October 14, 2008

Left tackle fine with Boling

Clint Boling[/db] doesn't say a lot, although most times it's not of his own volition.

As per the direction of offensive line coach Stacy Searels, Boling's standard one-answer response to reporters' questions the past two weeks have drawn plenty of groans and caused many an eye to roll.

To his credit, Boling does so with a smile on his face, but that's nothing unusual.

That just happens to be the way the sophomore goes about his business for the Bulldogs, who are now counting on the Alpharetta native to hold down the left tackle spot following last week's season-ending injury to starter Vince Vance.

"Clint is one of those lunch-pail guys who shows up for work every day and works his tail off," Georgia coach [db]Mark Richt said. "He really understands what Coach Searels is trying to teach and he has a burning desire to do it the way Coach Searels teaches him. Clint's very athletic for a big man. He started as a tight before he grew into an offensive lineman, and although he might feel that left tackle is not the best position for him, he knows that's where we need him. He's definitely a team-first guy."

Case in point:

When Vance went down against Tennessee, coaches didn't hesitate to shift Boling over to the left side, although he had only practiced at the position a few times during practice this year.

"I just took it as a challenge," Boling said after the Tennessee game. "We were able to move the ball and I thought we did a decent job."

With left tackle now officially affixed to his title, Boling has now played every offensive line position in a game for the Bulldogs except center.

"It took some getting used to since the majority of my time has been on the right side," Boling said. "It really wasn't that big of a deal."

Fullback Brannan Southerland said that he's never seen Boling make a big deal about anything. Just point him in the right direction and let him go.

"Clint will do whatever he's asked. He's a pretty quiet dude, but he talks plenty. Very smart, and I think everybody can see that by him basically playing every position but center," Southerland said. "He knows all the calls across the line and he knows the defenses. He's smart enough to think about what you have on the other side and figures it out from the backside."

Right side or left, Boling said it doesn't matter to him where he plays.

"Coach Searels expects to know how to play more than one position and he expects us not to miss a beat," Boling said. "As for going to the left side, you just flip the numbers back and forth. Fortunately, I've been able to pick it up pretty quickly. It's different, but not too bad."

Richt also respects Boling for the way he handled the off-season mistake which earned him a one-game suspension for reckless driving.

"Clint's a very intelligent kid who comes from a great family," Richt said. "When he made that mistake he didn't act like it was no big deal. He was heartbroken. He knew he let his parents down, he knew he let himself down. He just said 'Coach, have your way with me and let me get back in good standings.'"

That's just what Boling has done.

Although he's now officially the fourth Bulldog to play left tackle since preseason, following Trinton Sturdivant (out for the year with a torn ACL), Kiante Tripp and Vance, Richt said Boling doesn't take a back seat athletically to either.

"Trinton and Clint are very similar athletically. Trinton is outstanding and I'd say that Boling is in that outstanding level as far as our offensive line is concerned," Richt said. "I know everyone thinks we're inexperienced, and we have lost some guys, but I think we've got he right type of bodies and athletes in there now that will really help us in the years to come.

"Vince is a huge man, Boling, Justin Anderson, Trinton … those are five very big men that are athletic and can play tackle. Josh Davis is a guy who is growing into that. I think we've done a good job of bringing the right kind of guys in there."

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