“There’s a lot of guys moving around.”

If you’ve been reading practice reports — you have, haven’t you? — you may have noticed there’s plenty of shuffling going on with regard to the offensive line.  That shouldn’t come as any great surprise, given last year’s results and this year’s stellar recruiting class.

The situation has led to an interesting analogy from Smart.

Head coach Kirby Smart, when asked about the upcoming decisions, acknowledged it could be “very similar to Jacob and Greyson last year.” Greyson Lambrt, the fifth-year senior, started the opener but gave way to freshman Jacob Eason the second week.

So this year with the offensive line, you could see a scenario where one of the rookies either starts or plays early over a veteran, with the thinking that experience will make them better.

“It’s a critical decision,” Smart said. “We’ve always said we want to play the guys who give us the best opportunity to win. Well in game one that may not be the same as game 2,3, 4, 5. So when we make those decisions we make them based on own the road, who’s going to be the best guy down the road. That doesn’t mean that that guy might start. …

“Very similar to Jacob and Greyson last year. We’re trying to decide who’s going to be the best guy down the road. It doesn’t mean that guy’s going to start right away. It just means that guy’s going to be ready to play and going to be developed.”

I wouldn’t call that throwaway season thinking, but it seems pretty clear that Smart expects to be playing different linemen by the time, say, the Cocktail Party rolls around than the ones he sends out to block Appalachian State.

Just another issue for Coach Pittman to deal with on the fly.  And Jacob Eason.

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37 Comments

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37 responses to ““There’s a lot of guys moving around.”

  1. Aladawg

    The one that seems disappointing most to me is the Cleveland kid. He’s been there 2 full springs and a season and must not have developed. Wonder what Pittman thinking there. He was pretty hyped.

    Like

    • dawgtired

      Yeah, I don’t understand that one. Cleveland was one of those 5-stars that didn’t ‘pan out’. Well not yet. I’m hoping he matures before his time is up…he sure has the body to become a force.

      Like

      • This keeps coming up a lot, but it’s been discussed before. Cleveland wasn’t eighteen when he hit campus and he hadn’t played that much offensive line. His mechanics, particularly his footwork, were raw and needed a great deal of polishing.

        As a redshirt freshman, he’s in the mix now to start on the right side of the line sometime this season. Why isn’t that reasonable enough development for some of you?

        Liked by 2 people

        • 3rdandGrantham

          Spot on; I was about to post something similar. He has come a long way in the past yeae, and let’s not also forget the apathy that sets in when being told you’re going to RS.

          We will see a lot of the young guys playing this year, particularly Thomas (who, from what I hear, might be the beat if the bunch), Hayes, Wilson, and yes, Cleveland. Cleveland and Wilson have formed quite a bond — imagine a rural GA country boy and a city kid from NY becoming buds. Good stuff.

          Liked by 1 person

          • From seeing Thomas in high school, I couldn’t agree with you more, 3&G. The kid is big and athletic. He ran out of gas in the game I saw him play because he played practically every play … on both sides of the ball.

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            • Macallanlover

              He also looked to be the best during the HS all star games this January. I said a few weeks ago that Wilson might end up being the best before they leave but Thomas might play the most, and earliest, this season. I am very pleased to see Cleveland come on strong this month. I believe he just turned 18 this month, it was an excellent use of a RS as he grew into his body. Looks like he will be part of a 7-8 man rotation on the OL this season.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Thomas has left tackle written all over him. I’m still apprehensive about Wilson due to the competition he played against. Thomas came from 5-AAA where there are some really good programs, so he played solid competition.

                Like

        • dawgtired

          My bad for not collecting enough info. I obviously missed some of the discussion about Cleveland. I meant no slight. I just had higher expectations…I guess unwarranted.

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          • Aladawg

            I am in the same boat. I didn’t have the info you shared. The hype was intense and I haven’t seen material indicating the progression mentioned here. Thanks for the info Senator. I’m hoping that Pittman, if he is as good as I think he is, gets these young pups ready quicker than the norm.

