Inside linebackers: Sorting out the ‘Mike’ and the ‘Mo’
(Seventh in a summertime series looking at Georgia’s football team by position.)
TODAY: INSIDE LINEBACKERS
- Returning starter: Akeem Dent started the final four games last season after being sidelined for five games earlier in the season with a pulled hamstring. He started 10 games in 2008 and five in 2007. He had a career-high 11 tackles in last season’s win at Georgia Tech.
- Others to watch: There are two inside-linebacker positions — the “Mike” and the “Mo” positions — in Georgia’s new 3-4 defense, and all of the inside linebackers worked at both spots during spring practice. On the latest depth chart, Dent, a senior, is No. 1 at “Mike” and Christian Robinson, a redshirt sophomore who appeared in 12 games (no starts) last season, No. 1 at “Mo.” Sophomore Mike Gilliard and junior Marcus Dowtin are listed as the No. 2’s behind Dent and Robinson, respectively. Dowtin finished last season with a career-high nine tackles in the Independence Bowl victory over Texas A&M. His competition with Robinson for the starting job at “Mo” will be interesting to watch in preseason.
- Key fact: Other than Dent, the only current ILB with starting experience is Dowtin, who started four games last season — two early and two late. (And what, you might ask, about Darryl Gamble, who started 17 games the past two seasons? After working most of the spring at inside linebacker, he was shifted to outside linebacker, and the current plan is for him to remain there. We’ll get to the OLB’s tomorrow.)
- Key question: How quickly and how well will the players adapt to the new defensive scheme and the teachings of new ILB coach Warren Belin, who had a good reputation for developing linebackers at Vanderbilt?
- Recent developments: After starting the spring at outside linebacker, former tailback Richard Samuel was quickly moved to inside linebacker, where he currently is listed as a third-teamer (as is senior Akeem Hebron). There’s a possibility of Samuel, a junior, being redshirted, but that depends on how he progresses in preseason practice.
- Outlook: Uncertain and uneasy.
- Your turn: What say you about the inside linebackers?
Links to previous entries in this series:
Tomorrow: Outside linebackers.
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