Will Friend: Georgia’s O-line needs to be more physical, better on assignments

I’ve had a lot of folks asking me about how the offensive line has looked so far. I had a chance to interview line coach Will Friend this past week on just that subject. Following are some of his observations so far:

Q: Who has had the best spring?

A: [Kenarious] Gates has had a good spring so far. We’re not far in it yet, but he’s had the best spring. The rest of the guys need to elevate like he’s done so far.”

Q: What’s the main improvement you’re looking for?

A: “Number one, with this group being younger, your offensive line has to be physical. That’s where your team gets its physicality from. I think they’ve got to be able to improve that part of it. Last year’s group, when they came to the park they were physical. That was the big thing they brought and that goes a long way as games go on. This group needs to be tougher, to play more physical, to be better on assignments. . . . And, of course, we’ve got to find some people we can count on.”

Q: Looks like junior guard Dallas Lee has been getting some work at center. What’s the thought there? .

A: “He’s done it before. He’s still got a long way to go on because he really didn’t do it at all last year. He snapped for us, but he didn’t do it in live action in a practice or game. But I think he’s got to get used to exchanging the ball to the quarterback and after that it’s blocking. [David] Andrews has done some good things. We’re just moving people around.”

Q: Do you have a starting five yet?

A: “No, not a first five. Nobody’s separated themselves with the exception of Ken Gates. Right now if you were going to play a game I know he would be there. [Chris] Burnette has done some good things, too. We’re just trying to get all the pieces together.”

Q: How is JUCO transfer Mark Beard holding up and fitting in?

A: “It’s a lot going on right now. We didn’t pull back on anything we’re installing. It’s a good thing for a midyear guy to come in early. But at the same time, when you’re the only one, the show keeps on going for everybody else. So it’s kind of hit him a bit. But he’ll get better as the spring goes on. It’s kind of spinning fast. He’s just got to keep it from beating him and he’ll be all right. . . . We’re working him at left guard. And he’s worked some at tackle, but mainly left guard.”

Q: Would you say Watts Dantzler or Austin Long is ahead at right tackle?

A: “Both of them have worked with the 1s, both of them have had good practices, both of them have done some good things. We’ll just continue to hash that out.”

Q: How has Austin Long looked? . . .

A: “He’s gotten better. He’s not where we want him yet but he’s gotten better.”

Q: Do you anticipate freshmen John Theus and Greg Pyke competing for playing time later this summer?

A: “Can we wait until after spring ball? [laughs] Right now we’re just trying to see what we’ve got with these guys. We’ve got to get them going in the right direction. We’ll go from there.

“I think both freshmen we got are real talented guys. I think they’re good athletes. They’re tough guys and they’re big. They’re going to get a shot. That’s one thing these guys have to understand, that right now is their shot with those guys not being there. They’ve got to make the most of it, because those two are going to get a shot when they get in here. That’s why we signed them.”

Q: What’s your expectations for Kolton Houston?

A: “We’re expecting Kolton to be a good player for us this year. He’s a good athlete, he’s got good strength, he can run well. He’s probably the best athlete of the guards that we’ve got, to be honest with you. If he can continue to get tougher and continue to improve, he’s going to be a good player for us. He’s got a ways to go now but he’s got a chance.”

189 comments Add your comment

beanster

April 2nd, 2012
5:07 pm

Man, talk about scripted answers.

Nothing Could Be Finer

April 2nd, 2012
5:10 pm

Can’t wait till Clowney destroys that line again this year.

Stockdog

April 2nd, 2012
5:13 pm

Ditto Beanster, Keep moving, nothing to see here.

Loyal Fan

April 2nd, 2012
5:15 pm

Don’t follow the whole scripted answers piece, but ok. And to nothing could be finer, its good to see South Carolina is finally relevant. Now, go troll else where.

Charlie Hayes

April 2nd, 2012
5:17 pm

I love those answers from CWF. Don’t name anyone the starter, keep moving guys around to experiment and find the best group fit and keep them all competing for a starting job so the entire units grows and learns. Good coaching. I wish Stacey Searles would have understood this concept. CWF gained this concept from Neil Callaway and it will pay off this year. Go Dawgs!

Charlie Hayes

April 2nd, 2012
5:18 pm

BTW – I bet Theus ends up starting at OT by mid-year! Just wait and see.

