High aspirations for Tech o-line

Will Jackson’s bond with Ray Beno dates back several hundred snaps, a sweaty collage of cut blocks, scoop blocks and double teams on the left side of the Georgia Tech offensive line.

That partnership has lent both players invaluable knowledge as they prepare for the upcoming season.

“If I’m doing a combo block with Ray, I know how he’s going to handle it, how long he’s going to stay on the block, just little things like that,” Jackson said. “You know how he’s going to be playing, so it helps out a lot.”

Tech’s line has amassed a pool of such bits of data. Guards Omoregie Uzzi and Jackson head into their third year as starters. Center Jay Finch and Beno, an offensive tackle, both started 11 games last season.  Offensive tackle Tyler Kidney made six starts. That collected experience, awareness of both self and the neighboring lineman, should prove an invaluable asset for the Yellow Jackets and their ACC title aspirations.

“I want us to dominate every single play,” said Uzzi, a two-time All-ACC pick who Thursday was named to the Outland Trophy watch list as one of the country’s outstanding interior linemen.

The offense and team’s performance could well hinge on the level of dominance that Uzzi’s unit achieves. Quarterback Tevin Washington will need as much time and pocket space as possible to connect with an inexperienced wide receiver group. Consistent running alleys will grant B-back David Sims, A-back Orwin Smith and a cast of aspiring backups more confidence to run through them. Sustained drives will relieve pressure from a defense that has potential but has questions to answer.

Uzzi said he wants the line, and the team generally, to adopt an attitude to “not depend on this guy or depend on that guy. It’s up to me. Those are the kind of guys that I want playing with me.”

The wisdom gained from a season, or two seasons, of play should help release the line to play with such fervor.

“I remember my first year, I was just hesitant in everything,” Jackson said. “Now, I know where I’m supposed to go. It’s second nature.”

As is often the case with offensive linemen, the group is characterized by its intelligence, cohesion and willingness to work. Offensive line coach Mike Sewak sees a couple next steps for his linemen. One, playing with the same accountability that Uzzi envisions. Two, freeing themselves to think less about technique and play with a brawler’s abandon. Sewak, a letterman at Virginia, remembers a roommate asking him if he thought about his footwork at the snap of the ball.

“I said, ‘[Heck] no. I just take a good first step and then just go after it,’” he said. “Finish the guy, knock him out. Whatever it takes to get him out of the way, get him out of the way.”

It should not surprise that Uzzi and his coach share similar viewpoints. On top of team-wide strength and conditioning workouts, Uzzi has led workouts for the group this summer, twice-weekly get-togethers to rehearse footwork and technique.

“He’s awesome,” said Jackson, smiling, as Uzzi stood within earshot. “If Coach Sewak leaves, I’m nominating him for o-line coach.”

Fall camp, which begins Aug. 3, will sort out the depth chart. Shaquille Mason and Trey Braun, the latter recovered from a broken leg suffered in the spring, will push Jackson and Uzzi at guard. A rotation is a possibility. At tackle, Morgan Bailey, Bryan Chamberlain and Errin Joe will challenge Beno and Kidney. This is the deepest offensive line group that coach Paul Johnson has fielded in his tenure, going into its fifth autumn.

“Bryan’s been working his butt off, so it’s going to make for an interesting camp,” said Beno, who himself appeared lean and muscle-bound in an interview Thursday.

Should the line perform as it intends, the season to follow will carry an intrigue all its own.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

48 comments Add your comment

duece coupe

July 13th, 2012
10:12 pm

duece coupe

July 13th, 2012
10:13 pm

Orwin Smith should improve on 10.1 yards per carry and 23.5 yards per catch behind that deep and experienced offensive line.

Chris

July 13th, 2012
10:27 pm

This is going to be a really fun line to watch. The single most important factor for line play is familiarity with each other, and these guys have played a LOT of snaps together. That will only get better next year, as Uzzi and McRae are the only two seniors. The next 2 years should be a lot of fun!

gt40pinhd

July 13th, 2012
10:33 pm

great o line & deception! a very nice combination…

Heckofawreck

July 13th, 2012
10:35 pm

Beno-my boy from Newnan. Punish some defenders this year. Bring that ACC title back to the ATL!!

