A thought on coaching Georgia’s offensive line

Murf Baldwin’s piece on Georgia’s offensive line has gotten some attention over the past few days.  It’s a fun read and it’ll remind you how well the o-line performed in last year’s Arkansas game, but, honestly, this part strikes me as a bit of irrational exuberance:

Friend, for my money, was the most underrated line coach in existence as he clearly got the most out of his personnel, but the same could’ve been said for the previous line coach Stacy Searels who originally got the ball rolling with his physical brand of coaching.

Will Friend?  This Will Friend?  Sorry, I can’t buy that.  During his tenure, the offensive line proved itself to be way too inconsistent for that kind of praise.

I do think last season’s line turned in the best results we’ve seen at Georgia in several years, but I’d argue that was due to a level of stability at the position we hadn’t seen in, well, several years.  Some of that could be chalked up to health, but some of that was simply the result of not tinkering with the starters on what seemed like an almost weekly basis, as had previously been the method.

And that goes all the way back to Searels, who, admittedly, I thought got off to a fantastic start dealing with a very shaky depth situation and by necessity had to cross-train a fair amount to create numbers.  But the practice outgrew its value, or at least it should have.

I hope Rob Sale is one of those “find the five best, coach ’em up and lock ’em in” types.


Filed under Georgia Football

10 responses to “A thought on coaching Georgia’s offensive line

  1. watcher16

    And, as has been noted numerous times, they were blocking for some guys named Gurley and Chubb who could have run behind Toledo’s line


  2. Russ

    Agreed. Not to downplay the coaching, but last year was the first in a while where we had stability in the line. We saw what happened when Andrews went out against Florida.


  3. Gastr1

    I thought Friend’s OLs were a crapton better than Searels’. Surely there are objective measures out there that will show the positive gains (and lack of negatives) in Friend’s time versus Searles… plus, you do have to give the coach credit for scrapping the cross-training experiment, don’t you?


  4. mp

    His lack of development (and recruiting) of depth really might kill us next year as we replace both starting tackles. Ben Cleveland might be all-world recruit, but he’ll be a true freshman. And someone else needs to step up in the other spot, too.


    • Macallanlover

      True, the benefit of returning all of your OL one year usually means you will lose them all at once too. No doubt we will spend an endless amount of time worrying over that this coming winter/spring but I feel the coaches have an opportunity to substitute liberally at points in the season and I hope they take it. Just because we want to start all the #1s every game doesn’t preclude them from getting some film on the backups.


  5. I think Friend was vastly overrated as opposed to underrated. With that in mind, I was glad to see him go to CSU.


  6. Bulldog Joe

    Undersigning and issues with strength and conditioning undermined the consistency of the offensive line during both Searles’ and Friend’s tenure, as did the preference for high school A and AA-level linemen. In most years, they were left with no other choice but to reshuffle positions each time a lineman was injured.

    While the quality of our backs compensated for some of these issues, it was never enough to propel the team to a conference championship level.

    It appears we have finally addressed the root problem of depth, durability, and recruiting at the highest levels of high school football.

    The OL is a key area where I expect to see improvement this year, especially in Georgia’s ability to hold on to leads, run clock, and finish teams off well before the final possession. Leaving a large number of games to be decided by a first-year starting QB and a thin receiver corps will most likely result in another disappointing season.

    I am excited to see what we can do.


  7. “Will most likely result in another disappointing season”…. ” I am excited to see what we can do!” Mane, you talk outta both sides of your mouth. 🎭