Aside from the secondary, the offensive line was the biggest question mark for the Georgia Bulldogs heading into the season. Injuries piled up for the Bulldogs in camp and many positions, especially amongst the interior offensive line, were up for grabs.
Once Georgia beat Clemson, all praise went to the defensive line, and rightfully so. However, many have overlooked the productive season that the Bulldogs offensive line has had to this point.
“I’m most proud of us for being able to finish games,” said senior offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer. “If you look at our past few performances, in the fourth quarter we’ve been able to not have to have our defense go back out on the field.”
Salyer is Georgia’s most valuable offensive lineman, with the ability to play all five positions. Salyer has mainly played left tackle to this point, with Sedrick Van Pran-Granger at center and Warren Ericson at right guard. Now, the starting unit is starting to build chemistry together and it is showing.
Georgia ranks fifth in the country in sacks allowed. To this point, the Bulldogs have only allowed their quarterback to go down two times, losing just 15 yards. That ranks best in the SEC with Auburn and Florida right behind Georgia.
Pass protection has turned into an obvious strength for this unit, but the Bulldogs were facing an Arkansas defense that usually only plays three down defensive lineman and flooded the field with defensive backs. Georgia had struggled to create big run plays with members of the team saying they needed to be “more physical” and pay “more attention to detail.”
The No. 2 team in the country knew they were going to have to run the ball against the Razorbacks and did it better than they have all season. Georgia’s 273 rushing yards were a season-high, with the offensive line opening up big holes all game.
“We took that as a challenge,” said Salyer. “We wanted to go be physical with them and go right at them. I feel like that’s what we did. It did give us some confidence of what we can do, our ability to take over a game. In the SEC that’s a big part of football and a big part of offense, just being able to run the ball and take over games when you need to.
Despite the early success, Salyer thinks his group still has a ways to go.
“We’ve still got growing to do, we’ve still got better teams to play coming up, so I’m excited about it,” said Salyer.