All of that upbeat talk in the preseason about Georgia’s offensive line being deeper and being able to count on more players is gone, replaced once again about concerns of their ability to protect quarterback Aaron Murray.
(AJ Reynolds/Staff @ajreynoldsphoto)
Georgia offensive players walk off the field after failing to move the ball during the second half of an NCAA college football game between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Clemson Tigers in Clemson, S.C., Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. Clemson won 38-35.
And here comes all-everything defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and South Carolina to bring the heat Saturday.
Georgia not only gave up four sacks, including one that led to a Murray fumble, in its 38-35 loss to Clemson Saturday, but its line looked overmatched at times.
“There were times where we couldn’t have blocked plays better than we did and had some tremendous results and some great physical running and there were some times where we looked like we were in the first grade out there,” coach Mark Richt said. “Just getting out of position, a couple of holding calls that really hurt us. Some pass protection issues that we just didn’t handle very well. … It just wasn’t a consistent enough effort to do what we needed to do and put more points on the board.”
Senior Kenarious Gates, who was beaten for two sacks against Clemson, will start again at left tackle, Richt said. Gates and Kolton Houston both got left tackle snaps in the opener.
“I think Gates is a very good player,” Richt said. “I think he is the guy that has the best shot of matching up out there. We wouldn’t be playing him at left tackle if we didn’t think he could do it. He played it a year ago. He went against Jadeveon a year ago. It won’t be like a first-time experience for him.”
Offensive line coach Will Friend wasn’t so sure that last year’s experience will make a difference for Gates.
“I don’t know,” he said. “He didn’t block him last year, so I don’t know. Nah, seriously, you play so much. You’ve got techniques that you’re going to do, plays you’re going to run and those type of things, I don’t know if that matters or not.”
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said the line played well early but got winded.
“Our fundamentals got poor,” he said. “We’ve got to play harder longer.”
“Play like you’re supposed to play when you’re at Georgia and that’s for four quarters,” Friend said. “Not a quarter and a half and then it’s like you’re not there for a quarter.”
Richt said coaches feel that are at least six offensive linemen ready to play this week.