Defensive line: Massive changes give Bulldogs great expectations in trenches

Sixth in a series breaking down Georgia’s 2011 football team by position groups. . . .

Noseguard Kwame Geathers (99) spent a lot of time in the backfield at Georgia's G-Day Game, which earned him Defensive MVP honors. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

Noseguard Kwame Geathers (99) spent a lot of time in the backfield at Georgia's G-Day Game, which earned him Defensive MVP honors. (AJC photo by Johnny Crawford)

DEFENSIVE LINE

  • Returning starters: DE DeAngelo Tyson (Sr., 6-2, 290), DE Abry Jones (Jr., 6-3, 297)
  • Others to watch: Sophomore NG Kwame Geathers (6-6, 350) was the most improved defensive player during spring practice. He’ll be joined in the fall by junior college All-American John Jenkins (6-4, 350)  which should dramatically improve the Bulldogs’ interior presence so critical to the success of the 3-4 defense. . . . Sophomore defensive ends Garrison Smith and Derrick Lott and freshman noseguard Mike Thornton are ready to take a step up into the playing rotation.
  • Key losses: Defensive end Demarcus Dobbs started 42 games in his career and his versatility and big-play capability will be missed. Brandon Wood and Kiante Tripp also graduated and junior Jeremy Longo received a medical disqualification.
  • Key fact: This time last year we were asking if the Bulldogs “had a nose” for the new 3-4 defense defensive coordinator Todd Grantham was bringing to Athens. The answer in retrospect was a resounding no. Tyson started every game at the position but, the truth was, it was not not a physical or mental fit for him. It was a perfect fit for Geathers but, for whatever reason, he was slow to master the techniques required until this past spring, when he was the most impressive defensive player in camp. Add Jenkins and Thornton (6-1, 287) to the mix and that gives the Bulldogs an ideal three-player rotation for plugging the middle.
  • Key fact II: Abry Jones was probably under-valued as a defensive end last season, though he certainly earned notice after recording 16 tackles in the regular-season finale against Georgia Tech. He ended the season with 34 tackles and 3.5 tackles for loss. Meanwhile, Tyson’s move out to end from nose guard is one of the more interesting and potentially beneficial for the Bulldogs this fall. Playing head up over a tackle is a more natural position than nose for this 6-4, 306-pounder from Statesboro. He managed 36 tackles — he also had 16 against the Jackets — and 7 quarterback pressures as it was. Those numbers should increase as he gets more one-on-one matchups. With Georgia’s talent infusion inside, look for Jones and the other players playing this end/tackle position to contribute more big plays.
  • John Jenkins has been dominant in strength and conditioning drills this summer.

    JUCO transfer John Jenkins has been dominant in strength and conditioning drills this summer.

    Key developments: The word out of Georgia’s off-season strength and conditioning program this summer was that Jenkins showed up in shape, motivated and, in fact, has proven to be the fastest lineman the Bulldogs have on campus. His impact is expected to be substantial. . . . Griffin’s Chris Mayes, the only other D-lineman signed in the 2011 class, was unable to meet freshman eligibility requirements and has enrolled at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Jenkins’ previous school.

  • Key questions: Will Geathers and/or Jenkins prove to be the real deal at nose guard? If so the Bulldogs can expect dramatic improvement on their overall big-play-making capabilities on defense. If not, they will have similar problems as last year.
  • Outlook: Encouraging. At the least this would appear to be a drastically improved area for Georgia. But with so many changes in the overall front seven, the Bulldogs will have to go out and prove it on the football field. And lack of depth could be an issue. They will enter camp with just seven scholarship players for three positions.  But if the injury bug stays away this area is potentially a team strength.
  • Your turn: What say you about Georgia’s defensive line?

PREVIOUS POSITION BREAKDOWNS:

July 7 — Quarterbacks

July 6 — Running backs

July 5 — Tight ends

July 2 — Wide receivers

July 1 — Offensive line


323 comments Add your comment

Saban

July 8th, 2011
6:12 am

Running through Georgia`s defensive line will be like bouncing threw a box of krispy kreme`s. Choakdawg will be giving choak signs as opposing backs run to the end zone.

SCBOY

July 8th, 2011
6:13 am

First. But they won’t shiff Lattimore.

