Spring Recap: Offensive Line
Reviewing each of Georgia's position groups following G-Day
Georgia offensive lineman Justin Shaffer (54) during the 2021 G-Day Game on Dooley Field at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga., on Saturday, April 17, 2021. (photo by Rob Davis)
Now that Georgia’s spring practice has ended, it’s time to do a wrap of the position groups before they start summer workouts in June.
Today, we will review the offensive line.
Ahead of time…
Going in, it was known that Georgia’s offensive line was going to be shaken up with the departure of Ben Cleveland.
Second-year offensive line coach Matt Luke has a lot of talent on the offensive line, but it’s just a matter of finding where each puzzle piece fits. Probably the biggest missing (and most important piece) is who will be starting at left tackle heading into next season.
Senior Jamaree Salyer started at left tackle for the first nine games last year before moving over to left guard for the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl. In his place, Xavier Truss moved over to left tackle and made the start against Cincinnati.
Despite that move being made, it seems like the starting lineup isn’t completely solidified. There is still competition for the starting center job after Trey Hill decided to move onto the NFL. It seems like Warren Ericson and Sedrick Van Pran-Granger are the two viable candidates who were fighting for that top spot on the depth chart.
Plus, many questioned what progressions guys like Broderick Jones, Austin Blaske, Chad Lindberg and Tate Ratledge had made in the offseason. Freshman Amarius Mims was also a big question mark. The Bleckley County High School product was one of the nation’s top blue-chip recruits out of the 2020 class and had arrived on campus an early enrollee in January.
The first-team offensive line looked like this: Truss at left tackle, Justin Shaffer at left guard, Ericson at center, Ratledge at right guard and Warren McClendon at right tackle.
The second-team offensive looked like this: Mims at left tackle, Clay Webb at left guard, Van-Pran Granger at center, Owen Condon at right guard and Jones at right tackle.
Blaske ended up playing at both center and left tackle for the second-team offensive line.
Mims impressed on the outside, but still has a lot of raw talent that needs to be developed. However, his size and stature will help him in the long run. The 6-foot-7, 330-pound Cochran, Ga. native will be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.
The black team defense (first-team) was able to sack quarterback JT Daniels four times, which ultimately falls on the first-team offensive line. The black squad also had five tackles for loss, too.
The Bulldogs have a lot of work to do on the offensive line before the start of the season. However, Georgia does have the talent, but it just needs cohesion and lots of reps to mold that starting five. A great thing about this summer is that the unit will actually have time to practice together, which is something that wasn’t allowed last summer due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Left tackle is still a major concern because of the way Truss played against Cincinnati. Hopefully, by the fall, the Rhode Island native will possess the right skills to play the position. However, if not, could we see Salyer move back to the outside? That’s one question that time will answer.
Another tidbit is that Van Pran-Granger had a solid G-Day performance and could give Ericson a real run for his money at the starting center position. Even though Ericson has more experience, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top. Either way, Georgia has two studs in the middle.
Salyer, who didn’t participate in G-Day because of an injury, will return this fall. It’s deemed that he will be 100 percent healthy by the start of fall camp. He and Shaffer will be the vocal leaders in the locker room for this unit. Look for the freshmen and underclassmen to really learn some lessons from these two veterans. Luke and head coach Kirby Smart will lean on the pair to lead heading into the season-opener against Clemson.
Check out the previous two spring recaps of Georgia’s position groups: