Saturday, November 18, 2017
Colleges

A move for the better for Lakewood grad Isaiah Wynn, No. 3 Georgia

RECOMMENDED READING


When starter Tyler Catalina left for the NFL, Georgia coaches approached Lakewood High alumnus Isaiah Wynn with a proposal: slide from left guard to left tackle for 2017.

"It wasn’t much of a conversation," Wynn said. "It was just a move that the coaches made that they thought would be best not only for me but also for the team."

It has worked out for everyone involved, boosting a much-improved offensive line that has the 7-0 Bulldogs ranked third in the country entering today’s rivalry game against Florida.

Only 13 teams have allowed fewer sacks than Georgia (eight). The Bulldogs are allowing 1.3 fewer tackles for loss this season than last, and they were among 21 teams recognized at midseason by the Joe Moore Award, which honors the nation’s most outstanding offensive line.

The successful blocking is obvious in the success of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, two of the SEC’s top eight rushers. Georgia ran for 370 yards in its most recent game (against Missouri), and its 423 rushing yards against Vanderbilt were the program’s most in 30 years.

"I think they’ve done a really good job of putting the guys in place," Gators coach Jim McElwain said. "That offensive line is really playing well."

Wynn cites several reasons for the unit’s growth. It’s the second year under coach Kirby Smart, so the coaching staff and players have figured each other out. The line improved its chemistry with offseason cookouts and trips to Atlanta’s Dave & Buster’s.

Smart said Wynn has performed well in his new role as the blindside tackle.

The 6-foot-2, 302-pound senior entered the year with 26 starts, almost all at left guard. He had experience at tackle at Lakewood, where he was a four-star recruit on a team that made the Class 5A state semifinals. He took reps there last season, too, so the adjustment wasn’t huge — which explains why he earned some midseason All-America buzz.

"He plays with really good toughness," Smart said. "He’s got great balance and body control. I think he’s been a tremendous asset."

How big of an asset might be revealed today against a UF defense that had eight tackles for a loss last year in Jacksonville. Although UF is reeling from messes on and off the field, the Gators have beaten the Bulldogs each of the past three seasons.

"These past few years, they’ve been getting us," Wynn said. "This year’s a whole different culture. It’s a whole other year."

Contact Matt Baker at [email protected]

Comments
Basketball: Gators romp; key player hurt for Hurricanes

Basketball: Gators romp; key player hurt for Hurricanes

GAINESVILLE — Behind a balanced effort and six double-figure scorers, No. 8 Florida dominated North Florida 108-68 Thursday. Junior KeVaughn Allen led the Gators with 18 points. The balanced scoring helped Florida (2-0) dismantle the Ospreys (0-4) fr...
Published: 11/16/17
College football week 12: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions

College football week 12: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions

The Times’ college football coverage team makes its picks for week 12 games:gametimeMartin Fennelly, @mjfennellyMatt Baker, @MBakerTBTimesTraci Johnson, @TBHomeTeamMike Sherman, @mikeshermanTom Jones, @tomwjonesJoey Knight, @TBTimes_BullsAgainst the ...
Published: 11/16/17
Rick and Tom podcast: Will Chip Kelly be the Gators’ next head coach?

Rick and Tom podcast: Will Chip Kelly be the Gators’ next head coach?

The Florida Gators are vetting Chip Kelly to potentially be their next head coach, but is he their first choice? In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss what the future holds for the Gators and whether the coach will be Chip Kelly,...
Published: 11/15/17
College Football Playoff: Miami up to No. 3 in rankings, two-loss teams lurk

College Football Playoff: Miami up to No. 3 in rankings, two-loss teams lurk

Tuesday’s latest round of the College Football Playoff committee’s weekly rankings shows a clear path to a (relatively) controversy-free final four.Win out, and No. 1 Alabama, No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 5 Wisconsin are in. So, too, is the winner of No. 2...
Published: 11/14/17
Is Miami officially back? We let the turnover chains decide

Is Miami officially back? We let the turnover chains decide

MIAMI — A question that has been bubbling up all season crescendoed over the weekend after Miami’s 33-point thrashing of Notre Dame. Is the U back?"We are back," former Gov. Jeb Bush tweeted. "I don’t think anybody can say we’re not," receiver Braxto...
Published: 11/13/17

What a way to end it, ButchSo Saturday’s blowout loss at Missouri was bad enough for Tennessee. But when it comes to coach Butch Jones, whom the Vols fired Sunday after five mostly tumultuous seasons, there’s always more.The 50-17 rout by the Tigers ...
Published: 11/12/17
AP Top 25: Miami jumps to No. 2 behind Alabama; Oklahoma 3rd

AP Top 25: Miami jumps to No. 2 behind Alabama; Oklahoma 3rd

Miami is back at No. 2 in The Associated Press college football poll , the Hurricanes’ best ranking since 2003.The undefeated Hurricanes leaped five spots from No. 7 after routing Notre Dame on Saturday night. Alabama remained No. 1, where it has bee...
Published: 11/12/17
Butch Jones out as Tennessee’s football coach

Butch Jones out as Tennessee’s football coach

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee fired coach Butch Jones on Sunday with two games left in a regular season in which the Volunteers started ranked but are now still winless in the Southeastern Conference. Vols athletic director John Currie said defensive ...
Published: 11/12/17
Miami defense makes statement in 41-8 rout of No. 3 Notre Dame

Miami defense makes statement in 41-8 rout of No. 3 Notre Dame

MIAMI — While No. 7 Miami’s viral turnover chain embodies the swag of a once-proud program that sure looked back Saturday night, it doesn’t tell the whole story about one of the nation’s four remaining undefeated teams. Even when it’s not taking the ...
Published: 11/11/17
Updated: 11/12/17
Fennelly: Miami swag, and swagger, is back against Notre Dame

Fennelly: Miami swag, and swagger, is back against Notre Dame

MIAMI — It was ’80s night at Hard Rock Stadium — Miami against Notre Dame. The packed stands emitted electricity. There were scores of former Hurricanes at the yard, including Bucs Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, determined to see that the U was back.It l...
Published: 11/11/17
Updated: 11/12/17