Head football coach Kirby Smart addressed the media on Thursday after Day 10 of Fall Camp. Smart spent some time discussing and answering questions on the offensive line.
Of course, the big question on everyone’s minds was the continued absence of senior left tackle, Isaiah Wynn. Wynn’s missed four practices in a row this week and it was one of the first questions off the board in Thursday’s post-practice presser.
“I still feel real good about him. He’s just got a little bit of an illness. He’s here. He’s just not out there during those periods,” Smart said. “We think he’s going to be fine.”
Smart continued on the offensive line and said that it’s a blessing in disguise. By Wynn being absence it allows for younger guys to step up.
“That’s the blessing in disguise of all this. We’re finding out a lot about the other guys. It bothers me the continuity of the offense is not getting what it needs with Isaiah out. I think they would be gaining confidence with him in.”
Kirby expanded on that comment by talking about how freshmen O-linemen Andrew Thomas, Justin Shaffer, and Isaiah Wilson were progressing as well as redshirt sophomore Pat Allen.
“Andrew (Thomas) has worked at guard, but he also has to work at tackle because of Isaiah not being there. The good news is he’s a pretty bright kid. He has been working at left guard some, as well as Pat Allen. (Justin) Shaffer is working really hard. I thought Isaiah Wilson had his best practice so far yesterday. I’ll reserve judgment on today until I watch the tape, but he had a lot better practice.”
And Coach Smart praised redshirt freshman Ben Cleveland, who just recently turned 18, on how hard he has been working in camp and further talked about the competition among the offensive line so far this fall.
“Ben (Cleveland) has competed really hard. That’s the spot where we have three guys competing. Dyshon (Sims) is not able to play there now, but he knows right tackle, you’ve got Ben, and then there’s Isaiah Wilson. There’s a lot of battling going on there. Left tackle, Dyshon’s working there. Kendall Baker has worked there some with Isaiah out. Lamont (Gaillard) has played well at center. (Sean) Fogerty is really pushing him. There are a lot of moving parts, which we knew going into camp it would be that way. I would say we’ve got to play more physical to improve on the offensive line, not only this year but so far this camp. We still haven’t done compared to what I thought we did early in the spring… We’re not where we need to be to run the ball efficiently. Hopefully, the answers to that will come by scrimmage 1 or scrimmage 2.”
Hopefully, Wynn doesn’t much more practice so Smart and company can get the offensive line like they want, but the good news is that the freshmen seem to be coming along nicely.
Check out Smart’s full press conference below:
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