For the first time since the 2019 SEC Championship game, Jamaree Salyer was not in the starting lineup for Georgia against Missouri. The senior offensive tackle sustained a foot injury and practice last week which had him in street clothes and on crutches last Saturday.
The positive news for the Bulldogs is that the injury will not require surgery and Salyer has been able to do more in practice this week. Yet it’s not known if Salyer will be able to see the field against Tennessee.
“He has gotten better,” Smart said. “He has been able to do some weight-bearing things. He did that all in walk-throughs, all the practice stuff, conditioning as well, we are hopeful.”
Related: Live updates, injury report, practice news for Week 11 game against Tennessee
In the event Salyer doesn’t play, Georgia will once again start Broderick Jones at left tackle. The redshirt freshman made his first career start against the Tigers.
It wasn’t the first time Jones had seen the field, as the Bulldogs had made it a point to rotate Jones in with the first team throughout the season. In some of those reps, Georgia had subbed out Salyer so the game to see what the offensive line would look like.
Smart gave his thoughts on how Jones played in his first start for the Bulldogs.
“I think he would be the first to tell you he could play better, but he played well,” Smart said. “He played hard and that’s what we ask our guys to do. Play with relentless effort, strain, play really physical. He did those things we asked, but he can get better at some technique things.”
Without Salyer, Georgia ran for 168 yards. The Bulldogs faced crowded boxes consistently against Missouri, with the Tigers daring Stetson Bennett and JT Daniels to beat them through the air. Georgia was able to do as it threw for 337 yards in the win. The Bulldogs also kept Daniels and Bennett clean as neither were sacked. That has been a strength of the offensive line all season, as the Bulldogs have given up the fewest sacks among Power 5 teams in the country.
Still, Georgia would like to run the ball better this week against Tennessee. Even if the Volunteers load the front again, Georgia wants to be able to impose its will upfront.
“It’s definitely has been an emphasis for us just because honestly, we feel a little bit disrespected,” center Sedrick Van Pran said. “We feel like our whole identity of who we want to be as an offensive line is to run the ball so it’s something we’re looking to fix going forward.”
Tennessee gives up an average of 3.76 yards per carry this season. Whether Georgia has Jones or Salyer out there on Saturday there is confidence in whoever is at left tackle to get the job done. Especially against a Tennessee defense that gave up 42 points to a middling Kentucky offense last week.
“My message to Broderick is he was made for this,” Van Pran said. “This is something he’s worked for, something he’s practiced for. We all believe in him and know he’s going to get the job done. I just wanted to make sure he knew there was no pressure. Just go out and play like you play in practice.”
Sedrick Van Pran on the left tackle position for Georgia
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