Bryan Evans up to speed at safety

  Bryan Evans, shifted to safety after some disappointing results early last season at cornerback, is getting rave reviews in Georgia’s spring practice.

  He’s listed as the No. 1 free safety, and all indications are that he and Reshad Jones are pretty solidly entrenched for now as the starting safeties.

  Mark Richt said Evans’ skill set is a good fit for safety: “He’s always been very strong. He’s fast. He has no problem with contact. And he’s very smart, and safeties, quite frankly, have a bigger responsibility  in the defensive scheme to make adjustments and things like that. And it hasn’t been difficult for him.”

   Also, Evans has been a force as the Georgia defense attempts to regain some swagger lost last fall.

  ”He’s probably got as much spirit out there as anybody,” Richt said. ” He’s enjoying what he’s doing, practicing with high tempo and high energy. I think that’s really a good sign he’s enjoying it and understands it and is doing a nice job with it.”

   Almost from the afternoon in mid-season 2008 that he shifted to safety, Evans – now a senior – has said he wishes he’d made the move sooner. He started the first five games of last season at corner, got notably burned a few times, then backed up at safety the rest of the way.

  He talked with his friend, Tennessee safety Eric Berry, upon making the move.  Berry told him the new position would allow Evans to better use his speed in open areas. Evans also thinks his athleticism and fondness for big hits serves him well at the position.

   Georgia didn’t practice Wednesday but will be back at it today and Friday, the sixth and seventh sessions of spring ball.

    Richt  was unexcited by the most recent practice on Tuesday.  “It didn’t fire me up that much,” he said.  “It wasn’t bad, but I don’t know if it was championship level, to be honest with you. The energy wasn’t quite what I had seen to that point. We’ve got Thursday-Friday this week to get back on track.”

  Georgia’s spring coaches clinic, by the way, will be held today and Friday, with Appalachian State coach Jerry Moore as featured speaker.

   Your thoughts about Evans and the secondary?

 

 

 

103 comments Add your comment

Also a Dawg Fan

March 26th, 2009
3:18 am

He was horrible in coverage last year…If he’s all we got to play free safety we’re in trouble, hopefully some of those youngsters will push him.

ThaDawgdude

March 26th, 2009
7:00 am

He will be a lot better off as a safety. He gets to see the whole field more and stay over the top mostly as opposed to being on an island and still having to play short in certain coverages which can cause a guy to get beat deep if he makes the wrong read. Corners have to choose between two guys a lot of times and if there happens to be a deep crossing route its tough to play the deep third when you’re focused on the guy in front of you, especially when you’re only seeing maybe half the field. Evans is very fast and safeties do get to use flat out speed a lot more than corners do.

I’m excited about the coaches clinic. Bout to leave for it in a few minutes. This is my third year going and it’s a great clinic, lots of good information and get to watch the Dawgs practice.

ceph

March 26th, 2009
7:13 am

If Evans is the best we have at safety we are in serious trouble. Richt says he has no problem with contact, I wouldn’t either if I was never in a position where I had to hit someone. Then he says Evans is very smart and you have to be smarter to play safety, What? He wasn’t smart enough to play corner but all of a sudden he acquired all this knowledge so he can play safety? Just another one of Richt’s con jobs to try to cover Martrinez’s stupidity. Have you ever looked at Martinez when he talks, he looks like a Grouper trying to bite a hook!!!That is a good moniker for him “Grouper Lips”

JustMyOpinion

March 26th, 2009
7:59 am

This is the best place for him because he doesn’t cover very well, and this way, he’ll be free to roam…………………

MoDawg

March 26th, 2009
8:21 am

You folks need to lay off Bryan Evans. Until last year, he did a solid job at CB. For some reason, last year he lost his ability to cover as well as he used to. I don’t know if he was jumping routes or paying too close attention to the QB, but he was grossly out of position on a few passes. He runs a sub 4.3 40 (4.26, I believe) and I think he will be an asset back there. Hopefully Reshad remembers how to wrap up and tackle somebody, and Evans has always been physical, so he will be a good safety, in my opinion. Besides, he’s been a Damn Good Dawg, so he has my full support!

ceph, you might need to go find another team to cheer for. I hear they have a few spots open for bitter, jealous fans over at Tech.

