“Whoever’s ready, I’ll play.”

You want blunt?  Will Friend’s got your blunt right here, podna.

“I didn’t think the Red team played with enough effort,” Friend said of the starting unit. “We’re disappointed in that. It looked like they were trying to just get through the day. They started out early and it was like they thought the day was over. … Didn’t play physical enough, didn’t play with the kind of effort we expected out of them.”

Sad to say, that’s an honest assessment.  That first touchdown drive came so easily that you had the sense that it relaxed the offense maybe a little too much while at the same time ratcheting up Grantham’s aggressiveness.  The result was that the first string line didn’t play the way many of us hoped it would.  Or even people like Ed Cunningham:

“Looking at the film from this game, I’d be very concerned about this offensive line,” ESPN analyst Ed Cunningham, an All-Pac-10 offensive lineman at Washington who played five seasons in the NFL, said on air Monday. “This is my opinion as a former offensive lineman: They played horribly. And that happens a lot in spring games when the defense is a little amped up. If I was Mark Richt, I’d be very happy about my defense at this moment. But going into a schedule that starts with Clemson and then goes into the SEC, if I’m Georgia, I’m very concerned about the performance of my offensive line.”

It’s a G-Day game, so it’s crazy to read too much into it.  Burnette was out; Theus played at less than 100%.  Friend told Emerson that Theus didn’t have an effort problem, but it didn’t change that Theus got bumped down to the second team line in the first practice after G-Day.  And there’s this, too:

Friend said that Andrews, Lee and right guard Chris Burnette (out this spring with a shoulder injury) should remain in the starting lineup.

“I think Dallas Lee’s gotten better,” Friend said. “He’s moving better and Dallas has won a lot of ballgames here in games he’s played in.”

Theus, a five-star recruit who started every game at right tackle as a freshman, would figure to be the starter at left or right tackle. Friend is looking for Theus to improve his technique and get stronger.

“We’d like for him to play better,” Friend said.

So basically, Friend’s got a fall practice to figure out who’s going to handle the tackle spots.  Considering the havoc Clowney wrecked last season, I’d say that’s a pretty big outstanding issue going into a tough September.

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30 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

30 responses to ““Whoever’s ready, I’ll play.”

  1. Russ

    I think we have to line up with a big fullback, hand the ball to Gurley and run right at Clowney. All we have to average is 3.5ypc. Clowney will win some, but we should win more, and it will slow down his pass rush.

    …said the 50 year old guy from behind the keyboard. ;)

    • Cojones

      “Agreed!” shouted back the 72-plus year old from his anonimity.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      We were in a Peach Bowl (Chicken Bowl) against a big, fast DE that was absolutely whipping Stinchcomb and getting into Quicey”throw it over their heads” Carter’s head. Kearney I think his name was. Went to the Falcons. Anyway, Donnan held Orlandis Gary in to chip on Kearney and by the middle of the 3rd quarter Kearney had his thigh packed in ice between series. We came from behind to win that game. Gary could lay the wood.

  2. Mayor of Dawgtown

    Friend is a perfectionist. He needs to be. That’s his job and I’m glad he’s doing his job in the professional manner that he is. But everyone else needs to step back off the ledge. It was a glorified scrimmage.

    • Bobby

      I agree w/ that. Not only was it a glorified scrimmage, but we also weren’t deploying all our offensive resources. So much of successful offensive line play (as a unit) is based on establishing a dominating rhythm. That’s not easy to do when an offense (b/c it’s a glorified scrimmage and not Clemson) is not bringing its full fury down on the defense.

      Friend definitely needs to GATA, but I think this would have been a different story if we were bringing the full force of our running game. When a player like Lacy, Lattimore, or Gurley pounds your defense for muliple quarters (or hell, even series) that’s just demoralizing; it wears a defense out while simultaneously juicing the offensive line up.

      I’m not worried at all about our O-Line. At the least, we’re going to be substantially better this season, even if we’re not a dominating OL like Bama’s last season. There’s plenty of time to right the ship.

  3. TomReagan

    First, I have no doubt that Theus will be a great one by the time he is through. It’s amazing how little we were reminded in some of our biggest games that we had a true freshman starting at right tackle. He had his bad spots, but he deserves much more credit for bailing out our offensive line last year. Just think of where we would’ve been if he hadn’t been able to perform.

    My convern with what I am reading above is that it shows a lack of competitiveness on the part of our offensive line. You always want that group to relish the chance to step onto the field and maul a defensive front for a few quarters. It IS a glorified scrimmage, but I’d like to have a group in there who likes the idea of reminding our defensive front all summer long that they were thoroughly dominated at G Day.

    We need that kind of identity again.

    • DugLite

      I agree. The toughest lines either the offense or defense plays against all year needs to be at practice. It helps both lines.

  4. Gravidy

    One of the offseason happy talk memes has been about the newfound depth on the offensive line. I’m not buying it just yet, in the sense that I think there will be 8-10 game ready linemen on opening night. But…I am glad that there are apparently 2-3 guys who are good enough to be a credible threat to start. Even if they only serve as motivation to some complacent starters, I count that as a good thing.

  5. Macallanlover

    The success, or shortfall, of the 2013 team is on the shoulders of the OL, imo. Much ink and bandwidth has been used expressing concerns about the UGA defense for 2013 but if the offensive line can learn to run block just to the c+ level, we will be in Atlanta (normal disclaimer about key injuries at key times overriding any opportunity,of course.) You have to be concerned about apathetic players on teams with a chance to win championships so I hope Friend cracks the whip on this group. I am more concerned about slackers than any talent shortage because talent can be developed while nothing will overcome players that don’t go all out, regardless of the potential they may have. Bench anyone that doesn’t play with passion Coach, and that includes practices and the Spring Game.

