Wait’s over for Ben Anderson

Good morning.

As a reader pointed out the other day, we haven’t written much about defensive tackle Ben Anderson. We aim to please, so…..

Anderson (6-1, 274) is the projected starter in Darryl Richard’s spot. He’ll be a redshirt junior this fall.

Here’s what I learned about Anderson:

He benches 460 pounds, most on the team.

He comes from the same high school, South Aiken (Aiken, S.C.) as Michael Dean Perry, the six-time NFL Pro Bowler, and current Florida State linebacker Dekoda Watson.

Anderson and Watson were classmates who, in the offseason, did extra weight-training sessions together. They’d do the regular sessions with the football team before school, then lift with the track & field team’s strength coach in the afternoon.

D-line coach Giff Smith likes to joke that Anderson has short legs. “He gives me a hard time about that. Its just the way I’m built. I’ve got a big torso and short legs,” Anderson said.

But Smith described Anderson as a better athlete than people give him credit for.

“He runs extremely well for a guy his size,” Smith said. “Ben’s played for us and learned from those older guys, and I’ve been real pleased with the way Ben’s gone about his business. He’s a strong kid, understands the game. He’s getting better at rushing the passer and that’s something he’s got to continue to work on, but he’s very sound.

“He’s never going to do a lot of flashy things, but he’s going to maintain his responsibility and when it’s his time to make a play, he’ll make it,” Smith continued. “He’ll also be able to force the ball into some situations where our playmakers can make plays.”

Anderson played in 12 games last year. Like the rest of the D-line backups, he played meaningful snaps. (Unlike 2007, when Anderson mostly did mop-up duty). Anderson’s only two tackles were a tackle for loss against LSU and a sack against Gardner-Webb.

“I’ve been waiting my turn,” Anderson said. “Finally it’s my turn and I’m excited about this season.”

Anderson said the experience he got last year, “in big games and big atmospheres, was the best thing for me.”

Anderson paid close attention to the way Richard did his job.

“He’s a great player and I learned a lot from watching him,” Anderson said. “And he was nice enough to talk to me about plays I had questions on. He’d help me out every chance he got.”

Anderson said the perception that Tech might suffer a big dropoff up front is motivating the D-Line.

“Even though those guys in front of us we’re good players, we as a D-line feel we’re good enough to step in their shoes because we’ve been here, we’ve been around,” he said. “I guess people don’t really think about how long we’ve been here.

“Guys like me and [defensive end] Robert Hall, we’re going on our fourth year and we’ve had a lot of playing time,” Anderson added. “So it’s not like we’re a bunch of new guys.”

Of course, Derrick Morgan will anchor the D-line, and on Tuesday he was named one of 42 candidates for the Lott Trophy. The trophy goes to players who have the biggest impact on their teams, on and off the field. It takes into account academics, performance, community service and other factors.

So with Morgan and Robert Hall at the ends, Anderson and Jason Peters in the middle, and with T.J. Barnes among the key backups, do you think this D-Line can be as good as the 2008 version?

100 comments Add your comment

Carolina Jacket

April 8th, 2009
7:44 am

I’ve always thought that although there may be a slight drop off on the d-line, I think that they will be fine and with improved line backer and d-back play, the overall defense will be better this year. I look for a great year.

Reebok

April 8th, 2009
7:53 am

based on the early reporting, i think tech’s biggest area of concern is the O-line…i’m also somewhat worried about special teams…everywhere else, it looks like we will be very good…go jackets!

BLAZER

April 8th, 2009
8:05 am

with barnes and logan walls as backups-think the freshman lanier

will reshirt??

Tech82

April 8th, 2009
8:24 am

Thanks for another informative piece, Larry.

I think, overall, Tech’s defense will be better this year but I agree with Reebok that the status of the offensive line is worrisome. We still don’t seem to have adequate depth there and although we have great skill players, they will never have a chance to shine without a polished O-line.

Go Jackets! THWG!

gt_blume

April 8th, 2009
8:29 am

Honestly, I don’t think that last years D-line ever lived up to the hype. There may be a drop-off on the D-line at the beginning of this year but the added experience and depth with the LBs and Secondary will more than make up for it.

