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Offensive line stalwarts Kenarious Gates, Dallas Lee and Chris Burnette have left Georgia and taken their combined 109 starts with them. David Andrews, a 27-game starter at center, returns to anchor the line in 2014 and John Theus and Kolton Houston, who both have starting experience, are back as well.
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo told Chip Towers of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “We haven’t nailed down exactly how we’re going to start but I do think Theus is going to be at left tackle. We’ll have Kolton at right and David Andrews at center for sure for spring.”
Those assignments were all but assumed, but the filling of the guard positions and the development of chemistry within the unit remains a concern.
Presumably, Mark Beard (a senior) will be a candidate at the left guard position. He backed up Gates last season at the left tackle position. Watts Dantzler, also a rising senior, could fill the open right guard position, while a host of returning players (Greg Pyke, Brandon Kublanow, Zach DeBell, Xzavier Ward and Hunter Long) competes for spots in the rotation.
The good news is the projected starting lineup of Theus, Beard, Andrews, Dantzler and Houston all boast significant experience. All five linemen participated in every game of the 2013 season with the exception of Beard, who missed the Appalachian State game.
The bad—or at least unknown—news is that offensive line play is as much a byproduct of cohesion as it is personnel. More so than any position group on the field, this unit must feed off of itself. In that regard, this spring is of utmost importance as Georgia looks to continue its reign as an offensive force.