This is a discussion on Looking Ahead - OL within the Georgia Tech Football forums, part of the Georgia Tech Sports Message Boards category; Gone are Uzzi and Kidney. Uzzi was a force for us his entire career and will be missed. I think ...
Gone are Uzzi and Kidney.
Uzzi was a force for us his entire career and will be missed. I think he secretly battled some form of leg issue that slowed him a bit early in the season. By the season's end he was back in full force controlling the point of attack against some pretty good players. He will go down as one of the top 5 GT OLs in the last decade. He will get a long look in the NFL from somebody. Kidney did not choose to finish his eligibility. He was a part time starter for us. True, he may have seen the writing on the wall after getting passed up on the depth chart, but we all owe him a huge debt of gratitude. Ask yourself this: where would have been if he wasn't there to step in during the last few seasons? We really needed him and he gave us life. Thanks Tyler.
Back as RSRs - Finch, Jackson, Beno, Lanier
Finch has grown into an imposing figure at the center position. 2012 may have been the first season in the CPJ era where we didn't get stuffed by certain teams with good NGs. Finch is a sound technical blocker and he is very physical for his size. Another year to grow and develop will make him just that much better. Jackson is quick and he can angle you or cut you to death. While not as physical as some, he is great in this offense. Durability has been his biggest weakness. Beno has improved every year (and not just as a receiver). If he does so again, we may be looking at a sleeper all ACC type. These three will most likely be starting many of the games. There are only 5 spots for starters and one will most likely be an odd man out, but there will be no shortage of snaps over the course of the season. Lanier, for whatever reason has not made an impact at any time in his career. Counting on him for anything would not be wise. Hopefully we get a surprise. At this point he should be very thankful that he signed at TECH and not an over signing factory where he would have been run off as a sophomore. Get your degree young man and join the rest of us as loyal TECH alums.
Back as RJRs - Bailey and Alford
Bailey performed as advertised once he was well enough physically to get on the field. This kid can block in any offense, not just ours. He was a people mover zone blocking. He might just be our most physical player in the trenches. Alford has seen some action and done well at times. His role will only increase in the coming season. At this time, I think you can pencil in Bailey as a lock in the starting line up at RT. He has earned it.
Back as JR - Mason
Shaq made an early impression drive blocking as a freshman. He has been very hard to keep off the field and is pretty well entrenched as a starter at LG. It will a big surprise for somebody to dislodge him.
Back as RSOs - Chamberlain, Joe, Braun, and new comer O'Reilly
It is hard for me to comment on this group because of the lack of game snaps to look at on film in combination with my bad memory. It will be interesting to see the impact O'Reilly makes. He is a very big body and he comes with a good rep from HS. I'm not sure why he left Auburn, but I am very curious about what we have.
Back as RFR - Roberts and Burden
New to the team on scholarship are Devine and Griffin in this year's signing class. I think it is safe to say that Griffin will RS based on his low body weight. On film, he has a nasty streak and looks like he will be good in a couple of years. Devine is a different story. I my 30 year memory as a TECH fan I can't remember a single OL coming into the program that looked as good as he did on film. I watched that ALL STAR camp video of his about 3 times and couldn't believe my eyes. He went up against the best the country had to offer in a drill set up that dramatically favored the pass rushers. He was PHENOMENAL. No other OL was even close. I may be way off base here, but I think we have made a Calvin Johnson type signing at this position. We have the depth to RS him so it will be interesting. IMHO we will only play him if it is obvious that he is head and shoulders above the competition. I look forward to seeing what will happen. His size, quickness, body type, long arms and ability to move his feet make him pretty special.
In the final analysis, the wait for CPJ to build a good OL really ended in the second half of 2012. The 2013 unit will have to be even better. We are 3 deep in scholarship players with a scholarship type player transferring from UMD. The number of starts returning is very high. The experience is there. They are a well seasoned and physical bunch. Uzzi left the only real hole. It will be a huge battle to fill it. Will it go to a freshman phenom? an Auburn 330 lb transfer? a RSR sliding over? or one of the emerging RSOs? Stay tuned.
Is it just me, or do we seem to be short on underclassmen OLs to replace the RSRs after 2013?
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Some may argue: "great, but this is year 6". I hear them, but considering a complete overhaul in offensive philosophy, the best case scenario would have probably been 5 years, maybe 4.
Nice write-up. What position do you think Will Jackson will play next year?
I honestly don't know whether he provides depth in the tackle rotation or challenges for a starting spot at guard. He's much better at tackle, IMO, but there's that void left by Uzzi.