(1) Georgia
Georgia-offensive line-position battles
Justin Shaffer could start at either right guard or left guard.

Position battles and names to know along the Georgia offensive line

The Georgia offensive line has a number of moving pieces this spring, as the Bulldogs and head coach Kirby Smart try and figure out the best possible combination for the Georgia team.

Concrete updates have been hard to come by this spring, with Smart himself simply stating the position group isn’t where he wants it to be this spring.

“Not where we need to be. Still moving some parts around but certainly got work to do to get to where we need to get,” Smart said. “We’ve got some young guys out there trying to play and when you do situational football, it’s really hard to evaluate because you do 80 third downs in a row and you’ll never do that in real life.”

Left tackle: Jamaree Salyer, Xavier Truss, Broderick Jones

Salyer is the returning starter at this position but Truss and Jones are the names to monitor at this point in spring practice.

Truss got the start in the Peach Bowl for Georgia, while Jones has the 5-star pedigree. Truss is the better run blocker and stronger of the two non-Salyer options. Jones meanwhile is sharper in pass protection and is the better athlete of the two.

“He’s a hard worker,” Smart said of Truss. “He’s trimmed some of his weight down. I thought he gained some confidence in the Cincinnati game, he got to play in a tough environment against a really good defense. The best way to improve at the point that he’d been at was to go play.”

Related: Georgia OT Xavier Truss has size, but can he find SEC intensity?

Georgia knows it has a solid option in Salyer that it can trust at left tackle when it opens up against Clemson. But if the Georgia offense is to reach its apex, it may need to move Salyer down to guard and have one of Truss or Jones win the left tackle job.

Left guard: Jamaree Salyer, Justin Shaffer

If one of Truss or Jones shows enough to win the left tackle job, this is where Salyer will kick down to, as he did for Georgia’s game against Cincinnati.

In the case that Georgia is forced to play Salyer at left tackle, it will roll with Justin Shaffer here. Shaffer, who is taking advantage of the NCAA’s extra year of eligibility, started nine games at left guard for Georgia last season before moving to right guard for the Peach Bowl.

Either way, Georgia will be starting a veteran at this spot and perhaps other than right tackle, this is the position Georgia should feel the best about on its offensive line.

Center: Warren Ericson, Sedrick Van Pran

Ericson got a chance to earn some valuable starting experience at the end of the 2020 season as he filled in for Trey Hill during the Missouri and Cincinnati wins.

But he’s being pushed by a talented redshirt freshman in Sedrick Van Pran. Like so many others, Van Pran was a top recruit, as he was the No. 60 recruit in the 2020 signing class.

Ericson does have the potential to play right guard as well, as the junior offensive lineman served as Georgia’s sixth man during the 2020 season. Ericson will likely be the first-team center come G-Day but expect this battle to continue into the season.

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