At first blush, it looks like his line was competent or better than competent last season (I'm getting to other seasons, calm down). They gave up just 12 sacks, good for 14T in the nation. They only allowed 65 TFL, good for 29T in the nation. They were 59th in the nation in rushing. That isn't to say all of that is the Oline, but they certainly weren't craping themselves, either.
In 2009, UAB was 7th in the nation in rushing, at 229+y/game, with much of that coming from QB Joe Webb, who is the answer to a trivia question (who replaced Brett Farve's after his last snap in the NFL). They gave up 21 sacks, putting them in the upper 40s nationally. The lowest average yards/carry they have had in his tenure at UAB is 3.7 in 2007. They have done better than 4.5y/carry in every other season, including nearly 6y/carry in 2009. 21 is also the most sacks they have given up during Friend's tenure. As a point of reference, UGA's y/rush in that time frame ranges from this years 4.1 to last season's 4.68, with the highest sack total being this season's 25.
A look at the common opponents last season (keeping in mind, UAB had 2OT possessions against Tennessee) and evaluating total offense, rushing yards, yards per rush, sacks allowed, tackles for loss allowed and points, you can see they didn't do worse than Georgia.
|UGA vs.||Total off||R.yds||Yds/r||Sacks||TFL||Points|
I am not saying everything was the offensive line or line coaching, but it is pretty clear that UAB did as well as or better than UGA did against common opponents. That comparison is made more stark by the clear talent level difference.
Furthermore, look at UAB's rushing stats, the same one PWD looked at for UGA:
|Rushing on 3rd Down||Yards Per Carry|
|3rd Down Overall||3.36|
|3rd and 1-3 Yards||3.08|
|3rd and 4-6 Yards||.46*|
|3rd and 7-9 Yards||4.11*|
|3rd and 10+ Yards||6.54|
*This is where only giving up 12 sacks pays off in your stats.
Looking at it by quarter, you can make the arguement that they got better at the as the game progressed:
Now, we can talk about S&C making a difference, which I think it does, but part of that conversation, particularly as it relates to the rushing game, has to involve Friend's coaching. Having a guy that everyone wanted and is now 'the answer' for Texas coaching them up didn't do much more than make the line average at the beginning of the game. Just looking at stats, I don't think Will Friend is a terrible hire.
On last thing. When you look at the Georgia's rushing stats, you have to at least take notice of the person in charge of the rushing game, something that I didn't really think about until recently. How much of Georgia's issues running the ball were at the feet of the Rushing Game Coordinator, especially considering the comments that Friend will exclusively focus on the offensive line?