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

BUZZ

April 7th, 2009
7:36 pm

Who are you guys kidding? It will be another 3 loss season due to “injuries” (or something else). And another 45-42. And you know I am right!

BigMike

April 7th, 2009
7:55 pm

a BAD SIGN of not properly training, is injuries, train hard, play harder. There is no reason UGA shouldn’t be a top 5 team this year. Fla has become more psychological than anything. Tebow is a one man show, and if you are in the SEC, and can’t stop one man, then you don’t need to be playing on the 1st of Jan!

SANTA DAWG

April 7th, 2009
8:48 pm

WHY CAN`T YOU NERDS AND GATORS JUST GET ON YOUR OWN BLOG LINE AND LEAVE ALL THE NASTY THINGS YOU HAVE TO SAY HUNG INTO YOUR EYE TEETH, THAT IS IF YOU HAVE ANY TEETH AT ALL. I WAS TOLD THAT IF YOU DON`T HAVE ANY THING NICE TO SAY ABOUT NERDS AND GATORS JUST DON`T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL. WELL I DON`T HAVE ANY THING NICE TO SAY ABOUT NERDS OR GATORS SO I WON`T SAY ANY THING AT ALL.

doug

April 7th, 2009
9:16 pm

Georgia will be much better this year because they will be more dominant along the line of scrimmage. Depth, size talent. The backs will be used differently and passing game will be more diverse. They will wear teams down instead of just out score them. The offense is setting up nicely for Carlton Thomas and Ealy. Look for Samuel and King to fade into solid back ups. This will be a more athletic defence. Asher Allen, Ellerbe will be a distant memories. Justin Houston will be effective early in the season. This will be a special team.

JustCallMeChamp

April 7th, 2009
9:51 pm

SANTA DAWG obviously has the brain of an elf…and probably something else about the same size as well. Do the Go Gator!…it’s sweeping the Nation!!! (Now doesn’t that sound better that 45-42! 45-42! all the time?)

m

April 7th, 2009
10:43 pm

What you idiot dawgies don’t seem to comprehend is that TECH replaced the worst coach in the history of mankind with one of the very best. Even as stupid as some of you dawgies are, you must have noticed the difference when coach Johnson kicked your sorry arses in November and then laughed about it. You haven’t seem nothing yet. It is only going to get worse.

PTC DAWG

April 7th, 2009
10:45 pm

Bama in the Sugar…LMAO….

SamoanDawg

April 7th, 2009
10:50 pm

Nice break down Bama Stan.. I disagreed with some of your points. Ole Miss will be my pick from the west.. Nutt always coach well against LSU and Bama.. clearly now, Fla is the beast of the east.. I hate saying that, but it is what it is ’till we beat’em.

Dawgs’ D will be much improve with the return of 3 seniors Jeff Owen, Kade Weston and Geno Atkins. I hope to God these guys stay healthy. If they do, our DE should be putting pressure.. allowing our second level to roam free.

We should have a good team.

See y’all at G-Day!

Jim Veitch

April 8th, 2009
12:40 am

Do you work for the AJC or UGA-LY ? Why don’t you spend some time talking about the State Champs? News Flash; Atlanta is Yellow Jacket country. Until this bias changes, we will continue to point it out! Who cares about the mutt O-Line? Why don’t you interview Paul Johnson for a change? Gailey is gone and momentum has shifted in this State….Up with the White and Gold, Down with the red and Black!!

georgiagirl

April 8th, 2009
1:22 am

BAMASTAN,
Just write a book dumb a@@ on a team that you know nothing about, worry about BAMA, we will worry about the DAWGS. And Ramble On always give a good laugh every day because you make such a fool of your self. Tech was so busy buying rings that they forgot that they had to play LSU and LSU made them look like fools what was 38-3, GO SEC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! GO by another ring with that score.

HH

April 8th, 2009
8:08 am

In two years Coach Searles has proven that he is a damn competent coach, especially considering what cards he has been dealt during the past two seasons. Probably the best of Richt’s entire staff.

Its about time for MARTINEZ to step up and show what he’s got, if anything. If Martinez doesn’t prove himself this year, my feeling is, he is gone at the end of the season, no matter if Richt gets on his knees and begs for his retention. The cry from the fans will be too great even for President Adams and his “office manager” athletic director to ignore.

kendall

April 8th, 2009
8:53 am

Anyone who actually types the word “burn” in a blog is total social retard. It amazes me how nerdy these tech people can really be.

LSU fan

April 8th, 2009
8:58 am

So what did the Nerd T*rds do in their last outing on national TV? They embarrassed their school, the ACC, and all of Georgia. 38 – 3 only because we were kind and gave GT 3 points. Wish GT was in the SEC, playing them is rather like a spring inter-squad game.

williebkind

April 8th, 2009
9:03 am

Is all this attention on the OL a misdirection away from the defense? Is “idiot Martinez” still at UGA? Does Martinez continue to go to other schools to watch the offense players? The DAWGS scored over forty points against Tech and lost. I guess my education is just not good enough. The defense was a disaster and now I am reading about the offense. Geez pay me 4 million a year and I could have a 10-3 record with the mighty DAWGS.

Big Nate

April 8th, 2009
9:16 am

I agree that UGA’s OL should be very good this year and it needs to be because they are going to see a lot of blitzing with an unproven running game and QB. Couple that with the fact that Richt decided to retain WIllie Martinez at DC will mean they will probably be playing from behind a lot.

I’d be shocked to see UGA win more than 8 games this coming season and the temperature of Richt’s chair will start going way up.

Otto

April 8th, 2009
9:26 am

Otto – that was for you!!! I’ll take them anyway I can get them!!!

Wouldn’t expect anything more from a Bammer.

What is Bama’s record against Auburn outside of B’ham?

UGA is 3rd in SEC titles and over the past decade has been working toward regaining the lead in the series against every team but UF.

How are those NCAA hearings going?

Joe Mac

April 8th, 2009
12:00 pm

After reading all these hilarious blogs, it all boils down to this: I said 3 years ago that UGA would NEVER win NC under Richt. It does not matter how many SEC games UGA wins, they will ALWAYS lose the ones they HAVE TO WIN as long as Richt is head coach. You say UGA has won all those SEC games – let me ask this – HOW MANY TIMES HAVE THEY PLAYED IN THE BCS CHAMPIONSHIP GAME??? Both LSU and Florida are 2-0. Until UGA or Bama or any other SEC team can say that, then there should be no argument which teams are the CLASS of the conference – LSU and FLORIDA are UNQUESTIONABLY the BEST the SEC has to offer. The other 10 teams are nothing more than WANNABE’S

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