Post-spring position analysis: State of unrest on O-line

The addition of graduate transfer Tyler Catalina of Rhode Island by way of Worcester, Mass., will energize the Bulldogs' competition at the tackle position this summer.

ATHENS – For a long while, Georgia’s offensive line looked like the picture of stability during spring practice. For the first 10 of 15 workouts, in fact, the starting lineup was virtually unchanged. Then came that final week and the G-Day game.

Almost everything changed. Center did not. Brandon Kublanow, a guard the last three games of 2015, was unmoved and undisputed as the starting center throughout spring practice. Otherwise, the rest of the lineup was relative chaos.

What to make of it? Was that all just a late-spring experiment for contingency plans or a desperate search for improvement?

Coach Kirby Smart has been reluctant to get into specifics since spring practices concluded. However, his general remarks on the subject lead one to believe he has not been thrilled with what he has seen.

“We’ve been rolling,” he said, meaning rotating players in and out. “I wouldn’t say anybody’s been standing out. … It’s been a struggle with that group. Nobody has really stood out, I’d say.”

Not exactly a hardy endorsement.

The reality is, Georgia is unstable at tackle and therefore uncertain at guard. Some of the Bulldogs’ best guards were getting looks at tackle, the latter being a more critical position for pass protection. But each attempt to get better on the outside caused ripple effects throughout the line.

Isaiah Wynn, the Bulldogs’ best left guard, also has proven to be their best left tackle. The same could be said of Greg Pyke and right guard and tackle.

Pyke, who started the last two seasons at right guard, looks to be the more permanent of the moves. Wynn “is going to have play both,” Smart says matter-of-factly.

Wynn started Georgia’s last two scrimmages at left tackle and pass protection “was more efficient,” Smart said. The previous staff came to the same conclusion for the last five games of 2015. Never mind that Wynn’s 6-2, 280-pound frame doesn’t fit the profile.

So that’s the way the spring ended. But the arrival of more players — and one notable transfer — over the summer will surely bring more options and experiments.

Here’s what it looks like heading into the dog days:


  • Starter: Brandon Kublanow, Sr.
  • Backups: Lamont Gaillard, R-So.; Thomas Swilley, Jr.
  • Others: Isaiah Wynn, Jr., Dyshon Sims, Jr.
  • On the way: Chris Barnes, Fr.; Solomon Kindley, Fr.
  • The skinny: The positive here is that Kublanow is rock solid as the starter coming out of spring practice, which wasn’t necessarily a certainty going in. The negative is that Georgia is really shaky behind him. There are plenty of good linemen to move into the position should Kublanow be needed at guard, like he was at the end of last season, or Uga forbid, have to come out of the game. But nobody else has come close to earning the coaches’ trust to make line calls and deliver on-target shotgun snaps without fail. Gaillard, a converted D-lineman, appears next up for the job if not the walk-on Swilley.


  • Starters: Dyshon Sims, Jr.; Lamont Gaillard, RSo.
  • Backups: Ben Cleveland, Fr.; Sam Madden, RFr.
  • Others: Pat Allen, RFr.; Mirko Jurkovic, RFr.
  • On the way: Chris Barnes, Fr.; Solomon Kindley, Fr.
  • The skinny: This was a seemingly solid position that got confused during the late-spring shuffle. For most of the spring, it was Wynn at left guard and Sims at right. But then the coaches moved Wynn back out to left tackle, where he ended last season. That resulted in Sims moving to the left side and Gaillard winning the brief battle for right guard. Will it stay that way? Hard to tell. The second-teamers of Cleveland (6-6, 345) and Madden (6-6, 346) better fit the massive mold coach Sam Pittman prefers. Meanwhile, Georgia’s two best guards overall, Wynn and Greg Pyke, were both playing tackle at the end of the spring. With all the cross-training going on between guards and tackles, the O-line at least should be versatile.


  • Starters: Isaiah Wynn, Jr.; Greg Pyke, Sr.
  • Backups: Kendall Baker, R-So.; Aulden Bynum, Jr.
  • Others: Pat Allen, R-Fr.; Sage Hardin, R-Fr.; Dyshon Sims, So.
  • On the way: Chris Barnes, Fr.; Solomon Kindley, Fr.; Tyler Catalina, Gr.
  • The skinny: The Bulldogs brought in a huge X factor at tackle when they secured the commitment of Catalina, a graduate transfer from Rhode Island. Georgia beat out the likes of Auburn and Florida for this 6-6, 325-pound FCS player who is said to be ready to step in and play in the SEC. As Smart said himself, you don’t recruit such a veteran player to “come be fourth string.” So Catalina will figure into the competition at either left or right tackle. If Catalina can proves himself their best option at left tackle, it will allow the Bulldogs to move Wynn back to guard and possibly solve a lot of problems. If not, the shuffling may continue well into the fall.

Next up: Receivers.


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