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            • Southernlawyer11

              Same here on not knowing. I’d love a link to a summary of developments of young-but-not-new O-lineman. RS Frosh and sophomores etc. Hoping we get some pleasant surprises that mean depth we didn’t think we had.

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              • Red Cup

                Read the linked article. Much info about all the linemen, particularly Ben Cleveland. The Senator can’t read it to you, but he does link to the article that all of you above seemed to have not read.

                Like

    • Look like Tarzan. Play like Jane.

      Ben has always looked the part. Not sure he’s ever played the part, even in HS.

      Like

      • 3rdandGrantham

        Apatently you’re not in the loop of how he’s produced since spring. Dude I’d quickly becoming a bit of a beast.

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        • Definitely not in any loop. I did talk to a coach he faced in HS who was surprised at the hype. The body is there. If the mentality and athleticism can catch up he can play.

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          • Normaltown Mike

            I’m friends with a HS ref and he called some games with Ben and said he played DE all night (and well) and maybe 5 or less snaps on OL. At that level, his size and speed was better served chasing RB’s and QB’s then mauling a DT or DE.

            Like

  2. John Denver is full of shit...

    “I Kirby smart will have these young bruisers ready to play, may be some shuffling, but we will have a wall of men to protect Eason” -Culpability

    Like

  3. MGW

    Sounds like a last ditch effort shot across the bow of the upperclassmen to me. “Don’t think it means squat that you’re looking like number 1 by the end of camp.”

    It isn’t what we’d like to hear, but the young guys consistently competing the first couple years of a new regime is a good problem to have.

    Like

    • 3rdandGrantham

      I wouldn’t call it a shot across the bow, as the senior group certainly doesn’t lack of effort or commitment. But, they simply don’t have the size or raw talent as the freshman group coming in.

      Like

  4. Hillbilly Dawg

    Fromm will play. Not sure how much or against whom, but rest assured he will take some snaps. Mop up v App State hopefully, Samford…but he will see the ass end of the center.

    Like

    • Macallanlover

      Another reason I felt Thomas might be first in line for playing time. Wilson is like Eason in that regard, neither were pushed to be excellent in their HS experience. I hope Eason comes around with his ability to be accurate under the heat of a pass rush but Wilson’s position allows his physical gifts to make him a sure bet (barring injury). At QB, you can have a great arm and still miss out.

      Like

      • Macallanlover

        Oops, meant for ee’s comment above. But I am in your camp Hillbilly, Fromm needs to play early and be ready if needed. The RS talk makes no sense to me, we need all hands on deck for the 2017 season. Fromm shows the capability to deliver if needed and we cannot take another season of average, or below, QB play. There will be other QBs available to replace Eason and Fromm. Use all the weapons we have, now.

        Like

    • 3rdandGrantham

      I’m not so sure — with Ramsey coming back I think they ideally would like to RS Fromm. Eason is way ahead of Fromm and, barring injury, there is very little chance of Eason being benched in favor of Fromm at any point this year.

      Like

      • Uglydawg

        And we just may see the Ramsey we were all expecting to see a for a few years now. If he comes in and can move around a little (much) better than Eason..and has improved in his ability to see the field and not throw the ball to the other team, he could actually play a great deal..we need that.

        Like

        • Southernlawyer11

          I was all in the “he hasn’t had a real chance” camp until that soggy day in 2015 when I saw Ramsey, so technically sound in his dropback…..so tight with his spiral…….drop back and loft one straight into the arms of the Alabama safety who literally looked like a center fielder standing there in the middle of the Sanford Stadium field. I’ve never played QB, but isn’t that like hurdle 1(a) on who / what to avoid or otherwise be aware of ?

          Like

        • Jim

          Now the kool aid has been spiked with ever clear

          Liked by 1 person

    • no, he wont.

