Starting two freshman, Parker Braun and tackle Jahaziel Lee, on the left side of the offensive line, Georgia Tech planned to rely heavily on Shamire Devine’s experience on the right side this season in the absence of guards Chris Griffin and Jake Stickler, but weight struggles have limited Devine’s reliability.
The right guard position will be shared between Devine and Will Bryan on Saturday against Duke.
Devine, at 6-foot-4, 370 pounds, played in 13 games as a backup offensive lineman as a redshirt freshman in 2014 and started nine of 11 games at right guard last season. Devine most likely will start over Bryan on Saturday, depending on how he performs in practice this week, according to offensive line coach Mike Sewak.
While Devine’s weight battle has been a theme during his time at Tech, Sewak attributed Devine’s junior season setback to a struggle with movement skills, something he believes Devine can outgrow.
“He’s just got to take care of his business,” Sewak said. “If he’s going to go ahead and base block somebody, he’s a pretty strong base blocker. Pretty good pass blocker. I would say those are his good qualities.”
Devine dropped 10 pounds at the beginning of the season, but has struggled since then with his weight, according to coach Paul Johnson.
While Braun, Devine and Bryan are in Tech’s guard rotation Saturday, redshirt freshman guard Brad Morgan could be added to the mix as relief in coming weeks.
Unlike his twin brother and teammate Scott Morgan who moved to the offensive line from from defensive tackle in the spring, Brad Morgan was recruited by Tech as a guard. Morgan has played in some special-teams packages this season, but Sewak thinks he’s almost ready to be added to the guard rotation.
“I think he’s been improving as the season has been going on. There’s only five games left, and we need to go ahead get him out there other than in the extra point in the field goal,” Sewak said. “He does a good job in that, he’s really worked at it and he cares about being successful, so I think I don’t believe he’ll be a deficit and sometimes you can’t afford to put guys in there, you can’t afford to lose the down or lose the series because of something, I don’t think he’d hurt us at this point.”
In Bryan, a sophomore who moved from offensive tackle in the spring, Sewak still sees a green lineman who must grow into his new position. As a freshman, Bryan played in 10 games, making six starts at offensive tackle.
“I just want to have him playing with more confidence and coming off of on being more physical,” Sewak said. “I think he’s athletically pretty gifted and I think he’s just got to ease into it sometimes. Sometimes he doesn’t want to make a mistake so he tries to make it perfect, but it can’t be perfect it’s football. You just got play rough and raw.”
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