The former Walton High School star, and Georgia’s new starting left guard refused to get excited about the Bulldogs’ 45-21 victory over Clemson last Saturday, and he remained that way when looking back at the game this week.
“We did our job,” the sophomore said. “I think we did what was expected of us.”
What Georgia’s offensive line did — after replacing three of its five starters from 2013 — was open holes for Todd Gurley, Keith Marshall and Nick Chubb to run for a total 328 yards and five touchdowns. The linemen also kept quarterback Hutson Mason’s uniform nearly spotless and, maybe most impressively, they weren’t called for a holding penalty.
“The line did an amazing job all day,” said Eric Zeier, Bulldogs’ radio color commentator and a former Marietta High and Georgia quarterback.
After playing in nine games as a true freshman last season, the 6-foot-3, 295-pound Kublanow made his first start against Clemson. For that, he allowed himself only a quick moment of reflection.
“It was definitely a cool feeling to run out there and see your name pop up on the scoreboard,” he said, “but I tried not to get caught up in any of it.”
Kublanow, who took over for three-year starter Dallas Lee, was one of three new players — with left tackle John Theus and right guard Greg Pyke — on the offensive line. At Walton, Kublanow spent most of his time at left tackle, but with Theus, a junior, still having two years left, he said there was little chance he would make the move to the tackle spot.
“No, I’m settled in a guard,” Kublanow said. “I’m too small to play tackle.”
He did just fine at guard Saturday. After Gurley carried the ball only four times for 42 yards in the first half, the line opened holes to allow him to rush for 156 of his 198 yards, and two of his three touchdowns.
When Gurley took a break, Chubb, a true freshman, carried the ball four times for 70 yards, including his first college touchdown — a 47-yarder in the fourth quarter that all but put the game out of reach.
Kublanow said it doesn’t matter who he or the line is blocking for. He knows each of the Bulldogs’ running backs are more than capable of scoring at any time.
“They are all great backs,” he said. “Maybe the best backs in the nation.”
Kublanow even helped clear the way for Mason to score on a 2-yard sneak in the first quarter.
While normally liking his quarterback, Kublanow may have an excuse to not be on Mason’s side for a few hours tonight. Kublanow’s Walton will face Mason’s Lassiter in the annual “East Cobb Super Bowl.”
Now teammates, the two crossed paths in high school only once in 2009 when Mason, a senior, led Lassiter to a 42-28 win during Kublanow’s freshman season. Once Mason left, Walton won three in a row — including once in the state semifinals — until Lassiter won the last two.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Kublanow said the subject had not come up.
“I haven’t talked to him about it yet,” he said.
Would there be a small wager of any kind on the game?
“I don’t think the NCAA would like that,” Kublanow said.
Maybe there will be a missed block or two in practice to send a former rival a message?
“I wish,” Kublanow said, laughing.