As freshmen last fall, Georgia Tech offensive tackles Will Bryan and Trey Klock started six and three games, respectively, both in the second half of the season. Guard Shamire Devine started nine games in his first season as a starter.
However, this spring practice, that ensures them nothing. Coach Paul Johnson said no starting spots were set on the line with the possible exception of center Freddie Burden, although he is out for the spring after thumb surgery, Johnson said. The line lost tackles Bryan Chamberlain (nine starts in 2015) and Errin Joe (nine starts) and guard Trey Braun (12 starts) to graduation.
At guard, Chris Griffin is back, shifted from tackle, after missing the 2015 season with a knee injury. Andrew Marshall is being considered, although he will likely be at center in Burden’s absence. At tackle, Jake Stickler and Eason Fromayan could push for starting jobs.
Despite four returning starters last season, the line underperformed. A year after leading the nation with 342.1 rushing yards per game last season, Tech dropped to 256.2 yards per game, the lowest average in Johnson’s tenure. Johnson is hopeful that having a second offensive line coach for the first time since the 2011 season will aid the line’s play. Tech had employed a special-teams coach the past four seasons, but changed back to the format Johnson had used throughout his career. Ron West has joined longtime Johnson aide Mike Sewak.
“I think it’s virtually impossible for one guy to try to coach five guys with what we do,” Johnson said. “I think getting two up there will help us.”
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