Big John Jenkins starting to make impact for Georgia at noseguard

Big John Jenkins rarely gets his hands on ball carriers but when he does they know it. (UGA photo by Jim Hipple)

Big John Jenkins rarely gets his hands on ball carriers but when he does they know it. (UGA photo by Jim Hipple)

ATHENS – Big John Jenkins got the first start of his brief Georgia career this past Saturday against Tennessee. And while it may not have come as quickly as he wanted, it could not have come in a more ideal situation – SEC road game, night kickoff, national TV, prolific offense, highly-touted quarterback.

“Man, that felt good,” said Jenkins, a 6-foot-4, 340-pound junior noseguard who’s expected to start again this week. “To start in that stadium and under those nights against Tennessee, it felt good. It was big, it was big.”

Jenkins and the Bulldogs played big, too. Including a couple quarterback sacks, they held the Vols to minus-20 yards rushing en route to a 20-12 victory. Entering Saturday’s game at Vanderbilt, Georgia is now third in the SEC and 12th nationally in run defense *85.8 ypg). The Bulldogs are now ranked sixth nationally in total defense (260.5 ypg).

Jenkins and his cohort at noseguard – 6-6, 350-pound Kwame Geathers – are the main reasons for that. As is customary for the position, their impact is not quantifiable statistically. Jenkins and Geathers both have six tackles apiece while Jenkins also has three tackles for loss, a sack and five QB pressures. But a successful play for them is to tie up blockers and hold gaps while linebackers and safeties run loose behind and between them.

Georgia has better-fitting players throughout the lineup in year two of defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s 3-4 defense. But none have meant more than that 700-pound duo in the middle.

“It’s really helped us,” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “It’s really solidified what we’re trying to accomplish against the run game. You want the big men in there to help stop the run. But then taking DeAngelo [Tyson] and allowing him to play an end position was big for him. And Abry Jones has had a really good season. So we really got stronger inside and out.”

Georgia is also getting a lot more out of sophomore ends Garrison Smith and Derrick Lott at this point. The dominance of the defensive line has kept the depleted linebacker corps from missing a beat despite several injuries.

But Jenkins is the one who has probably come the farthest in the shortest amount of time. The former JUCO All-American out of Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College initially struggled with the transition to FBS football and remained behind Geathers in the rotation until recently.

“It’s good competition, that’s the main thing,” Richt said. “Both those guys are playing well and both those guys are going to play. . . . The good news is we have two guys who can play and know they have to compete for that starting job on a weekly basis. That’s when you really have something going on.”

“I would say I’ve some a long way,” Jenkins said. “I’m making some plays in the games now. I predicted I would play more plays, but things are working. And that’s the thing: I just keep working and working and working. Pretty soon my time is going to come where people will know I’m that dominant guy.”

Jenkins actually was a two-way player and a better-than-average fullback in high school and expressed his desire to Georgia coaches during recruiting to tote the rock at least once in college. But from the sound of things that’s not likely to happen any time soon.

“Pretty early on, he said, ‘You know, Coach, I think I just need to work on noseguard right now,’” Richt said. “But when he gets really comfortable, he’ll be back [at running back] I’m sure.”

The good news for Georgia is Jenkins is getting more comfortable every day.

Sterling Bailey now 100 percent

Freshman outside linebacker Sterling Bailey is practicing at 100 percent without limitations and making a very strong impression on Georgia coaches.

“He’s a very athletic guy and we’re eager to see what he can do,” Richt said.

The 6-foot-5, 260-pound graduate of Gainesville’s East Hall High was out of action all summer while recovering from shoulder surgery he had last spring.

Etc. . . .

Sophomore Chris Burnette is expected to start for the second straight week at right guard. . . . Nineteen Vanderbilt players are from Georgia, including eight possible starters: tight end Brandon Barden (Lincolnton), receiver Chris Boyd (Roswell), cornerback Casey Hayward (Perry), punter Richard Kent (Marietta), WR Jonathan Krause (Snellville), safety Kenny Ladler (Stone Mountain), tackle Ryan Seymour (Kingsland) and receiver Udom Umoh (Fort Valley). . . .Georgia senior center Ben Jones and Vanderbilt junior tailback Zac Stacy are best friends since their days at Alabama’s Bibb County High School.

|– Chip Towers

151 comments Add your comment

hmmmm

October 13th, 2011
6:40 pm

Never been first before…

JAWJeRDAWG

October 13th, 2011
6:41 pm

He is indeed, starting to make an impact for the Dawgs!

