Offensive line getting deeper by the week

ATHENS – Even with two potential starters redshirting this season, Georgia's offensive line has played much better than last year. The unit has also developed depth at most spots on the line. That is a relief for the Bulldog program, which went nearly all last season struggling with depth and injures on the line.

David Greene went all day Saturday against Vanderbilt without getting hit – until the last play of the game for him. That happened even though the Bulldogs were forced to rotate Ken Shackleford and Fernando Velasco – both got starts due to injuries to Dennis Roland and Nick Jones.

"I was kidding with the offense line, because there before the last play, I hadn't gotten knocked down the whole game. It wasn't until the last drive that I was knocked down at all. The line played unbelievably. But I guess I jinxed them. I spoke too soon," said Greene of the protection he got on Saturday.

It was something Greene could only hope for last season. Still, the fact that Greene was protected so well, even with substitutes, speaks volumes about how far this line has come not only with its starters, but also with its backups.

"We played pretty well," said Max Jean-Gilles, the unquestioned leader of the unit. "Some of the freshmen and sophomores had little boo-boos. We had way too many holding calls. Today some of the young guys got their feet wet."

But Shackleford impressed the staff against the Commodores, so much so that Richt has decided the big tackle should get more action.

"Shackleford has earned himself more playing time," said Richt. "If Roland is fine then I think those tackles will split it up. We might even get into a three tackle rotation where Inman goes back and forth."

Richt confirmed today his plans to move Inman back and forth in a rotation. "Shackleford is going to play more. He has been playing a good bit anyway and it was nice to see him get a start," said the head coach.

"It's very difficult for a guy to play both spots for us because of flip flopping – your not only are teaching double techniques but you are also double teaching assignments. It's very hard to have a guy flip-flop. You would like to have it be two-deep there," said offensive coordinator Neil Callaway of his desire to develop depth at tackle. Georgia used three tackles effectively in 2002 when Jon Stinchcomb, Kareem Marshall, and George Foster.

Tackle is the only spot where Georgia has not yet fully developed a two-deep at both spots, but by the end of the season they may accomplish that. That depends on if Chester Adams can come along enough for the staff to get him in more time during games.

At guard, however, it appears the two-deep for both the strong and weak spots is virtually filled. The same is true at center where Russ Tanner and Ryan Schnetzer are splitting a lot of time. Velasco's effort Saturday helped the Bulldogs to inch close to a confirmed two-deep at guard.

"Velasco did well, too. But I don't think he is (going to be) splitting time with Nick Jones. I think Nick is still a solid starter, but we have a lot more confidence in Fernando now – I thought it helped him," Richt said. "I think Fernando's strength is pass protection and zone running. He may not be the very best puller, I think Nick Jones pulls better, but he pulled out there and made some nice blocks."

"Nick will be back and I will be back in my own role and I'll just keep working at things and getting better," said Velasco.

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