5150 UOAD

July 13th, 2012
10:36 pm

When we get down to it…………..CPJ has to make the play calls. The QB(Washington) has to make the right reads and throws.

From what i have been reading and hearing form the guys the O is ready. The D is the side that is really getting ABUSED. The incoming Freshmen are ready to PLAY. Al G is pushing them pretty hard in the MIND/ Film Room already. Funny that SISK is making them LOSE weight in agility and speed drills while making them gain Weight. The weight is lean & flexible muscle to take advantage of SPEED.

Heckofawreck

July 13th, 2012
10:41 pm

Football has become a game of throwing the ball everywhere and speed all over the field. I am glad we are getting leaner and faster it can only help. But no one wants you to line up and run it down their throats, and I still love that kind of football—go OL and go Jackets.

gt40pinhd

July 13th, 2012
10:46 pm

uoad, right reads i have confidence he will make. throws: well, i hope vad lee comes on quickly!!!

Dog kicker

July 13th, 2012
10:54 pm

D- remember to wrap up when you tackle!!!!!

George Stein

July 13th, 2012
11:04 pm

I’m thrilled they are having a good summer, but I’d rather they just shut their mouths and do their work. We’ll know a lot more in eight weeks.

5150 UOAD

July 13th, 2012
11:33 pm

GEORGE S………….the players are far from running their mouths. You need to get to know the players better than that if that is how you see it.

They have been working on drills, helping the community, been in the Weight room. The players have been making inroads to help form bonds to be a TEAM.

5150 UOAD

July 13th, 2012
11:46 pm

George see some of my posts/links from the players this summer……

More praise for Tech strength coach Sisk blog.

ToeMeetsLeather

July 14th, 2012
7:06 am

The O-Line should be a real strength for the 2012 team. I know we will run the ball well, but when I see the pass protection become above average I’ll know this offense is unstoppable. “9/3″ guys.

With depth now, it looks like Devine, Hill, etc. can come in and have time to mature before being thrown into the mix too early.

The true CPJ era begins this year, the 08-11 seasons were just a dress rehersal.

collegeballfan

July 14th, 2012
7:23 am

No offense is better than the OL play allows it to be.

Is Alford still the back up at center?

Paddy

July 14th, 2012
8:28 am

GeorgeStein……….if the players did not make comments, we would have nothing to read.

I believe that the Tech D will be much improved but TW still needs to complete way more passes for this team to be really good. Look for CPJ to show a short fuse w/ TW if he continues to miss wide open receivers like last season.

Freddie Blassie

July 14th, 2012
9:46 am

Hogs move the pile in 2012!

Billybuzz

July 14th, 2012
10:08 am

Let’s see it on the field. Our O-line has been beaten by almost every bowl caliber defensive line I can remember. I don’t expect domination, but it would be good to see significant improvement.

Billybuzz

July 14th, 2012
10:09 am

Enter your comments here

Rooty Tooty

July 14th, 2012
10:14 am

When toe meets leather guys. That’s what its all about….

Game Time

July 14th, 2012
10:20 am

This is the time of year when euphoria and optimism run rampant. I hope it’s well founded but I’ll wait to see it. Seen too many occasions over the last several years where our line (O&D) is dominated by good competition.