MinnesotaJacket

April 8th, 2009
8:41 am

I agree with blume about the returning secondary and LB’s will definately make up for any let down(which I believe will be small as well) of the d-line. I hear you about offensive line after we watched ours miss plays and miss blocking assignments and many other things last year BUT I am hoping that over the summer all those guys that will be coming back really start to gell into a cohesive unit…With Voss back he is the leader for the line next year and as long as he leads I believe the o-line will gell around him.
It is true though, even with great skill players we can’t do much if we can’t block for them…

EEJacket

April 8th, 2009
8:52 am

gt_blume hit the nail on the head. Our biggest trouble is on the offensive side, and even there I don’t think we’ve much to worry about because we will be better. I think Bedford’s really going to make a play for the starting job, and since he has till fall practice to impress CPJ he just may do it.

We can't be much worse than last year...

April 8th, 2009
8:55 am

…actually, we could be as good since we get rid of the “workout wonder” at DE – not that last year was anything to write home about re: the defense. If it had not been for the offense, we would have been in a world of hurt!

Larry Hartstein

April 8th, 2009
9:09 am

I agree w/ everyone who says the O-Line is the biggest concern right now.

Even if you think last year’s D-Line didn’t live up to the hype, it should be noted that most of those 18 interceptions were a direct result of pressure on the quarterback.

I should also have mentioned Logan Walls as a key backup, he has made a bunch of plays.

That’s a good question about Lanier, we’ll check.

wth

April 8th, 2009
9:11 am

MinnesotaJacket, haaaa, haaaaaa, wow that is quite the football cranium you have their nerd. Since you guys like numbers more than females here are some facts for; GIOT ranked 41st in pass defense last year, or that opposition offences converted on 3rd down 38% of the time!

Yea that GIOT D will be fearsome with a totally new set of down linemen…

The GIOT fans, true bodily waste apertures!

ken sugiura

April 8th, 2009
9:23 am

to comment on two things here – i also think that Sean Bedford will make a run at the starting job. i think having the whole spring to play with the first string is very much in his favor. Johnson said something earlier this spring that injured players (like Voss and Nick Claytor) aren’t penalized for being out, but when they come back, if they’re not as good as the players who replaced them, then at that point it’s in the team’s interest to keep the replacements.
As for J.C. Lanier, the incoming freshman defensive tackle, I think the coaches would like to redshirt him. But they want four good tackles to rotate. Right now, they’re looking at Jason Peters, Logan Walls, Ben Anderson and T.J. Barnes. If Lanier proves to be a significant upgrade, he’ll probably play this fall.

MinnesotaJacket

April 8th, 2009
9:31 am

I agree with Ken on this that of J.C comes in and coaches like him and think he can play with the first team than I am all for having 2 300lb’s on the front line to free the way for the veteran linebacker core we have with Sed leading the way there…Also I guess having 2 freshmen start as a corner and safety for most of the year last now must mean they will get worse right wth?? ooo yeah that is right usually they GET BETTER…I know you can’t relate this to the waffles you flip everyday soo I understand that you can’t read what I am saying anyways.

rainman

April 8th, 2009
9:37 am

The defensive end position appears to have adequate depth. Derrick Morgan would be drafted higher than any other player on our defense.
It would be nice if one of the other ends could develope into a dynamic speed-rusher.

Defensive tackle is more of a question mark. The starters are strong and have some experience, but don’t have the ideal size — especially to withstand the grind on every down. That’s why PJ will develope a rotation at DT to keep them fresh and to determine who is best in various situations. I hope Barnes works hard and provides some size to the rotation. I like to build depth through the redshirt, but sometimes a certian position needs help in the current year. If he is good enough, and if at some point in the season it is obvious we need more help at DT, I would use Lanier.

MinnesotaJacket

April 8th, 2009
9:39 am

I agree Rain if we could have T.J and J.C work as a one-two punch and able to keep one on the field and rested all the time that would be a great advantage for our D-Line…

Jaded Jacket

April 8th, 2009
9:46 am

I think you guys are worrying about the O-line a bit too early. It’s only spring practice. If it were August I’d be worried too. If you’ll recall they had similar problems last year, but the offense did just fine. After they get a couple players back the O-line will be better than last years.