I’d love to have our very own Eric Berry back there roaming around making plays. Evans can be that for us. I am looking forward to it.

Doc Reem

March 26th, 2009
8:21 am

Oh here we go again… I’m sorry but Bryan Evans just has no ball skills whatsoever. He gets in the area of the rec. fairly well but makes no play on the ball and almost looks as if he just expects the rec. to drop the ball cause he’s nearby. (won’t happen with SEC receivers)Then he swipes at the ball to try to dislodge it after it’s caught and the opposing receiver is falling into the endzone. I don’t mean to be negative but Mr. Evans has a lot to prove that he has a good skill set for safety. (M.Richt) He has not proven he has the skill set to be a defensive back at all. He well have the responsibility as the last defense on the majority of pass plays. Now in all fairness he is an adequete tackler. I really wish him the best but I’m not buying this one Martinez and Richt!

Doc Reem

March 26th, 2009
8:34 am

Mo Dawg come on…B.Evans has never been solid at CB. He was just OK before last season and he didn’t play very much to be exposed. As soon as he got starters time he got exposed. Speed is very good but as I mentioned before if you run near the receiver and don’t make a play on the ball speed does not help you. He was either afraid or not skilled enough to consistantly get airborne and knock the ball away or intercept it. Honestly we have not had an elite DB with ball skills in long time. Maybe Paul Oliver was three seasons ago! Bryan Evans as the last line of defense, Mo Dawg I’m not a beliver are you serious, or just being optimistic.

Dawgilama Deux

March 26th, 2009
8:34 am

I’m more worried about the play of Rashad Jones than I am of Evans. RJ killed us last year…at a position he’s been playing for 3 years. At this point, he’s a bust. Evans has also been a bust…at cornerback, but he’s a great football player. He’s a great straight line speed guy…not great hips. I think he’ll be very similar to Tra Battle, but more physically gifted, providing better upside. I think he’ll do a great job there this year. Again, of the 2 safety positions, I’m more concerned about the play of Jones, not Evans.

Sorry...

March 26th, 2009
8:36 am

…but there ain’t no way anybody on the UGA football team runs a 4.26 forty yard dash!

reality check

March 26th, 2009
8:36 am

Evans has played well at times. Keenan Burton lit him up when we played kentucky three years ago, but after that through the 2007 season he played well at corner. Last year the whole team was down some on defense. It wasn’t just Evans. He has size and speed and I ask those on here criticizing him who they played for and what they accomplished.

Dawgilama Deux

March 26th, 2009
8:42 am

Easy Doc. If you pay attention, which it sounds like you do, you’ll notice that P. Miller has great in-the-air ball skills. That guys a straight up baller…Almost identical to T. Jennings, who is obviously now starting for the Colts. I see what your saying about B. Evans. In many instances, he hasn’t even made decent attempts at making a play on the ball when matched 1 on 1. I think playing away from the WR will help him tremendously. If you think about our great safeties over the last 10 yrs, they’ve broken up more passes with their helmets, not their hands…with the exception of K. Smart, which may have been 11 or 12 years ago.

Doc Reem

March 26th, 2009
8:55 am

How could anyone be more concerned with play of Reshad Jones thans B.Evans. I mean if you’re honest with yourself Reshad did have a few games where he played very well or dominated.(ie. Vanderbilt) At least he was up and down, sometimes up. Bryan Evans has never had a superior game. Reshad was choosen second team all SEC that means he did SOME things right! His issue is being focused and consistent each game. Once he gets that he’s going to be OK. But if you think B.Evans has better upside than a second team ALL SEC safety maybe you’re rooting hard for a guy does seem to give great effort (B.Evans) and being biased against R.Jones. Besides this is his first full year at safety how good do you really think he’s gonna be. Go from being the worst cover guy on the team to ace in the secondary? It’s good to be optimistic but the coaches have got to start putting guys on the field that flat out make plays. And need to but them out there early, not after we lose a couple games. It’s like Trip Chandler last year he needed to coming off the bench at the begining of the season not after five games. Bruce Figgins should have been the starter from day one because Trip never proved himself to be a consistent playmaker.

