Georgia’s offensive line had what was probably their best game of the year last week against Ole Miss making way for their teammates to put up 300 yards in both the air and on the ground. They did it against an Ole Miss defense that’s ranked fourth in the SEC in sacks– a defense known to get after the quarterback and have a reputation for blitzing more often that not.
And as is he way of the Southeastern Conference, this week versus the Tennessee Volunteers doesn’t look like it’s going to be any better as the Big Orange are ranked second in the SEC with thirty-three sacks on the season. If there’s one thing that this Tennessee d-line knows how to do it’s affect the quarterback. Senior offensive lineman Tate Ratledge had this to say about that group:
“Really physical. Probably the most physical group we’ve played all year– just watching film. They get vertical off the ball. Really good at getting that first step off the ground and creating knockback.”
Against Ole Miss, Georgia’s o-line managed to keep a pretty clean slate against a defensive line with multiple guys above five sacks on the season. Georgia let up none, keeping their quarterback clean on the night. That type of performance is going to be needed in Knoxville. The Vols have three different guys with at least five sacks on the season, and their leader in sacks, James Pearce Jr. is ranked second in the SEC with nine.
Ratledge had this to say about Pearce:
“He’s got an elite get off. He’s got a really good speed to bull, and I think it falls back on technique and getting in the right spot and using your hands.”
Georgia’s offensive line is going to be a key factor in whether or not the offense will be able to match up against his high-powered Tennessee team.