Saban

July 8th, 2011
6:14 am

Boise State 66 DAwgs 3

SCBOY

July 8th, 2011
6:14 am

Oops second. And that’s sniff Lattimore.

why not

July 8th, 2011
6:15 am

Go Dawgs! This group sounds like a bunch of guys that can Hunker Down when needed and dominate up front much of a game. This should help our LB’s be even better. I think the second year of this Defense will be a big improvement for the beast in the east this year.

Inlet Dawg

July 8th, 2011
6:18 am

This group will shine,but not having any new meat backup coming in is a recipe for disaster.

Erk

July 8th, 2011
6:40 am

Let the big Dawg eat!

old time dog

July 8th, 2011
6:43 am

Nick Saban came to Alabama and put his defense in place. Mark Richt hired Grantham to inject that same defense here in Athens. If there could be a turning point for Richt this could be it. A strong defense can set the tempo for how games are played and turn out. Grammatically at least, UGA may be better on defense. eYe have read that we will be. eYe would like to see it firsthand.

CHDawg

July 8th, 2011
6:44 am

I don’t think it is a stretch to say that NG is the most critical spot on a 3-4, and last year shows that without a dominant player there you will have trouble stopping the run inside. SC will be a totally different game this year, I hope. Our fast LBs should make it tough on opposing QBs, so if we can stop the run, it could be a great year on D. But, the other question is how well the ILBs will plug the run. I just remember how Mt. Cody seemed to make Bama’s D work. Can’t wait this year’s line in action, including Geathers!

Paddy

July 8th, 2011
6:45 am

Inlet Dawg…..don’t worry. The only Sr is Tyson. Plenty of time to get more big folks ready to play. Just enjoy the season. It should be a dandy!

CHDawg

July 8th, 2011
6:46 am

To see this year’s…

Palm City Dawg

July 8th, 2011
6:46 am

scboy…don’t you mean stuff Lattimore

Palm City Dawg

July 8th, 2011
6:48 am

By the way, DAWGS D WILL DOMINATE THE SEC THIS YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CHDawg

July 8th, 2011
6:48 am

I wonder what his 40 time is? Maybe they should put him back on kick returns?

old time dog

July 8th, 2011
6:55 am

If the Jenkins kid brings it like Cody did for Alabama, it wouldn’t hurt to take a good look at that line coach at Mississippi Gulf Coast. Somebody could have a knack for developing good line play.

TennesseeDawg

July 8th, 2011
6:58 am

Boy, those Tech nerds are quick on the draw. They managed to post the first comments.

Saban

July 8th, 2011
7:04 am

LSU 66 Bama 14

Ruth Evans

July 8th, 2011
7:05 am

We sure couldn’t stop nobody last year and why is it our players beat their chests and dance around celebrating making routine plays on offense and defense? That is what they are supposed to do, make plays. Just because you make a run, catch, or tackle isn’t reason to celebrate. Do the celebrating after the dern game.

Just askin'

July 8th, 2011
7:05 am

I’ve never understood how anyone – even an alumnus – could support and take pride in UGA’s football team. When you look at their history for the past forty years, how can anyone ignore Jan Kemp and the “remedial studies” scam, the Jim Harrick fiasco, the DUIs in the athletic office, the DUIs and other arrests of players, the #1 party school tag (i.e., the most drunk students), the suspensions and outright dismissals, the Fulmer Cup, and on and on?

As disgraceful and humiliating as it is, I don’t see many alums and fans demanding an end to this sordid activity. It sets UGA apart as the kind of school most people abhor, and it’s become an embarrassment to the whole state of Georgia.

Will it never end? Apparently not while Mark Richt is at UGA. Richt is perhaps the biggest hypocrite in the United States. But even with all the cheating and lawlessness that he ignores, he still can’t win the SEC.

So you’re paying him to be BCS champions, but he can’t even win his SEC division. So why do you pay him millions of dollars a year?

Just asking.

East Repeat

July 8th, 2011
7:17 am

Dream on Dawg Fans. Lattimore is the best running back in the SEC and probably the nation. SC will grind up Dawgs with Lattimore running and Jeffrey catching. Back of the bus with all the Dawg fans. Party is over.

MattDawg

July 8th, 2011
7:23 am

Jenkins and Geathers are going to introduce Mr. Lattimore and Mr. Garcia to the ground, and tell them to get comfortable there!

JAWJeRDAWG

July 8th, 2011
7:24 am

I’m hopeful our D-line will be improved sufficiently this year, bigger, stronger, and faster, so that UGA can decrease its opponent’s scoring to an average of around 16 ppg or less.

Doing that will mean we have gotten into and interrupted our opponent’s backfield, given our secondary time to do their defensive job, disrupted our opponent’s scoring opportunity, and kept their offense off the field for a shorter period of time each game.

This is one of the keys to holding an opponent to around 16 ppg. I believe this D-line will be the nucleus of a much improved defense that can help keep UGA in all of our games this year.

Maybe not win them all, but keep us competitive for four quarters and give our offense and special teams a chance to win. I think these players are that good. Only time will tell, but I’m that hopeful. .. Go Dawgs!

WinderDawg

July 8th, 2011
7:25 am

Just askin’ – Do you still have your “slide rule” from your days on North Avenue? Every school has a closet full of bad history even at the dump on North Avenue! We know that all those 1 & done basketballers that Cremins recruited were in the library when not on the court!!!! LOL!!!. Wasn’t there a cheating scandal wihtin the past decade involving athletes at the trade school? Why not celebrate what is being achieved at both schools and don’t rehash yesterdays news!

Nub

July 8th, 2011
7:26 am

Just Askin…. Luke 6:37….. ….

DaculaDawg

July 8th, 2011
7:28 am

Just Asking – Our coach has won the SEC and brought this program along way. Compare his record to other active coaches and you will see that you are either a Tech fan or just plain stupid.

just asking

July 8th, 2011
7:29 am

I flunked out of UGA 3 years ago, I’ve never been with a woman and I can’t get a job and its all CMR and the UGA football team’s fault..waaaaaaa waaaaaa waaaaa!

Jimmy Crack

July 8th, 2011
7:30 am

Aren’t there some defensive names missing here, Chip?

DaculaDawg

July 8th, 2011
7:34 am

D-Line will be much improved and our LB’S will be better, I am a little worried about the Jarvis Jones investigation but we do have Ray Drew. SC barley beat us last year and with a better D, we will win
this year. Also dont be surprised if Big John lines up at running back in short yardage downs.

JB

July 8th, 2011
7:34 am

Just askin is NOT a Dawg fan or alum. I have watched South Carolina go 2-10 and the stands are full of fans cheering their team on. All Georgia fans would love to win every game. We would certainly love to have been better the last 3 years. I’m as critical as anyone on here sometimes, but I would never write crap like that…….If fact, only a Techie would trying to be cute. Go Dawgs. Things go in cycles..Bama was very average under Shula, hell we beat them. They are back on top. The Dawgs will get better. They will be better this year. If just askin is a fan……It’s fans like that we don’t need.

Doug

July 8th, 2011
7:35 am

Drink up my friends! You will soon see that nothing much has really changed at all except there will be a few different players and that is really the only hope for change we have. Nothing will have changed as to our offensive woes and problems. The defense had it’s lions share of problems last year and will have them again this year because the offenses lack of success will cause them to be on the field continually again and again etc. Nothing has really changed because Richt and his buddies are still around.

how2fish

July 8th, 2011
7:38 am

I’m hoping the D-line is much improved, we broke the UGA record for the number of games where we scored 30+ points last season..folks you should win games if you score 30 period. I’m thinking the D-line improves that makes the linebackers a greater force for creating sacks, tackles for loss and interceptions etc and if the opposing QB’s don’t have all day to throw the secondary will be vastly improved. We will really need the defense to come screaming out of the gate..the OL will need some real game day experience playing as a unit to be effective. The defense will have to keep us in the game the first two games create some turnovers and give the offense good field position.

JB

July 8th, 2011
7:38 am

One more thing ‘just asking” why we are asking………….One win in ten years over Georgia is OK with you guys at Tech? Just asking

CHDawg

July 8th, 2011
7:42 am

Just asking. Maybe you should spend a little bit of time around some real Georgia kids to see what they are actually like. Richt is part of the solution. You, on the other hand, are clueless. Your bitterness is much worse than Richt’s hypocrisy. I assume you are another bitter GT fan, who can’t separate football from life? How many kids from rural GA does GT have? If you only accept rich kids who have been to the best schools, who have two parents that loved and raised them, who are in the top tier in testing, it is easy to look down on average and lower income kids–they have a lot of problems to work out.

SEC Fan

July 8th, 2011
7:43 am

Maybe the defense as a whole and the defensive line in particular will save Richt’s overpaid ass this year. I guess we’ll know by the end of the SC game.

Smackerel

July 8th, 2011
7:43 am

Just askin’

You act like it’s shocking evidence of moral decay that college students drink beer and cut up.

It’s not. What’s really going on is the omnipresent and oppressive fascist police state that is Athens, Georgia is constantly rounding up basically harmless college kids and extorting money from them with harassing prosecutions for a vast array of petty offenses, such as dancing, walking in an unsteady manner, or peeing in the bushes, or, Lord have mercy, riding a scooter on a sidewalk. And lots and lots of public drunk.

In my day the cops would have told you to cut it out and sent you home. Now they treat you like you’re an enemy of the state and a revenue opportunity, stick you with a criminal record, and take a few thousand dollars out of your parents’ pockets.

It’s a racket and it’s gone way, way, way too far.

JB

July 8th, 2011
7:43 am

Gee Doug at 7:35, thanks for that well thought out input. What stocks should we buy since you know what’s going to happen.

old time dog

July 8th, 2011
7:44 am

JB… eYe think there is a large segment of fans, myself included, that are tired of seeing this team basically out of control with no focus over the past several years. They have a right to their opinion as a fan of this team just as you and eYe both feel we do. eYe am not trying to be condescending in stating that but it’s true. Not everyone that voices displeasure is a rival fan. Sometimes the truth is bitter medicine to take. This program under Richt and his cronies has pretty much left me shaking my head. We shall see.

lazlodawg

July 8th, 2011
7:44 am

Boise State and SC are going to be in for a world of hurt. Mark it down.

Ruth

July 8th, 2011
7:48 am

You tell em old time. Enough is enough. Richt better have it together.

JB

July 8th, 2011
7:49 am

SEC Fan……….Richt is in the middle of the pack in pay in the SEC. If you divide his salary by the the numbers of wins since being at Georgia as compared to his PEERS in the SEC, you will see the return on investment is as high as ANY peer in the SEC. Those are the facts. Your comment is crap thrown against the wall to see what sticks.

CHDawg

July 8th, 2011
7:52 am

Dawg fans…this blog is a vindication of the following saying: lead, follow, or get out of the way. If you complain, carp, and whine the minute a little bit of adversity hits, you aren’t doing any of the three!

Line Em Up

July 8th, 2011
7:54 am

We WILL be better on defense. There were obvious holes last year but I think we got the horses now to plug those holes. Hey old time, you’ll soon be shaking your head up and down instead of sideways my friend. You’ll see.

JB

July 8th, 2011
7:55 am

old time………….As long as he’s our coach, He’ll have my support. Bashing him on these blogs is nothing any of you would say to his face. I’d bet my life on it. Yes, we all want a better team and more wins………I’m giving him the same chance his bosses did, a chance to right the ship.
Bitching and moaning about last year and the year before does not solve anything. If he can’t make it happen this year, I’ll support the new coach. Till then, but down the beer, put on your Georgia shirt, and cheer for your team.

old time dog

July 8th, 2011
7:56 am

eYe want to see it.

old time dog

July 8th, 2011
8:00 am

JB… FYI, eYe am a retired state prison warden of 28 years. eYe think eYe could look him, you or whoever else directly in the eye and say whatever eYe needed or wanted to. Saying that to say this…. you make statements regarding others without any consideration to what reality may be at all.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

July 8th, 2011
8:01 am

Having a hard time guaging which area I am more interested in seeing the performance. Is it this area, DL, or WR, RB. I have a feeling this could be a special group as long as Geathers keeps pushing and Jenkins isnt another Matt Storm. Exciting to see this group has some big potential.

old time dog

July 8th, 2011
8:03 am

JB… You are correct that whining, bitchin, moaning, etc. won’t change a thing. Neither will allowing the same lack of management to continue.

HBTD

July 8th, 2011
8:04 am

Go Dawgs!! The future is bright!

JB

July 8th, 2011
8:04 am

Hopefully in your 28 year career, you saw men repent and turn their life around. That is now me. I’m not bashing our coach any more. I’ll cheer every play.

trupert

July 8th, 2011
8:05 am

Defensive line: Massive changes give Bulldogs great expectations in trenches. Indeed!!!

No more running up the middle when you need yards. Go dawgs!!!