September 23, 2012

Big night for offensive line

Coming into the 2012 season, the biggest question mark for everyone concerning Georgia was the offensive line.

The Bulldogs would need to replace three starters that were drafted in the 2012 NFL draft, and many were worried it would hold the entire offense back.

That tune may be changing a bit as UGA has scored 40 or more points in the first four games of the season and the offensive line has paved the way for two straight 300 plus yard rushing performances.

According to sophomore center David Andrews, who had to replace four-year starter Ben Jones, the success is all about how they are coming together as a unit.

"We are meshing really well right now. We are getting better every day, and we just have some really good running backs behind us," said Andrews. "Mark (Beard) has really stepped up and he is getting a lot better. He took the blame for one of the sacks tonight, but he has given us another guy out there so we have a good six or seven man rotation going."

One of the more specific question marks was placed squarely on the back of former guard Kenarious Gates.

Gates had been moved from guard to left tackle, the most important position along the front five, and there were concerns as to whether or not the former three star recruit could handle the position.

Through four games, he has definitely be up for the challenge.

"I feel good out there. I feel comfortable," said Gates. "We are just working to get great as a unit and working on finishing our blocks."

Like Andrews, Gates can't say enough about Georgia's freshman running backs, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall.

"Its great when you have a couple of great backs back there that just hit the hole," said Gates. "They are just great and when we give them a hole, they always hit it."

Coming into Saturday night's contest versus Vanderbilt, there was a question as to whether left guard Dallas Lee would be able to play due to a sprained ankle.

Had Lee not been able to go, head coach Mark Richt had indicated that Beard would start at left tackle and Gates would start at left guard.

As it turned out, Lee was able to start and Gates was able to stay at left tackle.

According to the Greenville High School product, the news that Lee could play was music to his ears, but not because he had a problem playing guard.

"I mean, that's my guy right there," laughed Gates while pointing at Lee. "It was great to have him back out there and playing next to me. I know what he can do out there."

Lee, who came into the season as one of the two returning starters for Georgia, agrees with Gates and Andrews.

He sees the unit getting better not just weekly, but daily.

"We are coming together as a unit," said Lee. "We work together every day. We know we need to keep getting better. We need to do better with our timing and our assignments and our responsibilities."

Also, just like Gates and Andrews, Lee believes the Gurley and Marshall are helping make the Georgia front five look good.

"Man, those guys are just tremendous back there," said Lee. "They are just unbelievable. It is a great feeling watching them break a great run. Whether you are tired or hurting or whatever, it just gives you a boost of energy out there. It is a great feeling."

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