Georgia Bulldogs: Josh Cardiello

We're closing in on the start of spring practice at Georgia, so this week we will take a look at five position battles worth watching this spring.

After covering the competitions at safety, defensive line, offensive tackle and the star position, Friday we conclude with the offensive guards -- where the Bulldogs must replace a pair of longtime starters.

Returning starters: None

[+] EnlargeMark Beard
Dale Zanine/USA TODAY SportsRising senior Mark Beard, here locking up Jadeveon Clowney, has plenty of game experience.
Departures: Left guard Dallas Lee and right guard Chris Burnette handled nearly all of the starts over the past three seasons at the guard spots. Lee started 33 of Georgia's 41 games since the start of the 2011 season, and Burnette started 37. Their departures leave a huge experience void at the middle of the Bulldogs' offensive line.

Returning reserves: The good news for Georgia is that, unlike several seasons in the not-too-distant past, there is considerable depth along the line. Offensive line coach Will Friend has used a number of reserves at guard, including rising seniors Mark Beard and Watts Dantzler and sophomores Greg Pyke and Brandon Kublanow. Offensive tackles John Theus and Kolton Houston have even practiced at guard in the past.

Newcomers: Aulden Bynum and Josh Cardiello are both coming off redshirt seasons and both players are capable of playing guard. The Bulldogs also signed Isaiah Wynn -- ESPN's No. 6 guard and No. 106 overall prospect of 2014 -- who is not yet on campus.

What to watch: This competition should be wide open heading into the spring. Friend has publicly complimented each of the contenders at points, even if Burnette and Lee handled the majority of the significant snaps. We profiled Kublanow last week and mentioned that he could be a top contender after replacing an injured Lee in the Bulldogs' Gator Bowl loss to Nebraska. He doesn't have a job locked down, however. With Friend also looking to sort out his starting tackles -- the Bulldogs also lost starting left tackle Kenarious Gates, and Beard might figure into that competition -- it's entirely possible that he will shuttle players inside and out as he has done in the past. Georgia listed Kublanow and Dantzler as Lee and Burnette's backups for the bowl game, so it wouldn't be a surprise to see them start the spring in the starting roles, but don't be surprised if Friend rotates several other players through those spots during the spring.

Players to watch: Brandon Kublanow

February, 25, 2014
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With spring practice still a few weeks away, this week we'll discuss five players to watch once the Bulldogs open workouts on March 18.

Today we take a look at a young offensive lineman who should be in the mix to replace one of the Bulldogs' two departed starters at guard.

[+] EnlargeBrandon Kublanow
Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesGeorgia hopes Brandon Kublanow builds off late-season playing time to become a starter at guard.
Brandon Kublanow (Offensive guard, So.)

2013 review: As is typical for an offensive lineman who actually plays as a freshman, Kublanow got off to a quiet start. He appeared in just one of the Bulldogs' first five games -- a blowout win against North Texas -- before eventually playing his way into the rotation. He appeared in each of the Bulldogs' last eight games and was offensive line coach Will Friend's choice to replace injured senior Dallas Lee in bowl loss against Nebraska.

Why spring is important: There will be significant turnover on the line this season with Lee, right guard Chris Burnette and left tackle Kenarious Gates -- all of whom started nearly every game over the previous three seasons -- out of the picture. Kublanow and rising senior Watts Dantzler appear to be the early favorites to start at the guard spots, but Friend has no shortage of options at those positions, including Mark Beard, Greg Pyke and redshirt freshmen Josh Cardiello and Aulden Bynum. The feisty Kublanow just needs to keep doing what he's been doing and he should be part of a rotation at minimum.

Best case/worst case: Kublanow is the classic “road grader” guard, so it wouldn't be much of a surprise to see him jump into the starting lineup this season and stay there for the next three falls. Friend was clearly impressed with his potential when practice opened last season and he made it a point to work him into the lineup more and more as the season progressed. Now it might be his time. However, his spot as a starter or member of Friend's rotation could be in jeopardy if he doesn't show enough consistency this spring. It seems unlikely that he won't play a prominent role this fall, but older players might grab those spots if Kublanow struggles.

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.

UGA redshirt review: Offense

December, 19, 2013
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia signed a massive 33-man recruiting class in February, and many of those signees -- like Leonard Floyd, Shaq Wiggins, J.J. Green and Brendan Douglas -- contributed immediately. Over the next two days, we'll review the offensive and defensive signees who redshirted.

