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June 3, 2009

Curran wants Georgia 'D' to take accountability

Anthony Dasher
Rivals.com College Football
Managing Editor
ATHENS, Ga. - The film doesn't lie.

Those were the words of Georgia linebacker Rennie Curran, who said there were a number of aspects regarding the defense last year that continue to bother him.

"We'd sit down amongst ourselves, with Coach [Willie] Martinez, and we'd look at the different plays that determined the outcomes of the games, both good and bad," Curran said. "[Martinez] does a good job of getting us where we need to be to win defensively. But when you looked at the plays that were bad, you saw guys not tackling, loafing on plays, guys not running full speed when the play is out of range. We can't have that."

That's something Curran says has to change. He promises it will.

Getting beat on a play is one thing, but Curran said it chaps him when the effort isn't what it should be.

"As hard as we work during practice, we owe it to ourselves to go all out on every play," Curran said. "We put hours on the field and in the film room, so to me it doesn't make any sense not to have every guy hustle every opportunity we have. There are a lot of other people out there who would love to be in our position, and I think we need to realize that."

Curran said it's up to the players to be accountable for their actions.

That's something he admits wasn't always the case last year.

"It's like some guys shied away from telling the other guys that they needed to get their game up and things like that until it was too late," Curran said. "If we start that mentality by holding everyone accountable from the beginning, we'll be in better shape."

Curran said it used to not be that way. As a freshman, the junior linebacker recalls a number of instances where upperclassmen let rookies know when they strayed or did something wrong on the field.

"When I first got here, guys like Kelin [Johnson] and Jeff [Owens], guys like that, one mistake and they'd be all on my neck," Curran said. "They just wanted everybody to be accountable to the max and to make sure everybody was on the same page."

Curran's determined to make sure the Bulldogs get back to that way of thinking. One of the things Curran is doing is taking time to learn the different nuances for each position on the defensive side.

"That way, if I see a guy is lined up wrong, I'll know it, help correct it and improve the guys around me," Curran said. "By knowing how everybody is supposed to line up, I'll know what blocks they're supposed to pick up, where my fit is and what my relationship is to that play so I can go down and help out."

Curran is expecting more from himself as well.

"I feel that it's my job to step up as a leader on the defense and be that guy that the other players look to and depend on," said Curran, who led Georgia with 115 tackles last season. "Whether it's to make a play, whether it's somebody to look to as an example in the weight room, or just doing the right thing, I want to be the person setting tone."

Curran said he plans to be on hand when the incoming freshmen all get settled in before beginning summer workouts.

"I remember when I was a freshman, and it can be pretty nerve-wracking coming in not knowing what to expect. It can be tough if you don't have the right people around you," Curran said. "I remember when I came out I had just been out of high school for a week. It was pretty tough there at first."

Anthony Dasher is Managing Editor of News Content for UGASports.com. The Web site was the first online publication credentialed by the University of Georgia.
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