DBOY JONES

March 26th, 2009
9:01 am

This is from a person who played Corner and Safety. The doubters have reason to doubt B. Evans because he was a liability in coverage last yr but it wasnt all his fault. You have to understand that we had no pass rush last yr and your secondary is only as good as your front 4. The secondary cannot cover a reciever for a very long time so cut him a little slack. Now with his move to safety will allow him to see the whole field and utilize his ability and instincts more. I think this move will prove to be a great one for him and the team. He will be a bright spot next yr watch and see. I agree with dawgilama deux I’m more worried about Reshad than Evans. Reshad tackling just baffled me at times last yr. Sure he can hit but he relies on the big hit to much which causes him to miss way to many tackles. Plus he is not that fast. He is more of a Roy Williams in the pros type player not the Roy Williams that played at Oklahoma type player.

GeoffDawg

March 26th, 2009
9:03 am

If the coaching staff thinks he’s entrenched himself in a starting safety position, then for the time being, that’s good enough for me. What he obviously lacks in ball coverage skills won’t be nearly the liability at safety and what he brings to the table otherwise should theoretically be a big asset. Quite frankly, I’m surprised they didn’t make this switch years ago.

Timma

March 26th, 2009
9:17 am

I hope this is a better fit for Evans. Along a couple of others on defense that couldn’t wrap up Evans was on my $h!t list last season. I’m not going to bash a kid if he’s giving it all he’s got, but with his speed he shouldn’t have been getting burnt as bad as he was last season. I hope he does a bang up job at safety.

USMC DAWG

March 26th, 2009
9:23 am

Evans can only get better, hell he can’t get much worse. His coverage skills are horrible. Perhaps he will be better as a safety, playing the “headhunter” role. Are there any updates on Reshad Jones? Has he learned to tackle yet? Hopefully he realizes that just throwing a shoulder into a ballcarrier won’t get the job done.

Sorry Sorry.....

March 26th, 2009
9:29 am

Branden Smith runs a 4.26 40 yd dash.

Exley DAWG

March 26th, 2009
9:31 am

I agree with the previous comments about Reshad Jones. 5 star athlete my butt! Both of these guys stunk last year and have alot to prove.

But I still loves ya!!!

Doc Reem

March 26th, 2009
9:39 am

DBOY JONES I for one am not bashing the kid and I played D-Back as well. I too agree that it’s the best move for him because it does put the player in a postion to succeed. He can utilize his skills more… My question is, are the skills there at the level that UGA needs so badly now. As a safety he will have a chance to see the field more therefore he can use his speed to get there and make a play. The question is can he make the play. At safety it your responsibility to find the ball and break up the pass or intercept it period. If you can’t make the break up make the takle. My concern is that I have not seen him act on the ball from corner at all. So I’m not comfortable thinking he will act on the ball consistently just because he’s at safety. Ball skills to not transcend from position to position they are born. If you put David Pollack at corner he’s gonna get his hands on balls because he has good ball skills simple as that.

G Davis

March 26th, 2009
9:42 am

None of the corners looked that great last year(including Asher) because there was no perimeter pass rush to speak of. Having to stick with receivers 2 to 3 seconds longer is an eternity. I think the secondary is very talented, they just need help. That being said Rashad needs to work on his fundamentals more. Hopefully the defensive ends will grow up and help a lot more this year.

