Georgia football defensive line gets its ‘biggest test’ against talented Tennessee offensive line
With the way the Tennessee offensive line has been talked about so far this season, it’s easy to classify them as an unstoppable force.
Conversely, the Georgia defensive line has done its best job to be an immovable object, with the Bulldogs giving up just 116 yards in the first two games of the season. That’s tops in the SEC through two games.
So what happens when an unstoppable force meets and immovable object? Physics tells us the answer is the total annihilation of both sides.
Kirby Smart explained it more in football terms.
“We have an experienced defensive line. I think they played hard, played physical, and that is what we want to do,” Smart said. “(Tennessee has) A combination of really good backs, experienced quarterback and a very experienced offensive line, this is by far the biggest test.”
The Volunteers have recruited very well along the offensive line in recent seasons, as they’ve signed three 5-star prospects at the position in Trey Smith, Wanya Morris and Darnell Wright. They also have former Alabama offensive lineman Brandon Kennedy working at the center position as a sixth-year senior.
And then there’s former Georgia offensive lineman Cade Mays. He was granted eligibility by the SEC last week and started at right tackle for the Volunteers in their game against Missouri.
“They’ve got a tremendous offensive line, probably one of the best in our league,” Smart said. “These guys are talented. Cade (Mays) has played in our league at the tackle position. He’s proven he can block the best guys in the country. They’ll be a great challenge.”
Of course, Georgia’s defensive line isn’t lacking in talent either. Jordan Davis was voted First Team All-SEC prior to the start of the season and might be the most important defender on Georgia’s team.
The Bulldogs also have experienced seniors in Malik Herring, Julian Rochester and Devonte Wyatt, who have played a ton of football for the Bulldogs. Add in talented underclassmen such as Travon Walker and Jalen Carter and the Bulldogs have a number of bodies to throw at the Tennessee front line.
“The primary challenge is just to go out there and do our job and compete,” Herring said. “Get the W. They’re a physical O line.”
Through two games, the Volunteers rank second in the SEC in rushing yards per game with 182. Tennessee has two capable running backs in Ty Chandler — who leads the conference in rushing through two games with 176 yards — and Eric Gray. Both Tennessee running backs are averaging over 5.0 yards per carry so far.
If the Georgia defensive line and Tennessee offensive line play each other to a stalemate, that means it will be on the likes of linebacker Nakobe Dean to help neutralize Tenneesse’s rushing attack.
“They’re really disciplined from what I’ve seen. They have a good team,” Dean said. “I feel like if we just focus on just doing what we’ve been doing, practicing hard and everything and just focusing on them. Trust the system that the coaches have in place, we’ll be great.”
The weather isn’t supposed to be great on Saturday, with there being a 70 percent of rain in the forecast. That will make throwing the ball more difficult and might only further turn the battle between Georgia’s defensive line and Tennessee’s offensive line into something you might have seen in France during the First World War.
It figures to be trench warfare, matching the strength of each team on Saturday. And that makes the game against Tennessee a tougher task than what Georgia had last week against Auburn in the eyes of Smart.
“I see they have a commitment to the run. They’re physical on the offensive line. They’ve got a deep offensive line,” Smart said. “They’ve got experience, they have big people, they’re physical up front. So, when you start with those two, they’re just better right now than where Auburn is.”
Malik Herring speaks on Georgia football defensive line vs. Tennessee offensive line
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