UGA Football

UGA gives Cleveland a chance following line’s showing at Auburn

Georgia offensive lineman Ben Cleveland.
Georgia offensive lineman Ben Cleveland. Georgia Sports Communications

One consequence of a poor game running the football could potentially lead to a change on the offensive line.

Following Georgia’s 46-yard performance on the ground in a 40-17 loss at Auburn, offensive lineman Ben Cleveland has been taking some first-team snaps at guard in practice this week. This doesn’t mean a new lineup is coming on the offensive line.

But it does signal the coaching staff is willing to try new things to improve a run game that struggled against Auburn in what has otherwise been a fine season on the ground.

“You find what works,” senior left tackle Isaiah Wynn said. “That also promotes competition. It may push a couple of guys to do better.”

Cleveland has been a backup right tackle. Last season, he repped as an interior lineman, so he can play tackle or guard if called upon. In terms of size, Cleveland offers a bigger option than the two who have started most of Georgia’s games at guard.

Kendall Baker, who has started nine of Georgia’s 10 games at left guard, is 6-foot-6 and 287 pounds. Solomon Kindley, who has started seven games, is 6-foot-4 and 330 pounds.

Cleveland checks in at 6-foot-6 and 340 pounds, which is bigger than anyone who has started a game this season on Georgia’s offensive line.

“He’s one guy who’s definitely capable of getting movement,” Wynn said. “He definitely plays an intimidation factor. If you see a guy like him, it kind of messes with you mentally because he’s so big.”

It remains to be seen if Georgia does in fact decide to make a switch on the offensive line this late in the season. For Wynn, he said it signals that the coaches are going to use the threat of competition to ultimately "put the best product" on the football field.

As for the offensive linemen who didn’t have a good day at Auburn, Wynn said he spoke to them about getting past such a defeat.

“You can’t live in the past,” Wynn said. “It happened. You gotta learn from it and just not repeat the same things you did before.”