He has pushed Kwame Geathers to the point where both are playing better than either one would probably would have without the competition at the nose position.

Glad he did decide to sign with UGA.

We are definitely a better defense for him having done so. .. Go Dawgs!

Destin Dawg

October 13th, 2011
6:44 pm

HUGE fullback… run Figgens too.. WoW !!

PDX DAWG

October 13th, 2011
6:46 pm

Way to go big Jon. It’s amazing what competition will do for development. LOVE seeing the UGA defense back!

Destin Dawg

October 13th, 2011
6:47 pm

Richt coach the offense… call the plays… Bo Bo coach the QB”s…. Grantham’s got your Back… Junk Yard Dawgs !!!

hipdawg

October 13th, 2011
6:50 pm

For all that is sacred………beat the gators!!!! until then there is not much to talk about.

Destin Dawg

October 13th, 2011
6:50 pm

this really is getting to be a Dream team.. athletes that can play both ways…. 2 or 3 positions.. BBall too… Jenkins.. Geathers.. Marshall.. Rome.. Beat Vandy.. one game at a time.. run the table.. we can do it !!

Dawg48

October 13th, 2011
6:52 pm

Lovegoing to Nashville for this game I hate I’m going to miss it this year! Keep up the good work defense! Love to see a shut out at their place! Vandy,s d is not to be over looked hope we can score early and wear them down on defense and put the game away! They had 4 picks against Carolina but Garcia was just throwing the ball up!

Kramer

October 13th, 2011
6:58 pm

there’s this awesome new thing called spellcheck. Oughta try it out!

D bag!

October 13th, 2011
7:00 pm

Kramer is oughta a word? Did not think so! D bag

rob

October 13th, 2011
7:04 pm

Great moves by the coaches during recruiting. Great scheme with coach Grantham he is targeting his guys for the 3-4 defense. We only get better on that side of the ball. The d-line is balling. The linebackers are balling. The secondary is trying to ball. We need to get the 2012 class together and continue to build. We will be a top 10 defense with Grantham. Now let’s get the ball to our tightends and Crowell more, so we can eat up yards and score TD’S.

Go DAWGS!!!!

Buckhead Bulldog

October 13th, 2011
7:10 pm

Please, please get rid of the maxium idiot, Bill King! I think I might walk over to see Ann at Cox in Dunwoody to voice my displeasure in the jack ass!

this dawg want hunt!!

October 13th, 2011
7:10 pm

UGA hasn’t done anything yet. Still haven’t beaten a decent team. And don’t get too excited about the defense. They have shutdown 3 terrible offenses. Florida held Tenn. to -9 yds. rushing, and this same Florida defense got shredded by Bama and LSU. Until UGA shuts down Fl. Auburn, and Tech, i could care less what they have done against less than average offenses. Once again stats are for losers. Tenn. had amazing numbers on offense against Montana, Cinn, and some other tiny ass school, and look what they did against 2 average SEC defenses, Florida&UGA. They did nothing. UGA want do anything either when they play Florida(If brantley is back), Auburn and Tech. These 3 teams will lite up UGA’s defense just like they did last year. IF not, then maybe UGA has a top 10 defense, but until then, they have done nothing.

Roaddawg80

October 13th, 2011
7:13 pm

I hate it when people come on here and question every grammar thing. This is a sports page, if you want poetry or journalism go to another blog. WE ARE NOT IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. Now go ahead and point out what I did wrong. JEEEEEZ I can’t stand coming on here to this immature kids anymore. Talk about football!

pj

October 13th, 2011
7:16 pm

When Geathers/Jenkins give that massive push, it collapses the middle of the pocket and makes these younger QB’s more erratic, because they have to reshape the pocket and throw on the run and at odd angles while the Defensive Ends and Blitzing LB’s can just tee off. The 3-4 is beautiful if you’ve got the right talent in the right places. Looks like we’re finally there.

The only thing that can break it is a VERY seasoned QB (see Kellen Moore). Do we play any really good QB’s the rest of the way? I don’t see any. Run the table boys!

