Kirby Smart is worried about his defensive line. Trent Thompson is sidelined with a medical problem, and the unit is getting blocked consistently by their young (but massive) offensive counterparts.
“…One of two things is happening, either complacency has set in, which I mentioned before, or our offensive line is moving people better. A lot of the same defensive players are out there, obviously, with the exception of Trenton and Roquan. It’s hard to tell when you’re not tackling live, but they are certainly moving us more than I’m accustomed to. We will find out in the scrimmage.”
One offensive lineman getting first unit reps this spring is Pat Allen. Allen saw very limited playing time in 2016 after redshirting in 2015 but the Reisterstown, MD native was singled out by Smart (02:38 mark in the video below) during yesterday’s port-practice press conference.
“I think he understands what he’s doing better. I think he’s more comfortable, is playing with a physical attitude, a physical demeanor. That’s one of the guys I’m talking about.
Again, I don’t know if we’re playing softer up front, or we’re more physical on the offensive line…
I do know that Pat is getting more movement on some guys than we have gotten in the past at guard. You’ve got to remember, the two guards that are out there right now were not the two guards that were out there last year. One of the guards is the center, and one of the guards is a right tackle – with Dyshon (Sims) being at right tackle.
With Solomon (Kindley) and Pat, let’s just say it like it is, there is a little more mass at the guard position. We’ll see if it pays off or not.”
Kirby went on to mention other offensive line contributors:
“The goal, obviously, is to get the best 5 out there – and you say, ‘What’s the best 5?’ Is that pass pro or is that run blocking?”
“Pat has got to grow up and do some things – passing off twists – that he’s just not comfortable. He is never had to do it that fast. You know, when his Davin and Zo doing it to you, it is different than the threes and fours doing to you. So, it is good that he is getting good work. It’s good that Dyshon is getting good work, but Fogarty has done a good job too, Ben Cleveland has done a good job too, Chris Barnes is starting to show some progress. I am happy with the growth of those guys but until it actually produces on the field – that’s when will know for sure.”
Offensive line is the position group that most observers had expected Georgia to struggle with in 2017. If Coach Sam Pittman has managed to put together a solid unit before the arrival of the Dawgs best O-line recruiting class in years, the Bulldog offense will have far more options available when the season opens.