The personnel moves announced Thursday in Athens cleared up some questions and raised others that will linger well into August and possibly on into the season.
Not surprisingly, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is already counting on recently signed JUCO player John Jenkins to plug the middle at nose guard, meaning DeAngelo Tyson moves to his more natural position at defensive end. That’s good for the pass rush.
The most notable switch, though, is Alec Ogletree going from the safety spot he won late last season to inside linebacker, which will allow Jarvis Jones, the much heralded transfer from Southern California, to play outside linebacker.
This ups the speed quotient considerably at the depleted linebacker position and, as Grantham said, moves “two guys that can make plays closer to the ball. Kind of around the action a bit more.”
That sounds good, but the departure of Ogletree from safety leaves Bacarri Rambo as the one starter there and opens the other spot up to a battle between Jakar Hamilton and Shawn Williams, both of whom competed for the spot last year, along with redshirt freshman Marc Deas. Hamilton initially won the starter’s job but was pretty much a bust and eventually lost out to freshman Ogletree, who got burned a couple of times due to inexperience but generally was a much more solid performer. Hamilton briefly was moved to cornerback.
Grantham said Hamiton, Williams and Deas “are going to get their opportunity in the spring to show us what they can do with the system and how productive they can be.”
You’ve got to wonder if Grantham’s not seeing these guys as placeholders until some of the new freshman signees who arrive in August get the chance to show what they can do. Corey Moore and Chris Sanders both were signed as safeties, and while versatile Nick Marshall is penciled in at cornerback (and expected to get some time at receiver as well as returning kicks), he has experience playing safety as well. And, who knows, maybe if celebrated signee Malcolm Mitchell wows Grantham enough to demand some playing time at one of the corners, where Brandon Boykin and Sanders Commings currently are projected as the starters, one of the other cornerbacks might wind up moving to the safety corps.
The bottom line is that the signing of Jenkins and Grantham’s moves appear to be a good step toward shoring up the middle of the Georgia defense, which was weak last year. But the secondary remains suspect.
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg