Spring preview: Settling on plan at left tackle is key to Georgia’s fortunes

Having offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer back for his senior season was big for Georgia's 2021 offense. Whether he stays at left tackle or moves inside to guard will be a question that the Bulldogs will need to answer during spring practice.
Having offensive lineman Jamaree Salyer back for his senior season was big for Georgia's 2021 offense. Whether he stays at left tackle or moves inside to guard will be a question that the Bulldogs will need to answer during spring practice.

Credit: Photo courtesy of the University of Georgia

Credit: Photo courtesy of the University of Georgia

If previous form under coach Kirby Smart holds, Georgia will open spring football practice the middle of March. Each day between now and then, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will break down the various position groups, analyze the personnel and examine their relative spring-practice objectives. G-Day, the annual spring intrasquad scrimmage, is scheduled for April 17 at Sanford Stadium.

SPRING FOOTBALL PREVIEW: TODAY - OFFENSIVE LINE

ATHENS -- There isn’t a more important objective for defining the success of Georgia football in 2021 than the development of its offensive line.

Some could argue that there is more overall work to be done in the Bulldogs’ secondary, and that may well be true. But the difference is Georgia’s defensive backs will be playing behind a defensive front seven (or six) that figures to be among the best in the SEC.

The same is true in inverse for the offense. The Bulldogs’ offensive strength is their skill-position players, starting with quarterback JT Daniels and continuing with wideouts like George Pickens and running backs like Zamir White. But they can be only as good as the time and space that is afforded them. That will be provided by the offensive line – or not.

RETURNING STARTERS (3): Tackle/guard Jamaree Salyer, guard/center Warren Ericson, guard Justin Shaffer and tackle Warren McClendon.

ALL EYES ON: Sophomore tackle Xavier Truss, sophomore tackle Broderick Jones, freshman tackle Amarius Mims, redshirt freshman center Sedrick Van Pran.

OUTLOOK: The senior Jamaree Salyer has expressed a desire to move back inside to guard, which is a more natural position for him and the one that he projects to play in the NFL. However, if Salyer remains the Bulldogs’ best left tackle, as was the case last season, Georgia coaches might prefer him to keep him there, at least through the season opener against Clemson in Charlotte. The Tigers return their entire defensive front seven for 2021 and that’s their primary strength for what will be a top-5 matchup against Georgia. The Bulldogs will have to make a determination well before then if they think Truss - who started the bowl game - Jones or Mims can be at least as effective as Salyer. It that’s not the unadulterated belief of the entire offensive staff, then Georgia will be well advised to keep Salyer out wide and adjust the rest of the line accordingly. Meanwhile, the battle to succeed Trey Hill at center will be decided between Ericson, Van Pran and others.

UP NEXT: Quarterbacks

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