4 Jacks

July 14th, 2012
10:29 am

Not to be negative, but can we dominate or at least block the VT’s and the ugaggers and finally win some of these games? Until then it really means nothing. Hoping this line is as good as it seems it is capable of being…if so a very good year can be had. But we need to get a couple of monkeys or should I say hokies and dawgs off our backs.

yellow britches

July 14th, 2012
11:28 am

The Ogletree twins from Newnan get lots of local press but you never hear squat about Ray Beno. Now that UGA has instituted an engineering program maybe Tech needs a journalism degree so we can crank out our own crop of press sycophants.

yeller bug

July 14th, 2012
11:47 am

We’ll get our 300 yds/game +/- 5% running the ball again this year. What we need is a consistent 180 – 200 yds passing. I don’t recall many passes the last couple of years that were thrown into traffic—-virtually all the receivers were open—they were either dropped or the pass was way off the mark. Gotta fix that! Got new receivers this year so that’s a big question mark. We need easy to complete passes put into our game plan. Short passes to 5 yd curl routes to A backs or WR screens–passes that will generate needed confidence to receivers and QB more so than yards. The team KNOWS it can run the ball. When it KNOWS that it can pass the ball efectively, then we will be a force to be reckoned with. Lastly, this should be the turnaround year for CAG’s defense. Tech hasn’t had a highly respected D since O’Leary was coach. Tenuta had his moments but that was more from high risk blitzing than just smashmouth D. I hope our D will show significant improvement this year especially on 3rd down stops.

michael

July 14th, 2012
12:07 pm

DEFENSE IS ALWAYS TECH’S KEY…………………

DesignerJacket

July 14th, 2012
2:01 pm

What’s nice here is that the guys behind this starting OL group on the 2 and 3 deep charts are actually larger and arguably more talented out of high school. AND they almost all redshirted. CPJ has the pipeline to OL working like a veritable Goon Factory (assuming starters avoid things like career-ending injuries.) With any luck, Tech will have a good running game until the end of time. Now, pass pro could be better. And of course, there are two phases other than offense….and we need both of those to mature to all-conference caliber if we want the W’s and any kind of hardware. Go Jackets!

DesignerJacket

July 14th, 2012
2:09 pm

yellow britches, I’ve thought that for a while. You’ll notice that just about as soon as UGA and GSU got full-fledged engineering programs we changed our Management degree into Business Administration. With the name change in place, it’s now officially the highest ranking public business degree in the state. If we begin expanding nomenclature “corrections” to our other overlapping programs then “Society, Technology and Culture” can be renamed Communications or Journalism, and “History, Technology and Society” can be renamed to Sociology. We’ll start to gain a little more notoriety for non-technical majors. We already have good Business, good Economics, and good International Affairs, good Public Policy, and decent Pre-Law (especially good if you want to go into IP Law.) Tech is not just for Techies anymore (hasn’t been for the last 15 years.)

1 4 GT

July 14th, 2012
2:24 pm

The offense will do well. The offense will do really well if the passing game can hit 55% to 60% and take some pressure of the running game. If the defense steps up their play to a more aggressive, hard hitting style (and for gosh sakes, wrap up), we will have the potential for a great season. GOOOOOOOOOOOOO JACKETS THWGeorgie

5150 UOAD

July 14th, 2012
2:26 pm

Tokyo jacket

July 14th, 2012
2:39 pm

Billybuzz, not true. We have, at times, owned FSU, UNC, Clemson, and VT under CPJ. The defenses I think you’re talking about: LSU, Utah, and Iowa all had at least one first round draft pick DT, with Iowa and I believe LSU, having an NFL DE on the roster too. It’s hard for anyone to play against that kind of talent.

Worm

July 14th, 2012
4:21 pm

Interpretation-Combo block=CHOP block!

duece coupe

July 14th, 2012
5:38 pm

How does an offensive line block a Worm ?

chas_jacket

July 14th, 2012
5:55 pm

Rivals reporting we got commit from 3 star qb damon mitchell from NJ

Stumpknocker

July 14th, 2012
6:32 pm

Whats all the hoopla about UGA placing 128 on the spring honor roll? Not a single one from the football team……..You mean to tell me that with studies like Leisure Arts, Housing and Magazines, not a single football player could make the honor roll ? Oh never mind……it’s UGA. What more could you expect?

Jacket Fan

July 14th, 2012
6:37 pm

Have they gotten some more weight on Mr. Kidney?

