Georgia's Isaiah Wynn bracing for Auburn challenge

Georgia's Isaiah Wynn bracing for Auburn challenge

Sophomore settles in at left tackle for the Bulldogs

November 12th, 2015 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Georgia sophomore lineman Isaiah Wynn (77) has spent most of this season at left guard but recently became the starting left tackle, replacing John Theus (71).

Photo by Andy Harrison

ATHENS, Ga. — At the rate he's going, Isaiah Wynn might be lining up at tight end or even receiver by Georgia's bowl game.

The 6-foot-2, 278-pound sophomore began spring practice at center, where he replaced David Andrews, the lone departure from last season's offensive line and now a starter for the New England Patriots. Wynn spent a majority of spring practice at center, including the G-Day game, but he moved to left guard for the final two workouts.

Wynn started the first eight games this season at left guard but moved further out to left tackle last Saturday against Kentucky, bumping senior John Theus to right tackle.

Bulldogs glance

Georgia (6-3, 4-3 SEC) at Auburn (5-4, 2-4)
Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala.
Saturday, Noon
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"It's unique, and I just think it shows how versatile all the offensive linemen are," Wynn said. "I love playing tackle. You have more space to work with. At guard, you're immediately on your defender, but at tackle, your defender could be over a wide receiver or right in front of you."

The Bulldogs rushed for 300 yards in their 27-3 whipping of the Wildcats, so coach Mark Richt expects last week's starting lineup to remain intact. The new-look front has Kolton Houston at left guard and Dyshon Sims and Greg Pyke sharing time at right guard, with only center Brandon Kublanow remaining in the same starting spot all fall.

Wynn is the shortest member of Georgia's line, giving up three inches to Houston and four to both Pyke and Theus, but that hasn't been a hindrance.

"One thing he has that really helps him is his athleticism," Richt said. "He's very quick and is a very good pass protector. He's got very long arms, and I remember Jamie Dukes about a thousand years ago at Florida State only being 6-feet tall but having really long arms.

"He could pass protect as well as anybody because he could hold people at bay, and that's half the battle."

Wynn, a former four-star prospect out of St. Petersburg, Fla., has seen the "The Blind Side" multiple times. The 2009 film details the high school path of former Ole Miss tackle Michael Oher and opens by discussing how NFL teams value left tackles second only to quarterbacks.

When asked if it was always his goal to get to left tackle, Wynn said, "I don't think so, but I have fun playing it."

Wynn graded out well enough against Kentucky to earn a spot on the weekly offensive "Victor's Club," but he expects a steeper challenge this week against Auburn redshirt sophomore defensive end Carl Lawson. The 6-2, 257-pounder was a freshman All-American in 2013, when the Tigers lost the BCS title game to Florida State, but he missed last season with a torn ACL.

Lawson has missed most of this season with a hip injury but has played the past two weeks, when Auburn allowed an average of 18.5 points to the high-powered offenses of Ole Miss and Texas A&M. He had five tackles against the Aggies but is still playing catch-up from a stamina standpoint.

"I think it's going to take him a while as far as games," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. "After that first game, he said he had to get in better shape. Last week, he played more plays, so it's going to be a matter of him of getting in playing shape, and that usually takes a little bit."

Said Wynn: "He presents a big challenge for me. This is only going to be my second week (at left tackle), but I'm looking forward to stepping up and helping my team win. He's definitely a big, powerful guy."

Odds and ends

Georgia junior receiver Reggie Davis, who left Saturday's game with severe headaches but was not diagnosed with a concussion, practiced Wednesday and is fine, Richt said. Malzahn has yet to announce whether Jeremy Johnson or Sean White will start at quarterback this week, and he hasn't said whether White will be healthy enough to play at all. The Bulldogs worked out Wednesday for two hours in full pads and with pumped-in crowd noise. Malzahn on last year's 34-7 loss to the Bulldogs: "They defended us better than anyone else all year."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.