ATHENS — This is how much Isaiah Wynn has impressed at Georgia camp: Forget whether he’s acclimated to being the starter at left guard. He has. Now if something happened to the starter at left or right tackle, Wynn would move there.
That’s quite a statement of confidence in the abilities of Wynn, a sophomore who has yet to make a career start.
“I’m always going to piece-match and play the best five,” Georgia offensive line coach Rob Sale said after Monday’s practice. “If the right tackle goes down we don’t put the second right tackle in. I’m always trying to find the best five.”
Wynn is clearly among those, cementing his spot as the lone new starter on Georgia’s experienced line. He will slot in at left guard, with Brandon Kublanow switching to center and replacing David Andrews. Originally Wynn was put at center, but after an uneven snapping performance in the spring game he flip-flopped with Kublanow.
Wynn has put on 22 pounds since last spring, according to Sale, putting him at around 290 pounds. But even in the spring Wynn was the “strongest, stoutest 268-pound man I’ve probably been around,” said Sale.
“He’s athletic. He’s quick-twitch. He’s tough. Has all the intangibles. He’s an athlete,” Sale said. “So he can go out there and cover up the edge.”
All that said, Sale cautioned that Wynn being the top backup at tackle would be the plan now, adding that was subject to change between now and the start of the season. There are candidates to move into that role, including redshirt freshman Kendall Baker and sophomore Aulden Bynum.
Hunter Long, the fifth-year senior, is probably the “sixth man” on the line, the top backup at center and both guard spots.
Dyshon Sims, a sophomore, was also mentioned by Sale as a candidate for the second unit.
That’s where Sale is most concerned right now. It’s a reflection of Sale’s confidence in the line that he’s more worried about the second unit than the first five.
In fact, Sale said the best five will continue to play throughout the game, and only come out because of injury or performance. Sale said he wouldn’t go into games with a plan to sub players to keep them fresh.
That’s a departure from the past couple years, when the previous offensive staff subbed in backups for individual drives. It didn’t take away from last year’s line, which was Georgia’s best in five years. But Sale plans to do it differently, and isn’t worried about giving starters rest in order to keep them fresh.
“I’ll keep that group out there, and let them play together, let them get the feel of the guy next to them,” Sale said. “I like the conditioning, the tempo, the way we practice. That’s how we can condition.”
Freshman Mirko Jurkovic, the summer signee from Indiana, showed promise before his injury the second or third day of camp. When asked when Jurkovic could return, Sale deferred to head coach Mark Richt, who is not available until after Wednesday’s practice. And Richt and the team have not been releasing injury info this month.
“But the few days he was out here you could tell he’s going to be a good football player,” Sale said of Jurkovic. “He’s very athletic. Quick-twitch.”