This will be a short one. With only one graduate transfer coming in on the Offensive Line this year, the unit will be a bit thin. OL was always going to be the toughest transition. So many technique changes, along with learning a new playbook, will make for a rough year up front. Bringing in grad transfer Jared Southers will help shore up Tech’s OL depth in the short term.
Jared Southers (6-5, 315 lbs.)
Southers was primarily a backup the last couple of seasons, but he did see extended playing time against Tennessee in 2017, so I’ve provided that full game above if you’d like to watch. If you don’t, I understand.
Southers has a tremendous frame at 6-5, 315 and will instantly be one of the biggest offensive linemen on the team. His length will help him tremendously blocking for the zone runs common to Patenaude’s offense, and no defensive lineman will be able to overwhelm him with size.
Due to his length, many have seen Southers as this year’s solution at OT, but his best fit is at guard. Southers primarily played guard at Vanderbilt, and I don’t believe he has the feet for tackle. He also lunges a bit in pass protection instead of sitting back and punching the chest of the defender. OTs that lunge get eaten alive by pass rushers who can dip well. At guard, Southers will be able to use his considerable frame to pave the way for the run game and stifle the pass rush of bigger defensive interior players. Due to the lack of true offensive tackles on this team, Southers may play outside. With the loss of Parker Braun, however, it would be nice to see what he can do on the interior. Coach Collins values position flexibility, and while Southers may be best at one spot over another, the ability to play multiple positions will help Tech transition this year.
Next week will be defense!