Cause for offensive line optimism?

I didn’t find much in the way of surprises in Dean Legge’s fall camp preview… well, except for this tidbit:

Truthfully, it’s hard to know every scenario for the line because none of the spots are really locked down – besides Gates starting – and the Bulldogs are pretty deep. Georgia may be inexperienced on the line, but it is deep. Consider that Xzavier Ward is starting to look like a legit SEC tackle, and he’s an afterthought.

This fall will be about the offensive line figuring out who is the best overall combination of five players on the field at one time… once that happens the Bulldogs will be able to rotate in order to keep fresh at the game goes on. Expect no less than seven linemen to get significant playing rotation this fall: Gates, Andrews, Burnette, Lee, Theus, Dantzler, Beard and Houston (?). Don’t be stunned to see Ward come along. If Austin Long can stay healthy and contribute it will simply be icing on top of the cake.

Xzavier Ward as an afterthought is a pretty apt description.  I don’t think he’s shown up on anybody’s radar to this point.  If it turns out he’s functional, Houston gets the NCAA’s blessing and Theus can make a significant contribution as a true freshman, the offensive line situation may not be as worrisome as I’ve thought.  Although I’m still skeptical about how Andrews’ size holds up over the course of an SEC season.

18 Comments

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18 responses to “Cause for offensive line optimism?

  1. Don’t forget about Zach DeBell as well. The kid seems to have the body type that could turn into a prototype tackle.

  2. Scorpio Jones, III

    There’s usually a guard-type who can work at center, too if nothing else, to spell Andrews in practice…didn’t we sign a center prospect?

  3. Boss is a gamer. What he lacks in size, he more than makes up for in heart and work ethic.

    If we assume that each offensive lineman on the roster has the talent and skill necessary to play SEC football, what’s left?

    1. Cohesiveness as a unit.
    2. Knowledge of the system
    3. Desire to improve/ coachability

    Experience, in my opinion, is overrated…….or so I learned during the Stacy Searles era of “zone blocking”.

    The recipe for offensive line success……………A hat on a hat and don’t stop until the whistle blows.

    As a side note, I watched the replay of the 09 USCjr. game last night………..Richard Samuel brought the pain to anyone that tried to tackle him. He also fell down anytime his legs were touched. If he could learn to run behind his pads he would be a great running back.

    • AthensHomerDawg

      “If he could learn to run behind his pads he would be a great running back.”
      True that! Time on task would help I think.

  4. Ubiquitous GA Alum

    Xzavier had ACL surgery in Feb-2011, redshirted last season and was limited this spring – due to the same knee. 247Sports reported that he was expected to be limited for practice this fall for the same knee.

    He may look the part, but he has a lot of ground to make up to be a contributor at tackle … Pulling for him to do it though.

    • has Xavier gained any weight since HS?

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Wonder what’s up with the knee? It’s not unusual to go slowly after a repair. I don’t think Lattimore was cleared for cutting and contact during his spring camp, but Lattimore’s injury was some 8 months after Xzavier’s surgery and he’s gonna be ready. (so they say).

  5. Ubiquitous GA Alum

    In HS, he was lsited at 270 and UGA lists him at 264 … So he’s probably about the same …

  6. Will Trane

    Xzavier Ward was an outstanding lineman for Colquitt County High School. His injury has been a concern. As I recall Buck Belue and his brother are the ones who put the Dawgs coaches on his recruitment. He is a text book blocker and has solid technique.
    It is my understanding another lineman out of Coquitt County High School, incoming freshman Preston Mobley, will be in Athens this fall camp. Mobley is a preferred walk-on.
    Both Ward and Mobley were stellar in the classroom. Both played in a very tough region and their record in high school play off games in the GHSA highest classification speaks well for them.
    For once it is good to see the Dawgs with a deep O line roster. Most of these guys look athletic, smart, quick, and “let’s kick-somebodies ass off the LOS” attitude. Coach Friend has some tools and assets to work with. For me O line blocking is fun to watch. I’d like to see some O lines like the Dawgs had in ’80 and ’81.
    Donte Williams you are the man. Thanks for kicking the ass of the news media. That was as good as a “slam-dunk”. Good luck to him this season.

  7. ScoutDawg

    Must be Evil Richt setting up the rest of the league to believe this is our uncle’s UGA team; weak O-line. When have we ever heard the word O-line and depth used in the same sentence IN A POSITIVE WAY? If we actually have a serviceable O-line what is the limit on what THIS team can achieve?

  8. AlphaDawg

    I’ve been saying the same thing as Dean about our OL since the end of last season, the lack of starts is an issue but there is talent there. The most troubling positions to me is still depth at DB, and that was before the suspensions.

  9. Always Someone Else's Fault

    Offensive line in the SEC has to be the most difficult job in college sports. When you do your job against position groups that even Pac 12 and B1G coaches admit are the best in the country (defensive front 7), your QBs, RBs and WRs get all the credit. When you get beat on a play (and you’re going to get beat), you get all the blame. Yeah, I know that’s stating the obvious. Bears repeating.

  10. DawgByte

    You said a mouthful when you wondered whether Andrew’s size would hold up for an entire season. That’s indeed the $64K question.