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Georgia football: What might the starting offensive line look like versus Virginia?

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What will the starting O-line look like for Georgia against Virginia? The DawgNation Cover 4 crew takes aim at that topic

DawgNation has four staffers who cover Georgia football from every angle: Beat, live streams, photos, podcasts, recruiting, etc. The “Cover 4” concept is: 1) Present a topic; 2) Offer a reasoned response; 3) Share a brisk statement on that opinion. 4) Pepper the page with photos for the big picture. For this edition, we discuss what we still think the Georgia starting offensive line will look like for the first game of 2020 against Virginia. 

DawgNation continues with the “Cover 4” concept. The focus is always a timely look with each of our guys manning the secondary on a pertinent topic.

The Cover 4 thought for today focuses on the offensive line. Here’s a quick look at the turnover at that position for the Georgia program.

OUT: Line coach Sam Pittman (HC: Arkansas); LT Andrew Thomas (NFL); LG Solomon Kindley (NFL); RT Isaiah Wilson (NFL); G/T Cade Mays (Transfer to Tennessee); G/T D’Marcus Hayes (graduation)

IN: Line coach Matt Luke: 5-star OT Broderick Jones; 4-star OT Tate Ratledge; 4-star C Sedrick Van Pran-Granger; 4-star OL Chad Lindberg; 3-star OT Devin Willock; 3-star OT Austin Blaske; 3-star OT Devin Willock; 3-star OG/C Cameron Kinnie

That’s pretty considerable, huh? We just though we’d make it a wild and crazy Sunday. The aim here was to try to predict what the starting line might look like for the eventual 2020 opener against Virginia.

No degree of difficulty there, right? Especially with the cloud of no spring practice looming over that competition.

The quick in-and-out game remains. The Cover 4 is designed to come out as quick as everyone is trying to maintain their social distancing these days.

What will the eventual Georgia starting O-line look like against Virgina?

Brandon Adams: LT: Broderick Jones; LG: Justin Shaffer; C: Trey Hill RG; Ben Cleveland; RT: Jamaree Salyer

DawgNation Daily sees rising junior Trey Hill as a fixture on his projected 2020 starting O-line vs. Virginia. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

The “why” from “DawgNation Daily” here: “A healthy Shaffer gets the nod at left guard because he was in line for playing time prior to his neck injury. Hill at center is the only true given, but Salyer is definitely starting somewhere. However, the critical spot is left tackle. Jones faces an uphill climb in becoming a freshman starter, but his competition is also inexperienced.”

Mike Griffith: LT: Xavier Truss; LG: Justin Shaffer; C: Trey Hill RG; Ben Cleveland; RT: Jamaree Salyer

Why does Griffith think so highly of Truss? Well, just take a look at his size. The 6-foot-7 former prep All-American towers over everyone in this 2019 file photo, including 6-foot-5 OLB Jermaine Johnson to his right. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

The “why” from “On the Beat” here: “This is the area Kirby Smart is most concerned about, and he’ll say it. There will be discussion about different players lining up in different places, and injury updates.“

Connor Riley: LT: Xavier Truss; LG: Justin Shaffer; C: Trey Hill RG; Ben Cleveland; RT: Jamaree Salyer

Connor Riley values rising senior Justin Shaffer among his starting five OLs for the eventual season opener against Virginia. Shaffer got good early time in the 2019 season against Tennessee and Vanderbilt. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

The “why” from “Good Day UGA” here: “It wouldn’t surprise me to see Warren Ericson slide into one of the guard spots or possibly center if Hill wanted to move to guard. I do think Salyer played well at the right tackle spot and think he’s got the athletic gifts to play and do well there in college.”

Jeff Sentell: LT: Jamaree Salyer; LG: Justin Shaffer; C: Trey Hill; RG: Ben Cleveland; RT: Broderick Jones

The Intel here says to place a lot of confidence in Sayler locking up one of the two tackle spots, including the left tackle spot. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

The Intel here: “There was nothing off with Sayler. Georgia just had NFL talent with a year of progression in the program ahead of him. Look for Salyer to stabilize the UGA line at one of the two tackle spots. He blocked the 5-star edge guys at elite prospect camps in high school. Sayler did it then. He can definitely do it now. No spring practice might still allow an uncommon freshman like Jones or Sedrick Van Pran-Granger the chance to earn early time. The veterans will now pivot to Luke and Todd Monken’s system at the same time with all the new guys. Freshmen getting time in the trenches is hard to do in the SEC, but guys like Jones, Van Pran-Granger and Tate Ratledge can be special. If Van Pran-Granger is ready, it might not be too radical to wonder if a position flex for Hill is in order. That would allow Luke to put his five best guys on the field at the same time. “

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