Position Previews: Offensive Line

Here's to hoping we see a whole lot of this in the coming fall. - Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics

Our Countdown to Kickoff continues today as we look at a group whose depth will be in question far more than its skill.

Countdown to Kickoff: 25 Days...

Departed Players

Omoregie Uzzi (graduated), Catlin Alford (left team)

Depth Chart Speculation
Position First String Second String Third String
OT1 Ray Beno (R-Sr) Bryan Chamberlain (R-So) Chase Roberts (R-Fr)
OG1 Will Jackson (R-Sr) Errin Joe (R-So) Trey Braun (R-So)
C Jay Finch (R-Sr) Ray Beno (R-Sr) Thomas O'Reilly (R-So)
OG2 Shaq Mason (Jr) Shamire Devine (Fr) Thomas O'Reilly (R-So)
OT2 Morgan Bailey (R-Jr) Chris Griffin (Fr) Nick Brigham (R-Fr)

Note: Second- and third-string guys were assigned to "OT1/OT2" and "OG1/OG2" based on where they'll fall in the rotation. Tech does not distinguish between left and right OL positions.

Outlook

Top to bottom, this group is VERY talented. Vad, Justin, and company need not worry, because these guys can handle most any defensive line that they'll face. That said, the one shining flaw here will be exposed if one or two of them get hurt. The depth chart you see there has 15 names, but only 13 unique names. A couple of these guys are cross-trained (such as OT Ray Beno also being the backup Center), which is nifty for both the team and individual (NFL teams love that). However, it also makes me wonder if injuries will lead to us trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, so to speak. Do we really want the natural Center Thomas O'Reilly playing Guard? Do we really want the natural Tackle(and/or wide receiver) Ray Beno playing Center? Or do we really want to replace him at Tackle with Bryan Chamberlain if we don't have to?

Perhaps the best thing about this group will be its age. Up front, you have 3 redshirt seniors, a redshirt junior, and a true junior -- a group of guys who have played together for quite a while, know each others' tendencies, and know the system inside and out. I hate the thought of giving up 3 (maybe more) linemen after this year, but for now they should be a really solid group.

But that's just the starters -- the second-stringers don't exhibit such age and experience, but at the same time are all really solid guys who I would trust to come into the game if the situation demanded it. Yes, that even includes true freshmen Shamire Devine and Chris Griffin -- who will probably be the second guy off of the bench at guard and tackle, respectively, and rightfully so.

If you're looking for an all-star in this group, look at Jay Finch and Ray Beno. Finch is probably the biggest leader on offense outside of Vad, and just seems to have all the makings of the "Captain" type. (Truth be told, I expect him to be the offensive guy going out to coin flips this year if Vad isn't.) Beno is a very athletic guy who's proven himself quite reliable during his time.

Overall

Maybe this article is confusing you, because it's confusing me a bit too. Part of me is really excited about these guys, both with their experience and abilities. However, part of me is concerned about depth, while yet another part really isn't sure why depth would be a concern given the abilities of our backups.

Clearly I'm not too set on where the chink in the armor is here -- maybe you are though. What are your thoughts on this year's offensive line? How will they be beaten? How effective will they be?

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