Georgia Bulldogs: Hunter Long

UGA position groups to improve: No. 4

February, 11, 2014
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Georgia doesn't open spring practice until March 18, so we'll use the next few weeks to look ahead to those all-important workouts and preview what to watch once the Bulldogs get started.

Today we continue a series where we examine five position groups with room to improve. After touching on the inside linebackers on Monday, we move on to the offensive line group that must replace three starters.

4. Offensive line

[+] EnlargeDavid Andrews
Todd Kirkland/Icon SMIDavid Andrews returns to anchor the offensive line.
Battling for No. 1: This is perhaps one of the most interesting position groups to watch this spring. Offensive line coach Will Friend seemed fairly comfortable with most of his lineup last fall, with center David Andrews, left tackle Kenarious Gates and right guard Chris Burnette starting all 13 games and left guard Dallas Lee starting 12. It was the right tackle spot that felt like a revolving door at times, with John Theus starting eight games and Kolton Houston six. With Gates, Burnette and Lee all out of the picture now, there should be plenty of competition to fill their spots -- and just as much at essentially every position but center, where Andrews seems entrenched as a starter. Friend seemed to like what then-freshman Brandon Kublanow brought to the lineup last season at guard, so he might be one candidate to keep an eye on during the spring. But who Friend will insert into the tackle spots seems difficult to predict. Theus and Houston certainly had their ups and downs last season, but they are far and away the most experienced tackles on the roster at this point.

Strength in numbers: Georgia finally has depth along the line that seemed to be lacking for far too long. Guards Watts Dantzler, Mark Beard and Greg Pyke could all be candidates for legitimate playing time -- and maybe even starting jobs – but reserve tackles Xzavier Ward and Zach DeBell only add to the mystery at their position, having contributed very little on game day to this point. Reserve center Hunter Long is in a similar situation since rising senior Andrews has taken essentially every significant snap over the last two seasons.

New on the scene: In guard Josh Cardiello and swingman Aulden Bynum, the Bulldogs add two candidates to the rotation after redshirting last fall. Both players participated in spring practice as early enrollees last year, although it was apparent they were unlikely to contribute on a veteran line in the fall. This year's line signees -- tackles Dyshon Sims, Jake Edwards and Kendall Baker and guard Isaiah Wynn -- are not expected on campus until summer, so they will need to have surprisingly strong August camps in order to crack Friend's rotation in the fall. Sims and Wynn, who was the No. 106 overall prospect in the ESPN 300, seem like the most probable contributors among the freshmen.

Post-spring position review: OL 

April, 19, 2013
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Editor’s note: Over the next two weeks, we’ll take a closer look at each of Georgia’s position groups at the end of spring practice. Today we examine the offensive line:

Returning players/stats: Chris Burnette, Sr. (12 starts in 2012); Kenarious Gates, Sr. (14 starts); Dallas Lee, Sr. (14 starts); David Andrews, Jr. (14 starts); Mark Beard, Jr. (Two starts); John Theus, So. (14 starts); Austin Long, Sr.; Watts Dantzler, Jr.; Zach DeBell, So.; Hunter Long, Jr.; Xzavier Ward, So.; Greg Pyke, RFr.

Newcomers: Brandon Kublanow, Fr. (ESPN's No. 145 overall prospect in 2013, No. 2 center. Expected to enroll this summer); Aulden Bynum, Fr. (No. 47 OT. Enrolled in January); Josh Cardiello, Fr. (No. 21 OG. Enrolled in January); DeVondre Seymour, Fr. (No. 14 OT. Could enroll this summer)

UGA midseason report card: OL 

October, 11, 2012
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Editor’s note: Georgia’s football season is at the halfway mark, and the Bulldogs will take this weekend off before resuming SEC play next Saturday at Kentucky. We'll take a look at a different position group each day this week and evaluate how it performed in the first half of the season in our DawgNation midseason report cards.

ATHENS, Ga. -- The public opinion of Georgia’s offensive line was, for a time, much more positive than it is today, after the Bulldogs’ numerous breakdowns led directly to a 35-7 loss at South Carolina.

Will Friend’s rebuilt line had been surprisingly effective in the first five games, paving the way for Georgia to rank among the nation’s most explosive offenses.

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Notebook: UGA tries to solve punt issues 

September, 26, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Malcolm Mitchell is essentially a rookie punt returner -- and the Georgia sophomore admits he has made some rookie mistakes that could have proven costly.

Mitchell says the trick to his new responsibility is to quickly determine when to rein in his natural aggressiveness and when the smart move is to play it safe with a fair catch and hand the ball off to Aaron Murray and the offense.

“It’s just something to get used to,” said Mitchell, who is averaging 7 yards per return -- including a long of 22 yards on his first opportunity last week against Vanderbilt. “Of course when you’ve got an opportunity to make a play happen, you want to take it, regardless of what the situation is. What you’ve just got to know, punt return is a job that’s either you take it home or get as much yardage as you can or you fair catch it and get the offense on the field so they can do that.”

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ATHENS, Ga. -- If there is one attribute of Todd Gurley’s that most impresses his Georgia coaches and teammates, it would be his ability to break tackles and generate yards after contact.

That ability had Bulldogs defensive players raving from the first time they had to tackle the freshman tailback during preseason practice.

“A lot of times guys would just hit him and you think you’ve got him stopped and he just keeps driving his knees and there are people just falling off,” senior linebacker Christian Robinson said. “You never feel like, ‘Oh no, he’s stopped.’ There’s always a chance that he’s going to fall four more yards. A guy that’s always leaning forward, falling forward, is a great running back.”

