Same Story, Different Chapter

It's like a broken record. Every week, the Rebel offensive line has to prepare for another major challenge from their opponent's defensive front. It's called life in the SEC.

You've read this story before, but it bears repeating.

The defensive front the Rebels are facing is very, very good. This time, it's Georgia's.

Led by Outside Linebacker Jarvis Jones, who has 14 tackles for loss and 8.5 quarterback sacks through just eight games, the Bulldog front seven awaits the Rebels.

No small order, literally. Garrison Smith is a 297-pound DE. John Jenkins is a 358-pound senior NT. Cornelius Washington is a 270-pound defensive end. Hefty, no doubt.

"It's the same story. Arkansas was very, very talented up front - it was the strength of their defense," said Offensive Line Coach Matt Luke. "Georgia will be no different. They have several NFL-caliber players. We will have our work cut out for us."

Luke is preparing his much-improved troops for a lot of different looks.

"They base out of a 3-4, but they will go 4-3 too. They move #29 (Jones) in different spots where you can't get a bead on him, but they bring pressure away from him as well," Luke explained. "If you slide to protect against him coming, they bring pressure from the other side.

"They mix up their scheme and do a real good job with it and they have the right type of athletes to run what they like to do. Their staff has been around for a while and they are able to recruit to what they do and stock their roster with players that fit their schemes."

Emmanuel McCray
File Photo

Luke will counter with an OL that has developed some consistency and has gradually improved from the start of the season until now.

"It's like anything - the more you do something, the better you get at it. We haven't changed a whole lot from the start of the season and now what we do is more second nature to our players," Luke continued. "I think our tempo has helped us. We have some smaller guys, so we have had to rely on our quickness and getting plays off quickly before defenses can hone in on us."

Another important factor has played into the development of the Rebel offensive front - experience.

"Some people forget that (RT) Pierce (Burton) never played on this level until this year. E-Man (LT Emmanuel McCray) has been around a while but had never played much," Luke said. "(C) Evan (Swindall) and (G) Aaron Morris hadn't played much prior to this year.

"The more experience you get, the less surprises you encounter and the more confidence you can gain. With confidence and experience, you can play faster and the game slows down for you some."

Luke has gradually gained more confidence in some of the backups as well, something sorely lacking at the start of the season.

"Without a doubt, Corey Gaines is coming on. Justin Bell had a back injury to overcome, but he had a great day today (Tuesday) and was very physical," Matt continued. "Patrick Junen is rolling in with the ones. I have gained a lot of confidence in some of those guys and am not afraid to play them."

Knock on wood, the Rebel OL has stayed relatively healthy, all things considered.

"We have some bumps and bruises but we've been able to stay with the same five guys most of the way. That, in itself, has allowed us to develop as a unit," he noted. "The OL is usually the last to get it. There are five guys up there who have to be in synch and if one guy messes up, it's usually a minus-yardage play.

"Staying healthy has allowed us to develop as a unit quicker, in my opinion."

The Rebs did not rush the ball well against Arkansas. Again, an excellent Hog DL had a lot to do with that. Again, Georgia presents the same kind of challenge.

"We'll have to be ready for everything. That's the bottom line," Luke closed.

Another SEC game, another fine DL to contend with.

Same story, different chapter.

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