Ideal would not be the word to describe Georgia’s offensive line situation on paper. Just a few plays into Georgia’s season, starting right guard Tate Ratledge suffered a foot injury that will likely cost him the season.
Just weeks before that, projected starting center Warren Ericson missed some of fall camp with a hand injury. Kirby Smart has consistently voiced that he wants the best five linemen out there at all times, even if he has to put some at different positions.
It also helps a lot when your best offensive lineman is also your most versatile. That’s the case for senior offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer, who is the anchor of the offensive line at left tackle but also could be the center if necessary and probably projects as a guard at the next level.
“I would say I probably get equal reps at all,” said Salyer. “Even before we had injuries and all those different types of things, I was always rotating between guard, center, tackle on both sides. I can play all five positions, so I’m always the swingman I guess you’ll call me.”
So far this season, Georgia’s pass rush has held up exceptionally well. They only allowed one sack against an ultra-talented Clemson front and did not allow a sack in the 56-7 blowout win over UAB.
However, there has been some concern about Georgia’s run game this season and the lack of explosive plays on the ground so far, especially with the talent the Bulldogs have in their backfield.
“Here at university, running the ball is–we always have a sense of urgency about that, whether it’s good or bad,” said Salyer. “We always take things with the week. You know for us, I think the run game is kind of a detailed thing. I don’t think it is an effort thing, I don’t it’s a maybe even a personnel thing, I think it is just the details, you know, the fine details, the finishing this block, but going this direction. So yeah, it’s always a sense of urgency here because that is what this program is being founded on to stay at. But yeah, we take great pride in our offensive line and defensive line of play and being able to run the ball and stop the run. So yeah, we really want to get those things corrected and you know, get back to being the team that we want.
Salyer is likely to go pro after this season and while he might be Georgia’s best offensive lineman, the number of positions he can play brings questions about where he fits best.
“That is a tough one,” said Salyer. “It is weird. I was really great as a guard coming out of high school, but it’s weird you know, me being 6-foot-3, 6-foot-4 and having a body frame, I would have never predicted that I play tackle in college, even though I played in my senior of high school. I am not really sure which one I am better at, I take pride in being the best I can be at both, and even at center too. So, yeah it is kind of hard and kind of a hard question to ask, but like I said I embrace the challenge every day and I try to be the best I can at either one of them and try not to measure them.”
For Salyer’s full interview: