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Steven Colquitt / UGA Sports
Owen Condon (left) shares a moment with senior Ben Cleveland (right), who is working to win the right guard position.

‘Pleasant surprise’ Owen Condon competing at right tackle, moving well

ATHENS — Owen Condon had become an afterthought in the minds of some, and a popular name when transfer talk arose, as it often does when a program has a stacked roster like Georgia.

“What about Condon? Yeah, he’s been hurt. Maybe he’s a guy that could go elsewhere, haven’t heard much about him lately….”

Surprise, surprise, you’re about to hear about the 6-foot-7, 310-pound redshirt sophomore right tackle from Oklahoma City.

And from Coach Kirby Smart, he of scant early season player praise.

Owen Condon has really stepped up and done some good things,” Smart said after last Saturday’s scrimmage.

“Owen hasn’t been healthy since he’s been here. He’s been a pleasant surprise in terms of competitiveness, intelligence, toughness. We’d like for him to play with a little more power and be able to move people.”

Condon played so well that Smart sent him out to media interviews on Monday, typically a sign the head coach has been impressed with a player’s performance and attitude.

It’s great to be back this year, I feel good right now, I’m moving as well as I have in my life,” Condon said.

“During quarantine and this whole offseason, I cut about 3 percent of body fat, so I’ve gotten a lot leaner,” He said. “I got a little it stronger as well, and I think that’s the biggest part of my game. I’m always working on my feet, you can never get too good with your footwork being an offensive lineman.”

Condon suffered a torn meniscus in his knee the first game of his senior year of high school, but he recovered in time to play three games his freshman year (2018) before taking a redshirt.

RELATED: Get to know Georgia recruit Owen Condon

Condon was working behind Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson at the tackle positions in the fall practice session before last season when he got rolled up on and suffered a high ankle sprain. After retuning, he suffered a torn labrum that required season-ending surgery in November and was in a sling for a couple of months.

“I had to work hard doing rehab this spring, and I’m back healthy,” Condon said.

Sam Pittman, the man who recruited Condon out of Oklahoma, has moved on to Arkansas as the Razorbacks head coach.

Condon is rolling with that, as well, now a big fan of new offensive line coach Matt Luke.

“As far as coach Pittman, no hard feelings, we’ll see him pretty soon,” Condon said. “But it has been a smooth transition as far as Coach Luke, and we’ve got a great group and good chemistry with him.

“He’s always trying to fire us up in practice, he’s been in awesome. I like the way he coaches and how he approaches practice and how he approaches life.”

The competition has been intense, particularly at right tackle where Warren McClendon and Tate Ratledge are also pushing for the starting job.

But Condon said the chemistry in the offense line room is good.

“I’d say the big thing is we’re all competing and everyone wants to play, but we’re all buddies, there’s no hard feelings,” Condon said. “It’s the best man wins, and everyone understands that. There’s no animosity. Everyone loves everyone in our room.

“Competition brings out the best in all of us, the best five are going to start, no matter who that is.”

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