Han Vance on Georgia football: Where the program improved most-visibly last season since the start of the Kirby Smart era was in quality blocking. Last season’s SEC championship run, pun intended, fully paved with the ground game as Georgia ran it down throats. An influx of fresh five-star beef called the Wall of Georgia suggests a stellar future for UGA up front in the trenches but the time is now. And, blocking guru Sam Pittman has an inside leader hiking the ball to young Jake Fromm, senior center Lamont Gaillard.
In the mail, Mr. Gaillard suddenly appeared to me as a gang of four, poster boy-ing for the season opener’s ticket in quadruplicate. Continuing my 2018 peak performers projections, after a look at Terry Godwin, Deandre Baker, Natrez Patrick, each a senior. Noted that the Dawgs, suddenly, look chock full of potential regarding strong senior leadership at most of the team’s position groups.
Just as good blocking is utterly essential, the signals and assignments protection caller along the O-line must get and stay on point. And speaking of on point, Atlantan Mark R. of UBS was kind enough to donate his 50-yard line seats to my family elementary school, where my wife bid on and won at silent auction the tickets. So my chief photog Michael Santini, a Columbus native who lives in Candler Park of Atlanta, and my urban-based nuclear family will all be on the scene to see the Ol’ Red-and-Blacks tee it up on September 1st at 3:30 p.m. A key time slot every football season, since the CBS 3:30 game is the single biggest league game of the week, and the annual SEC East clash Cocktail Party has been pre-locked into the premium midday slot since fatal tragedy occurred around the last night game played between Georgia and Florida down in Jacksonville.
Won’t deign to go down the whole offensive line roster here or talk position battles, rather offering a hearty cheer for the school’s returning starter snapping the rock. A North Carolinian – which I discussed the recruiting fertility of that neighboring state for Georgia football in a previous piece this season – the man in the middle.
The center runs the offensive line, which is how football teams run the ball and protect the passer. Georgia is a running school. Often the smartest guy on the team, playing center is a huge responsibility that “Big Bomb” Gaillard has handled with aplomb since taking over, UGA producing good centers.
(Photo by: Han Vance)