What we learned from Spring: Tight Guard

Georgia spring practice concluded with its annual G-Day game. Here is a look at the Tight Guards:

The spot has more question marks due to injuries than any other spot in Georgia's lineup. Bartley Miller is the main reason why. Miller is Georgia's best tight guard but Mark Richt was not certain this spring is Miller was a certainty to play in the fall. Without Miller Georgia's tight guard depth, and subsequently their depth on the offensive line, is in trouble.

Losing Miller, which happened late in 2003, means that Russ Tanner will be moved from center permanently which leaves both positions with inexperienced players as backups. Nick Jones can fill in for Tanner at center just fine but its Jones' backup as well as Tanner's in that situation that are unproven during games.

Miller's backup going into the fall is Fernando Velasco, a player that could be the most talented of the offensive linemen that Georgia signed in 2003. Velasco played a lot of minutes later in the season when Miller when down and although he is still inexperienced, he should be a capable back up.

Behind Velasco its newcomer to the offensive line Darrius Swain. Swain ate himself out of the defensive line rotation and into Rodney Garner's doghouse. He has all of the talent in the world; will he put it to good use at tight tackle? Early reports indicated that Swain has impressed both Richt and offensive line coach Neil Callaway.

Trey Chandler, another hurt tight guard, Porter Lady, and Bill Koehler make up the rest of the tight guards.

Key to this position:

Getting Miller ready to go. Miller is pivotal to Georgia's chemistry along the offensive line. When he went out Georgia's time of possession fell each week all the way down to only 24:31 in the Capital One Bowl. In Georgia's top three wins (Clemson, Tennessee, and Auburn) they held the ball for no less than 33:23.

Depth chart shuffle:

There is no telling what will happen with this spot in August.

2004 Prediction:

If Miller can't get back in time he will be redshirted and Georgia will have to continue twisting around to find the best lineup in the trenches.

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