Randy Carson IMGT '83

July 14th, 2012
7:05 pm

On a related note, I thought that Tech pitched the ball wide on options a lot with staggering success under Nesbitt whereas last year, it seemed like Washington kept the ball himself an awful lot. Yes, I know that Nesbitt racked a lot of yardage on keepers, but I still have this mental image that we destroyed a lot of defenses with a last-second pitch.

Am I right or wrong on this?

And did CPJ simply call fewer option plays in favor of running it up the gut again and again and again last year?

Yo

July 14th, 2012
9:20 pm

Bring it jackets vt f__s sheep

yeller bug

July 15th, 2012
3:11 pm

RC ‘83: I think Defenses focused on taking away the dive and the pitch and decided to let our QB beat them. It’s not a bad strategy—a constantly running QB gets tired and does not throw well when the opportunity comes, plus the possibility of getting pounded and possibly injured increases, all to the benefit of our opponents. I think more teams will employ this in the coming year—stop the dive and contain the pitch and let the pursuit get the QB so he takes a poundng every play. If that is the case I hope CPJ is ready to platoon QBs to keep them fresh.

Bug Smasher

July 15th, 2012
4:03 pm

@Stumpknocker…….your reading comp skills need work jackwad!! Seeing as how football isn’t a spring sport it’s kind of hard to list UGA football players on a list of representatives for SEC SPRING SPORTS academic honor roll. Idiot.

duronimo

July 15th, 2012
9:38 pm

I hope they don’t get any better with those cut blocks. They are illegal in pro ball. I don’t think this offense will work if they do the right thing and outlaw them in college ball. I know teams hate to face Tech for that reason. My advice to those teams playing Tech is to install cut blocking schemes just for that game so their defensive linemen can see what it’s like to double teamed and cut below the knees — from the side.

5150 UOAD

July 15th, 2012
9:52 pm

duronimo try again.

Cut-blocking is legal, but is it ethical?
By JEROME SOLOMON,
http://www.chron.com/sports/solomon/article/Solomon-Cut-blocking-is-legal-but-is-it-ethical-2254311.php

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July 16th, 2012
3:37 am

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johnson

July 16th, 2012
3:37 am

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Birmingham Jacket

July 16th, 2012
8:42 am

Hope to see improvement.

Our offensive line has looked poor in bowl games against good defenses. Again, providing evidence that you can only outscheme so much; and CPJ has not been getting the caliber of talent to get us to the next level.

See a lot of folks are drinking the cool-aide.

Let’s see it on the field.

dry dirt road

July 16th, 2012
8:57 am

BJ, you are right about the o line looking poor against good d’s. The solution to that is the shotgun. Have the qb further back from the d line rush more than the trip op o. All the good o’s use the shotgun alot and burn Tech silly.

[...] High Aspirations for Tech O-Line (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) [...]

dry dirt road

July 16th, 2012
9:06 am

I kinda sensed last year that TW during the Georgia game was depending on somebody who might have said something that didn’t agree with him, so he intentionally played according to whoever he was dependent on. He played w/o the intensity he displayed during the rest of the season. A good coach should sense that real quick and pull the qb from the game. Thankfully there are many qb’s for Tech now who are or will be waiting to replace a non-productive starter. The competition amongst them to start will be probably the most competitive Tech’s ever had.

Teddy Roosevelt

July 17th, 2012
10:50 am

Ken did you know that heather dinich posted an article to espn today that is essentially a rewording of this article?

1 4 GT

July 17th, 2012
12:39 pm

As a once-upon-a-time offensive left tackle, I say that the linemen are totally within the rules, as they are interpreted now, in using the cut block. However, I must say I agree with Coach Bugel, Be a man & take ‘em on head up & “root hog or die”. Again with the however, a defensive lineman playing against a team that uses the cut block technique can defend himself against it. He uses his hands to push the blocker off, but he reduces his effectiveness by doing so. The defensive coaches discourage that, I’m sure. Anyway, as long as it’s legal, teams will continue to cut block.