L.A. BULLDAWG

October 13th, 2011
7:19 pm

11-2, BABY! IT JUST TAKES TIME FOR THOSE BIG GUYS! WE GAVE SOUTH CAROLINA THAT GAME WITH TURNOVERS, ESPECIALLY A PICK-SIX! WE WILL RUN THE TABLE WITH BIG JOHN AND KWAME GEATHERS! I WANT BAMA!

dawgerbrown

October 13th, 2011
7:21 pm

Destin Dawg…..agree with you. I come down your way on business every 2-3 weeks. Be good to have a fellow Dawg to have a drink with and talk about the Dawgs.

whatadawg

October 13th, 2011
7:23 pm

John Jenkins sounds like one of those players that couldn’t even make it in a community college – much less a university – if it wasn’t for his size.

JDawg1785

October 13th, 2011
7:29 pm

Good to see Big John making an impact!

whatadawg

October 13th, 2011
7:30 pm

L.A. Bulldawg – Your puppies couldn’t handle Alabama. That’s what blows me away with these dawgs and current dawg fans – You beat what kind of teams over the last 4 games?? UGA has played a very small Coastal Carolina, Ole Missy (Vandy beat them 30-7), Missery State (a very bad team), and what does TN have this year? Once again – UGA only seems to do well when they play teams that aren’t anywhere near the Top 20. When they someone who matters, they lose.
And I guess everyone will be barking after Saturday’s win over Vandy – A team who has scored all of 3 points in the last 2 games. Wow – that is a VERY IMPRESSIVE set of victories. In a way – I hope this UGA team DOES run the tables and win the East (East is very pathetic this year). Because ALA or LSU will kick the puppies so hard – it will be embarrassing. Then the fans will know how much further this team has to go and maybe – just maybe – CMR will be shown the door.

JAWJeRDAWG

October 13th, 2011
7:31 pm

@ whatadawg

Big man, bet you wouldn’t say that directly to Big John!

big john 340 lbs

October 13th, 2011
7:39 pm

U don’t know nuthin’ whatadawg

Copy Dawg

October 13th, 2011
7:40 pm

Funny…I saw almost this same exact story on ESPN DawgNation earlier today.

Copy Dawg

October 13th, 2011
7:41 pm

Let's talk about UGA!

October 13th, 2011
7:42 pm

Is he related to Leeroy Jenkins?

The SEC is Alabama, LSU, and the 10 dwarves…

Champs

October 13th, 2011
7:48 pm

Please stop gulping the kool-aid, people. The dawgs continue to improve, especially on defense. The offense is yet to play well for 60 minutes, and I’m not sure they have the depth, stamina, and discipline to finish anybody off. Dawg fans have every right to be optimistic, but to think that this team could reach the point that it could compete with ALA or LSU this season is just crazy. You couldn’t have seen those two play this year if you believe that. The program is headed in the right direction. The team plays hard and with the right attitude, but the dawgs are still far from rising to the top tier of the SEC. The next few weeks will answer a lot of questions, and we will all find out if these dawgs can really play after UF, AU, and GT. They have to keep working hard and quit reading these stupid blogs. Go Dawgs and RTR!

Mad Dog One

October 13th, 2011
8:09 pm

Lets see if I can get this by whom ever is the man. First I will not call fla the g-ytu%d$ and I will not tell anyone to go to he!!. But I will say the Dawg D is playing about the best I have seen them play in the last six yeard. If AM will just play within himself and not try to do so much I think we may have a good chance of running the table. If you don’t agree with me on this refer to the second line. As always GO DOGS & GAYA

duronimo

October 13th, 2011
8:09 pm

Jenkins looks pretty quick for a big man. With him and Geathers clogging the middle, the linebackers are looking pretty awesome cleaning up in the running lanes.

Mad Dog One

October 13th, 2011
8:10 pm

Please forgive the stupid spelling fat fingers that should be GATA

BWG

October 13th, 2011
8:20 pm

Jenkins is a stud! GO DAWGS!!!!!!

jay

October 13th, 2011
8:28 pm

Two true nose-guards is better than none. Look at last year.

