Georgia’s big men in the middle of its 3-4 defense may pack even more punch this season.
Defensive line coach Rodney Garner, not one to publicly lavish praise on players at his position too often, spoke glowingly about the play of nose guards John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers so far this spring.
“John and Kwame both are really, really coming on,” Garner said. “Really coming on. My thing is I’ve just got to really stay on them about fundamentals, just being hard on them about steps, pad level, hand placement, just little things, even if they make a big TFL (tackle for loss), blow (up) everything, I don’t care. I’ve got to coach what you did wrong because I don’t want them to get any false sense of that we’re here. We may not be quite there, but I’ve been very, very, very pleased with both kids.”
The 6-foot-3, 345-pound Jenkins and the 6-6, 350-pound Geathers, Garner notes, are “two of the biggest men in college football. Probably two of the biggest, athletic men in college football.”
Garner said the “light’s starting to come on,” for Geathers, a redshirt junior.
“The way he’s going right now, I really expect a big year out of him,” Garner said.
Jenkins, entering his senior season. missed practice on Tuesday to attend to an academic responsibility. Georgia is off today, but practices again Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week.
“He’s been having an outstanding spring so far so we definitely want to make sure that we’re taking care of the other part,” Garner said.
Redshirt sophomore Mike Thornton (6-1, 287) is behind Jenkins and Geathers.
Garner called him a “change-up guy that can play powerful and be quick and be disruptive in there. I think he has a role for us.”
Garner said he’s had some discussion with Thornton about playing on the offensive line, something that probably could make an “instant splash for us.”
Meanwhile, Cornelius Washington and Ray Drew are practicing extensively at defensive end, but defensive coordinator Todd Grantham isn’t closing the door on them as outside linebackers.
“It’s not a lot different than what they did last year, it’s just more of,” Grantham said. “They can help us by playing there because they’ve got some athletic ability, some inside pass rush and you’re putting an athletic guy on the field.”
Grantham said the arrival of incoming freshman outside linebackers Jordan Jenkins, Leonard Floyd, James DeLoach, Josh Dawson and Josh Harvey-Clemons this summer factored into the move of Washington and Drew.
“Those guys are going to fill in and we kind of know that,” Grantham said.
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