DirtyVille

March 26th, 2009
9:46 am

When Evans moved to safety last year he played a whole lot better and did made a couple of good plays. He has got to learn but if he is working his A$$ off then hopefully come fall he will be the best he can be not to mention he is a veteran and his experience will help a lot. Go Dawgs Things are looking good this year.

Dawgilama Deux

March 26th, 2009
9:54 am

Doc, the media voted R. Jones 2nd Team All-SEC…Not the coaches. Even you can’t tell me that you really think he deserved any 2nd, or even 3rd team honors. And don’t reference 1 game against VANDY. And you are incorrect in saying B. Evans has never shown signs of promise. Unfortunately, if you actually watch the games, the few INT’s RJ had were not because of great plays on the ball. Drew Williams could have made those same plays. All I’m saying is that RJ has not panned out. He’s Brandon Miller all over again. His continued lack of progression is slightly worrisome, and let’s not forget he was the #1 Safety recruit coming out of high school. As for B. Evans, how many years did it take Sean Jones to pick up the Safety position after switching from QB? I’m not saying Evans is an All Pro, but I am saying the switch suits his skill set.

I personally think both Safety positions will be strong points this season, but RJ has to show that he’s not more concerned about $$$$, than he is current production. I do, however, blame Martinez for his lack of progression.

HH

March 26th, 2009
10:01 am

The best moniker for Martinez is “Stupid”, or, if that not be the case, and he is, in fact, not stupid, then apply that to Richt.

Dawg Tired

March 26th, 2009
10:02 am

It does not really matter whether Coach Richt is right or wrong on Evans abilities at safety unless we can find a defensive end who can pressure the QB. There are very few safties at the college level who can really cover well. In fact, without pressure on the QB, very few, if any, college secondaries can be effective. From the reports I’m reading about spring practice, we still have no DE who can apply pressure. OUr Defensive Coordinator is quoted today in the Athens paper to the effect that he’s not worried about the lack of a DE who can pressure the QB. That bothers me.

ATL Dawg

March 26th, 2009
10:03 am

If Jones and Evans are the starting safeties – then we are in trouble. Jones and Evans if you are reading this – then prove me wrong! I would love for both of you to prove me wrong.

Dawgilama Deux

March 26th, 2009
10:04 am

Also, not that anybody has, but to say R. Jones has good ball skills is retardo. I love the guy, and have hyped him more than I should have over the years. But, he’s proved me wrong over and over. Like it was yesterday, I can recall an absolute duck Tebow threw up 2 years ago, and all I could think was how RJ was definitely gonna pick it…and he should have. It was completed for a TD, and all I could think was how terrible RJ’s ball skills were. I’m just saying.

Gen Neyland

March 26th, 2009
10:06 am

The majority of good safeties are born with the skills it takes t play that position. At times, the heart needs a little prod from the head, then BAM, a star is born. From an enemy bloggers perspective, I’d hate to see another in the mold of a Blue back there with a G on his hat. Does Evans fit that bill..?

nola dawg

March 26th, 2009
10:06 am

Tim (or others) – what is the status on Q Banks at safety? I know he was hurt all year last year, is he practicing?

He is the kind of safety we need in CWM defense. Strong run fit… think G Blue, S Jones…

MoDawg

March 26th, 2009
10:09 am

“Sorry…” according to the Athens-Banner, Evans runs a 4.26. I didn’t make it up.
“The Bulldogs’ fastest players are in the secondary: Bryan Evans (4.26 40), Ramarcus Brown (4.3), Prince Miller (4.34), Asher Allen (4.4) and Vance Cuff (4.41). Actually, Asher just ran a 4.39 at the Pro Day, so these numbers appear fairly accurate.

Doc, I am optimistic for this year. Bryan Evans last year at CB was around the receiver, but a few times appeared to have been peeking in the backfield rather than covering his man. As a safety, he should be eyeing the backfield and with his speed, hopefully he can read the play and react. There were a couple of passes last year (Alabama game vs. their stud WR) where the ball was simply put in a perfect spot…the coverage was there. There were a couple of other times when he was flat out of position, but he seems to be a good guy and as frustrated with him as I was last year at CB, I am not willing to “throw the baby out with the bath water”.