      He will have the standard non red shirt red shirt. He will play in case of emergency.

      Like

  5. WF Dawg

    To me, the interesting thing here is the timing. Weeks 1 & 3 are good times to acclimate freshmen. But Week 2, on the road at ND, won’t be, unless we get up big. Now that I think about it, I could get behind that plan.

    Like

  6. Dave

    The big question for me regarding Kirby’s comments is this: Let’s say any or all of the freshmen OL end up starting after a couple games. Is it because they’re already better and deserve it, or is it because they’re not much worse now, and they represent the future?

    For all the deserved hemming and hawing of the piss-poor OL recruiting under Richt, it’s crazy to me that the following 4-stars are either not in the discussion, or are merely place-holders for the young guys: Dyshon Sims – 4-star, Pat Allen – 4-star, Kendall Baker – 4-star, Isaiah Wynn – 4-star (projected at guard, though).

    How many teams out there don’t list OL as a specific strength, but have one that’s certainly not a weakness? Can we at least be at that point this year?

    Like

    • Watch it, Dave. The naysayers will tell you the only offensive linemen we ever sign were undersized, private school kids who had no business playing SEC football like Boss Andrews. Of course, their ratings and offer lists would differ with that, but don’t let facts get in the way.

      The loss of Andrews without a ready replacement (sorry, Kublanow, good guard but didn’t make it at center) has hurt our offensive performance the last couple of years.

      Like

      • Dave

        Yeah, there were just a lot of things “off” with the line. Size is great, but not all 300lbs+ guys are created equal. People have also said that, other than QB, OL is the hardest position to project, and you see that in the NFL a lot, too.

        I’ve said before that Pittman has as good a track record as there is among active OL coaches. I suppose my only real source of optimism comes from him knowing better what he’s got to work with at this point.

        Lastly, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the staff hopes someone will be able to beat out a couple of the guys currently listed as 1st team. What I mean is, nobody’s “hoping” someone will beat out Roquan Smith or Trent Thompson.

        Like

        • O-line is absolutely the hardest position to project to the next level especially from HS to college. The “top” prospects typically dominate their competition with their size and athleticism only … they may not have the best fundamentals and technique. An OL coach also has to project how the player’s body is going to change under a college S&C program. Finally, you never know if a guy is going to have the mental side of the game to master the playbook and responsibilities.

          I think so many people underestimate the value of an excellent center regardless of his physical attributes. That guy makes most of the sight adjustments and pre-snap calls especially in pass protection. If you don’t have a guy who can do all of that and be a solid blocker, you are not going to be a good, cohesive offensive line no matter how much size and talent you have.

          Like

          • Sorry to continue, but I think the offensive line coaches need to be the best on the staff at player development. In most cases, a HS kid is just a raw talent when he gets to college. The offensive line coach takes that talent and molds it into a football player … Give me an OL coach who can develop talent and the recruiting will take care of itself.

            Like

  7. Uglydawg

    Great post,Dave..esp the last paragraph.

    Like

    • Dave

      Thanks, Uglydawg. I will be very curious to see what the OL lineup/rotation looks like come game-week. It seems Kirby/Pittman are comfortable “enough” w/ Wynn and Gaillard. Looks like the guard sports and RT still need to be sorted out.

      Like

      • Southernlawyer11

        Yea, and as to your earlier post, I counted 8 former 4 stars and 1 5star in the total three-deep (15 slots across 5 positions). That’s 9 supposedly blue chip lineman. I really don’t know what else to say other than MAKE IT WORK.

        Like

  8. Got Cowdog

    Let’s think about this. We have size across the board on O-line. We have a couple of seniors, a couple of juniors for experience. A couple of redshirt freshmen and sophomores that have had time in the system, and some talented freshmen for depth. We may be looking at the best two deep in years.
    #27 and #1 came back for a reason. I’ll have some more Kool- Aid, please.

    Like

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