In The Trenches: Georgia’s big guys are key to 2020 success

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In The Trenches: Georgia’s big guys are key to 2020 success

Jordan Davis 
Photo: Tony Walsh/UGA Athletics
Jordan Davis
Photo: Tony Walsh/UGA Athletics

Georgia’s title hopes in 2020 are dependent on how well both sides of the line of scrimmage have developed to provide the depth necessary to grind through a ten-game SEC-only schedule

Defense

The Bulldog defensive line room is one of the strongest in college football, and they are the basis of Kirby Smart’s approach to defensive football. Jordan Davis said in a recent interview, “Two on me, somebody’s free.” Davis meant that his (and his D-line teammates) first job is to engage an opponent’s offensive line and free the linebackers to make stops.

No player on this year’s defensive line is more important than Jordan Davis. Everyone has seen how he can dominate the middle and disrupt a play in his first two seasons. This year, big number 99 is said to be in the best condition of his career and ready to step-up on the national stage. Netori Johnson, Tymon Mitchel (RFr), and Nazir Stackhouse (Fr) will also see playing time at nose (tackle).

Devonte Wyatt will likely start at tackle. You can expect to see true freshman Jalen Carter (who came on strong during fall camp), Julian Rochester, Zion Logue, Bill Norton, and Warren Brinson join the rotation.
Senior Malik Herring will continue his successful career as a player and team leader at the defensive end spot. Herring will be pushed for playing time by Travon Walker and Tramel Walthour.

Offense

After last year’s less than stellar offense, most pundits have predicted another season of offensive frustration for Dawgs’ fans. Freshmen and redshirt freshmen will have to play quality minutes to provide the type of rotation that Kirby Smart has indicated will be necessary to overcome conditioning issues caused by Covid restrictions on practice time. However, it should not be forgotten that Georgia’s recruiting success under Kirby means that underclassmen in Red and Black are among the most talented in the country.

Left tackle is seen as a big question mark with Andrew Thomas now in the NFL. However, Jamaree Salyer has the tools to protect his quarterback’s blindside. He should get the start with Xavier Truss, Broderick Jones, and Austin Blaske in the rotation. A point to remember – Truss (RF), Jones (F), and Blaske (F) are freshmen who will need to grow up quickly.
I’m not sure who will open the Arkansas game at left guard, but I’m going with senior Justin Shaffer. Clay Webb and Warren Ericson (who started at right guard in the Sugar Bowl) and several freshmen will also vie for playing time. And keep an eye on Devin Whitlock.
Trey Hill will start at center with Warren Ericson and Sedrick Van Pran providing backup.

Now a redshirt senior, Ben Cleveland is solid at the right guard spot. Utility man Warren Ericson finds another opportunity to get on the field by adding another interior position to his repertoire. Netori Johnson will see snaps here as well.

At right tackle, Owen Condon has worked his way to the top of the rotation. Again, Georgia will rely on freshmen to back up Condon. Warren McClendon (RF) and Tate Ratledge (F) will get plenty of reps.

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Greg is closing in on 11 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.