Ok, Ok, I know. Klock was a Redshirt Freshman and and not a True Freshman like the other players in this series. I decided to put him on this article with Bryan due to the similar ways in which they were thrust into the spotlight this season. They both faced similar challenges and struggles, and will have to face them this spring as they defend their jobs from upstart young players and veterans returning from injury.
Both Klock and Bryan were 3* recruits per Rivals, and both were early commits in their class.
Klock commited in June before his senior year, and was actually listed as a Tight End on some recruiting sites. That level of athleticism drew attention from Paul Johnson, as Georgia Tech offensive linemen need to be able to get to the second level and block linebackers in space. Klock, a Pennsylvania native, chose Tech over several different northeastern Power 5 schools.
Bryan was an interesting case. He was the first commit from his class, and he never wavered. He committed so early that he joined his class less than 2 months after Klock, even though he had to wait and extra year before he was able to sign. Bryan's recruitment was shut down from there, and many Tech fans felt that he was underrated as a result. He didn't rack up a bunch of listed offers, but it was rumored that uga called him several times and asked him to flip to them.
In 2015, the entire offensive line was a complete disaster. Early in the season, it was apparent that changes needed to be made, especially at the Tackle position. The Jackets were woefully inept at stopping the opponent's flow of the Mike LB, and triple option pitches were often turning into disastrous negative plays. Pass protection was worse, with Justin Thomas getting absolutely no time to throw before the defense was in his face. The two freshmen were called upon once it became necessary.
Considering the difficulty of starting as an Offensive Lineman at such a young age, I think the 2 players played admirably, but it wasn't always pretty. Their performance led me to question some of the members of Georgia Tech's coaching staff. Ray Rychleski, who often handled the Offensive Tackles often, was let go this off-season with good reason.
Freshmen can often be physically over-matched in the trenches, and there were occasions where these 2 tackles were physically beaten by older players. There were multiple instances of this during rocket tosses, where the OT's first step is to the outside instead of forward. Without the benefit of forward momentum, they sometimes got pushed back and disrupted the play.
It wasn't all bad for the duo. I noted several times that Bryan was exceptional at crashing inside and was a tenacious drive blocker when he got his hands on his man. I also specifically remember one Clinton Lynch TD against VT where Klock blocked two guys. I'm not sure how intentional the second block was, but the result was the same.
Pass protection was the biggest issue for the pair, and it was something I placed more on coaching than the players themselves. The techniques employed by this offense along the line are not conducive to pass blocking, as each player's stance is shifted forward to assist in firing out for run blocking. Making matters worse, there were multiple instances of Klock and Bryan firing out from their stances as if run blocking, only to retreat into their pass protection set too late. This is a coaching issue. They need to be taught how to properly pass block, and new coaching at the OL position should help with that.
Expect Both Klock and Bryan to play this year, though they may not both start. The return of Chris Griffin at the OT position should make the competition interesting this spring. With the exit of Gary Brown this off-season, it wouldn't be surprising if Bryan bulked up and moved inside to Guard. He has the potential to be a tremendous drive blocker, and lacks ideal height for an OT. Expect Klock to stay at Tackle, where his size and athleticism will benefit him greatly as he gains experience.