Back in January I picked three things I thought might work against the Georgia football team in 2008. One of those was the offensive line. The 2007 line weathered the storm to become a very competent unit despite a new position coach, three freshmen on the first team, and very little depth. In 2008 the line will face a new set of challenges starting with the replacement of the two seniors who anchored the 2007 unit.
The release of the spring depth chart shows why I singled out the line.
77 Trinton Sturdivant (6-5, 293, So.)
78 Josh Davis (6-6, 293, RSo.)
61 John Potts (6-3, 285, RFr.)
72 Vince Vance (6-8, 320, Jr.)
54 Tanner Strickland (6-5, 328, RFr.)
66 Micky White (6-3, 331, RSo.)
63 Chris Davis (6-4, 292, RSo.)
76 Ben Harden (6-3, 310, RFr.)
74 Kevin Perez (6-3, 270, RSo.)
61 Ben Jones (6-3, 300, Fr.)
60 Clint Boling (6-5, 290, So.)
79 Justin Anderson (6-5, 328, RFr.)
73 Chris Little (6-6, 330, RFr.)
75 Kiante Tripp (6-6, 270, RSo.)
The youth of the line jumps out at you immediately. Vance is the only upperclassman in the group, and even he is just entering his second year of the program. No Georgia lineman has more than a year’s experience on the field.
Depth at the tackle position is also hard to miss. You have three scholarship players, and only Sturdivant has significant experience. The situation isn’t as bad as it seems: we know Boling can play tackle if necessary, and others will surely cross-train at tackle this spring.
The good news is that Boling, Sturdivant, and Davis form a solid core for the unit. Davis has an adjustment learning the center position, but he came on nicely at guard last year. And though it’s young, there is talent in there. The depth chart doesn’t include incoming freshmen (except Jones who has already enrolled), and we saw last year how true freshmen can help in a pinch. The job for Searels and his line is as big if not bigger than it was last year, but it’s not an impossible task.
The talk of the weight room so far has been Kiante Tripp. He’s up to 290 lbs. and instantly draws comparisons to Chris Terry, a converted defensive lineman who blossomed at offensive tackle. Tripp’s position change last summer caused a stir, but he saw only very limited reserve action as he adjusted to his new position. Obviously much more is expected of him in 2008.
We can be certain that the depth chart is sure to change even before G-Day. The "starting" offensive line going into spring in 2007 was Josh Davis, Vince Vance, Velasco, Adams, and Chris Davis – at center.