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.