Georgia’s Zion Logue, Bill Norton draw praise for Kirby Smart

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Georgia’s Zion Logue, Bill Norton draw praise for Kirby Smart

Georgia defensive lineman Zion Logue (96) during the Bulldogs' game with Florida in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. (Photo by Matt Stamey)
Georgia defensive lineman Zion Logue (96) during the Bulldogs’ game with Florida in Jacksonville, Fla., on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020. (Photo by Matt Stamey)

Georgia’s defensive line took two huge blows in their 14-3 win over the Kentucky Wildcats a couple of weeks ago. Both defensive lineman Jordan Davis and Julian Rochester left the game with injuries and neither of them played against Florida this past weekend. That led to Georgia’s pass rush to suffer in the team’s loss to Florida this past weekend with both upperclassmen unavailable.

After trailing 14-0 early in the game, the Gators were able to finally start moving the ball and imposing their will on the Bulldogs’ defense. Florida’s rushing attack was able to rush for 46 yards on nine carries in the first quarter. That gave quarterback Kyle Trask an edge as it set up Florida’s elite passing attack in the second quarter.

The loss of Davis and Rochester showed, but a few of Georgia’s younger defenders got ample playing time in their absence. One defensive lineman, in particular, redshirt freshman Zion Logue, had an impressive showing against the Gators.

The Lebanon, Tennessee native played 25 of Georgia’s 82 defensive snaps (12 run plays – 13 pass plays). Logue only recorded one tackle, but it was the play before cornerback Eric Stokes picked off Trask and returned it for a touchdown.

In fact, Logue wasn’t the only redshirt freshman defensive linemen to make plays against Florida. Bill Norton was credited with an assisted tackle for a loss. The 6-foot, 285-pound class of 2019 signee played nine snaps against the Gators.

“What kills guys like that is they never got that offseason,” Smart said when asked about the two. “They never got the really heavy lifting. We were concerned going into the game if they were going to be able to hold up because Florida’s really big in the run. They did a decent job in stop gapping the run and holding up.”

Nate McBride (22) and Bill Norton (45) - Georgia vs. Georgia Tech 2019 - Fourth Quarter - November 30, 2019
Nate McBride (22) and Bill Norton (45) – Georgia vs. Georgia Tech 2019 – Fourth Quarter – November 30, 2019

Georgia signed five defensive linemen in the 2019 class and all but one saw action against Florida. Tymon Mitchell didn’t see a single snap, but Travon Walker played extensively and Tramel Walthour played nine snaps. Walthour recorded one tackle while Walker racked up three.

Rochester may be out for the rest of the season while Smart said earlier this week that Davis is “week to week.” These holes in the depth chart will give the younger guys a chance to play over the course of the rest of the season. They will earn valuable reps against tough SEC competition, which will be good for them moving forward.

Smart seems to think Logue will be a key part of the defense moving forward.

“We didn’t get a lot of great pass rush out of the guys inside which we needed, but they did hold up against the run,” Smart said. “Zion made a couple plays and I was really proud of him going in and getting those growing pains I talked about, trying to get through some of those and get some added depth.”

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