspect.
VANDY – likes to give teams a good scare – but UGA will win
KY – if in the ACC or B10 – KY would be top 5 in those conferences.
TN Tech – easy win.

BOWL GAME:
BCS Title game – Florida could be making a repeat.
Sugar: Bama or LSU (hope we do not meet Utah!!!)
Cap One: LSU/Bama/Ole Miss
Cotton: Ole Miss/LSU/Bama
Outback: UGA/TN/Aub/SC
Chick-fil-a: UGA/TN/AUB/SC
Music City: UGA/TN/AUB/SC

Same as 2008 – the 2009 campaign will be razor thin MARGIN between a 7/8 win season and a 10 win season.

UGA will not be as good as 2008 but will not drop off too much.
UGA got some luck against Auburn and Kentucky last year – easily could have lost those two games – but UGA pulled them out.

2009 Regular season record?
- maybe as good as 9-3??!!!
- could be as bad as 7-5 if the breaks go to the other team.
- Guessing probably 8-4 (which makes you a saint in Nashville, Columbia or Lexington) – but is a failure in Gainesville, Baton Rouge, Knoxville and T-Town.

Look for more of the same in 2010 – when UGA is breaking in a new QB.
Like I said earlier – lost the MOJO after 2005 – and UGA is settling into being just a good program – athletic, will play you hard – but hard pressed to break through to the next level and stay relevent – much like the Jim Donnan teams in the late 90’s. Good teams – but just not good enough to be top 10 – always “the next level” of good teams.

ROLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL TIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!