ATHENS -- Georgia’s offensive line isn’t ordinary, and the players who make up the line know it.
So starting last year, they started calling themselves “the misfits.”
“You’ve got Kolton (Houston), the sixth year; you’ve got (Greg) Pyke, the lacrosse player,” senior tackle John Theus said. “Three red heads. (Brandon) Kublanow’s an undersized kid who can never play college football. Our left guard’s an undersized kid.”
While the group might be made up of misfits, it gets the job done and has been among the nation’s best through the first three weeks of the season.
Not only have the players blocked to the tune of 256.67 rushing yards per game, the 12th best in the nation and second in the SEC, they’ve also allowed just two sacks all season.
And that means one thing -- ice cream.
Per Georgia tradition, when the starting quarterback goes a game without getting sacked, he takes the offensive line out for ice cream, and since Brice Ramsey suffered the sack against Louisiana-Monroe, Saturday’s game against South Carolina marked the second time in three weeks Greyson Lambert had to dip into his bank account to reward his misfits.
“We went to Ben and Jerry’s again,” Houston said. “I’m a solid cookies and cream guy.”
For what it’s worth, Houston takes his dog Dixon, a German shepherd, with him to get ice cream they share.
“I go with cookies and cream, and I may be a little superstitious, but I get the same thing every week because we’ve been winning,” said Kublanow, who is one of the few who opts for a milkshake instead of a cone.
“I tried three flavors,” sophomore guard Isaiah Wynn said. “I had the I Dough, I Dough. I can’t (remember) the other one, I had that last time, too, and then I got the milk and cookies.”
Although Lambert is probably fine reaching into his pockets every now and then if it means keeping his jersey clean, it’s not just about the ice cream for the offensive linemen.
It’s mainly about being prideful in their identity and having something to prove.
“I think it’s a pride thing,” Houston said. “We work every day to be the best offensive line in the country. We pride ourselves, we come to work every single day, we don’t have an easy day off during the week so we definitely take pride in that.”
There’s a fine line between pride and ego, but that’s not an issue for this group either. The players outwardly acknowledge that much of their success in the running game can be attributed to the stable of running backs Georgia has, to the point of undermining their own contribution ... to a point.
“I fully believe it’s our tailbacks,” Houston said. “Yeah, we do a good job of getting a hat on a hat. We play pretty smart. But I still credit it a lot to our tailbacks. I do think we do a good job, and I think we do what we’re supposed to do, but I think it’s the tailbacks who have upscaled us to the next level.”
Although humble, the group still strives to be considered the best in the country.
“We want to be the best; there’s no doubt about it, and that’s what we work for, but it’s a group effort,” Theus said. “The quarterback only getting hit twice (against South Carolina), that’s running backs in protection, that’s receivers getting open, making the right reads and stuff.”