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

uga_b

April 7th, 2009
8:43 am

The line will be pretty dawg gone good. Biggest issue I see is the running backs making something happen at the second level.

AltamahaDawg

April 7th, 2009
8:46 am

They got yards, just not the 3 they needed when they needed it. The fact that they simply could never line it up and power ahead, and everynbody on the other side knew it, and still they finished as well as they did, speaks very highly of the coaching staff.

CKDawg65

April 7th, 2009
8:47 am

Would have loved to have MS and KM back this year, but having a Ben Crenshaw moment about this upcoming season. Joe Cox will be beyond serviceable and RB by committee will be fine. Defense has to step up it’s attitude and execution to have any prayer of being an SEC contender.

Dawgs20

April 7th, 2009
8:49 am

Coach Searels is one of the best Coaches in football. Georgia needs to do all we can to keep him as long as possible. I agree that this years O-line resembles that of 2002. All we need is consistent management at the QB spot and we can click. I believe that we have at least three RB’s that can handle the load. With A.J and Marlon on the outside and guys like Mike Moore and Durham, the Offense should be in good shape. Please Willie lets tackle!!!

bigdawg01

April 7th, 2009
8:52 am

Good read TB,
Much has been said of our lines over the past couple of years. Would have been nice to see Stafford and Moreno play behind the big uglies this year. Outside of both lines, I firmly believe that the leaders will rise this year and make this team great. Stafford and Moreno were not the leaders that they should have been. I will never forget the look on Staffords face on the sidelines in Jax. He was scared. Cox will do the job behind a great O-line.

Agree that the running game will be used more and in different fashion. King and Thomas will split duty out there.

GO DAWGS!

[...] “This year we’re hoping all of that is going to pay off.” Jump to Comments Tony Barnhart talked with Mike Bobo about Georgia’s offensive line. [...]

Corrine Brown (D) FL

April 7th, 2009
8:54 am

Do Corch Meyers play lines?

Go Gator!

GeoffDawg

April 7th, 2009
9:03 am

I echo the sentiments regarding Ben Jones. The way he played against Jabba in the Alabama game as a true freshman was very impressive.

m

April 7th, 2009
9:14 am

I heard some of you ugag dawgies have finally discovered modern technology and have gotten Tivo. Now, once you skip the commercials on the tv news magazine 60 Minutes, it only takes 45 minutes and 42 seconds to watch. Get used to it, mutts.

RAMBLE ON!!!

April 7th, 2009
9:17 am

Tony you left out Mo Mass…got something against Muslims?

Who cares about UGAg and their OL, 6th best team in the SEC, 2nd best team in the state? I know you went to school there, but you’re supposed to be objective Mr. SEC Football. Do you want to continue to be the Chris Matthews of College Football?

You’re getting close to the Keith Olberman of College Football. A MIND IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE TONY. Just read some of these UGAg comments.

I mean come on, best OL since 2002? Whatever dude. Is M. Bobo writing your column?

GeoffDawg

April 7th, 2009
9:18 am

I think m wasn’t breastfed as a baby.

Nachos

April 7th, 2009
9:18 am

Georgia will be Florida this year! Oh wait sorry, I am drunk. Fear the blackout

Otto

April 7th, 2009
9:19 am

The ling was supposed to be solid last year. Overall I think the OL will be good maybe not ‘02 level because CMR recruits QBs heavier than OL. Look at Bama the lines win games even with a mediocre QB. The key is still our DL.

The offense is better off under Cox as Bobo will be forced to work his way down the field not blowing drivings with the long pass.

Bobo did some of his best work? How was our red zone offense?

Red Elephant

April 7th, 2009
9:23 am

UGA should have a GREAT OL. The D will be suspect and much pressure on an O without Moreno and Stafford. If the DAWGS are in 5th gear,mentally and physically, I think a 11-2 or 10-3 season is something to aim for this year…..as usual it comes down to Jacksonville.

No show Moreno

April 7th, 2009
9:24 am

Duhhh…. jump over people, white women, skip class, white women, choke in big games, skip class, sorority girls, lose all the big games, skip class, white women, skip class, choke in big games…. duh…..Crank dat soulja boy

Saint Nick

April 7th, 2009
9:33 am

No Show,
Its more like, jump over “crouching people”, Fake an injury, run a play, take me out coach, catch my breath, take a few plays off, can we black out coach, I hate the bama defense, i’ll play next game, can’t wait to get paid, Crank dat soulja boy

Red Elephant

April 7th, 2009
9:48 am

RAMBLE ON,

I guess you want Tony to cry like that baby Glenn Beck or some other right-wing weenie on Fascist News.

I am not a Georgia fan, but please, you haven’t been competitive with Georgia since the days of Dodd and Lothridge. You win a game with them, what, once or twice a decade? Give me a break.

Of course you could “come home” to Mama. Just think, you could trade in Duke, Virginia, Wake Forest, Maryland and North Carolina for ALABAMA, Auburn, LSU, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee! I guess basketball and lacrosse sound better after all, huh?

