Chip Towers looks at the offensive line and goes full Debbie Downer on us. A random sampling:
- “The reality is, Georgia is unstable at tackle and therefore uncertain at guard. Some of the Bulldogs’ best guards were getting looks at tackle, the latter being a more critical position for pass protection. But each attempt to get better on the outside caused ripple effects throughout the line.
Isaiah Wynn, the Bulldogs’ best left guard, also has proven to be their best left tackle. The same could be said of Greg Pyke and right guard and tackle.”
- Center: “The positive here is that Kublanow is rock solid as the starter coming out of spring practice, which wasn’t necessarily a certainty going in. The negative is that Georgia is really shaky behind him. There are plenty of good linemen to move into the position should Kublanow be needed at guard, like he was at the end of last season, or Uga forbid, have to come out of the game. But nobody else has come close to earning the coaches’ trust to make line calls and deliver on-target shotgun snaps without fail.”
- “Meanwhile, Georgia’s two best guards overall, Wynn and Greg Pyke, were both playing tackle at the end of the spring.”
If Towers is correct about this, and I can’t really argue otherwise with him right now, then it’s hard to understate the importance of Tyler Catalina’s arrival.
The Bulldogs brought in a huge X factor at tackle when they secured the commitment of Catalina, a graduate transfer from Rhode Island. Georgia beat out the likes of Auburn and Florida for this 6-6, 235-pound FCS player who is said to be ready to step in and play in the SEC. As Smart said himself, you don’t recruit such a veteran player to “come be fourth spring.” So Catalina will figure into the competition at either left or right tackle. If Catalina can proves himself their best option at left tackle, it will allow the Bulldogs to move Wynn back to guard and possibly solve a lot of problems. If not, the shuffling may continue well into the fall.
I’m not saying Catalina’s the most crucial piece of Georgia’s puzzle to contend for the SEC East in Smart’s first season – after all, look at what Florida did last season with an even more discombobulated offensive line – but it sure would be nice if he could step in and plug a hole. Considering the other question marks the staff faces in August, the less shuffling, the better.