Nerd Herd

April 8th, 2009
10:00 am

The new football season is just months away and the butt pimples from the North Atl Trade School are hopeful, but alas, it back to the cellar for the losers from west of the varsity.

THWGT, GO DAWGS BABY!

willie

April 8th, 2009
10:31 am

I am expecting a BIG year from Nesbitt if he can stay healthy (a big “if”). He is a playmaker who should be much more comfortable running the system this year. They have months to get the O-line situation figured out, and I’m confident that they will. I expect them to get the ball to Thomas much more this year (approaching 1000 yards is my guess), which will make GT very dangerous.

Jaded Jacket

April 8th, 2009
10:32 am

Is that dawgy poo I’m smelling? Yep, it’s yet another moronic comment (dawg poo) written by a dawgy fan. Apparently his mommy and daddy didn’t housebreak him. Poor fella :-(

FL Jacket

April 8th, 2009
11:03 am

I am hoping that Nesbitt has improved his passing accuracy. CPJ’s offense is even more dangerous if the QB can throw well. It adds a whole new dimension to his offense.

EEJacket

April 8th, 2009
11:18 am

I agree with FL, if Nesbitt can get consistently accurate then everyone we face better watch out. To everyone that says it too early to worry about the o-line; I’d say I’m not so much “worried” or “scared” right now so much as I am “concerned.” I have confidence in CPJ that he’ll work everything out, he sure as hell did last season. I’m just saying that its never good to have your starter injured until fall practice. As for Lanier, I think a rotation at DT is EXACTLY what we need right now. It would keep the D line fresh and rushing down opposing QB’s hard. On an insanely unrelated note Ken/Larry, are either of you guys going to out at practice today? If so, could you give us a detailed report of how the passing game is proceeding? From what I’ve been getting from the news, its the area of greatest concern because PJ hasn’t spoken about it much and everytime I read a scrimmage summary there’s usually more bad than good in regards to it. Thanks.

MinnesotaJacket

April 8th, 2009
11:31 am

I mean in reality Nesbitt had to learn an entire new running scheme last year and from what I heard PJ say it included maybe 5 pass plays hahaha…so I give him a little lee way in that regard. Also I think with having someone else to throw it to this year, with Earls and Hill I think being two great players for us this year, it will help make him a better passer as well. Teams are going to try to pack the box this year and make Nesbitt beat them with his arm…which I think gives us an advantage if he can do this.

gt fan

April 8th, 2009
11:46 am

hey wth should you worry about your own D? you know…. the D that we ran roughshod over last year? the D that couldnt make a tackle to save their lives? yeah that D.

oh by the way, 45-42 says OUR d played better than YOURS.

Baba O'Riley

April 8th, 2009
11:49 am

I thought I heard that Earls had been moved to defense.

MinnesotaJacket

April 8th, 2009
12:00 pm

your right I meant to say melton not earls…my bad on that one

Not Disappointed

April 8th, 2009
12:11 pm

Thanks Larry Harstein, Ken sugiura, & Mr. MinnesotaJacket for the insite on the defense and it’s players. The D Line was my concern and it appears we are heading in the right dirrection.
Nesbitt being sharper with the arm makes it a sad day for our opponents.
Ramblin Wreck!
Wth,(or should I say, Dip Sh&*t!) I asked for waffles; not pancakes you moron!

rainman

April 8th, 2009
12:14 pm

Yeah, Earls is at CB right now. On the positive side, the O-line will be more ingrained into PJ’s system and should execute better. On the negative side, the depth is not where it needs to be. It usually takes longer to develope offensive lineman because they have so many X’s & O’s to learn plus they need to work as a cohesive unit. Our starters should be fine if they stay on the field, and in a year or two, PJ should have the depth in place.

