WATCH Andrew Thomas: Georgia ready for Tennessee’s ‘crazy looks’
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Georgia could be starting its fourth different offensive line combination in five games against Tennessee.
The Bulldogs aren’t expecting any drop-off.
“When somebody goes down, we have someone who is just as good or maybe even better, and they can come in and do their job,” Georgia junior Andrew Thomas said. “We approach it like everyone is a one, so when your name is called, you’re ready.”
The No. 3-ranked Bulldogs play Tennessee at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Neyland Stadium.
The Vols recorded three sacks on Jake Fromm in last season’s game and stripped the ball from him.
But Fromm said he’s confident with the blocking he’ll have in front of him this time around.
“Coach (Sam) Pittman has done an incredible job recruiting, coaching and having guys being able to come in and play meaningful snaps for us and do well,” Fromm said. “So it’s great for us any time we can have a guy go down — and we don’t want guys to go down, but it does happen — and a guy comes in and plays well, that’s awesome for us.
“We really don’t want to think negative, we want to think positive, but knowing Coach Pittman and the way he coaches that guy, we know somebody in that room is going to be ready.”
Junior Justin Shaffer could be that guy at left guard, based on the sluggishness incumbent Solomon Kindley exhibited in practice this week. Kindley is coming off a sprained ankle suffered in the first half of the 23-17 win over Notre Dame on Sept. 21.
“We feel good that Justin Shaffer’s playing good football,” Kirby Smart said this week. “We’re thankful that we have depth, because like last year, the depth played a major role in our season, because we missed some guys last year.
“With similar injuries this year, we’ve had several guys go in and out of the lineup.”
Indeed, right tackle Isaiah Wilson suffered an ankle injury in practice and missed the Murray State and Arkansas State games before returning for the second half of the Notre Dame game.
Wilson, interestingly enough, was the only Georgia offensive lineman in 2018 not to miss playing time on account of an injury.
“Defensive and offensive lines are those spots that you had the highest risk of losing a guy, because of what goes on in there in the trenches, and it’s tougher in there,” Smart said.
“So we’ve been fortunate that none of the injuries have been significant, but … you’re always shuffling O-linemen to put them in the right spot.”
Thomas said the Bulldogs made good use of their bye week.
“Their base fronts are a lot like ours, so we’re used to that, but on third downs they have a lot of odd exotics that we have to be prepared for,” Thomas said, referring to UT using atypical fronts and blitzes.
“The big thing is just execution, before the snap, making sure everyone is on the right page. Regardless of what they’re doing, if we know our roles and know our jobs, it really doesn’t matter.
“We got a lot of looks in (during the bye week), some crazy looks they’ll give us on defense, and it helped us get ready for the game.”
Georgia OT Andrew Thomas
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