Smart says the tight end room ‘is not the same’ without Big O

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Smart says the tight end room ‘is not the same’ without Big O

In the world of college football, spring is a time of transition and growth. Key players either hit the portal or try their shot in the big leagues, and it leaves younger guys eager to step and fill the role they’re leaving behind. In most cases, you’re used to seeing someone come and go, but for the likes of a guy like Darnell Washington the story’s a little different.

If you’ve kept up with Georgia Football at all, you’ll know Washington is a unicorn of a man playing the tight end position at the height and weight of 6-foot-7 and 270 pounds. His exponentially large size advantage gives him the upper hand in the trenches where he basically served as a “sixth offensive lineman” according to Coach Smart.

“It’s not the same (without him),” Smart said. “We don’t have that– you know– same mass and movement, and it doesn’t just affect the run game, it affects the play action pass game.”





Smart went on to list a multitude of ways which Washington contributed to the offense: perimeter blocking, getting vertical on play action, and helping out in max protection. There’s just so much the man can do. Even Stetson Bennett said on a podcast last week that if he could choose any tight end to play with, he’d choose Big O.

Of course, Washington could never stay forever, so filling his shoes is the likes of Oscar Delp, who showed strong play in his minutes as a backup. The only concern with Delp’s development is the fact that he no longer is able to practice pass protection against veteran edges like Nolan Smith and Robert Beal. Now he has to line up against younger players like Gabriel Harris, Sam M’Pemba, CJ Madden, and Chaz Chambliss. Not to say that these younger bucks are any less qualified, they’re just objectively less experienced with Chambliss being a junior and the rest being freshman. Smart did mention that Delp’s done a good job going up against Tramel Walthour and Mykel Williams, defenders who play with a hand in the dirt, so that’s good to hear.

There are also some questions regarding depth at the tight end position given that Pearce Spurlin is out for the spring with a collarbone/shoulder injury. Right now, a healthy UGA tight end group from first to fourth string would look like: Brock Bowers, Oscar Delp, Lawson Luckie, and Pearce Spurlin. A bit different than 2022’s line up, but change is inevitable.





It’ll take some getting used to but as said earlier, springtime in college football is a time of transition. Not having Big O is something the Dawgs were already preparing for reeling in this 2023 tight end class with Luckie and Spurlin. Now Kirby has to do what Kirby does best. Develop.





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