P-Cola Dog

October 13th, 2011
8:44 pm

hunt dawg aka thomas brown. read one sentence and instantly recognized your nonsense. read zero words of your other posts. Nice job mr. jenkins. GATA dawgs

darren harper

October 13th, 2011
8:44 pm

This comment is for “Lets Talk UGA” I do think Alabama and LSU are the best two teams but if Richt would have kept BVG they would be chasing UGA. The new defensive coaches at UGA are elite with almost 4 times experience running the 3-4 at a pro level than Saban. The Chavis run 4-3 is an inferior defense and year end stats will bear it out. Alabama is Defense but Georgia will finish 2nd in defense nationaly. Thats what has been missing !!! The state of Georgia produces the talent and Richt can get it and keep it if winning. Expect 10 win seasons with this defensive coaching group.

Bigdsel

October 13th, 2011
8:46 pm

We are looking good, and we might be able to hang with a good team. But our offense needs to step it up in order to win those big games. The D can only do so much. Gooo dawgs!!!! Sic em.

P-Cola Dog

October 13th, 2011
8:46 pm

“lets talk”. you have to pick LSU or ALA. Cant ride the fence brother. Guess that shows your character?

P-Cola Dog

October 13th, 2011
8:49 pm

Let me say again. The absence of gator fans on the uga blawgs is realy nice. I suspect if aubie wins this week the ga/fla week banter will be delayed due to the bye weeks.

run the ball

October 13th, 2011
8:52 pm

This team is not mature enough to run the table. They have the talent, but continue to shoot themselves in the foot instead of putting teams away. Georgia would have to play a near perfect game to beat Alabama or LSU. When is the last time Georgia played a near perfect game? Can CMR even begin to field a squad that plays a clean game? It’s always sloppy, and we just out athlete average teams.

Ellis Yew

October 13th, 2011
8:55 pm

Winning a string of low scoring games can indicate the presence of a very good defense. It can also indicate that you’ve been playing against teams with very poor offenses. Time will tell.

PLEASE KEEP RICHT UGA LOSERS

October 13th, 2011
8:59 pm

JUST BEAT FLORIDA

wdm

October 13th, 2011
9:01 pm

Mark Richt owns the AJC sports columnist again. They (Bradley, the never has been, the never was nor never will be, and Schultz, the most unathletic person in Georgia)tried their best to get Richt fired at the end of last year’s disappointing football season. To see Mark Richt and UGA be successful these last four weeks makes me realize what jerk leg, low lifes sportswriters can be. They (Bradley, a know-it-all who picked USC to be Auburn in the SEC Championship last year, really, what an idiot, and Schultz, who was regularly picked last to be towel boy)kicked Mark Richt as hard as you can kick a man when he was down. Now look at them just 6 months later, sucking up like a newborn calf. You two douches have officially been pawned by Coach Richt becaue he ain’t going nowhere now.

And You Criticize Chip' spelling?

October 13th, 2011
9:04 pm

@ tampaBIGdawg

“CTG could get hime could postition to do so.”

Mobile Dawg

October 13th, 2011
9:06 pm

Come on tampaBIGdawg, you have to be pulling our leg busting Chip for grammatical errors with that last post. Now that’s subtle, funny humor.

JB

October 13th, 2011
9:06 pm

just imagine if Ralph Frigen was running our offense…or Leach.

Dawg in gatorville

October 13th, 2011
9:09 pm

As a DAWG fan living in freakin Gainesville Florida, PLEASE BEAT GATORS THIS YEAR!

Mobile Dawg

October 13th, 2011
9:09 pm

I posted some thoughts on why Richt didn’t make a “real” run at Friedgen a while back. That would have been a great move by CMR. Not sure why he didn’t pursue it further, speculated it might have had to do with possible insecurity.

JAWJeRDAWG

October 13th, 2011
9:18 pm

wdm

Didn’t hold anything back, did ya?

Dawg48

October 13th, 2011
9:20 pm

@JB. I’m not one calling for bobo to be fired or to tell mark richt or any coach who they need hire or fire, but I would love to see ralf frigen running our offense! Look what he did at tech with George (goosey) godsey

Mobile Dawg

October 13th, 2011
9:23 pm

Bobo is at best a “very” average OC. Keeping a defense off balance and guessing what you’re going to do is their best asset. Bobo doesn’t seem to understand how to flow a game and is way to predictable.

SugarHillDawg

October 13th, 2011
9:23 pm

Just imagine if our O-line was as good as the d-line!!

Dawg48

October 13th, 2011
9:24 pm

@JAWJeRDAWG. No he did not! I kinda like it!