Perhaps no one has had a more difficult spring on a day-to-day basis than center Warren Ericson.
The junior is attempting to win the starting center job while battling redshirt freshman Sedrick Van Pran. While Ericson is also working at right guard and left guard, his most clear path to playing time is at center. He started Georgia’s final two games of the 2020 season while he filled in for an injured Trey Hill.
In addition to trying to beat out the very talented Van Pran, Ericson also constantly matches up with Jordan Davis when the offense and defense go head-to-head. Davis has a very legitimate case to be the best player on Georgia’s team.
Ericson, to his credit, is making the most out of the tough circumstances.
Related: Despite dominating, Jordan Davis challenged by Kirby Smart to get ‘in in the best shape of his life’
“He’s something different,” Ericson said. “Going against him every single day, I notice myself getting better in different aspects I need to. It has definitely been a blessing so we can both improve our games.”
The junior from Suwanee, Ga., isn’t too focused on his spot on the depth chart at this point, largely because he recognizes there isn’t a set pecking order in the spring.
That’s why Ericson is more focused on issues pertaining to Georgia football than whether or not he is the starting center right now.
“This spring I wanted to come in and be a leader,” Ericson said. “I think Jamaree [Salyer] and Justin [Shaffer] and I came in and wanted to set a standard for the offensive line vocally. We wanted to show that in addition to leading by example, so I try my best every day to go out there and give my all in those two aspects.”
Offensive line coach Matt Luke made it clear the trio of Salyer, Shaffer and Ericson will be tone-setters on the offensive line for Georgia. The Bulldogs will have to replace Hill and Ben Cleveland but the offensive line is brimming with young talent.
Whether Van Pran, Broderick Jones or Tate Ratledge end up forcing their way into the starting lineup, it’ll be important that they can turn to someone like Ericson and trust that they can handle the moment.
Ericson himself went through something similar last fall. Thanks to rise of Zoom, Ericson was able to talk with former Georgia great David Andrews about being the starting center at Georgia.
“It was really cool talking with him,” Ericson said. “We’re both from the same area. I was very familiar with him and he’s someone I’ve always looked up to.”
Andrews isn’t the only influence Ericson draws from, as the current Georgia center also mentioned former Bulldog and current Tennessee Titan Ben Jones as being a significant playing influence.
The starting center position, along with many other positions on the Georgia team, will not be settled on G-Day. The battles will continue long into August and very likely the season.
It’s way Ericson isn’t focused on blocking Davis or beating out another player on just Saturday. He’s got bigger goals in mind when Georgia takes the field on G-Day
“As an offensive line if we could take what we messed up early in the spring and take those critiques to keep working on them,” Ericson said. “Now on G-Day, if we take those things that we messed up on and now we’re able to prove and do the correct technique, that would be a positive G-Day.”
Warren Ericson details will make for a successful G-Day
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation