Defensive line: Do Dogs have a nose for the new scheme?
(Note: I’m on vacation, so the UGA blog is on quasi-hiatus. But rather than shutting down entirely, I thought we could use this lull for a leisurely look at the 2010 football team. I put together synopses of the various position groups, and one posts each weekday -– last week the offense, this week the defense. Please share your thoughts, hopes, concerns, etc., about each position.)
TODAY: DEFENSIVE LINE
- Returning starter: Senior DE Demarcus Dobbs, although his position is the same in name only in the new 3-4 alignment.
- Others to watch: Sophomore Abry Jones is No. 1 on the latest depth chart at left end (as is Dobbs at right end), and junior DeAngelo Tyson is No. 1 at the nose position. Justin Anderson, a junior who missed spring practice after January surgery on his right shoulder, has moved from the offensive line, where he started seven games in 2008 and five in 2009, to the defensive line, where he is expected to be a big factor at nose in preseason practice. The top backups at each position on the post-spring depth chart are senior Brandon Wood at LE, redshirt freshman Kwame Geathers at nose and senior Kiante Tripp at RE.
- Key losses: The defensive line was decimated by the loss of three senior tackles, all of them chosen in the NFL draft — fourth-round pick Geno Atkins and seventh-round picks Jeff Owens and Kade Weston.
- Key fact: The transition from the 4-3 to the 3-4 — three down linemen and four linebackers, rather than vice versa –- comes at a propitious time for the line, given the loss of Atkins, Owens and Weston. One less spot to fill.
- Key questions: How will the talent on hand fit the new scheme? How effective will Tyson or perhaps Anderson be at the critical nose position?
- Recent developments: The move of the 6-5, 330-pound Anderson, decided upon during spring practice even though he was injured, speaks to Georgia’s comfort level with the depth on its offensive line -– but also to concerns about depth on the defensive line and the nose position in particular. Anderson is expected to be 100 percent healthy for the start of preseason practice, and his progress at nose will be a closely watched storyline. Said Mark Richt, speaking of the nose position: “It’s going to be a challenge to see if these guys can really control the double teams that they need to inside. That’s part of the reason we moved Justin Anderson in there — because he is a big, giant, powerful man. And if he can take to it, I think he’s going to be tough to block.”
- Outlook: Very much a work in progress, very much an area of concern.
Links to previous entries in this series:
Tomorrow: Inside linebackers.
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