For all the focus this preseason on freshman John Theus and Georgia‚Äôs right tackle position, it‚Äôs almost forgotten that quarterback Aaron Murray will have a new player protecting his blind side this season.
Kenarious Gates shifted this offseason from left guard to the pivotal left tackle spot. He is replacing Cordy Glenn, taken in the second round of the NFL draft by Buffalo. Georgia had not produced an offensive lineman drafted that high since 2003.
‚ÄúI feel very comfortable because I feel that‚Äôs my natural position, that‚Äôs where I need to be,‚Äù Gates said after Monday‚Äôs practice. ‚ÄúThis has been my best camp. I‚Äôve worked hard and become a leader for the team and am just holding down left tackle.‚Äù
The 6-foot-5, 318-pound Gates, who started nine games at left guard last season, admits he can improve his technique.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs getting better,‚Äù coach Mark Richt said. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs really practiced well the last few days especially. I think he‚Äôs become more comfortable there. He‚Äôs being a little bit more patient in his pass protection. ‚Ä¶You‚Äôve got to time your punch.‚Äù
Murray said he was confident that Gates would be fine at the new spot because the junior ‚Äúhas a lot of years in the system already.‚Äù