Aulden Bynum, Fr., OL
2013 ESPN rating: Three stars, No. 47 offensive tackle
This season: Enrolled in January and worked at multiple positions along the offensive line.
Veteran's perspective: “He's not as strong as he wants to be right now, probably has to put on a little more weight. I think that he's also very good naturally just with leverage and feet space and stuff like that.” -- senior offensive guard Chris Burnette

Josh Cardiello, Fr., OL
2013 ESPN rating: Four stars, No. 21 offensive guard
This season: Enrolled in January and practiced mostly at left guard and center .
Veteran's perspective: “Cardiello is a really explosive guy, which I like. I think that's really important as an offensive lineman is to be explosive. He has good leverage, knows how to bend his knees and is also deceptively athletic and I think that's going to be good for him in the future.” -- Burnette

Jordan Davis, Fr., TE
2013 ESPN rating: Three stars, No. 15 tight end-Y
This season: Wasn't needed with seniors Arthur Lynch and Hugh Williams and sophomore Jay Rome available.
Veteran's perspective: “I think a big thing for him will just be learning the playbook, understanding the playbook, understanding how we want it done here. He's got a body like Jermaine Gresham. He's 6-foot-5-plus. He's about 240-something now, but he could put on 20 pounds easy. And he can run. I think that's one thing that'll be a very big asset of his is he'll be able to run and create space from linebackers and even probably safeties.” -- Lynch

Uriah LeMay, Fr., WR
2013 ESPN rating: Four stars, No. 48 wide receiver
This season: Stuck behind a glut of established veteran receivers.
Veteran's perspective: “Redshirt's a really important year. I know it was for me. I wasn't ready to play at all. It was important going into my redshirt freshman year that I had a lot of experience under my belt and it was a lot easier. I've seen improvement throughout his redshirt year and hopefully this spring is going to be big for him to really learn the offense and hopefully contribute next year.” -- junior receiver Michael Bennett

Brice Ramsey, Fr., QB
2013 ESPN rating: Four stars, No. 115 overall, No. 7 pocket passer
This season: Enrolled in January knowing that a redshirt was extremely likely with Aaron Murray and Hutson Mason sitting atop the depth chart.
Veteran's perspective: “A cannon. That's the first thing you see when you look at Brice: those long arms and that odd body type. He just brings his arm back and flicks his wrist and the ball just shoots off so fast that you want to get out of the way. But that's the first thing you notice with him. He's a young, fun-loving guy with a lot of God-given ability, and once he puts that together with his knowledge of the playbook, he'll be something dangerous.” -- junior receiver Chris Conley

Tramel Terry, Fr., WR?
2013 ESPN rating: Four stars, No. 89 overall, No. 9 athlete
This season: Perhaps the biggest question of bowl practice is how to qualify Terry these days. He practiced at receiver all season while returning from an ACL tear, but has been practicing at safety this week.
Veteran's perspective: “He's a guy who has to still get healthy, get strong and prepare to come in and execute at a high level and play fast. And I think he's going to be ready to do that. … When you take an injury like that, it can do some things to your confidence and I think he's gaining it back and he's building it. With the more plays that he makes, the more like the old Tramel Terry he'll be.” -- Conley

A.J. Turman, Fr., RB
2013 ESPN rating: Four stars, No. 260 overall, No. 22 running back
This season: When Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall were injured at midseason, Turman playing seemed like a possibility. But the coaches preserved his redshirt and he'll join a deep backfield in 2014.
Veteran's perspective: “Turman's the man. Just because even if he's on scout team, he's still like wanting to learn what to do and he's always full speed. He's never like, 'Ah, I'm on scout team. I'm not playing this year.' So he's always getting better from what I see. He always asks me questions like, 'What do I do on this? What do I do on that?' and he actually is really like a beast. Y'all will definitely see.” -- Gurley

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)

Editor’s note: Each day this week, we’ll ask a question that Georgia’s football team faces this spring as it moves toward the 2013 season. Today’s question: How many of the Bulldogs’ 13 midyear enrollees will play this fall?

ATHENS, Ga. -- While predicting which freshmen will play this fall is obviously an inexact science this far ahead of the regular season, Georgia coach Mark Richt on Saturday shared an easy explanation of how quickly his staff must bring along certain members of their 13-man class of midyear enrollees during spring practice.

If they play a position of particular need, Richt said, their learning curve naturally will accelerate.


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Watch List LB has Georgia tied for first 

February, 26, 2013
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Buford High School is one of the premier programs in Georgia. The Wolves have won eight championships in the last 12 years, the latest coming this past season after moving up to Class AAA and losing eight Division I players to graduation. College coaches drop in on Buford practices like someone was giving away free barbecue in the end zone. The University of Georgia coaching staff swings by often and it shows -- the Bulldogs have three Buford offensive linemen on scholarship: Dallas Lee, Kolton Houston and Josh Cardiello.

