Cover 4 discussion puts Kirby Smart’s Georgia football assistant coaches on the spot

Georgia offensive lineman Xavier Truss (73) during a game against South Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, SC., on Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020. (Photo by Tony Walsh)

ATHENS — The clock is ticking down on the Georgia football opening game against Clemson, but there’s still plenty of time for scrutiny.

The Bulldogs and the Tigers have plenty to work on before their game kicks off at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 4 in Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., and t

The DawgNation team was dialed in on many of those issues, leading to a spirited discussion over which assistant coach — outside of the coordinators — was the most important this offseason.

Coach Kirby Smart stresses the team emphasis, and how that transitions into all of the meetings and onto the coaching staff.

But there was a strong case to be made that offensive line coach Matt Luke, who recently had his contract extended sans raise — might be the most pivotal staffer with that Clemson game right around the corner.

Georgia has yet to identify a starting left tackle, and a review of the most recent outing against Cincinnati revealed spotty play.

For all of the talk about the Bulldogs’ refined passing game and recharged commitment to scoring points, it all starts with pass protection and run blocking.

The tricky part for Georgia is that it will face perhaps the best defensive front in all of college football in its opening game.

Can Luke build a cohesive offensive line unit by Sept. 4 and protect Georgia’s “jet pilot” quarterback? Or will JT Daniels be a sitting duck in the pocket (or sitting goose?).

There’s no doubt, for Todd Monken to work his magic as a play-caller, his quarterback will need time to throw the football.

Is there an argument to be made for a more valuable staffer member than Monken?

Certainly, ace recruiter Dell McGee and linebackers coach Glenn Schumann have made strong cases for their value.

And, it wasn’t so long ago that defensive line coach Tray Scott was a bit of a question mark to some.

Now, Scott had helped recruit and mold one of the fiercest fronts in the SEC, with the UGA defensive leading the nation in run defense in Dan Lanning’s two years as defensive coordinator.

Thursday’s Cover 4 turned lively when Georgia’s preseason rank was put up for debate, with host Brandon Adams pointing out the national perception of recent Bulldogs’ quarterbacks play may have some doubting Daniels.

But then, it was Stetson Bennett who led his team to a halftime lead over Alabama in Tuscaloosa last season, while the QB-friendly offense of Ohio State struggled against the Tide in the College Football Playoff Championship Game.

Plenty of fodder, indeed, and plenty of fun!

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