Tyler Catalina’s Adjustments

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Tyler Catalina’s Adjustments

Twitter - @KirbySmartUGA
Photo: Twitter – @KirbySmartUGA

With only two practices remaining prior to G-Day, Coach Pittman appears to be considering two players at left tackle – Isaiah Wynn and Kendall Baker.  Wynn has been designated by Pittman as UGA’s best offensive lineman and Baker has been called one of the most improved.  However, it is quite possible neither of them will be the starter at left tackle in the Georgia Dome on September 3rd.

23-year old graduate transfer Tyler Catalina comes to Athens this fall with plans to win the starting job at left tackle.  It will be an arduous task for Catalina who faces a big adjustment.  If he is going to win the job there are several tasks he must accomplish:

Learn the Playbook – UGA has surely already issued Catalina an iPad with Coach Chaney’s playbook and it is important that Catalina arrive with a solid grasp on the playbook.

Adjust to Physicality – The SEC is going to be a much more physically demanding league then Colonial conference.  He is going to face opponents who are bigger and stronger week-in and week-out.

Adjust to the Scheme – This goes in with the point above.  Rhode Island ran an Auburn style offense that was based a bit more on finesse.  UGA’s scheme is going to require a different technique.

Adjust to Speed – Another big challenge for Catalina will be to adjust to the speed of the game.  He is going to be facing more explosive defensive ends, linebackers and defensive backs flying off the edge every week.

Adjust to the Heat – It may seem like a small thing but the first couple months of football in the SEC can be brutally hot.  It is something Catalina is going to have to adjust to because the southern heat and humidity is a whole different animal.

There is no doubt, there is a big challenge ahead of Catalina.  However, Coach Smart and Coach Pittman’s trip to see him indicates the level of belief they have in his ability.  After Saturday’s practice Smart stated, “I like the maturity…he’s a competitor, I really like his body for a left tackle.”  If he can do a solid job with the adjustments above he has an outstanding chance to earn the starting job.




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Matthew “Huck” Pasek was born into a family of Georgia Bulldogs. Huck’s father, Gary, graduated from UGA in 1976 and became a high school chemistry teacher at Peachtree HS in Dunwoody, GA where he coached alongside Georgia High School football legend T. McFerrrin. Gary’s love of football, especially Georgia football, was passed along to his son. Huck lives in Belmont, NC with his wife, Whitney, and works in Financial Services Litigation. In his spare time he is an avid golfer, movie fanatic and habitual traveler to St. Simons Island with his wife “just to get away”. The moniker ImYourHuckleberry arose from his favorite movie, Tombstone, and character Doc Holiday’s famous line, “I’m Your Huckleberry”. Matthew was never one to shy away from a confrontation or debate, thus the nickname instantly stuck.

11 responses on “Tyler Catalina’s Adjustments

  1. Bulldawg Bob2

    Greg Poole DawgByte I agree with Greg. Madden is athletic and big, and he has made progress from last year. But he is still “wet behind the ears.”

  2. Bulldawg Bob2

    I fully expected when I heard that Catalina was being recruited and then offered that he was a expected by the staff to come in and make an immediate contribution along the 2 deep offensive line.

    He is mature and he has a lot of experience, but as you stated, Huck, he still faces a very tall task to come in and learn the offensive system and then “gel” with the offensive linemen in a relatively short amount of time when you consider he just has summer workouts and then fall camp to get ready.

    The good news here is as stated before, he has a lot of experience under his belt and he is mature. Not only that, he is smart and very athletic.

    Will he grab a starting role? I don’t know, but I have him in my two deep. Key is he has to stay healthy. Like a JUCO, if he gets hurts and misses practice and workout time, it really will put him behind the 8-ball at having a chance to vie for a start.

  3. Greg Poole

    DawgByte  I’ve had my eye on Madden at practice. He’s repping and making progress but, I think, is still a year away from much of a contribution. People need to get used to linemen taking time to develop. Big and good are not alway the same.

    I’m interested in seeing how much he plays Saturday. If he is in the rotation on the 2 line, he’s making progress.

  4. DawgByte

    One thing is for sure… Catalina bought two tickets to the gun show. That’s one massive bicep!

    Interestingly we haven’t heard much about Sam Madden. I’d figure with his body type he’d be in Pittman’s wheelhouse at Guard.

  5. Greg Poole

    IYH_BI Agreed. One reason, IMHO, is the inappropriately small number of scholarships allocated to the OL in recent years (and the failure to redshirt). If you miss on elites, then you must sign some guys to be “trained-up”.

  6. DawgDaddy

    To me it is almost a given that Catalina will be at least in the 2 deep because of what Greg is speaking of in the post above. 

    That was good insight into what Tyler needs to do to come in ready to compete.

  7. IYH_BI

    Greg Poole One of the biggest weaknesses from the previous era was the ability to sign an elite LT.  Perhaps Trindon Sturdivant was the last one?  Also, maybe UGA should have given Cordy Glenn the opportunity?  No doubt it has been a weakness.

  8. Greg Poole

    One can tell from listening to Smart that Catalina is expected to be a contributor at left tackle this fall. It says a lot about offensive line recruiting at UGA that a graduate transfer is going to be a major player at a key position for Georgia.