Georgia offensive line must ‘rise to the occasion’ against sack-happy Florida
ATHENS — Georgia coach Kirby Smart will be looking for more continuity up front with the Bulldogs offensive line back intact.
The Bulldogs have started six different offensive line combinations in the first seven games on account of injuries. But UGA could have its opening game lineup back on the field for the game against Florida on Saturday.
Georgia (6-1, 3-1 SEC) plays the Gators (7-1, 4-1) at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday in Jacksonville at TIAA Bank Field.
“It seemed like it was the fist time that everyone was healthy at the same time, we were very fortunate to have some good work during the bye week and have everyone available to us across the offensive line, other than (Justin) Shaffer, who has been injured,” Smart said on the SEC teleconference on Wednesday.
Shaffer was the backup left guard who started in place of Solomon Kindley after Kindley went down with an ankle injury in the 23-17 win over Notre Dame on Sept. 21.
“All those guys are back and able to get a little more continuity,” Smart said of the open week practice sessions, “and we were able to develop some of the younger kids and get them more reps during that week.”
Florida also got healthy on its bye week, with defensive linemen Jabari Zuniga and Jon Greenard returning to practice.
“It was pretty good to have them out there,” Florida coach Dan Mullen said on the SEC teleconference. “We’ve limited a little bit of reps Monday and built it up more yesterday, and they’ve progressed very nicely, so we expect them to be ready to go play.”
The Gators lead the SEC and rank ninth in the nation with 29 sacks.
The Bulldogs lead the SEC and are tied with Air Force for fewest sacks allowed this season (4).
Smart said the Georgia offensive line, which is also on track to lead the SEC in rushing for a third straight season despite the rash of injuries the first half of the season, looks forward to the challenge.
“They are excited about the opportunity to play against what is an elite front,” Smart said. “(Florida has) quickness, speed, physicality, pass rush, high motor guys, a lot of twitch guys.
“They are going to have to rise to the occasion, because they’re gong to have to go against what’s one of the most productive fronts in the country.”
Georgia OG Solomon Kindley
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