John Theus takes aim at winning left tackle spot

semerson@macon.comApril 4, 2013 

ATHENS - There was no dramatic, sit-down meeting where Georgia coaches told John Theus he would be getting a look at left tackle.

"It kind of just happened out there," Theus said Thursday, laughing. "They said: 'You're going at left this (drill).' I was like, 'All right!'"

Up until last week Theus, who started every game at right tackle as a freshman last season, fully expected to remain on the right side, rather than the more high-profile left tackle spot. Offensive line coach Will Friend has said he likes Theus at right tackle, and the emphasis this spring had been on deciding who would start at left tackle.

But something changed last week, and Theus said he's spend the majority of time over the past week at left tackle. He also expects to start there in the G-Day spring game on Saturday.

And yes, this is what Theus wants.

"I think every guy who's an offensive tackle, for the most part, wants to have their shot at left tackle," Theus said. "It is a prestigious spot, and if you do get to the next level, if you're fortunate enough to get to the next level, that spot pays more than the right side. That's the thing that every guy wants to work for. It's up to me if I can get the job done, and maybe eventually get moved over there permanently as my career goes on at Georgia."

The move has been a bit of an adjustment, but Theus did play left tackle his entire high school career. He was one of the nation's most sought-after offensive line recruits for the 2012 class, and it was actually a mild surprise he wasn't at left tackle last year.

Kenarious Gates occupied the spot for most of the 2012 season. Mark Beard, a junior college transfer last year, ended up getting some snaps there too. Those two were expected to be the main contenders again, but now Theus is getting a very long look.

The move is surprising given previous comments by coaches, and the past confidence they've had in Gates and Beard. But part of it may also be the improved play of Xzavier Ward, who has moved into contention for playing time at right tackle.

It all indicates that depth has improved on the line, with plenty of candidates to see the field in 2013. Theus seems guaranteed to be playing somewhere - and it increasingly appears it could be protecting Aaron Murray's blind side.

"I'm getting my shot at it now," Theus said. "It's really up to me and how I perform and what coach thinks is best. Once he sees how we finish up this spring, the reps I get at tackle, we'll see how I do."

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