Football is fun for a multitude of reasons. Everyone is obsessed with the skill positions, the SportsCenter Top 10, and their fantasy football teams. However, the only players that aren't celebrated consistently in modern sports culture are the offensive linemen. However, apart from the quarterback, they are the most integral part of the offensive unit's success.
This season, Georgia's offensive line has been up and down for the better part of the season. They've had great games against the likes of Auburn, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama and even Florida, only to struggle against Arkansas and Mississippi State. Saturday night against South Carolina, they dominated.
One thing has been consistent throughout the season: this group can pass block. Quarterback JT Daniels lit the college football world on fire against Mississippi State. However, the offensive line has enabled him to do his best work. In the game against Mississippi State, they blocked well in the passing game despite a lackluster day run blocking. This led Daniels to the best performance by a Georgia quarterback in years and made him the first Bulldogs quarterback to pass for four touchdowns in his first start.
Against South Carolina, the line took the pressure off him. The Bulldogs opened the game on a 21-0 run, and the offensive line was the biggest reason. Early on in games, offensive coordinator Todd Monken has taken the responsibility off Daniels's shoulders and allowed him to ease into the game.
Consider the opening drive. Georgia had several plays where the line opened up massive holes for the running backs. Then, as the Gamecocks attempted to counter, the Bulldogs line dominated in the passing game. The big play to Tre McKitty was all generated by the guys up front, giving Daniels enough time to roll right and throw up the seam to a wide open McKitty.
Of course, they had their most significant impact on the stat sheet in the running game. The duo of James Cook and Zamir White combined for 188 yards and four touchdowns. They simply weren't touched on many of their runs, which completely sucks the life out of a defensive unit.
Historically Georgia has had good offensive lines, but they really need one to step up and become great to win a national championship in the next few years. They have a quarterback behind center who is still shaking off the rust from an ACL injury and needs to power the run game along with it.
They more than likely won't get the respect they deserve; no offensive line usually does. But to be a national title contending football team, an excellent place to start is with a consistently great offensive line unit.