NEW ORLEANS — Solomon Kindley isn’t worried about the chemistry on the Georgia offensive line with three starters out, so much as he needs to find a “hold back” guy.
Kindley, who’s as testy on the field as he is jovial off it, plays the game with such a passion that junior All-American Andrew Thomas would often have to hold him back.
With Thomas off preparing for the NFL draft, Kindley was asked at the Sugar Bowl Media Day who’s going to keep him in check?
“That is a good question, because Cade Mays can get after it, Cade ain’t going to hold me back, Cade will go right on along with me,” Kindley said. “I guess I’ll have to cool down.”
UGA’s shuffled line is expected to feature Mays at left tackle, Kindley at left guard, Trey Hill at center, Warren Ericson at right guard and Jamaree Salyer at right tackle.
The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (11-2) play No. 7 Baylor (11-2) at 8:45 p.m. on Wednesday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Georgia is without offensive line starters Thomas (left tackle), Isaiah Wilson (right tackle) and Ben Cleveland (right guard).
Kindley shrugged off the shuffle.
“I always practice with Cade Mays at left tackle a few periods, and I always practiced with Jamaree at right tackle a few periods and Warren coming in and substituting at different places,” Kindley said. “We always wanted to be (ready) for what if, so if you have that what-if part worked out, there’s going to be no problem.”
Kindley has been slowed by the ankle injury he suffered against Notre Dame on Sept. 21.
While he’s not 100 percent, Kindley said he has lost some of the weight he gained with the injury, and he’s feeling healthier than he’s been since the injury.
With Thomas electing to leave the team early and train for the NFL draft, Kindley has had to assert himself more in the offensive line room.
“I know how I have to lead, and how I have to play for my brothers to come along with me,” Kindley said. “I know I have to do a little bit more.”
The Bulldogs, Kindley said, are indeed motivated by last year’s 28-21 loss to Texas, a game they lost in the trenches as well as on the scoreboard.
“No doubt that’s a motivator for us,” Kindley said. “That’s what the world is saying, ‘Texas beat you guys up front last year, how are you guys going to respond?’ “
Kindley can’t wait, and his teammates know it.
“Solomon definitely plays with a lot of passion and energy, and Andrew did a great job with that,” Senior tight end Charlie Woerner said, asked about Kindley needing a teammate to help him temper his emotions.
“I don’t know if Cade will do it; I might have to be the one to go out there and do it.”