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Is bigger always better on the OL? We asked Matt Stinchcomb to weigh in

Former Bulldog and current ESPNU and SEC Network analyst Matt Stinchcomb gives his take on Georgia’s plan to go bigger than before when it comes to the team’s offensive linemen.

Sam Pittman (above) and Kirby Smart want bigger offensive linemen.
Sam Pittman (above) and Kirby Smart want bigger offensive linemen.
Radi Nabulsi

Kirby Smart has made it clear that he believes bigger is better when it comes to Georgia’s offensive line.

But is it?

Obviously, offensive line is a subject former Bulldog and NFL offensive lineman Matt Stinchcomb knows quite well.

"I think the offensive line play – and I’ve never recruited a kid – but I’ve talked to coaches, the offensive line is THE hardest position to evaluate and it’s the hardest position to predict,” Stinchcomb said. “So take the biggun (sic), that’s fine. It’s so hard, you might as well pick some big ones, but I’m not a believer in big is better. Sometimes they co-exist.”

For example:

“Walter Jones was not the biggest offensive lineman to play the game,” Stinchcomb said. “You make the argument that he’s one of the best and you don’t have to use your second hand to find guys who are better than him.”

Don’t get Stinchcomb wrong. He doesn’t begrudge Smart or offensive line coach Sam Pittman one bit.

In fact, he applauds the pair for the emphasis they appear to be placing on the OL, something Stinchcomb said wasn’t always the case with the former Georgia regime.

“I like the emphasis on focusing on offensive line and getting the right guys. I do like that,” he said. “I will say, as much as I respect it, and I appreciate Coach (Mark) Richt and what he did, one thing that I did not agree with the idea with the offensive line was kind of just a commodity. I think it worked that way at Florida State.”

As a former offensive lineman, that saddened Stinchcomb.

He, like many, believes a strong offensive line is the foundation for having a strong offense so he’s happy to hear that Smart and Pittman feel the same.

“Some systems, some offensive systems, I think that’s become very much a diminished, not just a commodity but a diminished value,” Stinchcomb said. “When you’re running plays as fast as some of these teams are, when the ball comes out as quick as it does, when you’ve got a run-pass option built into a lot of your play call, there’s a lot of things where you really don’t have to move anybody up front, just occupy them for a little while, distract them as much as anything.

“So I appreciate the emphasis. I appreciate the fact that you do have to focus on the raw materials that you need to run the offense that they want to run.”

That’s certainly been the case when it comes to the 2017 recruiting class.

The Bulldogs currently have three OL commitments among the group – D’antne Demery, Netori Johnson and Justin Schaeffer – with the trio tipping the scales at an average of about 330 pounds.

“As far as needing these big giant guys, you know, I think it looks good. If they play good, great. If they need to be big and they play as big as they are, then hey, bigger is better,” Stinchcomb said. “Bigger is better, just as long as they’re playing well. I’m a big fan of better is better. Sometimes big is just big. But if you’re big and you’re better, that’s the best of both worlds.”

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