Nothing Could Be Finer

April 2nd, 2012
5:20 pm

Charlie Hayes

April 2nd, 2012
5:18 pm
BTW – I bet Theus ends up starting at OT by mid-year! Just wait and see.

—————————-
Hmm, that would be around the South Carolina game.

That will be the toughest D-Line they see all year.

Better hope that freshman is up for it.

DAWGS RULE

April 2nd, 2012
5:26 pm

I hope clowney also enjoyed the sec championship game on TV. We were there

Nothing Could Be Finer

April 2nd, 2012
5:28 pm

DAWGS RULE

April 2nd, 2012
5:26 pm
I hope clowney also enjoyed the sec championship game on TV. We were there

——————————————
Yea, he watched a team that clearly didn’t belong there.

DAWGS RULE

April 2nd, 2012
5:29 pm

but we were and u were not

Dawg Tired

April 2nd, 2012
5:33 pm

Finer – DO you guys even have a blog you can go to? I know I have no interest in going to A University of South Carolina blog site. Why so much interest in the UGA site from A South Carolina fan? Makes no sense if you THINK abut it.

BigDawg

April 2nd, 2012
5:35 pm

Bitter S.C. fans on our blog, waaaa waaaa waaaa all the way home! Even Steve Superior said we were the better team and played better than them after the game. Enjoy your lovely city of Columbia…

Bob

April 2nd, 2012
5:37 pm

Who has the best politically correct answers…football coaches or politicians? For once, I’d like to hear an honest assessment. Maybe it would provide incentive for those in second place…just my opinion.

Nothing Could Be Finer

April 2nd, 2012
5:39 pm

Still haven’t heard from yall how the dogs are gonna stop Clowney & Co.

NOTHINGFROMNOTHINGMEANSNOTHING

April 2nd, 2012
5:39 pm

The CHICKENS better get ready for the best defense you’ll see all year! By the way who’s the quarterback maybe you can bring back the drunk one that began the season for you last year!! Get ready to go to the Outback bowl this year Little chickens!!

BigDawg

April 2nd, 2012
5:42 pm

The Four Musketeers (Crowell, Marshall, Malcome & Gurley) will run wild behind Richard Samuel, the man, if he is not a TB also! WE RUN THIS DIVISION!!

Bigdsel

April 2nd, 2012
5:46 pm

If the o line can be dominant from game one. We will win it all. We can’t wait to gel. We have to be ready from the start

dawgfan

April 2nd, 2012
5:49 pm

Based on the headline I came here full of hope and optimism but then a read this:

“Last year’s group, when they came to the park they were physical.”

?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Against New Mexico State perhaps, but other than that I’m not sure what games he was watching last year.

Wow.

DAWGS RULE

April 2nd, 2012
5:56 pm

carolina fan with no friends a DAWG wannebe in hiding

Mountain Dawg

April 2nd, 2012
6:00 pm

Well said, dawgfan.

Greg

April 2nd, 2012
6:02 pm

Exactly, dawgfan. That “physical” offensive line got the crap kicked out of them by Boise, LSU and Michigan State. Now, this years line is aspiring to be like them. Ugh.

If the opponent knows what’s coming(and that’s usually the case with Bobo calling the plays), it’s been a long time since we’ve had an O-line that could man up and get us the tough yards that can keep our D off the field.

old dawg

April 2nd, 2012
6:03 pm

Hmm…best lineman is a player overlooked in recruiting. Offered because one of your “super” lineman turned UGA’s offer down. That says a lot about UGA’s recruiting problems, and the problems with the whole “almost” good team.

Nothing Could Be Finer

April 2nd, 2012
6:04 pm

BigDawg

April 2nd, 2012
5:42 pm
The Four Musketeers (Crowell, Marshall, Malcome & Gurley) will run wild behind Richard Samuel, the man, if he is not a TB also! WE RUN THIS DIVISION!!

——————————–
With that patchwork O-Line?

RamboDog

April 2nd, 2012
6:05 pm

Nothing Could Be Finer
April 2nd, 2012
5:28 pm

Yea, he watched a team that clearly didn’t belong there.

Yeah, I know what you mean…same way we felt watching SC get stomped the year before.

Don’t worry, we will make you proud this year. Oh, and don’t expect this year to recieve the gifts that allowed SC to win a game they clearly were out played in. Thanks for playing, little boy.

