Doin’ the o-line shuffle

keep-calm-and-find-a-left-tackle

Ordinarily, I’d be concerned if a head coach admitted to uncertainty as to who will start on the offensive line, but Kirby Smart seems to consider it no big deal… at least not yet.

“The good thing is about the O-line is we’ve got three guys who played significant roles last year,” Smart said, referring to Brandon Kublanow, Greg Pyke and Isaiah Wynn. “So that’s good experience, a good piece to have back. But offensive line every year everywhere I’ve been is a puzzle. You’re trying to piece it together and figure out if you move this part, does it make the whole better?”

One big reason for the lack of concern over solving the puzzle would be Sam Pittman.

Bottom line, the Bulldogs are still in a mix-and-match stage. And Pittman, Smart said, is one of the best at figuring out which five make the best whole.

“Sam does that as good as anybody,” Smart said. “He establishes confidence in them; they have confidence in him as a teacher. That unit’s starting to jell. It’s really important that they do so that we can be successful and run the ball. He’s done a great job with them.”

I get that; I really do.  Then again, I had similar expectations for Stacey Searels, and look how that turned out.

I know, I know.  We’re not even half way through August.  It can be a cruel month, though.

16 Comments

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16 responses to “Doin’ the o-line shuffle

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    I recall something with Searels along the lines of:
    Player: “Coach we don’t know what to do there?”
    Searels: “Don’t worry, Knowshon will handle it.”

    Some coaching.

  2. @gatriguy

    Searles is at Miami. If Richt can get Willie to coach his DBs, then he really will have gotten the band back together.

  3. Cojones

    Mix and match? First we have to get them through Pittman’s “soft” stage. With less than two weeks to go before pulling the #1 unit together for NC game practice. That’s not the description I want to hear from practice.

  4. heyberto

    I always thought Searles was better at figuring out how to mix and match to make something work than he was at making a great unit.. if that makes sense. Then again, we never seemed to recruit that unit with the kind of focus Kirby and his staff are. We always seemed to be undersized.

  5. Macallanlover

    Much of our success in 2016, and moving forward, hinges on Pittman, a coach who has been embraced universally as a guru of OL development. We have had highly ranked/experienced OLs before that didn’t measure up, so it is fair to be skeptical. This group was supposed to be average before Pittman was named so I will be impressed if we approach “dominant” status during 2016-2017.

    I like our numerical depth, and having some experience to build around, but I am conditioned to worry about having two downs to pick up 2 yards as not enough. Mixing and matching for training purposes is fine through this Saturday but I hope we let the chosen group spend more time working together beginning next week.

    • DawgByte

      I would not expect “dominance” out of this group in 2016. If they can play at a B+ level that will be considered successful IMO. I just don’t believe we have the talent yet on the OL.

      • Macallanlover

        That is what I was saying when I said I would be “impressed” if we approached “dominant”. I don’t think we will, certainly not in 2016, but B+ would make me pretty ecstatic since I felt we were a D, or C-, just last season. You are right, we won’t get to the top level overnight, I think that might be 3 years away, if we are fortunate. But I am drinking a little of the Pittman Kool-Aide, just sipping though, not chugging. Going “all Missouri” on this because it has been so long and I have read the happy talk version for too long.

        • dawgtired

          I’m a cautious sipper as well…and the reference to the ‘Show Me’ state is spot on. I don’t want to doubt but the past is still fresh in the mind and too haunting. It seems that expectations dictates our judgment of success. If they say our OL is going to be good, it dang well better be awesome. If they say our DL is the area of concern, a half-decent effort gets raves. It’s so hard to keep the expectations in check.

    • Cojones

      While trying to be fair concerning criticism, I agree fully with your first paragraph.

  6. lakedawg

    I guess Pittman never staying at one place more than three years proves the guru status, constantly moving up, I guess

  7. W Cobb Dawg

    What concerns me is little mention of young’uns like Bynum, Allen, Baker, and Hardin. Will they ever push for playing time, or are they just a continuation of our long list of OL busts.

    • Cojones

      Maybe they are considered to be in that 2nd and 3rd team “soft” bunch that’s going into the curing oven as we speak.

      • Macallanlover

        “curing oven” LOL Don’t know the exact gestation period but I hope it isn’t a slow cooker. We are sure to need 3-4 of them based on past attrition throughout the season, hopefully not at one time.

    • McTyre

      Yes, those underclassmen can be called busts before the 2016 season begins under a new OL coach following a year under a poor OL coach and questionable S&C program. How much mentioning of these relative newcomers – from a handful of limited practice reports by – would one expect behind the various returning experienced OL?