DawgGirl32

March 26th, 2009
10:13 am

Oh lord. Here we go again. Back to bashing Martinez.

Dawgilama Deux

March 26th, 2009
10:23 am

Gen Neyland, G. Blue was 6-2 215. B. Evans is 5-11 190 (or somewhere in that range). Plain and simple, G. Blue would absolutely destroy you. However, he seriously lacked in coverage, but the fear he instilled in the minds of opposing players counts as “coverage” to a certain extent. Not so sure that B. Evans is capable of droppin any bombs like Blue. But, he’s capable of being a good combo safety. Kelin Johnson wasn’t big, but he was a punisher….Lacked a bit in coverage, though.

Burningred/Bleedingblack

March 26th, 2009
10:25 am

Evans has size, speed, and hits hard. Well that sounds like safety material to me. If he puts just a little weight on him to were it does not effect his speed he will be incredible at free safety Are defense lacked alot of things last year, the one most was d line and secondary. We missed the bit hitting safety. Martinez is does well when his defense has size. If you look at our roster the one thing we have is SIZE finally we will be back to UGA football. Heavy run, accurate passing, Big hitting. GO DAWGS!

[...] still hasn’t found a pass rushing defensive end.UGA:  Bryan Evans seems to have locked down the starting free safety job opposite Reshad Jones.UGA:  I don’t think Georgia president Michael Adams is going to like a [...]

mcdawg

March 26th, 2009
10:46 am

the moved worked well last year-the question on pass coverage will be how many times will a TE catch a pass when one-on-one with a linebacker before the Defense makes an adjustment

Doyouknowshon

March 26th, 2009
10:46 am

Most of y’all are missing the bigger picture. I agree with Dawg Tired, unless we start to get some pressure from the front 4, it does not matter who we have in the secondary. Our defense under Richt (whether Van Gorder or Martinez) has thrived on pressure from the front four. First it was Pollack (2002-2004), then Moses (2005), then Johnson (2006), then Howard (2007).

And last year? Rennie Curran tied for most sacks in 2008 with 3.0. As a team, we went from 42 sacks in 2007 to 24 in 2008. It is no coincidence that the 2 years we won the Sugar Bowl were the two highest sack totals during Richt’s time at UGA (45 in 2002, 42 in 2007). If we can get sacks back up to at least the 35-37 range this year, I think the secondary will be just fine no matter who is back there.

Supes

March 26th, 2009
10:53 am

I hope the move works out, b/c as it stands right now, the dawgs have no IMPACT player in the secondary.

Not one. No shut down corner, no head hunting SS that will lay you out, and little make up speed if somebody gets beat for a long play.(either that, or GT, FLA etc have some really fast players on OFFENSE). REALLY FAST.

Where is the next great safety at? UGA had a string of players for the last 8 years or so that would intimidate and knock you silly. I blame this on recruiting and or “Free Willie”.

Bryan G.

March 26th, 2009
10:54 am

With Jones and Evans we have one safety who can’t tackle and one who can’t cover. That doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

Ed

March 26th, 2009
11:01 am

Evans struck me as someone who wasn’t comfortable playing cornerback. He might really shine at free safety. I’m more worried about Reshad Jones. If he’s the best we have at the other safety, expect more of the same in ‘09.

Savannahdawg

March 26th, 2009
11:05 am

I rewatched last falls Ga/GT football game after the baseball game was canceled. It really doesn’t matter to me who emerges as the starting safties as long as they understand and execute basic tackling. Big hits aren’t worth the tape they are filmed on if the ball carrier doesn’t go down!!!!! I still get mad watching all the missed tackles and missed bumps =in last years game.

