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.