• Georgia nose guard John Jenkins spoke with the Athens Banner-Herald after practice on Tuesday.
What was the toughest part of your transition last year from community college to the Southeastern Conference?
The toughest part was the speed of the game, man. Also, how precise everybody’s technique was. In junior college, they tried to catch up on speed but didn’t focus as much on technique.
Here, everything is focused on technique. You have to think about it — people have been here since their freshmen year and some of them were even redshirted. They all have a few years under their belt and I just came in and tried to adjust to everything.
What does it say about Georgia’s depth that two transfer students — you and Jarvis Jones — shared the Defensive MVP award for spring practice?
That’s crazy; I didn’t realize that two of us had won co-MVP. It just goes to show that people are hungry no matter what the circumstances are, whether you’re a transfer student or not. It just so happened that two transfer students were hungry and able to improve in a short amount of time. We have good depth, though in certain positions we’re not as mature as we need to be.
What’s your relationship with fellow nose tackle Kwame Geathers and how much help is it having him on the other side of the line?
Kwame and I have always been good since Day 1. We knew the role I had and the type of impact I needed to have coming in. He embraced the fact that I was coming in. We’ve been working good coming in and been friends and everything — no beef underground or animosity. We’re just trying to get things done. (He’s) a tremendous help because in this league, you can’t just have one player for one position and expect him to do everything in every game. Kwame needs me and I need Kwame. We feed off each other.
What are your thoughts about defensive coordinator Todd Grantham saying that the defensive line will likely have more rotation this year?
Man, it’s a blessing. Everything is positive, so to speak. We had so many different starting lineups last year. For us to have the young guys come in and make a tremendous impact in camp, it just shows that we should be looking forward to a great season.
What is it like to play under the intensity of Grantham? What are some of the differences between he and head coach Mark Richt?
Man, it’s intense but it’s fun at the same time. Under (Grantham) it’s like a war out there. Coach Richt is one of those leaders who means a lot without saying a lot. You know if you’ve crossed him or disappointed him and things like that, even if he’s not very vocal about it. He’s one of those leaders you don’t want to let down.
Do you feel you need to put in even more effort on the line in the first few games since the defensive attrition is almost solely in the secondary?
We’ve got to do that every game. Just because we have a few guys who aren’t going to be playing in the first game doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have that same effort every game.
Do you feel Georgia’s No. 6 preseason ranking is an accurate assessment?
It’s a blessing to be considered No. 6 regardless or be considered at all in any type of ranking.
Where do you feel the Georgia defense ranks amongst the rest of the Southeastern Conference and even the nation?
I believe our defense is the top defense. But me saying that doesn’t mean I’m talking bad about any other defense because there are a lot of good defenses out there. As a Georgia Bulldog, I’m not going to sit there and downplay our defense for anybody else’s because they’re not going to do the same for us. If they believe they’re the best defense, then they’re going to say that. I believe that we’re the best defense so I’m going to say that.
What specific things do you believe Georgia needs to do to upend the SEC West competition such as Alabama and LSU?
It’s nothing specific; we’ve just got to play hard and work hard to our capabilities.
Georgia lost quite a few offensive lineman this offseason — what should fans expect from the new group based on what you’ve seen going up against them in practice?
They’re a really hard working group. They understood that with those guys leaving they were going to have an opportunity coming into the season — an opportunity of a lifetime. They’ve been working hard ever since. As long as we win games, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Who are some of the younger or lesser-known players fans should be excited about this fall?
They should be excited about the whole team. I don’t want to point anybody out because we’re all working hard. By us working hard and wanting it as a team, you’re going to see individuals making plays and they have to make plays if we want to win.