- David Ching, ESPN Staff Writer
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Editor’s note: Each day between now and Georgia’s Capital One Bowl date with Nebraska, we will review the season for a key Bulldogs player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at left guard Dallas Lee.
No. 64 Dallas Lee
Role in 2012: One of the returning starters on a rebuilding offensive line, Lee and his line mates enjoyed a productive season in which they exceeded modest expectations.
The good: A season after starting seven of the eight games in which he played -- he missed the rest of the season after breaking his leg against Florida -- Lee has started all 13 games at guard this season. It was not uncommon to see Lee or fellow guard Chris Burnette pull and lead tailbacks Todd Gurley or Keith Marshall through a hole for a big gain, as the line’s steady improvement helped power a largely effective running game.
The bad: It’s not necessarily all that bad, but Lee lost some playing time at points as Georgia’s coaches experimented with different rotations. In the most frequent lineup change, Kenarious Gates would shift to Lee’s spot at left guard with Mark Beard taking over for Gates at left tackle. There were also times that Lee shifted to right guard to fill in for an injured Burnette. And reserve Austin Long has started to see time along the line here and there.
Crystal ball: Georgia’s coaches have made it clear that not only will there be open competition for starting spots along the line for the Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl against Nebraska, but spring practice will require the starting linemen to prove they deserve to keep their spots. Lee will be a senior in 2013 and has started 20 of the last 21 games in which he participated, so he seems to be a likely starter next fall. But keep an eye on the position battles during spring and preseason practices to see if any of the reserves continue their pushes for additional playing time.
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