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Georgia Football

The Georgia Bulldog Offensive Line is Looking for Revenge

March 29, 2022
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“Slighted.”

That is the word that Georgia center Sedrick Van Pran used to describe how the Georgia offensive line felt after Michigan won the Joe Moore Award for college football’s best offensive line in 2021. 

He later retracted that statement to bring down its significance, but the sentiment is all the same. They came away with a couple of sweeter trophies, but the Georgia Bulldog offensive line felt they should have won that award at the end of their national championship run, and they showed that on New Year’s Eve. 

During the pre-NFL draft process, people have loved bringing up the famous play in the Orange Bowl when Jamaree Salyer pancaked the potential top-overall pick in Aidan Hutchinson. That play has continued to circulate all over social media, but that game was about a lot more than just that play.

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Georgia’s offensive line completely outplayed Michigan’s in the Orange Bowl.

Was the Bulldog front seven better than Michigan’s? Yes, but the Wolverine defense was led by Hutchison (who was the Heisman runner-up) and his edge-rush partner David Ojabo. Ojabo is a potential first-rounder in his own right. 

Georgia sacked Michigan’s quarterbacks four times and added seven tackles for loss. The Bulldog front was much better, only allowing two tackles for loss, and Stetson Bennett’s jersey only had stains from after he took off for a positive gain. 

That was a revenge game for the unit, and this season will be a revenge season for them as well. 

Who is going to step up and be a leader in this position group? For guys like McClendon and Truss, this is the third offensive line coach that they have played under. Stacy Searels will be tasked with integrating his philosophy with what is already built in Athens. An understatement would be saying that Kirby Smart has been pretty good at making assistant coach hires. 

“I’m definitely trying to be a leader. You know, going into my fourth year, it’s time for me to step up and try to be a leader and be more vocal,” McClendon said. “I’m not a very talkative guy, so just stepping up and being more talkative, leading by example, and helping out the younger guys.” 

Stacy Searels will be tasked with integrating his philosophy with what is already built in Athens. According the the players, this has gone pretty smoothly, and they seem excited to work with him. 

As it stands right now, the projected starting offensive line from left to right:

Broderick Jones, Xavier Truss, Sedrick Van Pran, Warren Ericson, Warren McClendon

Truss got a lot of time last year, but was not a consistent starter. Ericson gets a lot of heat for lackluster play in some games. 

What seems to be pretty steady are the tackles and the center. The guard position is a little bit more of a competition, and the talented Tate Ratledge should be ready to roll in August or September coming off of foot surgery. He was the starter in the Clemson game, and he will make his case again. 

Truss is focused on right now, not the future. 

"Obviously, whoever is playing the best is going to step up and be in that position," Truss said. "I'm not too worried about competition between the o-line just as long as I as a player am playing the best that I can play and that standard of the Georgia o-line. I'm going to be in there."

Spring practice is Truss and Ericson’s best opportunity to solidify themselves at the line. Ratledge will be back eventually, and Amarius Mims will look to make his push but did not make much noise as a freshman. 

The talent is there. Are they going to step up and go get it?

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