Anderson getting a look at Star
One distinct advantage of being able to have spring practice is the ability to cross-train and teach players more than one position.
We already know about early enrollee Lovasea Carroll, who's working out at cornerback. There's also wide receiver Jermaine Burton, who's getting looks at both X and Z.
Meanwhile, senior outside linebacker Adam Anderson is getting looks at nickel/star.
“Adam is not a normal outside backer. He does a lot of different things,” head coach Kirby Smart said. “He’s playing nickel/star for us now. He still plays outside backer for us some on third down.”
Anderson getting an opportunity should not come as a huge surprise. For one, former UGA coach Jim Donnan mentioned this on Wednesday's episode of UGASportsLive.
The Bulldogs have technically had outside backs play the position before.
“Basically, when you're an outside backer, you're a star. I know that's really complicated, but in a 3-4 system, you have two outside backers,” Smart said. “Well, every snap that we play a 3-4, we have a star who's an outside backer. So, Mark Webb was an outside backer on 50 percent of the snaps. Well, that's what Adam Anderson is.
“If you're going to rush him 50 percent of the time, would you rather rush Mark Webb or Adam Anderson? You have to build your defense around a structure of what you want to do. They both have great strengths, their strengths are different, and we think he can help us from a rush standpoint.”
Anderson certainly excelled for the Bulldogs last fall.
The Rome native tied for second on the team in QB pressures with 24, and was also second on the team in QB sacks with 6.5. Two of those sacks, along with a key fumble recovery, came in Georgia's Peach Bowl win over Cincinnati.
Whether or not he’ll see time at star once the season begins, Smart said that’s what spring is for. To find out.
“What we're experimenting with right now is him having to cover, because he gives us the luxury of playing four DBs instead of five, and it accentuates our lack of a defensive back, but it also accentuates our strength at rush guys if we're able to play with him,” Smart said. “So, we're challenging him, asking him to do a lot that, if we had to play a game tomorrow, we wouldn't ask him to do all these things. But we're trying to teach him and have an open mindset with him.”