MtnBama

April 7th, 2009
9:49 am

Althogh it is difficult to imagine Georgia ever bearing Florida again I would love to see them in the SECCG.

m

April 7th, 2009
9:50 am

Tony, the real question is how bad will Tech beat ugag? The answer is most likely pretty bad. ugag couldn’t stop TECH last year while Tech was still learning the offense, with no depth, an injury-decimated offensive line, etc. Also, Paul Johnson gets a kick out of whipping the dawgies and is planning to make a habit of it…like George O’leary did. ugag’s defense was TOTALLY clueless about how to slow down Tech’s offense and is likely to be even more clueless this year as Paul Johnson unveils more of his offense. It is going to be fun to watch you dawgies squirm.

Atlanta Jackets

April 7th, 2009
9:57 am

hey m! I agree with you. Get use to it mutts! Coach Johnson and his Robot just scored again! LOL! Just wait until Stephen Hill teaches AJ Green a lesson or two about how to stretch the field and catch the ball!

This is just getting started! Now he’s your ten bucks for the pizza, get off my porch! LOL! Burn!

Interesting write up Tony. I appreciate you covering the small schools in Georgia. I hear Mercer has a program too. LOL! ROTFLMAO!!

swimdawg68

April 7th, 2009
9:58 am

Hey ramble on, why don’t you ramble your a– on over to the “trade school” site where you can talk to guys that had the score put on their rings. I guess win you win once in 8 years it is a big deal to you clowns. By the way, your $75 per ticket for the game at your stadium this fall is a joke. I will not be present for that UGA beatdown that we will deliver on your field as a payback. I talked to our ticket manager and he assured me we will return the favor next year. Start saving your money nerd.

BILLY JACK

April 7th, 2009
9:59 am

m and RAMBLE ON-I love how you win one game in forever and your planning to make a habit of it.Tech people continue to make my case as being liars and lowlifes.We wont take you lightly in 2009.Red Elephant you sound like a smart guy.The people outside of Georgia know what a joke Tech is.

LSWho?

April 7th, 2009
10:00 am

Pretty good zinger Red Elephant but don’t forget about Coach Ross & his ‘90 Jackets, very good team

Jack G.

April 7th, 2009
10:01 am

RAMBLE ON

You should take your own advice.

bigdawg01

April 7th, 2009
10:05 am

Leave it GT nerds to give an “awesome” nickname like “robot”. You should be embarassed, seriously.

We will see what happens in Nov, until then we have put up these horribly irrellevant posts.

Gen Neyland

April 7th, 2009
10:09 am

It was documented prior to the 2008 opener that UGA had ample depth on the OL. To have the measure of success they had last year was not only a testament to the coaching staff, but to the players as well. At this point I gotta give Stafford his due. He was reading the D’s and did a good job working with his make-shift fronts during the year. That was truly one of his forte’s and helped keep things from going bad offensively. If Cox can read D schemes as well as Stafford, there shouldn’t be too many beats missed on the O side…

PTC DAWG

April 7th, 2009
10:09 am

How about a registration for these blogs? Who needs to hear the GT fans ramble on about their win over UGA last year, day after everloving day? How about a mod to just delete the BS that appears here daily?

GeoffDawg

April 7th, 2009
10:12 am

m – Just like George O’Leary? Seriously? A liar with a losing record against Georgia who when he did win, used ineligible players. That’s your goal?

Atlanta Jackets

April 7th, 2009
10:12 am

bigmutt01, you just don’t compute what the Robot is doing! LOL! He just scored again!! ROTFLMAO!! Nesbitt is just getting started. Another year at Tech and then he takes his game to Sundays – a place where Georgia quarterbacks never go. LOL!! Burn!!

Otto

April 7th, 2009
10:14 am

LSWho? Ross was 0 and 2 against Dooley and 2 and 1 against Goff. Don’t forget Ross only had that 1 season that was better than 8 and 5.

bigdawg01

April 7th, 2009
10:15 am

Atl Jackets:
I dont even have to say anything, nice job.

RxDawg

April 7th, 2009
10:17 am

The offense will be fine. The defense is the key to the season. If they grow a pair, we’ll be a force. And better yet, we’ll sneak up on everyone. Well, for at least the first few games. Our schedule is so hard it wont be long before we start turning heads around the nation.

[...] Barnhart has a new post about Georgia’s upcoming OL for the 2009 campaign. One of the things that gives fans optimism is the projected strength of the [...]

Otto

April 7th, 2009
10:24 am

bigdawg no kidding what needs to be said lol

MtnBama. Evans needs to work on the scheduling looking back it is no secret Spurrier made it a priority to have the week off before the UGA game and UF has kept that. Under Dooley UGA had Richmond, Memphis, Temple or at worst Kentucky before going down to Jax. UGA needs to bring that back. UGA does have the week off before Jax this year.

mightyKC

April 7th, 2009
10:29 am

“I guess win you win once in 8 years it is a big deal to you clowns.”
- dawg to a nerd

oh yes, the urban meyer corched FL Gators feel the same way about you puppies, too. 16 out of 19, beyotches.

you nerds will appreciate this one -

tech:UGA as UGA:UF

Go Gator!

