Mark Richt might not be able to give a concrete answer about who his starting right offensive tackle will be this season or even his backup left tackle, but the Georgia coach likes what he’s seen so far from the guy who is overseeing those positions.
Will Friend, the former Georgia graduate assistant, was hired from UAB after signing day and completed his first spring as offensive line coach.
“He’s got a good way about him,” Richt said. “I liked how he handled everybody as far as grading all the practices and kind of re-racking it every day. If one guy was first team one day, the next day he might be second team if he didn’t get the job done. I think everybody understood they were truly competing and it will be that way in the fall, too, until we get the right top five.”
Friend’s plans and his depth chart changed when offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant was lost with his third torn ACL a week before the end of spring practice. That left Cordy Glenn, who played left guard last season, as the starting left tackle.
Justin Anderson and A.J. Harmon lined up at right tackle on separate teams on G-Day, when the first-team offense was split up through the player draft.
I spoke this week to former Georgia offensvie lineman Clint Boling, who started six games at left tackle and two at right tackle last season, and got his take on those two.
“A.J. definitely has the talent if he’s able to pick things up and get out there on the field and play consistently. He could be a good player,” Boling said. “I only looked at one (spring) practice, but Bean (Anderson) definitely has the potential to do it. Having Trinton hurt definitely does hurt the offensive line in terms of depth, but some of these young guys that haven’t played before are going to have to step up and contribute.”
Austin Long remains an intriguing possibility if he can stay healthy. The redshirt sophomore was sidelined by a shoulder injury this spring.
Richt mentioned during Wednesday’s SEC teleconference when he was asked who the backup left tackle would be that starting offensive guard Kenarious Gates has the size and athleticism to play tackle.
“I think a lot is going to depend on who is going to be the starting right tackle,” Richt said. “My guess whoever we think is the third best tackle he may end up having to cross-train between the left side and the right side.”
Boling heard about Sturdivant’s injury on the same day it happened.
“I just felt really bad for him,” Boling said. “That’s tough luck really. I have talked to him. I kind of just said `Keep your head up. It will all work out.’”
Now Georgia and Friend will have to try to make their offensive tackle situation work out without Sturdivant.
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