With Aaron Murray officially out of the picture, at quarterback, for the Georgia Bulldogs, most believe the focus will turn to Todd Gurley, and the Bulldogs talented stable of running backs, for continued success offensively.
Keith Marshall looks poised to return, A.J. Turman turned in a promising spring, and Brendan Douglas continues to look tough between the tackles; and there is plenty of buzz surrounding the arrival of both Nick Chubb and Sony Michel in June. That said, the first thing any fan is going to want to know is this: how is the offensive line shaping up? Will they be ready to take on the challenge of protecting first-year starter, Hutson Mason, as well as being the driving force behind a potentially three-headed monster at tailback?
Will they finally be able to gel and live up to their talent level?
Well, according to Offensive Line Coach WIll Friend, they’re still a work in progress…but progress is being made.
“I really feel good about (Greg) Pyke, (Kolton) Houston, (John) Theus, (Mark) Beard, (David) Andrews), (Watts) Dantzler and (Brandon) Kublanow, that would be the best six or seven,” Friend said. “We’ve just got to figure out the best five.” (Anthony Dasher, Rivals)
Depending on who you ask, Georgia’s offensive line production, over the past few seasons, might be described as fair to average. I mean, how bad could it be when you’ve seen Georgia’s offense put up such phenomenal numbers? Right? Well, here’s the thing, we don’t know how much of that success was due to a veteran quarterback, and other-worldly running back.
For as much as the Bulldogs have been able to score, there are just as many instances where you’ve seen them struggle in short yardage situations, or fail to pass protect on a key down and distance—if not for the quick thinking of Murray or the tough running of Gurley, at times, the Georgia offense would have stalled.
Now, how much of that is actually due to Friend’s inability to find his “best five” is debatable, but it’s clear Georgia will need to be better than average in 2014, if they hope to remain relevant in the SEC.