August 12, 2010

D-linemen always have something to prove

When you play under Georgia defensive line coach Rodney Garner, there's always something to prove.

You'd be advised to give your best, bust your tail and do it again, again, and again.

Even sometimes that's not enough.

"I expected it to be hard … and it's real hard," freshman defensive tackle Garrison Smith said. "He's real tough, but that's how he gets you to be your best."

It's difficult to argue against Garner's methods or record of success.

His history of putting defensive linemen in the NFL speaks for itself, a list that includes the likes of Richard Seymour, Marcus Stroud, Charles Grant, Corvey Irvin and Kedric Golston, along with current NFL rookies Jeff Owens, Kade Weston and Geno Atkins.

Garner's penchant for telling it like it is in regards to his defensive line is almost as well known.

Take this year's crop of players, who like Garner, is having to make an adjustment to Todd Grantham's new 3-4 scheme.

So far, Garner doesn't necessarily like what he sees.

"We've got to get better. It's like I told them the other day, they've got a lot to prove with the guys we lost off of last year's team, the change of scheme and all that," Garner said. "There are a lot of big shoes that need to be filled and I'm not sure we are there yet. You see (Demarcus) Dobbs trying to take ownership and be a good leader, but we need more guys to step up."

There are other questions that need to be answered as well.

If the season were to start today, Garner said senior DeAngelo Tyson/db] would start the season at nose, with Dobbs getting the start at right defensive end. Sophomore [db]Abry Jones and senior Brandon Wood are I-A, I-B at left defensive end.

"If we had to play tomorrow, yes, DeAngelo would be at nose but that's not where he wants to be," Garner said. "If you'd ask him his choice, he'd rather be at end, but we've got to put the personnel on the field that gives us the best chance to win."

Of the defensive linemen, Dobbs seems to be adjusting to the 3-4 scheme the best of all.

"He's done an excellent job adjusting to it. We're doing some things a little different because of his size and to take advantage of his athleticism versus the way we play some of those other guys when we're in the 3-4 technique," Garner said. "But I think he has done a good job. His motor runs high, he plays with a lot of emotion and the kids respect him."

Former offensive lineman Justin Anderson appears to making somewhat of an impact as well.

During Tuesday's scrimmage, Anderson rotated in with the first unit on its second offensive series. According to Garner, Anderson did well considering he's only recently been moved to the defensive line.

He wasn't quite ready to hand out as many kudos to sophomore Kwame Geathers.

"He's coming along - slowly," said Garner, who added he's going to need the entire position to step up its level of play.

"To be a good football team you have to have more leadership up front, and that's just something we don't have right now," he said. "Hopefully, once they become more confident in the system and get better fundamentally, maybe some of that will come about."

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