    • Cojones

      I like the idea of turning them into an elite unit that loves to tote the load and hope that Friend segregates their playing time as a group. Nasty Dawgs belonging to a group called the “Devious Dirty Ten”(“DDT”) appeals. We need an O-line fan group, maybe dubbed “The Great Unwashed”, that follow their individual victories on the line.

      Think I’ll follow Andrews and Atkins as my AA guys. If all these O guys know they have widespread individual followers, it could make a difference. Just a thought.

    • Dog in Fla

      This reminds me of one of my many campfire outings. This one was especially fond. In addition to the usual songs, whips and other BDSM gear; it also involved geography (a subject I have dearly loved since Bob Davies explained what geographic rivals meant to me during some televised noon game when we were shitty awhile back. He should know because he’s an expert somewhere around Area 51 now).

      We were laid-back, right in the middle of the squirrel roast, when some hardass told us that opportunity was nowhere and showed us an old motivational chart from Master and Commander, which of course we didn’t think referred to us but to South America and Africa. But for many of us, it was the first time we became aware of just how big Greenland is

  6. I love his comments. Get on their ass and get them to work hard in the summer. I also found Cunningham’s comments funny. Did he think this was a real game?

  7. AlphaDawg

    So according to the national pundits:

    We should worry because we return all of our OL starters, have a solid 2 deep at each position, and we played a scrimmage game where they gave less than 100% effort.

    Yet UF should be optimistic because they lost their best RB/DB/DL and LB to the draft, and their depth on the OL was so bad they could hold a spring game. But they do have a QB returning who couldnt throw the deep ball to receivers who couldn’t catch? And a potential stud RB who hasn’t played a down in the SEC?

    My head is spinning at all the spin being tossed around by the talking heads.

    Do none of these guys have any original thoughts?

  8. Bulldog Joe

    Increased internal competition alone hasn’t motivated our guys to raise their level of play.

    Coach Friend is not going to be your friend this summer.

  9. Krautdawg

    I’ve liked the comments from Bobo & Friend the past few days. My interpretation has been that they see their guys getting complacent and are trying to get players’ heads back in the right place. Comments alone won’t do it, of course, but when was the last time you saw a Georgia coach light into unsatisfactory performance in the press? Even when Willie’s men were decorating the path to the end zone all we heard was “we’re doing a lot of things right & will keep working etc. etc.” Keep pushing, coaches.

    • Cojones

      Yep. Bobo’s big machine has to have spare parts and greasings just like the rest of his perfecting team. Looks like most of it will be the elbow type from here on out. We want the best flogged team on the field this fall…….uh….”most”flogged…..uh….whippersnappers?….uh….S&M Lashers?….uh….whippersnappers?… uh…..S&M Lashers?…..uh….

  10. Joe Schmoe

    I for one am glad they under performed so that they will have motivation all summer long to prove that it was because they weren’t really trying. I really like that Friend put Gates and Theus on the second team as motivation. Great messages being sent.

    • WF dawg

      Schmoe, you and I were thinking the same thing at the same time. Clearly, you’re the faster wordsmith and typist.

  11. WF dawg

    I’m choosing to look at the G-Day results as a blessing. Last year has convinced me that one of the greatest enemies to previously successful units is complacency. Now, rather than hearing about how good they are for several months, the offense will hear doubts and concerns. Hoping that translates into a “something-to-prove” mentality for the fall.

  12. sniffer

    “….as my AA guys.”

    Go to meetings. You should get a sponsor, too.

    • Cojones

      That would be SA where the motto is …you guessed it! : “Smoke’um if you got’um.”.

    • Cojones

      By the way, I did go to meetings of AA when an undergrad. It was held at a nearby prison camp where I completed a paper on the subject for a class. The prisoners and I sat together for the meetings and the only advice given by the guards was “Take two packs of cigarettes in to share with those near you.” The meetings were inspirational and helpful such that controling my drinking was always second nature. Recommend it to others to have their young adults attend.

      Of course I took up smoking as a partial substitute, but I warn you that the guards won’t let you roll a dooby .

  13. 69Dawg

    As a former Ol let me just point out that an OL needs to know what the team’s major offense is going to be. Are we looking for guys that can pass protect because we are going to throw it a lot, or are we looking to road grade the D. Look no further than Alabama in the SECC, when the game was on the line they chose to run the ball. Alabama’s line was the best in the nation but they were far better at run blocking than pass blocking. The two are not mutually exclusive but it is close. Run blockers are agressive pass blockers are reactive. To be both you need to be a lot like HW and his multiple personalities.

  14. uglydawg

    I believe this is where Saban’s success lies. He will absolutley freak out if anyone is not giving 100%. First team, second team, walkons…they better go all out all of the time. First game miscues, screwups and so forth are rare for his teams. In their first game of last year they were in mid-season form…..this is Saban’s edge. As the year progressed, the other top programs began to catch up but Alabama was solid all year long…so he doesn’t use time between games fixiing or adjusting what went wrong..he just prepares for the next opponent. I am NOT saying he does this to perfection..there are times when this doesn’t hold perfectly true…but he does it better than any other coach…It’s rare to see one of his teams “lay an egg’.