Doc Reem

March 26th, 2009
11:06 am

Dawgilama Deux I never said R.Jones was all world or even worthy of being second team team all SEC but he did show flashes. That’s why he was choosen. Some of us are optimistic about a guy who has not shown any flashes whatsoever in the area of ball skills. Once agian his tackling is adequate but he is not Greg Blue as a hitter. So he’s got to give us some coverage guys. I haven’t seen that. Maybe I will this season but the proof is in the pudding. And it didn’t take Sean Jones long to pick up the safety position he very good for at least two seasons. Everyone keeps talking about D-Line play and having a pass rush. All those things are good and great but there have been numerous times with our D-Backfield where the play was there to be made and we didn’t make it. Catch the ball run the other way…or knock it down. All I say is make the play when the opportunity comes. We have not really done that well. Pass rush great it does help, but still if a play is there make it. Do what you can do…Let’s not forget we had pass rush in 2007 season and went to the Sugar Bowl but we were still low in interceptions and were still close to last in pass defense. Pass rush doesn’t solve the problem of not making plays in the D-Backfield when the ball is in the AIR!

BILLY JACK

March 26th, 2009
11:10 am

To everybody who is down on Bryan Evans I too thought he was overmatched at corner but if you have the means look at the bowl game vs Mich St as I did last night he played a very good game.He is much better suited at safety.I have coached in the highest level of hs football for 23 yrs and I can tell you the pass rush has got to be there or it does not matter who is in the secondary.Martinez for all the bashers was also the d coord in 2007 when the def was for the most part very good.DE and OLB must improve and I think it will K Tripp-Dobbs-Battle and C Washington -J Houston should do the job.Hey sorry if they time them on turf UGA has a few players that are in the 4.2 range B Evans and Brandon Smith I know are around that on turf.If they timed them on grass they will be a little slower.I have been timing senior football players for 23 yrs.

Doc Reem

March 26th, 2009
11:17 am

Billy Jack can you tell me why even with a pass rush in 2007 we still were around the bottom of the SEC interceptions and pass defense. We don’t make plays in D-Backfield even with a pass rush. It does mask things but we don’t consistently make plays in the secondary.

dawgfan

March 26th, 2009
11:22 am

Evans may need that speed to run down the players that he tries to hit and knock down…UGA needs to start at the top and teach the D how to wrap up…………..2 many missed tackles last year…free Willie

dawgpound

March 26th, 2009
11:27 am

Just a side note. Georgia has signed a kicker to its 2009 class. Brandon Bogotay, out of Grossmont college in California, is supposed to have a big leg.

Cliff Levingston

March 26th, 2009
11:34 am

How many of you who are dogging out Bryan Evans ever played football past the ninth grade???

Seriously? 10 percent? 5 percent? None?

The internet has made everybody a friggin’ expert when they have no business wasting people’s time with their opinions.

Bruce

March 26th, 2009
11:38 am

There has never been a question about Evans hitting, his problem is tackling. He tries to hit opponents and knock them down. Evans needs to learn the basics of wrapping up to tackle.

RxDawg

March 26th, 2009
11:44 am

We got a kicker!!!! Thank god

Ted Striker

March 26th, 2009
11:59 am

A lot of (critical) armchair experts — as much informed as the two old geezers in the balcony on the Muppet Show.

Gen Neyland

March 26th, 2009
11:59 am

Dawgilama Deux : Thanks for answering. I recall some hits Blue laid on receivers when routes were run underneath his coverage zone. Blue seemed to be able to converge and finish…

jdawg

March 26th, 2009
12:11 pm

I thought Bryan Evans was the worst player on the field for the dawgs last season and was exposed on a large stage at crucial moments week after week…with that said sometimes it takes being publicly embarrassed to light a fire under their a$$. Coaches said no one has worked harder in the off-season and maybe the young man will step up and prove all us naysayers wrong…heck as long as he doesn’t blow it Tra Battle style and lose us a game we have won (”no coach I don’t have a concussion”-auburn 2005) than I am cool with the switch