OL Looked Just Fine Saturday

ATHENS – Coming off the field Saturday, Georgia center Chris Davis wasn't ready to give high marks to the offensive line. After watching the film, however, his mood had improved.

"The film showed some good things," Davis said. "I'm a lot happier now that I saw the film than I was after the game."

What the film showed was a line with four first-time starters hold Georgia Southern to just a single sack – a coverage sack according to quarterback Matthew Stafford – while the Bulldogs' offense flourished to the tune of 535 total yards.

"Playing out there in front of 90,000 people, it kind of forced us to come together," Davis said. "Unity is strong right now."

The pass protection was excellent, head coach Mark Richt said, and Stafford threw for a career high 275 yards. On the ground, Richt said the line could have done a better job opening holes, but Georgia still rushed for 212 yards in the game.

"I think they did well," running back Knowshon Moreno said. "They opened some big holes for all the backs, and they pass protected pretty well, but I'm sure they can get better."

The line should see some improvement this week with the return of sophomore Clint Boling, who missed the first game of the season after being suspended for an off-field incident.

Boling will step in at right tackle, Richt said, and will likely be the starter. The move allows Josh Davis to move back to the left side, where he began training camp. Richt said Boling will play some at right guard as well, giving redshirt freshman Justin Anderson a chance at tackle.

That lineup may not spend too many snaps together, however, as freshman right guard Cordy Glenn was among Georgia's most impressive freshmen last Saturday.

After breaking down the film, Richt said Glenn led all Georgia linemen in knockdowns and graded out highly for the game, while drawing praise from his teammates.

"He's got to keep working," Stafford said. "He's not 100 percent at all, but he's a physical guy and you like to see he wasn't intimidated at all and he went out there and played hard."

After sophomore Trinton Sturdivant went down with a season-ending knee injury during the second week of camp, Josh Davis and Kiante Tripp swapped ends, with Tripp taking over at left tackle. The two will work as part of a rotation this week, however, according to Richt.

"I think both earned the right to continue playing, and I'm not sure who will start," Richt said.

Not that Tripp failed to impress in his debut. The sophomore was moved from the defensive line last year and made his first start as an offensive lineman Saturday.

Coaches selected Tripp to fill in for Sturdivant based primarily on his athleticism. At 6-foot-6 and 300 pounds, Tripp's build more closely resembles a linebacker than a lineman.

So it wasn't surprising that his quickness and athleticism are exactly what stood out after the game.

"He looked quick," Chris Davis said. "He knew what he was doing out there."

And that was the biggest victory for Georgia's line – even with so little experience, the group appeared to be in sync.

Every game has its surprises, but the Bulldogs' linemen were used to having senior leaders like Fernando Velasco and Chester Adams to rely on for support.

Against Georgia Southern, the line played without a safety net, and the results were encouraging.

"We could have had Fernando (Velasco) out there, but every now and then you get something thrown at you you aren't ready for at a certain point," left guard Vince Vance said. "They switched into a couple things we kind of got shaky on. We worked it out, but we just need to get more sure of ourselves."

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