ATHENS - They've been showing tape of last year's Clemson game around the Georgia football complex. Jordan Jenkins watches it, and he feels, to use his word, ashamed.
"It pains me to watch it, and it makes me mad, because it's not how I'm playing now," he said. "I'm ashamed that that's how I played last year."
That game was the start of a disappointing sophomore season for Jenkins, an outside linebacker who came in vowing a "minimum" of 10 sacks, and only equaled his freshman total of five. He was supposed to replace two-time All-American Jarvis Jones, and while he had a solid season, Jenkins was hoping for more.
"Coming in after Jarvis left I just felt like it was gonna come easy to me. I didn't realize it takes a lot more work than what's required," he said. "You have to go the extra mile if you want to be a great player. I guess I came in with the mindset that it was gonna be as easy as Jarvis made it look."
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Those around the program are seeing signs that Jenkins is ready to take that step now. Head coach Mark Richt included Jenkins among the players he felt made big strides this preseason, saying Wednesday that Jenkins was having an "outstanding" camp.
The expectations are still relatively high for Jenkins: He was named to the coaches' preseason All-SEC second team on Thursday night. When told that, Jenkins shrugged it off; he's also declining to make bold predictions about his sack total.
But he is adamant that he learned something from last season.
"Something just clicked in the last offseason and the spring," he said. "I just came to the realization that football doesn't last forever, and I just need to take advantage of it while I can. And just that I needed to practice hard. In the past I did my job, but I didn't try to go the extra mile and make every play out there on the field. Now I feel like I'm playing a little bit more hungry."
Georgia's defense as the cotton gin?
Players continue to say that another emphasis by new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is making them learn all positions, even the ones that aren't their own.
That doesn't mean they're playing each position in practice. But players say they are taught the basics, and occasionally more, of other positions, in an effort at cohesion and communication.
"Everybody knows what each other does now," senior inside linebacker Amarlo Herrera said. "That's how they teach, everybody learns at the same time, so you're gonna hear what the other guy has to do."
Jenkins whipped out an unusual reference for it: The cotton gin.
"You might think of it sort of how the cotton gin was," Jenkins said. "When interchangeable parts first came about. I feel like we're all interchangeable on this defense, and can be plucked out of one spot and plugged into another spot, and still have the defense working fine."
Coaches preseason team
Eight Georgia players were named to the coaches All-SEC preseason teams.
Tailback Todd Gurley, kicker Marshall Morgan and linebacker Ramik Wilson made the first team.
Tackle John Theus, receiver Malcolm Mitchell, linebacker Jordan Jenkins and cornerback Damian Swann made second team. (Mitchell hasn't practice this preseason after arthroscopic knee surgery and his return date is unclear.)
Tailback Keith Marshall made third team.
More praise for Tibbs
The growing intrigue around the offense is who will be the third receiver, after senior starters Chris Conley and Michael Bennett. When asked who he thought should be the third receiver, senior cornerback Damian Swann said he didn't want to go there. But he did say that Blake Tibbs, the redshirt sophomore, has had a good camp.
"Tibbs came a long way, and I'm really excited to see what he's gonna do for us this year," Swann said. "But other than that, we've always had guys (who can play receiver)."
Other than Mitchell, the team appears to be getting healthier as preseason camp winds down.
Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd was in a regular jersey, after being limited in Tuesday's practice with an undisclosed injury.
Receiver Justin Scott-Wesley was also in a regular jersey, after being in a green non-contact jersey throughout camp, still recovering from ACL surgery last year. However, even when he is cleared to play Scott-Wesley is expected to be suspended for one game for last year's marijuana arrest.
The receiver spot overall, which had featured a number of minor injuries, appeared in good shape at Thursday's practice.