Georgia’s defensive line could see some changes in its road game against LSU on Saturday.
Defensive lineman David Marshall was not seen at practice during the open media period on Tuesday. Head coach Kirby Smart said on Tuesday Marshall suffered a left foot injury during the game against Vanderbilt, but the injury was not bothering Marshall until a later time. The severity and length of the injury is still unknown, but Smart said it does not look promising to have Marshall back to play in the matchup against LSU.
“David [Marshall] was a really good run stop player, he was a major third down player,” Smart said. “The biggest thing David [Marshall] brought to our team was toughness and leadership. He’ll be missed in that part.”
There are some other injuries plaguing the front line. Defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt missed the game against Vanderbilt due to injury, and Smart is hopeful for his return. He said Wyatt is in the process of rehab, working to heal from his injury.
“He was running real hard in practice, working in the treadmill, working underwater, he’s been running for two days,” Smart said. “He didn’t get to practice, but I think he’s getting better.”
Smart also said defensive tackle Daquan Hawkins-Muckle is “out right now,” with the specifics unknown.
The handful of injuries throughout the defensive line emphasize the importance of how the defense prepares, senior inside linebacker Natrez Patrick said.
“Everybody gets the same amount of reps and gets the same work,” Patrick said. “It’s the next man up at the end of the day. So I know those guys are going to do a good job whose ever in for his place.”
Players like Jonathan Ledbetter, Tyler Clark, Julian Rochester, Michail Carter, Jay Hayes and Malik Herring are all capable of filling the roles on the defensive line. Smart said before Marshall was injured, there was consistency with Marshall and Ledbetter on the line. Now, players like Herring and Hayes may need to step into the position more.
The depth is there in the number of available athletes, and in last week’s matchup against Vanderbilt, the defensive line added one more asset to the group.
Freshman Jordan Davis has played in four of the six games in the 2018 season. His biggest contribution was his two tackles against Vanderbilt, which include a fourth-down stop to force a turnover on downs. Smart said Davis played well in spurts against Vanderbilt and continues to improve, but he needs to improve to become a strong force on the Georgia defense.
“This kid has grinded, he’s grinded himself into a very productive player, hard to block player, we’ve just got to get him to where he’s got a little more quickness and is able to move a little bit better,” Smart said.
Smart and the inside linebackers see Davis as having a potentially important role on the defensive line. In the wake of injuries, he, along with the other members of the defensive corps, could continue to see more playing time for Georgia.