Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Around the Tailgate: the offensive line

Today our fearless tailgaters tackle one of Richt's most eternally troublesome topics - the offensive line.

As most seem pretty worried, I feel like I'm in a fairly small minority on the offensive line. On the one hand, this is the position that year in and year out is always a question mark for Richt's teams. On the other hand, there's no where to go but up compared to last season. How are you feeling about the group that's shaping up to be the starters? What are your expectations for the unit in front of Murray?
Free Kolton Houston

Joe Waterloo - "No where to go but up" seems logical when you think about last years performance, until you realize we lost the best center in the league and will most likely have a true freshman starting at tackle.  How we can be so thin year in and year out on the O-line is one of the great mysterys of Richt's time in Athens.  We tend to find a way to patch it together enough to be mediocre, but this seasons has the potential to really get ugly.  God willing the Kolton Houston issue will get resolved in our favor, but even if it does we are on very thin ice.  It's without a doubt my biggest concern of the season and it may come down to Bobo getting creative with ways to get Murray out of the pocket.  On second thought  - counting on Bobo to get creative is my biggest concern of the season.

The Wrangler - I am excited to see what the new O-line brings to the table.  We will definitely miss the leadership of Ben Jones, but he showed a lot of the youngsters what it means to put in 100% every day.  I think they will improve week to week, and by the time we face South Carolina, we should be a force.  With talent at all the skill positions, Bobo should be able to mix up the play calling to take a little pressure off of these young guys until they gel.  I really hope that Courson will continue to pressure the NCAA to get Houston reinstated.  He could provide some serious talent and depth.  I am trying to temper my expectations since the O-line play has been questionable the last few years, but I am optimistic that they will perform well enough.  Murray seems to have gotten even better this offseason, and his knowledge of defenses and ability to check into the right play can only benefit the big guys that are protecting him.  Word is that he is very close with this group of linemen, so I hope they go to war for him and the rest of the team on every snap.
Andrews has solidified the starting center position.

Namaman - The O-line is, like you said, seemingly a concern for us every year.  Replacing 3 NFL caliber starters is definitely a difficult thing to do.  But only time will tell.  I like the way the Murray is able to move in the pocket to be able to get away from any pressure that might be coming, but I am also looking for our backs to be able to step up in pass protection to give us that extra second or two to make the plays.  We just have to hold out hope that everyone we have stays healthy and can build on each game.  We have enough talent behind them to cover from the lack of experience to a certain extent.

Smoke Wagon - If I were ignoring the reports coming from camp, I would think O-line would be the biggest concern by far…… I am not sure if the coaches are trying to build them up to give them confidence or if they are really doing that well at practice.  For such a small (in quantity) group with so little experience, there seems to be a lot of positive vibe coming out of camp.  I fear that even if the top 6 or 7 are as good as they have sounded in the newspaper, we are only an knee injury away from disaster.  I expect them to be a gritty bunch that will play with attitude.  I just hope they can stay healthy and fresh because I get the feeling there is a steep drop-off behind the starters.

AthensHomerDawg - I had a chemistry professor, Dr. Whitten who wrote our book and rolled those half dozen  chalk boards around like a orchestra leader. He use to like to tease us with answers. His favorite line after taking a problem so far to solving it.... 'the answer is.... ? well what ever it is." and he would stop and slide those boards some more. He would have been awesome with PowerPoint.  We will know by the uSC game  what the answer is per the OL. 

We will be fine. 

To wrap up, the proof's always in the puddin'. But one thing this season has over last is that we have actual tackles on the edges. 

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Monday - Tailbacks, post-Crow