Bulldogs play guessing game on position changes

dhale@macon.comJanuary 22, 2010 

ATHENS — Abry Jones admits it has been a popular topic of conversation among Georgia’s defensive linemen and linebackers.

As the Bulldogs prepare to switch schemes to a 3-4 defense, no one is quite sure where they’ll end up or what their role will be. And that makes for an interesting, if somewhat anxious, wait for answers.

“It’s pretty much just talking about where we could play,” the former Northside star said. “But mostly we’re just waiting to see.”

Jones played exclusively at defensive tackle last year but said he’s prepared to play defensive end in new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s 3-4 scheme that features just three down linemen.

Other players could find themselves on the move, too. Some of Georgia’s defensive ends from a year ago could make the move to linebacker, while the Bulldogs are still in search of a player to fill the void at nose tackle.

While the process has made for a confusing few days for players still unsure of what lies ahead, senior Demarcus Dobbs said the change in scheme could create some new opportunities, particularly for some under-utilized reserves like Cornelius Washington and Kiante Tripp.

“Cornelius being the athlete he is, he’s excited he could be a stand-up guy and play outside (linebacker),” Dobbs said. “But it’s all where your heart is. Those are talented guys, and with the coaching change, everybody’s on a clean slate. People are out to compete again, and that’s going to make everybody else better. A guy like Cornelius, an undersized D-end, he might get a lot better. It gives us options.”

Options are nice. Answers might be a bit better for Georgia’s defenders.

But that will come in time as Grantham and his new staff get settled — their first team meeting is slated for today — and begin to implement their scheme during spring practice.

What isn’t a concern, Jones said, is the Bulldogs’ ability to adapt. While few players are certain of what’s in store for the 2010 season, he’s sure there is enough athleticism and talent on the roster to navigate any early turmoil.

“At Georgia, we have a lot of athletic players, so I’m pretty sure we’re all going to be able to adjust,” Jones said. “The athletic ability is still going to be there. It’s just catching up to learning the scheme as well as we knew the last scheme.”

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