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Situation on the Bulldogs’ Defensive Line

Posted By Brenden Hull On Apr 15 2011 @ 9:55 pm In Georgia | No Comments

Let’s face it: the defensive line was one of the worst positions on Georgia’s team last year. Nose guard DeAngelo Tyson frequently failed to secure the middle, and defensive end Demarcus Dobbs did not follow up on a fairly successful 2009 season. This resulted in Georgia allowing 147.23 rushing yards per game, which was 53rd in the country.

However, all that has changed now. In fact, it’s changed so much that the Dawgs’ coaches are facing a dilemma because two players could both be the starting nose guard. Kwame Geathers, a 6’6″, 341-pounder from South Carolina, and prize community college recruit John Jenkins have both impressed the coaches this spring and are vying for playing time.

Jenkins was part of the so-called “Dream Team” that Mark Richt put together as his 2011 recruiting class. Coming out of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, he decommitted from Oklahoma State and chose to join Ray Drew, Isaiah Crowell, and others as part of the highly-ranked recruiting class at UGA. Many Georgia fans consider Jenkins to be the “missing link” to Todd Grantham’s 3-4 defensive scheme, as he was an extremely reliable nose guard at Mississippi Gulf Coast.

There is also a great precedent for nose guards like Jenkins. He hopes to follow up the success that Terrence Cody of Alabama and Nick Fairley of Auburn had in the SEC. Both players transferred to their schools from community college (Cody also attended Mississippi Gulf Coast) and were key parts to national championship teams before becoming high picks in the NFL Draft (Fairley is expected to be a high first-round pick this month).

Then, there’s also Kwame Geathers. He played in eight games last year, seeing time at nose guard when Tyson moved over to play defensive end. Richt has said that Geathers showed amazing improvement this spring, dominating the defensive line and challenging Jenkins for the starting spot. He was even named UGA’s defensive MVP for spring practice at a ceremony on Friday.

With the breakout performance shown by Geathers, Todd Grantham and Rodney Garner are considering playing both Jenkins and Geathers on the defensive line, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Obviously, one would have to move over to end, but that would probably be fine due to the incredible talent shown by both players. In this writer’s opinion, the ideal situation is for Geathers to start at nose guard, with Jenkins starting at end, and possibly have them alternate throughout the game.

On a final note, DeAngelo Tyson was switched to defensive end after the signing of Jenkins to the recruiting class. Tyson has shownn amazing improvement at his new position, so with him and the two nose guards starting on the line, look for Georgia’s run defense to improve vastly this season.

Other Spring Practice Notes

Georgia has really been decimated by injuries this spring. Most importantly, offensive lineman Trinton Sturdivant tore his ACL for the third time in his college career. He has already missed two entire seasons due to the same type of injury, and is expected to miss all of 2011, as well. His only option is to apply for a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA and try to play in 2012.

Other injuries include running back Washaun Ealey (pulled hamstring), safety Bacarri Rambo (knee ligament), cornerback Sanders Commings (concussion), safety Jakar Hamilton (concussion), cornerback Jordan Love (hamstring), and cornerback Brandon Boykin.

Alec Ogletree will start at his new position during the G-Day Game Saturday afternoon. The highly-rated safety recruit was moved to linebacker after seeing limited playing time at safety in his freshman year. The move was designed to add depth to the inside linebacker position, one of Georgia’s weakest during the spring.

Georgia will wrap up spring practice Saturday afternoon with the annual G-Day spring scrimmage. The game starts at 1:00 AM, and will be preceded by a flag football game featuring ex-UGA football players and coaches.

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