Mark Richt would like to keep the Buford pipeline open, and this time he is eyeing a linebacker.


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DawgNation signing day live blog

February, 6, 2013
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Welcome to DawgNation's live coverage of national signing day for the Georgia Bulldogs. We'll be with you throughout the day providing up-to-the minute updates on Georgia's Class of 2013.

Watch live coverage on ESPNU | Talk signing day in "The Pound"

Follow the live blog after the jump.

(Read full post)

Coaches' take: Josh Cardiello 

February, 5, 2013
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Although Josh Cardiello projects as an interior lineman in college, his talent and experience meant that his Buford (Ga.) High School coaches had to fortify their young offensive line with their most productive player at tackle.


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Position scouting report: OG/C 

January, 22, 2013
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Editor’s note: Over the next several weeks, we’ll take a look at each position on Georgia’s depth chart and project how it might look in the future. Today we examine Georgia’s offensive guards and centers.

2012 two-deep depth chart:
LG: Dallas Lee (Jr.), Kenarious Gates (Jr.)
RG: Chris Burnette (Jr.), Lee (Jr.)

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Dawgs land 12 commits in final ESPN 300 

January, 10, 2013
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The final ESPN 150 and ESPN 300 rankings were released on Thursday and the Georgia Bulldogs are well represented on both lists. Georgia has 12 verbal commits on in the ESPN 300, five of whom are ranked in the ESPN 150.

The biggest jump up belonged to Brandon Kublanow (Marietta, Ga./Walton) who moved up 49 spots to finish at No. 145 in the ESPN 150. Rated the No. 2 center in the nation, Kublanow recently told DawgNation that he will play guard at Georgia.

“Yeah I will be at guard and swing center,” Kublanow said.

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ATHENS, Ga. -- As far as Mark Richt is concerned, it’s no more difficult for Georgia to bring in 13 early enrollees this year than it was when the Bulldogs previously had four or five newcomers join the team in a typical January.

[+] EnlargeTray Matthews
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comTray Matthews is one of 13 Bulldogs who have enrolled early for the winter semester.
Richt is just glad they are in Athens and ready to start spring semester classes at UGA today.

“I don’t know if it’s going to be all that different having five of them or 15 of them come in,” Richt said. “They’re all just going to start going to class and get into the offseason and start learning what to do.”

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Dawgs Snapshot 2013: Josh Cardiello 

December, 19, 2012
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To gear up for 2013 national signing day, DawgNation's Radi Nabulsi is breaking down every commitment in the Bulldogs' 2013 recruiting class.

Vitals: Offensive guard Josh Cardiello, Buford, Ga./Buford | 6-foot-3, 283 pounds

Committed: May 19, 2012

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Weekend Rewind: Georgia 

December, 17, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- As the dead period in college football approached, the Georgia coaching staff tried to make the most of this past weekend.

Assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner and offensive line coach Will Friend were dispatched to the Georgia Dome to see and be seen by the Bulldogs’ targets playing in the Georgia state championship games.

Between them they witnessed cornerback commit Shaq Wiggins (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek), offensive line commit Josh Cardiello (Buford, Ga./Buford), running back target Alvin Kamara (Norcross, Ga./Norcross), linebacker target Korie Rogers (Buford, Ga./Buford), athlete target Myles Autry (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) and wide receiver target Demarre Kitt (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) win state titles. They also saw defensive tackle priority Montravius Adams and his Dooly County (Ga.) High School team come up short in their championship game.

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Top recruits abound at Ga. state finals 

December, 13, 2012
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There will be no shortage of talent, or college coaches, on the field at the Georgia Dome this weekend, as the GHSA football state championships are set to take place. All seven games will be broadcast live on Georgia Public Broadcasting TV, as well as streaming online at gpb.org/sports. Here are some prospects to keep an eye on in each of the seven matchups.

Prince Avenue (11-2) vs. ELCA (12-1): Class A Private, Friday, 2:30 p.m.

The top prospect in the opening matchup of the weekend is ESPN 150 defensive end Isaac Rochell. He committed to Notre Dame over 20 other offers back in June. His teammate, running back Keyante Green, is a ESPN 300 prospect who committed to Purdue during the summer after being previously committed to UCLA. Eagles Landing Christian Academy has two ESPN 2014 Watch List selections to keep an eye on as well in defensive end Andrew Williams and quarterback/athlete Dalton Etheridge. Williams, whose brother Anthony plays defensive end at Georgia Tech, looks to follow Rochell’s path as one of the most coveted prospects in Georgia.

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