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Georgia Football

Legge's Thoughts: There's One Simple Question About These Georgia Bulldogs

August 4, 2022

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ATHENS - It is the immediate question I ask myself every time I see the Georgia Bulldogs take the practice field in the fall. 

Very simply: “Can this offensive line (the one I see in front of me on this 95-degree day) win the SEC… and national title?”

It is probably the most critical question in this sport. Deficiencies in that unit can take good teams and make them decent. Good offensive lines accentuate what skill position players can do (Alabama 2012). 

The truth is folks forget when offensive lines earn teams more 2-and-6 situations than 2-and-8s. Those two yards are a big deal - those two yards probably cost Georgia two wins in 2016 (Vandy, Tech). We give credit to skill players - I know I do it. We all do. But you can’t function without an offensive line that’s not just functional - they have to be good. 

When you need to convert on 3rd and four to win the game - or fly down the field and score after your signal caller makes the mistake everyone thinks has cost you the game - you need your big men to execute. 

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Better example - remember Aaron Murray’s experience in 2012 when he played South Carolina? He was 11 of 31 for 109 yards. Half the night he was being dry humped by Carolina’s defensive line. Georgia’s offensive line was not in position that night to deal with what was coming at them. 

A year later? Four touchdowns. 309 yards. And 41 points including the electrifying 85-yard pass to Justin Scott-Wesley that clinched the game. 

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The difference? Murray was protected much better in 2013 than 2012. It was the offensive line doing what it needed to slow down what was a very good South Carolina defensive line. John Theus wasn’t a freshman anymore. He was the same quarterback - just accentuated with a better performance from his offensive line. 

Perhaps a better example is the 2021 saga between the Tide and Dawgs. In game one Bryce Young was 26 of 44 with three touchdowns. He wasn’t sacked. He actually gained 40 yards rushing. He was only pressured 15 times. That’s a heck of a performance - good enough to hammer home winning the Heisman

A month and a few days later Young was running for his life. 35 completions and 57 attempts later he had thrown one score and two picks. He was sacked four times and pressured 40 times. 

“But them receivers waz hurt Pawl… them receivers.”

Young wasn’t completing passes to those receivers because they were hurt - yes. But also because he was digging plastic pellets out of his mouthpiece after 40 of his drop backs. That’s not fun. 

Murray once confirmed to me that it’s hard to complete passes while lying on the ground. I’m pretty sure quarterbacks from Tucker Football League could confirm that. 

That will be one challenge for Bama coming into this season. The Tide’s offensive line has to get better. Georgia’s needs to go out and execute. If they do that winning it all isn’t out of the question at all. 

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