1953dawg

April 2nd, 2012
6:08 pm

Where was Clowney&Co when UGA was running up close to 500 yards of offense, and scored 42 points even with 4 turnovers, and half of those had nothing to do with carolina’s pitiful defense. As for the O.L, this story is getting so old. Been the same dog and pony show for 12 years now. Yet, Richt, Bobo, and whoever the O.L coach is get free passes. How can these 3 stooges(Richt, Bobo,and Friend) get raises when they have proven over and over again that they can’t recruit enough quality O.L. to compete in the SEC. There were 3 all american O.L in the state of Ga. last year, and with UGA having no depth on the O.L, how many of these all american linemen did UGA sign? ZERO,that is pathetic, and it proves that the 3 stooges are pitiful when it comes to recruiting top O.L talent in the state. When the top 3 linemen chose to play for LSU, Bama, and S.C. that says all there is to say about this current staff. UGA will never win a game against a quality defense with this soft ass, O.L that lacks talent and toughness. Mich.St. had about 20 tackles for losses last year against an O.L. that this clown Friend called physical. He wouldn’t know a physical O.L. if he saw one. How he could call last year’s O.L physical when they couldn’t move anyone off the ball on 3rd or 4th and 1. How many times did lard ass Jones, and the 2 guards get stuffed on very short conversions?? Everytime when it truely counted. Sorry UGA fans, but this team is going no where, with all the suspensions on defense, and no O.L. and a Q.B. that couldnt hit the broad side of a barn. Then, he completes 50% of his passes in the first scrimmage, and throws zero T.D’s and his usual INT. Hopefully after Richt lays an egg this year, McGarity will grow a pair and do his job, and end this embarrassment. UGA fans can only hope.This mediocrity needs to end, and UGA fans deserve alot better than the 3 stooges.

Nothing Could Be Finer

April 2nd, 2012
6:09 pm

RamboDog

April 2nd, 2012
6:05 pm
Oh, and don’t expect this year to recieve the gifts that allowed SC to win a game they clearly were out played in.
—————————————–
Yea, Murray fumbling after Clowney tossed him around like a little rag doll was a nice little gift.

Looking forward to more of the same this year!

Vance Duly

April 2nd, 2012
6:10 pm

Q: To many people, our offensive line has underperformed for the past several years, especially considering the “quality” of the recruits that we signed. Why has the offensive line NOT been dominant very often, and what are you doing that differs from our line coaching of the recent past?

A: ???????????????????????????????????

LakeDawg

April 2nd, 2012
6:13 pm

Sorry to be so negative, but after the last 5 years of unimpressive NON PHYSICAL OL play, I’m pessimistic. I certainly don’t like the fact that Friend thought last years OL was physical and its disconcerting that so far this years OL is LESS physical than last year.

Big Crimson 75

April 2nd, 2012
6:21 pm

I hope Will Friend is a success in College Football as an OL Coach.
I went to school with Will. He is one of the good guys.
Will was definitely not one of the A-Hole Football Players walking around campus thinking they were God’s very own creation like the Dwayne Rudd’s & the David Palmer’s of the World were.

RamboDog

April 2nd, 2012
6:22 pm

Nothing Could Be Finer

If you knew football, you’d know Murry should have thrown that one away to avoid the sack. He tries to do too much, which is his biggest issue. Won’t matter this year, UGA will roll over SC on way to another SEC Championship Game and you go back to being irrellevant , AGAIN.

SEC Observer

April 2nd, 2012
6:23 pm

Charlie Hayes

April 2nd, 2012
5:18 pm

“BTW – I bet Theus ends up starting at OT by mid-year! Just wait and see.”

If he does then the Dogs have serious issues on the OL. It’s very rare that a true freshman starts and is productive as an offensive lineman in the SEC.

Cdpridg

April 2nd, 2012
6:23 pm

Hey chicken….you lost Ellis…I would stop cacklin

RamboDog

April 2nd, 2012
6:23 pm

Jeff

April 2nd, 2012
6:24 pm

Hopefully this year the line can move the defensive front and get 4th and less than a yard.

P_The_Ricker

April 2nd, 2012
6:25 pm

The best thing about our offensive line is that the get to practice against one of the best front 7 in all of football. at the very least, they won’t go into the season with any sense of false entitlement.

Big Wally Butts

April 2nd, 2012
6:26 pm

USCe has no one to throw the ball to this year. I agree that Conner Shaw might be a better QB than “ol wino” but UGA’s defense is better as well. If we can stop the drug testing before we don’t have a team, that is.

