Misplaced angst

I approached spring practice worried most about the state of Georgia’s secondary.  Midway through, and I’m starting to think there’s another area that deserves the honor.  The offensive line sounds like it’s a mess right now.

Two weeks into spring practice, Georgia’s offensive line looks a lot like it did when it started: The center is the “bell cow,” the tackles are settling in, and the guards are anyone’s guess.

Georgia lost both its starting guards after last season, and offensive line coach Will Friend made clear Tuesday that no one has done anything yet to grab one of the open spots. Greg Pyke, a redshirt sophomore who has played sparingly thus far in his career, has come the closest.

“Nobody’s kind of stepped up and said they want to be the guards yet,” Friend said. “Pyke’s had a good spring, and I think he’ll get better as we go through it. But we’re not performing the way we need to inside right now.”

How bad is it?  Bad enough that the incoming class of o-linemen who won’t be in Athens until August and were seen as likely redshirt candidates are now being used as a threat to motivate the guys already there.

That means that there could be an opening for Dyshon Sims, Isaiah Wynn, Jake Edwards or Kendall Baker, the four incoming freshmen. Friend said he told his current players when spring practice began that they better take advantage before the new guys arrive.

“A bunch of you have a shot this spring,” Friend said he told his players. “And if we don’t see things like we need to in the spring then it’ll be the guys’ who get here’s chance. So they kind of know that. Those guys were recruited to give them an opportunity, and we’ll give them a shot.

“Now if we can get some guys going … There’s still eight days left, I guess we’re halfway there.”

Ugh.  It’s gonna be a long offseason, I’m afraid.

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “Misplaced angst

  1. Juan

    Will Friend is the master of putting it on the kids. He does realize it his HIS responsibility to get these kids ready, right?

    It would be nice if one of these beat writers would bring that to his attention with a follow up question. “As their position coach, what are you doing, other than threatening them with incoming freshman (lol) to get these boys ready to contend for an sec championship?”

    • 202dawg

      Spot on. If fear is your only motivational/teaching tool you should look internally…

    • Macallanlover

      It is his responsibility to develop them to the best of their ability, but none of us know if he has, or hasn’t, done that job well. Sometimes you just don’t have the talent on hand. I am not a fan of calling individual players out but I have no issue with him giving an honest appraisal of the status, in fact I like that a lot. We don’t like it when we get smoke blown up our rears, and we don’t like someone saying we aren’t close to where we need to be either.

      The comment about the incoming players that might be needed doesn’t sound like anything more than the truth to me. If the guys we currently have on board aren’t making the expected progress but August I hope like hell he puts a full court press on those incoming Freshmen on day 1. I would just as soon have them play matador as guys who have had 2-3 years to get ready and haven’t made the grade.

      At the end of the year, if the OL hasn’t made noticeable improvement, or shown the signs of coming together for the next year, CMR has to make a decision on Coach Friend. He has a large voice in the recruitment of talent, and the responsibility for developing them so it is time for him to be held accountable. I like our incoming OL class and they may well be better than some we have on hand. Letting the vets know they aren’t getting the job done sounds like the strong medicine they need.

  2. LorenzoDawgriquez

    O-Line, deja vu all over again

  3. Scorpio Jones, III

    Building an offensive line is, arguably, the most complex problem any football coaching staff faces.

    But, man, what is our deal? I know at least some of what Friend is saying is for public consumption and to be taken with a dose of salt, but what the talk is doing for me is make me wonder if the kids are getting the coaching they need to gel into a cohesive unit.

    I don’t know. A great offensive line is almost invisible, the running backs, quarterbacks and receivers get all the ink and attention.

    Georgia’s offense was pretty good last year, yet the offensive line gets little or no love.

    Its all very confusing.

    • Joe Schmoe

      The very visible breakdowns by the OL at times leads to them not getting credit. Most of us felt the offense was good despite the OL’s inconsistency.

  4. Russ

    Needed something to wash the Koolaid out of mouth.

  5. Skint

    Lack of talent plus lack of development. Look at what Mario Cristabal is doing at Alabama. He is getting top notch talent plus he knows how to coach. Same old, same old in Athens.

    • Certainly part and parcel to the problem is substandard evaluation and recruiting. I’ve been posting about that for many years. It’s something that has never been good under Richt.

      Not sure we can be conclusive about Friend, there’s some sense it may be better under him. We’ll see what these incoming 4 guys bring, since that’ll have a large say in Friend’s abilities there. But I think we already know it’s still not good enough.

      Whether Friend can provide them top-level coaching is another matter. IMHO, it’s hard to say at this point, it’s still kinda up-in-the-air.

      But Blutarsky is right in that this doesn’t look good. It might not stink, but it has a rather unpleasant odor.
      ~~~

  6. 69Dawg

    That we are having a problem with our offensive line should not be a surprise to any one. Maybe Coach Friend is just telling it like it is. In the past we have been told the offensive line was a strength only to find out later it was the weakness,

    It would seem we have an offensive line of good ole boys, that are not motivated or mean enough to be lineman in the SEC, Our 5 star LT seems to have been out of position for two years. His comments about not being able to adjust to RT might have been the reason that on some plays last year he looked more like a matador than a football player. Lord knows UGA has been known to put players in the wrong positions over and over. This get the 5 best lineman on the field crap needs to stop. If a guy is a guard play him at guard and stop all the rotation. It does not work on the offensive line. These guys don’t know from day to day what position they are playing.

    • Hackerdog

      The best lineman plays at LT. Not the freshman who was a stud in high school, but can’t beat out a converted guard.

    • dudetheplayer

      If you’re a lousy RT, you’re sure as shit not going to succeed at LT.

  7. Death, taxes, and the offensive line at Georgia being shaky. These are all inevitable truths of life. :)

  8. JasonC

    It’s always the OL. Every season, whether it’s predicted to be a weakness or especially if it’s predicted to be a strength, is always a concern.

    I’m not sure who’s to blame, but like others said, it’s probably a mix. We’ve had a couple of high-profile guys ‘stolen’ from us at signing day and some injuries, but we can’t get it where it needs to be. And what concerns me is that this is a great year for OL in state and most of them are looking to go elsewhere. But we’ll see.

  9. Bright Idea

    Is it recruiting misses, development, motivation, or coaching? I believe a combination of all 4. If LT is the strength right now we’re in trouble.

  10. Skeptic Dawg

    I fully expect both tackle spots to be a weakness this season as well. Theus nor Houston have shown the ability to play LT or RT. In an odd twist of events, this squad may be forced to win games defensively. If that’s the case, 2014 may be rough.