Has anyone heard about the competition at FG kicker & punter? I know we have a couple of walk-ons — are they any good? I hope Blair improves his range also. We must do better than last year.

patrickr

April 8th, 2009
12:28 pm

I posted this on yesterday’s blog, but it is more applicable to today’s–

Larry – You and Ken are doing a great job covering GT football, keep it going! Also, could you please provide us with some insite on what criteria the coaches decide to switch a player from the offensive line to the defensive line and visa versa? Is it a player’s request to be evaluated for a switch, or does it have more to due with size, agility, aggresiveness, quickness, etc… It seems to me that the type of offensive lineman we want are quick, aggresive, get low, and the bigger the better. It seems to me the those are desired traits for a good Defensive lineman, how do the coaches decide?

MinnesotaJacket

April 8th, 2009
12:34 pm

Rainman I think we will be actually be fine come the fall if Claytor and Voss come back to full health in the fall. I mea those are two of the cornerstone guys for our team this year and without them its a very patched up group. So I really think this is a good time for the guys on the o-line to learn the schemes and pick up the small things they can do better and in the summer and fall practices they can start to gell as a unit once Voss and Claytor come back (which would give us a solid front line and a pretty solid 2nd group that have had experience playing with each other)..
I agree though it would be good to hear about the competetion at field goal and Punter because I held my breath, crossed my fingers, did my hail Mary’s, and rubbed my lucky rabbits fun everytime he came on for 3 points…haha

BLAZER

April 8th, 2009
12:37 pm

FORGOT PJ MOVED JASON HILL TO D-LINE 300# SENIOR?

Rodney King

April 8th, 2009
1:12 pm

Where’s m?

m

April 8th, 2009
1:19 pm

m is wearing shades on this beautiful day. Every day since Chan Gailey was fired is a beautiful day. With all the optimism and excitement going on with TECH football, just imagine for a moment if Chan was still here. I know it is a nightmare thought; all the optimism would be gone. The doldrums would be back. So let us NEVER forget the horrendous mistake of the hiring of Chan Gailey and let us proudly go forth with optimism and excitement in knowing that we have a great coach and a great future and we will NEVER have the worst coach in the history of the world EVER again. We can all thank God and Greyhound and DRAD for that. And we will NEVER allow the mediocrity tolerators to have their way EVER again.

Rodney King

April 8th, 2009
1:29 pm

Guess I shouln’t have asked.

MinnesotaJacket

April 8th, 2009
1:40 pm

Yeah…would have been a good idea…

wth

April 8th, 2009
1:45 pm

Not Disappointed, awww whats wrong little boy, mad cuz half your student body look like they should be at the immigration office, and the other half look like Erkle! Don’t worry little nerd, someday in about 6 or 7 years GIOT will win another game against UGA. Till then Keep buying your Rogaine and Viagra, and shave your palms, you’ll find a fat girl to marry someday.

GO DAWGS! THWGT!

gtg7831j

April 8th, 2009
2:11 pm

I don’t see why everyone is so excited about Barnes. Of course he is big, but that doesn’t mean that he is good. He plays high and you can tell that his strength is not up to par. If you weigh 350 lbs and get pushed back by undersized linemen, then how will you do against actual linemen? The better DT’s are Peters, Walls and Anderson. All of these are not as big as Barnes but, play A LOT faster. Peters and Walls are the two most athletic DT’s and seem to be able to make tackles down the field. How often has Barnes made a tackle once the ball has passed the line of scrimmage? Never. Last year Walker and Richard played fine at 290 lbs.

gtg7831j

April 8th, 2009
2:25 pm

by the way. If wth is going to call GT, GIOT, then you should do the same to UGA which in this case would be UOG…wth, don’t be so inconsistent please…oh yeah, very creative with the THWGT, real original

BUZZ97

April 8th, 2009
2:29 pm

Wow!!! It is so obvious who the UGAY fans are and who the Tech fans are, just look at the spelling. By the way does anyone know what the one thing is that every GT athlete gets that no UGAY athlete will ever get is?………………………………..it is called an education.

MinnesotaJacket

April 8th, 2009
2:46 pm

I am only saying I am high on him because a 315 lb defensive tackle who can play his size (I am not saying he will or is because I do not know for sure) is a great asset to protect Sed in the middle and allow him to roam the field better. I agree though that if he plays high and is just going to get pushed back then it is not worth it to have him play there…but I am hoping he improves this spring because a 315 lb guy who can hold the A gaps and forces backs to pop outside to deal with our linebackers and defensive backs.
WTH I have question for you how can you talk about our school when you didn’t even attend UGA?? I am confused how would you even know what your girls look like??

