Theus, offensive line playing musical chairs

Is John Theus getting a serious look to be Georgia’s starting left tackle?

Coach Mark Richt didn’t say that early Tuesday afternoon when asked about the offensive lineman’s possible role after getting some work at the all-important spot in Saturday’s scrimmage.

Hours later, Theus lined up again at first-team left tackle during an early drill in a portion of practice that was open to the media.

The rest of the starting offensive line: Xzavier Ward at right tackle, Kenarious Gates at right guard, David Andrews at center and Dallas Lee at left guard.

“We’ve rotated a bunch,” Richt said. “We’re experimenting right now. A guy like Xzavier Ward, he’s really coming along. We might give him some shots at right tackle and move Theus over to left. You’ve got (Mark) Beard, you’ve got (Kenarious) Gates that can play tackle, but maybe they can play guard. We’re trying to find who our best five is for next year, so we’re rolling them around a little bit more.”

Theus started every game last year as a freshman at right tackle. The 6-foot-7, 293-pound Ward is a redshirt sophomore from Moultrie who played in six games as a backup last year.

Richt said right guard Chris Burnette is penciled in to return to his starting right guard spot when he returns this summer from a torn labrum.

Quarterback Aaron Murray said the only players who have consistently lined up at the same spots all spring are Lee at left guard and Andrews at center.

“Kenarious, I think, has played every position but center,” quarterback Aaron Murray said. “I told him the other day he probably should start working on that. … I think he’s played all of them this spring. Mark Beard’s been in and out. Xzavier Ward has played a lot. It’s an ongoing rotation.”

Murray said Georgia is starting to develop depth even with Burnette out and Austin Long sidelined now with a broken hand.

“I think we have around eight guys now that could start,” Murray said. “They’ll be able to rotate throughout camp and really be able to push each other and compete for those starting five positions.”

Ward, now healthy after an ACL injury, is one of them. He is competing for playing time and perhaps a starting position for offensive line coach Will Friend, Richt said.

“I’ll let coach Friend deal with that,” Murray said. “As long as I’m not getting hit, I’m happy.”

— Marc Weiszer covers Georgia football for onlineathens.com. Follow him on Twitter or check for updates on his blog.

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Offensive linemen take reps

SLIDESHOWS

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