ATHENS — It doesn’t mean a change in the starting lineup is imminent, but after Georgia’s offensive line struggled mightily at Auburn, it appears the coaches are exploring at least one option.
Redshirt freshman Ben Cleveland was getting some work at guard during Wednesday’s practice. Georgia’s interior line struggled in both pass and run blocking in Saturday’s 40-17 loss at Auburn.
Senior left tackle Isaiah Wynn was asked after practice whether there was any risk tinkering after just one bad game, when the first nine had gone pretty well for the line.
“I don’t think so. Find what works,” Wynn said. “That also promotes competition. So it may push a couple guys to do better.”
Junior Kendall Baker has started the past nine games at left guard, and redshirt freshman Solomon Kindley has started seven of the past eight games at right guard. Kindley was hurt the other three, so for all intents and purposes he has been the first-team right guard all season. Baker was a surprise winner of the left guard competition during the preseason.
The lineup has worked this season, up until the struggles at Auburn, when Georgia gave up four sacks and couldn’t run the ball. Cleveland, listed at 6-foot-6 and 340 pounds, would give the team more size in the middle. Baker is 6-6 and 287 pounds while Kindley is 6-4 and 335 pounds.
Cleveland was a five-star prospect when he enrolled early at Georgia in the spring of 2016. He spent last year redshirting and on scout team, and this season, he has been a second-teamer, playing guard and tackle.
Wynn described Cleveland as someone who is “definitely capable of getting movement” and could also mess with defensive linemen mentally because of his size.
“That’s definitely an intimidation factor. You see some teams a guy like him come you’re automatically intimidated,” Wynn said. “But also he can back it up, so it’s great having somebody like him.”
Wynn, a three-year starter, was asked what advice he has given the interior linemen about reacting to a poor performance.
“You can’t live in the past,” Wynn said. “It happened. We’ve got to learn from it, and just not repeat the same thing you did before.”