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Notebook: Burnette's gutsy proposal 

September, 24, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Chris Burnette’s pastor at Athens Church, Sean Seay, was preaching about courage on Sunday afternoon when he called Burnette and his girlfriend, Arielle Haynes, to the stage to demonstrate courage in action.

Little did Haynes know exactly how much nerve her boyfriend was about to demonstrate.

Burnette -- a junior offensive guard -- had filmed a video explaining to Haynes how much he cherished their relationship and how he wanted to build a future with her. And when it ended, he got down on a knee before hundreds of fellow congregants -- a crowd that included about 50 members of the football team -- and proposed marriage.

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ATHENS, Ga. -- Count Mark Richt among those who are curious about how Georgia’s kicking situation will shake out in Saturday’s opener against Buffalo.

The Bulldogs’ head coach said after Wednesday’s practice that freshman kicker Marshall Morgan and punter Collin Barber’s readiness to perform is what he will be most interested to evaluate this weekend.

“Kickers and punters,” Richt said, “I’m very interested to see how that goes.”

Richt added that he is intrigued to watch how the Bulldogs’ tailbacks -- including freshman newcomers Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall -- acquit themselves in their first college game.

“It’s going to be fun to watch our backs,” he said. “Those would probably be the top two right now for me.”

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ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia’s starting offensive line appears to be set.

Now the Bulldogs must develop depth behind the six players with whom the coaches are comfortable -- tackles Kenarious Gates and John Theus, guards Dallas Lee and Chris Burnette, center David Andrews and reserve guard/tackle Watts Dantzler -- and a couple of areas of concern still exist.

The right tackle spot was probably the biggest question mark as the Bulldogs opened preseason camp, with Theus and Dantzler looking to replace still-ineligible Kolton Houston. But both players have been solid this August and are SEC-ready players, according to their coaches. A more glaring issue now is the depth on the left side of the Bulldogs’ line.

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Georgia offensive lineman Hunter long will miss up to six weeks with a broken left foot, according to his father Tim Long.

“I think he actually did it a couple days ago and it has been bothering him, but he had been practicing anyway,” Tim Long said. “He planted today to try and block Kwame Geathers and the load was too heavy and it popped on him. Basically it is the exact same thing [Alec] Ogletree had last year.”

Geathers weighs a whopping 355 pounds, and the stress of blocking him made a bad situation much worse.

“They said the stress fracture had been there for a while but the acute fracture today was pretty significant,” Tim said. “So they are going to operate on him Tuesday and put a screw in there. He is probably out six weeks at least.”

Hunter was getting a lot of snaps with the second string and had received a lot of compliments from the staff. His older brother Austin Long is firmly entrenched at the No. 2 left tackle spot.
Thirty-seven days remain until Georgia kicks off its season opener against Buffalo on Sept. 1. In the days counting down to the opener, DawgNation will profile, with our “Around the Hedges in 80 Days” series, a Bulldogs player we expect to make an impact. We will review each player’s career thus far and project his long-term potential as we progress through our alphabetical list, from center David Andrews to receiver Rantavious Wooten.

37. Hunter Long
Sophomore, Offensive line
6-foot-4, 300 pounds


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Sixty-five days remain until Georgia kicks off its season opener against Buffalo on Sept. 1. In the days counting down to the opener, DawgNation will profile, with our “Around the Hedges in 80 Days” series, a Bulldogs player we expect to make an impact. We will review each player’s career thus far and project his long-term potential as we progress through our alphabetical list, from center David Andrews to receiver Rantavious Wooten.

[+] EnlargeWatts Dantzler
Radi Nabulsi/ESPN.comRelatively inexperienced O-lineman Watts Dantzler must prove himself quickly if he's to earn playing time in 2012.

65. Watts Dantzler
Sophomore, Offensive line
6-foot-7, 310 pounds


Fall forecast: Several offensive linemen, including Dantzler, enter preseason practice in quite similar positions. Part of a big group of offensive linemen who signed last year -- Dantzler, center David Andrews and guard Hunter Long played last fall as true freshmen -- Dantzler figures to be part of Georgia’s offensive line rotation and could play either guard or tackle. He hasn’t claimed a starting spot yet, however, and will enter preseason practice as Kolton Houston’s backup at right tackle.

Career highlight: Dantzler got fairly extensive playing time in non-conference wins against Coastal Carolina and New Mexico State, but perhaps his most valuable playing time came in a blowout win against Auburn.

Experience thus far: Dantzler appeared in three games last season in a reserve role.


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Spring look: Offensive line

March, 16, 2012
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To get ready for the start of Georgia’s spring football practice Tuesday, DawgNation will do a position breakdown each day. Today we analyze the offensive line. On Saturday we will look at the defensive line.

2011 starters: OT: Cordy Glenn, 2011 Sr.; Justin Anderson, 2011 Sr.; C: Ben Jones, 2011 Sr.; OG: Chris Burnette, Jr.; Dallas Lee, Jr.

Key losses: Glenn, Anderson, Jones
Reserves: OG/OT Kenarious Gates, Jr.; Mark Beard, So.; OT: Austin Long, Jr.; Watts Dantzler, So.; Zach DeBell, RFr.; Xzavier Ward, RFr.; OG: Hunter Long, So.; Kolton Houston, So.; C David Andrews, So.

New faces: Junior college transfer Beard enrolled in January and has three years of eligibility remaining. He has played offensive tackle throughout his football career and could play the position at Georgia, but guard is also a possibility. Ward and DeBell also join the active competition after redshirting last season.

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