Nothing Could Be Finer

April 2nd, 2012
6:31 pm

RamboDog

April 2nd, 2012
6:22 pm
Nothing Could Be Finer

If you knew football, you’d know Murry should have thrown that one away to avoid the sack.
——————————
Should have thrown it away, but didn’t have enought time.

I don’t think Clowney was even touched on that attempted screen play.

East Repeat

April 2nd, 2012
6:47 pm

Main chat board over at The State is a pay for access site, and since We Own The East, we agitate yor poor dawgs. 3 in a row coming up, SC football is currently in a better place than UGA thanks to CSS. Have the Dawgs ever beaten all East teams (since East/West alignment) in one year? Answer, NO! SC is Class of East, also jumbo shrimp… but this year we win SECCG! Go Darth Visor!

hipdawg

April 2nd, 2012
6:50 pm

read between the lines….we won’t be any better this year, maybe worse.There is always way too many questions.

ugab

April 2nd, 2012
7:04 pm

This is no suprise!!! Everyone knew the OL is rebuilding… I am not expecting nothing good next season. Murray will be sacked a couple of hundred times. Our loaded rbs will get pounded. There is nothing to look forward to with Uga football. The strength of the team is suspended. Same ole sht with our wonderful CMR..

uga1984

April 2nd, 2012
7:14 pm

Hey “Nothing Could Be Finer”… if Clowney is able to remain academically eligible, it will be a magical feat!!! Even David Copperfield will be scratching his head & saying “How the hell did they do that”????

The guy needed special deferments just to pass the highly regarded SC high school curriculum.

magnolia , tx daag

April 2nd, 2012
7:24 pm

Mr. Towers, you listed 5 quarterbacks on your blog. How many backups do we have for the offensive line? Does anyone on this blog know?

tide roll

April 2nd, 2012
7:24 pm

What a joke this guy is. Richt hires him because he and Bobo like the chew tobacco together. You have no offensive line. You have no offensive line depth. Why do y’all put up with it!? You and the Georgia program deserve better. Fire this clown, along with Richt and Booboo. If the vegatable McGarity won’t do it. Fire him too. What a joke of a football program.

Nate the Great

April 2nd, 2012
7:25 pm

I LOVE Friends answers! “We don’t have an offensive line. We only have one offensive lineman ready…and the rest are weak and sissy!!” I love it!! Talk about motivating the line…besides it also shows that he’s not easily impressed.

kingdaddy

April 2nd, 2012
7:27 pm

All of you S.C. bloggers are sitting in the same room trying to hijack another UGA blog. There’s not many S.C. fans anyway, that’s why you chickens have to gang-up. SECe repeat, I think you forgot to put a? after repeat? You will repeat losing the SECe again this year LOL…

Nate the Great

April 2nd, 2012
7:29 pm

Turd troll: STFU!!! You are a techie loser that can’t even post with a handle that has the name of the team you really like. Techie troll. Why do you guys think that CPJ is a genious, but he runs such a sh*t a$$ system that you can’t get ANY (thats right not one single recruit) to commit? Must take a genious to NOT fill a roster!!

tide roll

April 2nd, 2012
7:30 pm

Now I’m hearing this guy Christian Robinson takes pictures of Murray in bed with some girl in Panama City and posts them on facebook!? What a piece of crap Robinson and Murray are. Are y’all proud of this. I bet you are. Go Dawgs. Go Gawgs. Gooo Dawgs! YOU SUCK!

kingdaddy

April 2nd, 2012
7:32 pm

Worry about it on the field chickens. Gotta go to KFC, check…lol…you later…

Nate the Great

April 2nd, 2012
7:37 pm

Hey Techie Troll: Still a little mad that NO woman has ever given you the time of day? Isn’t it about time for your mom to bring your meatloaf to the basement?

You know what makes you such a POS is that you don’t even back your own team! You probably were a star trek nerd in HS and always thought that you would get into GT but had your little heart broken when you learned that academic performance and not you’re Dungeons and Dragons acumen mattered. You probably thought that you were ultra smart because you screwed around with CPUs during the days of DOS, but that was all a guise because you were not only socially awkward but mentally mediocre!!

Nate the Great

April 2nd, 2012
7:38 pm

oh yeah and genius is spelled genius*