Georgia’s offensive has its toughest test against sack hungry Gators

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Georgia’s offensive has its toughest test against sack hungry Gators

Andrew Thomas (71)
Andrew Thomas (71)

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart is aware that the Florida’s defensive line is among one of the best in the country. 

This season, Georgia has started six different offensive line combinations in their first seven games because of injuries. With the bye week last weekend the team got a chance to rest, and this upcoming Saturday they should have all of the pieces to the puzzle back for Florida. 

Smart spoke on his weekly SEC teleconference Wednesday about the matter. 

“It seemed like it was the first time that everyone was healthy at the same time, we were very fortunate to have some good work during the bye week and have everyone available to us across the offensive line, other than (Justin) Shaffer, who has been injured,” Smart said. 

Shaffer started at left guard in place of Solomon Kindley after he went down with an ankle injury against Notre Dame. 

“All those guys are back and able to get a little more continuity,” Smart said. “We were able to develop some of the younger kids and get them more reps during that week.”

Florida is also coming off a bye week, and they are getting several defensive linemen back this week. Defensive linemen Jabari Zuniga and Jon Greenard both returned from injuries. 

“It was pretty good to have them out there,”said Florida head coach Dan Mullen at his weekly press conference. “We’ve limited a little bit of reps Monday and built it up more yesterday, and they’ve progressed very nicely, so we expect them to be ready to go play.”

Dan Mullen SEC Teleconference Interview – October 30, 2019

Florida’s defense leads the SEC in sacks, and rank 9th in the country with 29 sacks. On the other hand, Georgia is tied with Air Force for fewest sacks allowed in the country with 4 apiece. 

So far this season Georgia’s offensive line has played stellar, and they are leading the way for Georgia’s rushing offense to be one of the most productive units in the nation. Currently, Georgia has the 16th best rushing offense in the country and they are averaging 237 yards per game. 

Smart knows that it will be a challenge, but knows his players will be ready. 

“They are excited about the opportunity to play against what is an elite front,” Smart said. “Florida has quickness, speed, physicality, pass rush, high motor guys, a lot of twitch guys. They are going to have to rise to the occasion because they’re going to have to go against what’s one of the most productive fronts in the country.”

Georgia left tackle Andrew Thomas is familiar with Florida’s defensive strengths.

“We’ve been preparing for their whole defense, and they ‘wreak havoc’ is what we call it,” Thomas said. “They get a lot of sacks and turnovers so we have to be prepared and make sure we are doing our assignments.

“All of those guys from Florida are fast and athletic in their pass rush game. It makes our job harder passing of twists, and things of that nature. We have to eye off the linebackers as well and not just their defensive line. But I think we will be prepared because we have some great guys at outside linebackers here (Georgia) that have helped us get ready.”

Here is the video from Andrew Thomas’s interview:

Andrew Thomas speaks about Florida’s defensive strengths.

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Currently an intern for BI, and a junior journalism major at the University of Georgia.