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July 15, 2011

Grantham holds court

Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham sat down with beat writers for almost 30 minutes Friday, discussing a wide range of topics prior to the Bulldogs opening up preseason drills in two weeks.

Among the subjects, the current situation at linebacker, the future of junior defensive back Sanders Commings, the health of T.J. Stripling and what he's seeing on film of nose guard Johnathan Jenkins.

Of course, that's not all.

With his defense approaching its second year of running the 3-4, Grantham said he's going to need to see improvement - across the board.

"I just think we want to improve overall. We want to finish. We want to finish games and we want to finish drives. That means we want to be off the field on third down. I think when you look at what we did last year there were times we played well, there were times we didn't play as well as we wanted to," Grantham said. "I think being consistent in our play is important, being relentless in our approach to the ball is important. I think having the ability to finish games, having the ability to finish drives is important, so I think all of those things are important. By knowing the defense a little bit better we can play faster, which allows you to make plays."

Grantham also had the following to say:

• On which players have a chance to step up with Richard Samuel moving to running back: "(Brandon) Burrows, (Mike) Gilliard, then we've got Amarlo (Herera), (Kent) Turene and Ramik (Wilson) so we'll mix all those guys up a little bit. I mean that in the sense you've got to have some flexibility, so as we get going over the next little bit we'll try to figure out what each guy does best and where they should play. It's going to create an opportunity for somebody else to make some plays."

• Will the NCAA's investigation regarding Jarvis Jones impact his preparation: "It's no different than a guy being injured. You don't know when a guy is going to be injured, so we're going to prepare at every position as if the guy that is the first team guy is the player and if he goes down, who's the next guy. We'll have plans in place to get our guys on the field."

• Regarding the status of Turene and when the freshman will arrive on campus: "I am from the standpoint that yes, he's on track, but to me it's a matter until they are here - you never know. I feel comfortable."

• On Derrick Lott's recovery following his scooter accident earlier this week: "Anytime you miss time it's not a good thing. He's obviously going to work hard to get back but until he gets back it is going to create an opportunity for someone else to get some reps. It's going to create an opportunity for someone to show what they can do. Moving forward, guys who can make plays are going to play."

•Will Sanders Commings play safety: "We will, we'll try him there. It's more of a cross-train because it is a long season and if you go into it and say he's only this, it never gives you options. With cross training we always have the flexibility and the option to put guys we feel to give us the best chance to win on the field. I think the more you can do for us, the more valuable you become and better chance you have to succeed. Some guys can do that, some guys can't, but you've got to find out. But he's a guy we cross-trained in the spring for a little bit and we'll continue that a little bit in camp."

• Will Kwame Geathers see some time at defensive end: "I think it's like anything, the more you can do the better chance you have of getting on the field and if he can continue to improve like he did in the spring and then move out and learn some end stuff, No. 1 it gives us more depth, No. 2 it gives you a guy who can play two positions and it also gives him an opportunity to get on the field two ways. I think anytime you can do that it gives you a chance to get your playmakers on the field."

• What are you hearing about Jenkins: "He's a hard worker. I think he's a guy that people gravitate to from the sense that he's got some leadership qualities; he's athletic and he can run. He's a guy who will be a good asset to our program and we're looking forward to getting able to work with him as coaches."

• How big is Jenkins: "Let's go 345-350, something like that. But he can run now. He can run around the track. He can run."

• Will Ray Drew get a chance to play early: "Ray's working hard, getting acclimated to everything we're doing. He's guy who obviously we're going to throw into the fire a little bit and see what he can do and how he can help us."

• Are T.J. Stripling (knee) and Dexter Morant (shoulder) ready to start practice: "Stripling is a guy who is working out with the team and he's probably further along. I expect him to be able to come in and start working right off the bat and with Richard going to offense, it will give him an opportunity to get some reps at a couple of positions. He's further along than Dexter."

• What position will freshman Devin Bowman play: "Bowman will be in the secondary."

Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports and he can be reached via email at dash@ugasports.com.



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