Sedrick Van Pran and the Bulldogs’ offensive line face their toughest test of the 2023 season this upcoming Saturday when they go up against a stout Kentucky defense. Georgia has become notorious throughout the 2023 campaign for getting off to slow starts. In fact, the Bulldogs have scored just 17 total points in the first quarter through the first five games of the season. Vanderbilt transfer Ray Davis is the face of a dominant Kentucky rushing attack that recently performed exceptionally against Florida’s defense. If Van Pran and the Bulldogs’ offense can’t get things rolling early, the Wildcats are more than capable of taking control of this football game and controlling the clock.
Tate Ratledge spoke to the media this week and took responsibility for his part in Georgia’s struggles running the ball early in games. He mentioned that he hasn’t played up to the standard he is capable of, and the entire offensive line understands that they have to perform better as a group.
Van Pran, the unquestioned leader of the offensive line, also spoke regarding Georgia’s early-season struggles. When discussing where Georgia stands as an offensive line, he said, ‘We’re one play away. You need all five guys working at the same time.’ The Kentucky defense is currently 10th in rush yards allowed per game, and Van Pran understands the challenge Georgia is preparing to face. The senior said, ‘This isn’t a game you can take lightly; they’ve remained extremely consistent with their physicality.’
As the Bulldogs look forward to this weekend, they need to capitalize on offensive possessions. Georgia is a resilient team, and no matter the score of any game, they are never to be counted out.
However, this Kentucky team deserves respect, and they play a very similar brand of football to Georgia. They possess a physical offensive and defensive line, have explosive players at receiver, arguably the best running back in the SEC, and a quarterback more than capable of making critical plays in clutch moments. Kentucky’s defense also currently leads the SEC in defensive takeaways with nine. The point is, they’re a team that deserves respect, and they are undefeated for a reason.
With that being said, Georgia is poised for a breakout game. They’ve shown their potential in spurts, and it’s only a matter of time until this team asserts their dominance. Kentucky’s secondary is currently ranked 67th in passing defense, and Carson Beck played lights out in the second half against Auburn. If Georgia’s receiving corps can alleviate some of the pressure off Brock Bowers, the Dawgs’ offense will be unleashed. Sanford Stadium at night is not to be messed with, and it shouldn’t be a surprise if Georgia finds a way to dominate on Saturday.