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Monday, August 18, 2008

Walking the Line

Mark Richt says the left-tackle carousel should come to a stop this week in favor of some continuity on the line leading up to the Georgia Southern game. Of course, that doesn't mean what is decided this week will be how the line looks in December, but at least we'll have some idea of how things could shake out.

So, for the sake of a nice Monday afternoon discussion topic, let's review the contenders for the job.

CORDY GLENN

His game: The freshman from Riverdale has quickly become a star of preseason camp. At 6-foot-5, 313 pounds, it's easy to see why coaches are intrigued, but it's how quickly he's learned the mental side of the game that has been truly impressive. Even before Trinton Sturdivant went down, Glenn was being touted by Richt as one of the most impressive freshmen in camp.

What they're saying: "We want Cordy to taste tackle, and in the beginning we were much more apt to think he was going to play tackle," Richt said. "But we were thinking he was going to be a backup. When he moved in at guard and played so well at guard, now he may win that job."

Odds of landing the gig: 12 to 1. There's a good chance Glenn is in the starting lineup against Georgia Southern, but it probably won't be at left tackle. Sturdivant proved last season a freshman can handle the role, but Glenn seems like a better fit at right guard for now.

KIANTE TRIPP

His game:
Perhaps the most athletic member of Georgia's O-linemen, Tripp was converted from the defensive side of the ball last year. He was penciled in as the starting right tackle when camp opened, but seemed like an obvious fit to move to the other side of the line when Sturdivant went down. Tripp has bulked up to nearly 290 pounds and could be an excellent fit at the most important position on the line.

What they're saying: "I played left in high school," Tripp said. "They switched me up left and right in high school, so they can switch me up here. It really doesn't matter."

Odds of landing the gig: 3 to 1. For the sake of consistency, Richt may want to keep Tripp where he is. Plus, if Glenn lands the right guard spot, having someone a bit more experienced at right tackle could be a plus. But Tripp's athleticism and ability make him a natural fit for the transition -- and transitions are something he has already proved he can handle well.

VINCE VANCE

His game:
At 6-8, 320, Vance is a beast. He played at both the guard and tackle positions in a reserve role last season. A knee injury limited him some, but ended Spring at No. 2 on the depth chart at LT last season. Physically, he can stand up to anything the defense throws at him, but his footwork needs some improvement.

What they're saying: "We really like what Vance has been doing at guard," Richt said. "We're trying not to disrupt that, but if we have to, we will."

Odds of landing the gig: 10 to 1. Vance has tons of talent, but it looks like coaches would rather limit what he needs to learn to one position until he has a bit better grasp on things. He could certainly find his way into the starting lineup at some point this season, but it's unlikely to happen in Week 1 and even more unlikely to happen at left guard.

JOSH DAVIS

His game:
Davis was listed at No. 2 on the depth chart behind Sturdivant prior to the injury and spent the first few days of camp afterward getting the majority of the first-team reps at LT. A 6-6 sophomore, Davis was sort of an afterthought on Georgia's deep O-line until Sturdivant went down, but Richt said he has shown improvement since the injury.

What they're saying: "I think his energy level moved up a notch thinking he might be the guy, and I liked what I saw," Richt said. "It's not like we said, Don't play Josh.' He's competing."

Odds of landing the gig: 5 to 1. No, Richt isn't saying "Don't play Josh," but if you read between the lines a bit, he's not saying to play him either. Davis could use a bit more development and probably isn't the long-term answer at left tackle for now. It wouldn't be surprising, however, to see him start Week 1 before giving way to someone else after that.

CLINT BOLING

His game:
The 6-5, 290-pound sophomore from Alpharetta has the most experience of the possible options at left tackle, having started 11 games last season and earning a nod on the SEC All-Freshman team. Ten of those games, however, were at right guard, where he was listed as the nominal No. 1 on the depth chart to start preseason camp. Further complicating matters is the fact that Boling will miss Georgia's first game of the season while serving a suspension.

What they're saying: "Boling is the one guy we thought could play either tackle or guard," Richt said. "If there were no injuries, he might have been the guy that was going to be the puddy guy, but everybody else was going to stick."

Odds of landing the gig:
2 to 1. Well, it won't be Boling vs. Georgia Southern, but he could be the man after that. If coaches decide to leave Tripp at right tackle, Davis could fill in for the first week, then Boling could earn the LT job after that. His mix of talent, knowledge and experience makes him a good fit for the position, and Glenn's quick development made him expendable on the right side anyway.

So, what do you think? Who would you start at left tackle? What would be your ideal starting line, given who's still healthy? Where do players like Bean Anderson, Ben Jones and Tanner Strickland fit in?

5 comments:

strick9 said...

I would agree with your assessment. Tripp or Boling @ LT makes the most sense. I think long term the line will be:
LT: Boling
LG: Vance
C: Davis
RG: Glenn
RT: Tripp
I put Vance @ LG, but I'm not sold on him quiet yet. He needs to dominate in the first couple of games. I would not be surprised to see C. Davis move over to LG and have Jones @ C. The problem with that is then you have two true freshmen right beside each other (Jones & Glenn). What has happened to Bean Anderson? Is he really gonna let a true freshman take his starting spot?
Having said all that, I believe we have possibly the best OL coach in the country. Going into last season, the OL was the biggest question mark and they turned out just fine. I truly believe that CSS will have the OL ready to go. I sure wish we still had Sturdy!

Dog44 said...

Great post, David.

I think you handicapped it well, except I might have even odds between Tripp and Boling for the job.

I like strick9's line-up, but could see the two tackle's switched around the other way (Tripp at LT, Boling at RT).

As for B. Jones, I think he'll be ready at some point in the season, but the thing is, how much will you want to change up your rotation? I think if the line plays well early they'll be inclined to stick with what they've got.

I'm also wondering about Anderson, and am waiting/hoping to see some great stuff from Vance. I think when all the dust settles it will be a solid line, especially the second half of the season.

Anonymous said...

Gotta go (after Southern of course):

Either -

LT Boling
LG Davis
C Ben Jones
RG Glenn
RT Tripp

or

LT Boling
LG Vance
C Davis
RG Glenn
RT Tripp

Anonymous said...

LT: Kiante Tripp
LG: Bean Anderson
C: Ben Jones
RG: Cordy Glenn
RT: Clint Boling

C. Davis didn't dominate last year he was just kind of there.

T. Strickland has supposedly stepped it up this fall so he will provide good depth.

Vance isn't really athletic or dominant if he does well this year the more power to him but he didn't look impressive in his opportunities thus far.

Anonymous said...

C. Davis made more tackles last year by being in Knowshon's way than any defender all last year.