ATLANTA — Freshman Andrew Thomas has started every game at right tackle for Georgia this season, and will do so again in the national championship game on Monday night. That could end up being his final game at that spot.
The plan is for Thomas to be the left tackle next season, offensive line coach Sam Pittman confirmed, replacing senior Isaiah Wynn, who will play his final game of a successful college career on Monday.
“I think we’re going to move [Thomas] over to the left side as soon as this game’s over,” Pittman said.
That will open up a competition for right tackle, which will include Isaiah Wilson, a freshman this year.
“He had a good redshirt year. And of course we recruited Cade Mays for a reason,” Pittman said, alluding to a 5-star signee on the way in. “It’ll be a healthy competition over there.”
One option will apparently not be Ben Cleveland, the redshirt freshman who has started the past three games at right guard.
“He’s a guard. I think we’ll keep him there,” Pittman said, before adding: “If we can.”
Wynn is set to be the only starter leaving the offensive line. But there’s the chance of at least one more opening.
Center Lamont Gaillard, a redshirt junior, remains non-committal on whether he will return or enter the NFL draft.
“I’m not really sure,” Gaillard said. “But we’ll figure it out after this game is over.”
Pittman is aware of the possibility of losing his starting center — “if he leaves then we’ll have somebody in there that can play” — but acknowledged there isn’t a natural replacement.
Dyshon Sims, the sixth man on the line this year, is the de facto backup center right now, but he’s a senior. Walk-on Sean Fogarty has been working with the second team and redshirt freshman Chris Barnes has been with the third team.
Three incoming players — Warren Ericson, Trey Hill and Jamaree Salyer — also could factor in.
“I think all three of them could play center if we needed them to,” Pittman said. “To be honest with you that was a big reason we recruited them, because we knew they could play guard or center. We don’t currently have that luxury with our guards right now. And so we needed guys that could play both. And they’re good players.”