Bulldogs Beat

Georgia's Mike Ekeler on ILBs: 'I think at this point we're better than we were last year'

ATHENS -- Georgia lost the kind of production that results in 225 total tackles with Ramik Wilson and Amarlo Herrera graduating following the 2014 season.

But as far as inside linebackers coach Mike Ekeler is concerned, so?

“Our guys, we had two good ones that got drafted -- first-team all-conference, second team all-conference. Guys that made a hell of a lot of plays,” Ekeler said. “I think at this point we’re better than where we were last year. We have a whole hell of a lot of depth.”

A bold statement like that could set this year's inside linebacker group up for some high expectations.

As of now, Tim Kimbrough is the projected starting Will linebacker, with Leonard Floyd and Reggie Carter splitting time at Mike linebacker depending on the formation. There is plenty of time left in camp to determine the rest of the rotation, with Ekeler saying six or seven players have a legitimate shot to play.

But Ekeler’s praise didn’t stop at saying this group is better than last year’s.

“I think we play better technique than anybody in college football, in my opinion,” Ekeler said. “These kids do it.”

During Friday’s practice, Ekeler praised Carter’s technique in a pass coverage drill. Carter broke from his pre-snap position and ran to cover a receiver -- in this instance a fellow linebacker posing as one -- on a go-route.

Carter said the Georgia’s depth should make the transition from Herrera and Wilson to this group seamless.

“We did lose two great linebackers,” Carter said. “We have some big shoes to fill but I think we can fill it with the guys we have.”

By heaping that kind of praise on his inside linebackers, Ekeler naturally drew a couple of follow-up questions. Was he actually saying this year's inside linebackers are better? Ekeler didn't waver or sugarcoat the comments.

“They say undersell and overdeliver," Ekeler said. "I say BS to that.”