Gen Neyland

April 7th, 2009
10:33 am

Otto : Doesn’t the SEC regulate who gets off weeks when nowadays..? I really don’t know the answer.

swimdawg68

April 7th, 2009
10:37 am

mightyKC, the difference is we have a total WINNING RECORD against you “water lizards” and we also have a total WINNING RECORD against the “trade school” boys.

GeoffDawg

April 7th, 2009
10:38 am

Gen – I believe the SEC sets the conference schedule and as such would to some extent determine if there is a game scheduled for any given week. All other weeks though, I would assume it would be up to the school’s athletic department to determine if they want to schedule an OOC game or take an off week.

RxDawg

April 7th, 2009
10:43 am

Geesh, Tech fans…im embarrassed for you. It’s no wonder why you’ve tumbled down the rivalry totem pole.

JB

April 7th, 2009
10:45 am

As a Dawg fan, I have never clicked on a Tech blog, or have any desire to. Why do these 3 or 4 piss ant Tech Nerds live on this blog. We don’t care about you but one day a year. You are obsessed with us.
Go help coach Johnson find some cloths that fit or something.

bama12titles

April 7th, 2009
10:47 am

Tony,

You hit the nail on the head this time. Their is nothing as important to a team as the offensive line having cohesiveness, having their timing down together, consistency, etc. That was the whole key to Bama’s season last year. The 3 starters who left had all played alongside each other for 3 years and had gradually gelled together. Losing Andre Smith a day or 2 before the Sugar Bowl was bad but losing our great guard Michael Johnson in the early first qtr was equally bad. People just don’t realize how losing just 2 o-lineman can make a big difference.

In UGAs case last year that would be really difficult to have 1 or 2 different starters every week or every other week. You would never really get that consistency that you need from the o-line.

Anyway, if the dawgs can stay injury free on the o-line and have the consistency of players that an O-line needs than they can look forward to a successful season.

mightyKC

April 7th, 2009
10:51 am

“mightyKC, the difference is we have a total WINNING RECORD against you “water lizards” and we also have a total WINNING RECORD against the “trade school” boys.”

swimdawg68: “the difference” in what? you beat us one year, and you want to forget all the years we’ve kicked your Azz. we beat you, and you want to go back to the vince dooley years.

you keep trumping that overall record, and we’ll keep trying on our rings. all dawg fans live in the past…you’re either 40 or 60 yrs old, and still have that herschel poster up in your room.

Go Gator!

Otto

April 7th, 2009
10:52 am

It looks like UGA has the SEC west team from rotation before UF in most years coming up. I can not find UF’s future schedules past ‘10 which is UK in ‘09 then ‘10 at Miss St before Jax.

dap01

April 7th, 2009
10:55 am

Just when I am getting into reading a good blog about UGA football, lame people like Ramble On starts his mindless rambling, spouting the same things day after day after day.

It is sad and pathetic that such a fan exists, one that in on a blog of a rival team. Ramble On, ramble somewhere else. Get a girl friend or new slide rule.

swimdawg68

April 7th, 2009
11:05 am

mightyKC, I haven’t forgoten all the years we kicked your A–. I admit in recent years you have had our number but history shows things can change and they will.

North Avenue

April 7th, 2009
11:24 am

I remember my dog fan friends being very frustrated in 2002. They had the ideal line to run the I, but Richt was very reluctant to leave his standard spread offense. I think that will again be the case. If your coach won’t use the line, what’s the point of having it?

Atlanta Jackets

April 7th, 2009
11:24 am

There are a ton of mutts over on the Tech blogs. They’re over there all the time… most just delvering pizzas! Burn!! But seriously, you mutts are everywhere. So take it like you like to give it out.

To the point of this article, the mutts may have their best OL in years, but their OL won’t have much to say about stopping the triple option – especially when we add the fourth option… Stephen Hill. Remember mutts, he’s the one you wanted and the one that Scout and Rivals said was a “more polished AJ Green with better hands.”

And just a quick note on basketball, Derrick “Do me a big” Favors beats Mike “Not as smart as a” Fox everytime. ROTFLMAO!!

DawgBite

April 7th, 2009
11:25 am

What is Tech against UGA since 1964? Is it 13-32?

DawgBite

April 7th, 2009
11:28 am

Once again a trade schooler (North Avenue) shows up to show how little he knows about football. UGA plays from a Pro Set you moron. Spread? Where the hell did you get that one dumbazz?

m

April 7th, 2009
11:40 am

You pitiful pups are funny. You did figure out how to beat Gailey but you don’t know how to beat Paul Johnson or George O’leary. the last 5 games between TECH and ugag in which Tech was not coached by Gailey, Tech won 4 out of 5…including kicking the living dawgshiiite out of the 2008 preseason #1 puppies. If you can’t beat us with your so-called best team in history, best QB in history, best running back in history, on your home field, etc., exactly when will you ever beat us???