Matchup to watch: UGA offensive tackles vs. UK defensive ends Dupree, Smith

Georgia got all it could handle from Auburn defensive end Dee Ford last week.

Matchup to watch: UGA offensive tackles vs. UK defensive ends Dupree, Smith
Marc Weiszer

Kentucky has a pair of rushers coming off the edge that the Bulldogs will have to contend with in junior defensive ends Alvin “Bud” Dupree and Za’Darius Smith.

Dupree is fifth in the SEC with seven sacks and Smith is tied with Georgia’s Ray Drew for seventh with six.

“I’ve always liked (Dupree),” Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “An athletic kid, made plays his first two years that we played.”

“He’s a good player,” Georgia right tackle John Theus said. “I know his freshman year he was playing end, last year he played a little linebacker and this year he’s back kind of as a hybrid.”

Dupree also has a team-high nine tackles for loss.

“Dupree’s a Georgia kid, so he’s going to be excited about coming home,” Georgia offensive line coach Will Friend said of the Wilkinson County product.

Dupress was already at Kentucky when new coach Mark Stoops arrived. Smith was signed out of East Mississippi Community College.

“I’m very impressed with both those guys,” Stoops said. “I think really kind of pleasantly surprised with the versatility of Bud Dupree. There’s a guy that’s very good with his hand in the dirt playing a 4-3 defensive end, and he’s also very talented standing up, playing linebacker in some of the 3-4 stuff that we’re doing. I think he’s a type of guys he’d be one of the best players on our defense no matter where we played him in the front seven.”

Kentucky rang up three sacks against Murray last year in a closer-than-expected 29-24 Georgia win in Lexington. Left tackle Kenarious Gates and Kolton Houston, who also works at right tackle, will have to hold up in protection against the Wildcats’ ends as well.

Georgia had big success in the passing game in the second-half against Auburn when it changed up its protection and went with more of a quick passing game.

“In this league, you pretty much got to have a quick passing game,” Bobo said. “You’re going to play good defenses every week and you’re not going to be able to hold the ball for four or five seconds. … When you play good defenses, you’re going to have to get the ball out quick.”

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