“We feel good about the first five we’ve got.”

Color me a little surprised that 80% of the offensive line appears set with more than a week to go before the season starts.

The remaining battle for a starting spot appears to be at right tackle, where freshman Andrew Thomas has been going with the first team the past two weeks. But redshirt freshman Ben Cleveland is also getting some first-team snaps.

Smart termed the right tackle competition as “neck and neck.”

“Ben’s competing hard. I think Andrew’s competing hard,” Smart said. “They both go there and compete and have done a good job. So time will tell. A couple more practices will hone things in.”

The two spots that were basically set entering the preseason were senior Isaiah Wynn at left tackle and junior Lamont Gaillard at center. Redshirt freshman Solomon Kindley appeared to cement the right guard spot early on in camp, and sophomore Pat Allen seems to have nailed down left guard, at least to start the season.

Surprised in a good way, that is.

Given what came in with this year’s signing class and Smart’s competition mantra, we should certainly be mindful of Seth’s last six words there, but the more time in August the o-linemen have to work with each other as a group, especially when you consider how much turnover has taken place since last season, the better for the running backs and Jacob Eason against Appalachian State.

18 Comments

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18 responses to ““We feel good about the first five we’ve got.”

  1. I would have thought Hayes as a JUCO early entrant would be in the mix for a lot of playing time. I’m not surprised at all about Andrew Thomas and pleasantly surprised about Ben Cleveland. Maybe, just maybe, Pittman is going to have a group to ride this year.

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  2. I think it has been so many years that we have been hearing about how “unsteady” the O-Line was/is we dont know what to do with stuff like this… What?! UGA has 4 actual starters set already for the O-line BEFORE the season begins! Inconceivable!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Got Cowdog

    Here, have some of this Offensive line flavored Kool-Aid. I’m glad to hear that Ben Cleveland is competing. My son ran into him on campus and used the word “large” as a descriptor.

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    • I hope he didn’t mean “ran into him” literally. That could hurt. 😉

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      • Got Cowdog

        Really. Cowdog Jr is a 5’5″ pocket rocket fixing to graduate TBC cum laude in Finance. Got to give him his props. His steady is in a position VERY close to the team, but unfortunately knows even less about football than I do. When I ask her how the team looks she says “Really big”.

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  4. Otis Day

    I am glad they feel good……I don’t

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  5. Macallanlover

    I’ve been drinking this OL juice all summer, very tasty. Reports have been consistently good, biggest surprises are Big Ben and Thomas but I think we will see a noticeable uptick this season. I have said before, this is not the major concern area for this team, not dominant this season, but as good as we have had for some time. The great news is the depth, and the likelihood it will get better as we go along, especially in the upcoming seasons.

    Not saying that a Bama quality front 7 won’t give them issues, but they are working against top talent in practice. I don’t think you will see the run game get stifled by anyone like we did against teams last year. That alone will lead to more offensive success, if the passing game steps up this could be a very, very good team.

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    • rchris

      I’m thinking the OL will be much better at the end of the season than at the beginning. Maybe good enough to have a snowball’s chance at least against the Scarlet Algae.

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  6. Dave

    It’s interesting to me that nobody other than the coaches seem to believe in Pat Allen. Everybody seems to think he’s just a place-holder for Isaiah Wilson, who would supplant him and then move over to one of the Tackle spots next year.

    That could very well be the case, and yet, Allen’s spot at the moment is apparently not in question, and Smart has mentioned several times that he’s been very pleased with his performance.

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  7. I think I’m kinda excited about the OL as WRs, two positions that struggled last year. We’ve got some talent there. Just have to realize it. Many of the guys are really young but they also came highly touted.

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  8. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    Well, I’m happy to hear it, sure, but I’m a little worried about Wynn’s health and who might take his place if something happens to him. Read an article where the depth chart at LT had Wynn on 1st team and second team. In other words, it sounds like they have no one behind him, at least not that they have any confidence in. That’s some vinegar for y’all’s Kool-Aid.

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  9. Cojones

    First good post about the entire O-line that can be believed and the 80% “set” includes a big battle between two good players. I was already tuned into Thomas being there when- lo and behold – here come Ben competing neck and neck just as he was passing into the “might have been” gloom in my mind. Didn’t realize that having Ben back into the competition would give my sour taste a lift.

    Eason needs to walk around campus with his O-line friends while brandishing large lumps in his pockets. When questioned about them in the linemen’s presence, he could say, “Ice cream money.”.

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    • Macallanlover

      Big Ben is not only competitive at the tackle position, but has worked with the 1s at Guard some this month. He has come a long way since hitting campus 18 months ago as a large piece of undeveloped clay. He has gotten stronger, meaner, and learned to use his hands better to get to where he can contribute this season. Ben probably won’t start but will contribute. this season, nice to see him work his way onto the 2 deep.

      Although a highly touted OL recruit he didn’t play a lot on the offensive line in HS so he was a project that looks to have been a good investment. Good on him to have come in and worked to put himself in this position.

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  10. Southernlawyer11

    I’ve only been a fan for 18 years, but one thing that gives me confidence is that rarely have I seen a UGA team have the same glaring weakness two years in a row. Now, obviously the corollary is that it’s often swapped for something totally unforeseen that becomes a glaring weakness. But I’m happy to cross that bridge if it means a better O-line, which is arguably the worst place to have a glaring weakness.

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  11. W Cobb Dawg

    Wish we had one or two guys step up that we could point to as the proverbial OL ‘anchor’. Can’t say I’ve seen much from Pittman so far that gives me as much confidence as others have. But I’ll acknowledge that so far he hasn’t had that anchor. We desperately need a couple of these younguns to turn into dependable starters to build around.

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  12. 69Dawg

    You can tell it’s only 9 days till the start. Sunshine pumping is in full progress. What’s a coach going to say, this is the worst Oline I’ve ever seen? I’ve been a Dawg fan long enough to know that until we play somebody other than ourselves we know nothing. I can say that if we play the way we played in the G-Day game on offense we will be 8-4 or worst. Even if we destroy App State I’ll wait to see if we do our usual bed soiling against ND before I’ll decide if this team is any good. I don’t drink the damn Kool-Aid any more.

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    • What’s a coach going to say, this is the worst Oline I’ve ever seen?

      There’s a difference between that and settling on four of your five starters with over a week to go before the opener.

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    • What about Bob

      How is Kirby Smart saying that the staff has settled on 4 of the 5 starters on the o-line “sunshine pumping?” I mean, I’m old and slow, but hell, help me out here 69…

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