With no clear leader and the addition this week of a graduate transfer, the battle for the starting quarterback position at Georgia has led the offseason talk.
While former Virginia signal-caller Greyson Lambert joined an already tight competition between Brice Ramsey and Faton Bauta on Wednesday, another position battle on the Athens campus isn’t gaining as much attention.
The battle for the starting center position eventually will have an impact on whichever quarterback prevails. The two players who win their respective competitions will have to work on nailing down snap timing and other parts of their game prior to the Bulldogs’ Sept. 5 season opener against Louisiana-Monroe.
“You would think that would be something you’d take for granted,” head coach Mark Richt said Tuesday at the Peach State Pigskin Preview at the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. “Until we nail down who the starter is at each spot, you’ve got to rotate them.
“We want each quarterback, the top three QBs rotating with the top three centers, at least in pre-practice snaps. But sooner or later, you finally say, ‘This is the center; this is the starting QB. We’ve got to get them a lot of work.’ And they will, naturally, once we declare it. But the longer we wait, the less time they will have.”
In the mix for the starting center position, replacing David Andrews, who graduated and signed as an undrafted free agent with the New England Patriots are three players:
Brandon Kublanow, a 6-foot-3, 282-pound junior from Marietta who started every game at left guard last season.
Isaiah Wynn, a 6-2, 278-pound sophomore from St. Petersburg, Florida, who started one game and appeared in 11 games last season, listed as Kublanow’s backup on last year’s depth chart.
Hunter Long, a 6-4, 303-pound senior from Memphis, Tennessee, who appeared in nine games last season, backing up Andrews.
“I don’t have a preference; I just want the best guy to play it,” Richt said. “We’ve got to have at least three that can function in that position, which I think we do, between Kublanow, Isaiah and Hunter Long.”
Whichever candidate claims the starting position, he will be joining a veteran unit. Both starting tackles return in John Theus and Kolton Houston, and one of the runner-ups in the center competition likely will end up starting at guard opposite returning right guard Greg Pyke.
Andrews and Pyke earned second-team Associated Press All-SEC honors last season, while Theus received honorable mention.
“As an offensive line, you need to be jelled together,” Houston said. “We made a lot of gains in the spring, but we’re definitely going to need some more work at it. By the time fall camp comes to a close, we’re going to have a solid five guys to go to battle with, and I think those five guys are going to be a perfect fit.”