Georgia has one of the best offensive lines in the country, and they also have a lot of veterans in their position group. On Saturday, they will have to face one of the best defensive tackles in all of college football.
South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw is a 6-foot-6 and 310 pound beast that has been known to give SEC offensive line’s trouble, and Georgia knows what he is capable of.
Fourth-year junior offensive lineman Ben Cleveland said that he’s well aware of how talented Kinlaw is.
“There’s no doubt that he is one of the best d-linemen in the country,” Cleveland said on Wednesday, “but we’ve got to go out like it’s any other day and any other game week, and play our brand of ball.”
Some experts have Kinlaw going in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Kinlaw is athletic and very versatile for his size. He gives opposing offense lines a challenge because of that, and usually don’t have a problem of getting in the backfield.
During the 2018 season, Kinlaw played in 12 games. He had 38 total tackles, 10 tackles for a loss, and 4.5 sacks. In 2019, Kinlaw already has 4 sacks through South Carolina’s first four games. This season he also has 14 total tackles, and a blocked kick against UNC in the Gamecock season opener.
South Carolina’s run defense is only giving up an average of 139 yards per game, and the ground game is Georgia’s most valuable offensive weapon. That seems like a decent stat, but their run defense has been very inconsistent this season. UNC ran for 238 yards against them, but the Gamecock defense only allowed Alabama to rush for 76 yards on the ground.
Georgia’s offense averages 250 rushing yards a game, but South Carolina might test the offensive line early. Notre Dame was able to load the box against Georgia in the first half, allowing only 58 rushing yards.
Coming off a bye week, Georgia expects South Carolina to bring everything they’ve got. Head coach Will Muschamp is known as a defensive mind, and his defense has several other key players beside Kinlaw that can make plays. Defensive end D.J. Wonnum is third in the SEC in tackles for loss, and linebacker Ernest Jones is 8th in the league with 38 total tackles.
Tuesday, Kirby Smart stressed that South Carolina is fast and very physical, but Georgia has seen teams like this before over the past three years.
“They definitely have speed,” Cleveland said. “They’re, without a doubt, fast. They love to get in there and create havoc and stuff like that, just like we do. I feel like it’s the type of defense we’ve been preparing against all year. So hopefully we’ll go out there and have the advantage.”
Here is the video from Ben Cleveland’s interview: