ATHENS -- As spring practice neared its end, Georgia head coach Mark Richt and offensive line coach Rob Sale spoke with offensive lineman Brandon Kublanow about potentially moving to center for the 2015 season.
“Just be ready,” they told him.
As preseason practice approached, it became clear the plan was to give Kublanow a shot at being Georgia’s starting center, a tough task considering he’ll be following in the footsteps of 2014 team MVP David Andrews.
Kublanow, called “The Bull” by his teammates due to his mean streak on the field, opened August as Georgia’s top center and has taken all of the first-team reps thus far.
At 6-foot-2 and 295 pounds, Kublanow has the ideal body type for the position. After Andrews graduated, the options for Georgia’s coaching staff were Kublanow and sophomore Isaiah Wynn, and both got looks at the position during the spring. Ultimately, Richt and Sale decided on Kublanow at center and Wynn at left guard.
“We’re trying to find that answer,” Richt said. “So far, Kublanow is the No. 1 guy. But we’re still fighting for jobs, trying to figure it out. But Brandon has taken his position change very seriously. Just from what I saw in some walkthroughs, I was very pleased with what I saw.”
After starting 13 games at left guard a year ago, Kublanow said many aspects of playing center are the same since it’s still in the interior of the offensive line. One of the biggest differences is snapping the ball and then being immediately prepared to block, a challenge that took some time to get used to.
“The most unnatural is probably pulling at the center position because you have to snap it and then pull at the same time,” Kublanow said. “Everything else feels pretty natural.”
But being the team’s center also has its advantages.
“I don’t have to block long guys like Jordan Jenkins, which I like better,” Kublanow said. “A lot bigger and stronger guys. It’s a little bit different, but not too much.”
For Wynn, he started this past spring at center but moved to guard by the end of it. Like Kublanow, he was new to playing center and had at least one snapping issue in Georgia’s spring game. In mid-July, Richt announced Wynn would begin the preseason at left guard, which was just fine with the St. Petersburg, Florida, product.
“I’m getting up to be the best guard I can be,” Wynn said. “Any position, I’m trying to be the best I can be, whether it’s at center or guard.”
Wynn, listed at 6-2 and 278 pounds, said the transition to being a full-time starter has been aided by playing alongside four veterans who all have a ton of starting experience. Kublanow went as far as to call Wynn “one of the most gifted offensive linemen we have” despite his youth as a true sophomore.
“It helps a lot, just walking out where all four of the o-linemen -- even second-stringers -- we have a lot of vets on the o-line, walking into that situation is great,” Wynn said.
While Kublanow has taken all of the first-team reps at center, Wynn said he is practicing snaps during practice.
If needed, Wynn said he’d feel comfortable stepping in at center.
“I’d be fine,” Wynn said. “At left guard, I’m still learning. Wherever I’m at, I’m still learning.”