KNOXVILLE, Tenn. Former LSU All-American defensive lineman and NFL first-round pick Marcus Spears says the Georgia D-Line is playing well right now, but he's not sure if it's capable of being a championship unit.
"That's a tough question for me to answer," Spears said Friday on the University of Tennessee campus outside of the SEC Nation. "I would have told you Georgia was going to beat LSU when they went to Baton Rouge last year."
The Bulldogs were manhandled in the trenches that day, the Tigers outrushing them 275-113 in the 36-16 win. Spears' Bayou Bengals also converted 4-of-4 on fourth downs, running though the UGA line.
The No. 3-ranked Bulldogs aren't likely to find that sort of resistance against the Vols when the teams meet at 7 p.m. in Neyland Stadium. Tennessee is fast becoming a depleted team with two inside linebackers entering the transfer portal last week and another one dismissed on Thursday.
Georgia's offensive line, however, has not been in question as much as the Bulldogs uncelebrated defensive line.
Kirby Smart says it's a unit that Kirby Smart says plays hard and works together.
"I think we've got a committee," Smart said. "We have no one dominant player. A lot of our success on the defensive line has come from creative things on the edges, different looks, multiple things, more pressures. It's not just them."
Smart said the unit is probably better than some might think, even if it hasn't appeared as dominant as other championship contenders.
"A lot of the negative criticism that came wasn't fair to them, because they were put in tough situations," Smart said. "No defensive line just rolls out there and rushes three guys and four guys and dominates. It's just not going to happen day-in and day-out in our league, so to help them out, you've go to get some single blocks.
"You've got to get more people coming, you've got to cause havoc, and that has helped them to have the freedom to make some more plays."
Spears said he has seen the Bulldogs playing at an elite level.
"The level they are playing at is higher than most teams in the country," Spears said. "I've seen they are right there at that upper echelon of being able to create pressure in the pass and stop the run. So right now they are playing at a high level.
"I don't know what a championship level will look like when we get to the end of the season."
Former LSU All-American Marcus Spears
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