BUZZ97

April 8th, 2009
2:49 pm

Hey WTH at least our mascot doesn’t look like it chased a parked car!!!!

BUZZ97

April 8th, 2009
2:50 pm

Hey WTH at least our mascot doesn’t look like it chased a parked car!!!

Big Bee

April 8th, 2009
3:08 pm

wth, the only portion of the student body you shouldworry about is the 22 guys on the football field on Saturday afternoon. The rest of them, regardless where they are from, don’t play football, You should know that, because the 22 UGA put on the field last Nov. didn’t play either.

ken sugiura

April 8th, 2009
3:17 pm

Patrick- I’ll try to answer your question tomorrow in the blog.
GTG – it’s not just Barnes’ size that has people excited. Players and coaches have been talking about him since last fall because he was such a force on the defensive scout team. I remember Brian Bohannon, the quartebacks/B-backs coach, saying something to the effect that Barnes basically did whatever he wanted to.

m

April 8th, 2009
3:19 pm

Public service announcement…the suggested retail price for the tickets to the TECH/ugag game this year at Bobby Dodd Stadium @ historic Grant field are $45.42 . They are going fast.

BLAZER

April 8th, 2009
3:44 pm

why are we responding to the other people anyway? it was 45-42 and will
be for the whole year.

Brewer

April 8th, 2009
3:57 pm

wth: http://www.neuticles.com/

I know life will never be the same after you were neutered by Paul Johnson and the GT football team last November, but maybe these will keep people from laughing at you.

“Neuticles, It’s like nothing ever changed. Especially the 45 points!”

cluett peabody

April 8th, 2009
4:05 pm

Hello all and especially “m” Tgag.
Minn. You are correct about the O-line coming together. GT will probably have to out score some opponents this year but look for a very good year. Last year I thought 8 wins for sure and this year I think atleast 10 wins plus the ACC champ plus a BCS bowl win. I guess you could say I have a lot of faith in Coach Johnson’s teams.

gtg7831j

April 8th, 2009
4:14 pm

ken, Barnes was doing well in practices last year, but, in practice during the season do you really think he was going against an offensive line that was really trying to block him, or one that was just was punching the time clock and trying to get practice over with? Their position was secure after camp, your depth is not going to change during the season unless injuries, grades, etc. During the season the offensive line was injured and never went fully live while on the other hand Wilson and Barnes would go full speed in drills that the offense would go 3/4 speed. They are good players but, i believe the hype for Barnes has gotten a little too much in some cases. The two best players that go full speed the entire time from the scrimmages i’ve watch are Walls and Peters, they are NEVER out of a play.

well

April 8th, 2009
4:20 pm

“How often has Barnes made a tackle once the ball has passed the line of scrimmage?”
Uhh, GTG, he is a D-Tackle. If you need him to make a tackle past the LOS, you are in deep doo-doo.He will be a NT, his job will be to collapse the pocket and occupy blockers, not chase the ball down. He has been doing that in practice, he just needs to get in better shape.
How many plays have you seen Barnes play? He redshirted last year, so how many practices have you seen? I love when fans mouth off from what they read online or in the AJC, and pass it off like they know something. I’ve seen TJ in practice, and he is a beast.

well

April 8th, 2009
4:24 pm

GTG, the fact you think Walls and Peters are the two best options at DT tells me all I need to know about your opinion

macrotech

April 8th, 2009
4:30 pm

wth, do you have a problem with America? i’m sure, that in your little single wide world, you think that the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is made up of white people having to put up with a few african americans and latinos. HOWEVER, this is a country made up of ALL nationalities. WE all do our part to make this country great! For you to question the student body of GT is the equal to the burning of our great flag!!! You mention ‘immigration office’ like it’s a bad thing! This is the greatest country in the world! So great, in fact, that EVEN idiots like you are welcomed to live here! After all, SOMEONE has to cut my grass!!!! Get to work, you dirty little person! GO TECH! AGAIN!!