Although Kirby Smart continues to express some concerns about his defense, he’s starting to like what he sees from his offensive line.
“Either complacency has set in or the offensive line is doing better. A lot of the same defensive players are still there except for Trenton (Thompson) and Roquan (Smith),” Smart said after practice on Tuesday. “It’s hard to tell. We’re not tackling live but they’re certainly moving us more than I’m accustomed, so we’ll find out Saturday."
The Bulldogs will hold their first scrimmage of the spring this Saturday at Sanford Stadium.
For the second week in a row, Georgia’s first-team offensive line has consisted of Isaiah Wynn at left tackle, Pat Allen at left guard, Lamont Gaillard at center, Solomon Kindley at right guard and Dyshon Sims at right tackle.
Of the five, Allen – a redshirt sophomore – has really started to catch Smart’s eyes.
"I think he understands what he’s doing better. He’s more comfortable. He's playing with a more physical attitude, a physical demeanor. That’s one of the guys that I’m talking about,” Smart said. “Again, I don’t know if we’re playing softer up front or we are playing more physical on the offensive line. I don’t know which one it is. It’s hard to tell when you go against yourself all the time, but Pat is getting some more movement on some guys than he’s gotten in the past.”
Smart once again said that Sims may be the team’s most versatile offensive lineman, with the ability to play all five positions, including center.
Gaillard is also making strides.
“He’s done well. It’s new for him because it’s kind of like being the quarterback of the offensive line because he has to make calls, make decisions,” Smart said. “When we get to third down, sometimes he struggles with that but he’s improved and Coach (Sam) Pittman does a good job with those guys.”
Smart said some of Georgia’s second team offensive linemen are also starting to make some strides.
“(Sean) Fogarty has done a good job, Ben Cleveland has done a good job, Chris Barnes is starting to show some progress,” Smart said. “I am happy with the growth of those guys. But until they start to produce on the field, that’s when we will know for sure.”
Smart later revealed that Cleveland is currently working primarily at tackle after cross-training at guard during Week 1 of spring camp.
So far, he likes what he’s seen from the redshirt freshman.
“We were probably unfair to Ben early on, again, because we were asking him to play guard and tackle, again, trying to see where he best fit. But after Week 1, we said let’s let him have a week at just tackle, and he had a better week,” Smart said. “This is the start of Week 3 at just tackle, so we want to see where that takes us because he provides a little different element at that right tackle position. He’s a big man. He’s a mountain of man. We want to get some movement, some run blocking. You look at him and Dyshon, they’re both good in their own rights, so it gives us a little different flavor. We want him to go in and compete. He’ll continue to move around, just not right now.”