In the Trenches

Long-time Georgia Football fans are inherently fans of power running football, because when the DAWGS have done well over the years it has been mainly via the run. Bobo and Moreno essentially brought the run back to UGA last season. Scatback U has a legacy of stellar runners dating back at least to Trippi and Sinkwich in the 1940s. Herschel, Hampton, Hearst. And that’s just in the “H” category.

When I look at the defensive fronts we will face this season, I see us lining up on par with the following strong opponents: Arizona State, BAMA, Tennessee and Florida. That is to say, our offensive line versus their defensive line. And the battle in the trenches decides EVERY football game. We should have an edge over Tech, Kentucky, Vandy, C. Michigan and Georgia Southern.

Things get much dicier when I stack us up, player-for-player, against the beasts at Auburn and at LSU, and even at Carolina. And “at” is exactly where we have to play those three opponents this year. Throw in the unfathomable crowd noise of giant SEC road venues in each case, and these matchups are downright scary. Blindside protection for Stafford is mandatory when we throw. Running holes are mandatory when we run.

We have no true upperclassmen with experience on our offensive line and lost our best Sophomore (and overall best lineman) to season-ending injury.  LSU and Carolina, by contrast, have not only returning proven starters that were nearly impossible to block in the past, they each get solid medical redshirt guys back that have been on campus forever. Auburn has upperclassmen ready to clog and pressure and a tough defensive front almost every season. This year, they are fuming that we have blown them out twice in a row.

The strength of the LSU, Auburn and Carolina teams will be their defensive middles. With the probability that Moreno will be somewhat held in check in at least one of these three key road contests, can Georgia’s young line protect Stafford well enough for us to win them all? Can we survive those tests in the same season that we beat BAMA and Arizona State while sweeping Florida and Tennessee, our SEC East rivals?