June 22, 2010

Position breakdown: Nose

Kwame Geathers put it best earlier this spring when he talked about the main lesson he's learned since being installed at Nose in Todd Grantham's 3-4 defensive scheme.

"You've just got to have good explosion coming off the ball," Geathers said back in March. "You've got to come quick."

Of course, there's more than that.

You've also got to get low, something that the 6-6 Geathers said he has to remind himself to do.

"You just tell yourself to stay low," Geathers said. "But if you think you're low, you've got to get even lower; that's how I look at it."

As UGASports continues its summer position breakdown, we examine the all-important nose position where DeAngelo Tyson, Geathers and a refuge from the offensive side look to make a big impact for the Bulldogs this fall.

Tyson has the most experience of the group.

At Statesboro High, Tyson's old team ran a 4-4 alignment, with the 295-pound junior playing the role of the nose in the Blue Devils' scheme.

After playing in the shadow of Jeff Owens, Geno Atkins and Kade Weston, Tyson will get his chance to shine this fall as the starter at nose, where he listed on Georgia's post-spring depth chart.

But Geathers will be expected to contribute, too.

At 326 pounds, Geathers will rotate in and out of the position, where his underrated quickness should be a great benefit as he adjusts to his new role.

Justin Anderson will have some adjusting to do on his own.

Despite missing the spring with a shoulder injury, head coach Mark Richt announced that Anderson was being moved to nose from right guard where he started five games a season ago.

"He's a real explosive athlete, a big strong kid and we think this will fit him real good," said Richt "I'm going to say he'll play D-line right now but I think nose will be his starting point. I told Rodney (Garner) and Todd (Grantham) I don't want to pigeon hole him to a spot but I want them to decide what's best. But I think he will start out as a nose."

Richt sees no reason why Anderson's new position won't be a good fit.

"His strengths is that he's big, strong, quick, powerful and in this scheme he's the type of body we think can help us," Richt said of the 6-foot-5, 330-pounder. "Whether he stays there, I don't know, but let's let him learn it, go into camp and see how it goes and hopefully we can stay healthy on the offensive line to allow him to be able to do that."

While Tyson, Geathers and possibly Anderson figure to get the bulk of playing time at nose, don't rule out freshman Mike Thornton, who excelled at the position for Stephenson High last fall.

94 DeAngelo Tyson 6-2 295 Sophomore
99 Kwame Geathers 6-6 310 Redshirt Freshman
79 Justin Anderson 6-5 330 Junior
96 Mike Thornton 6-2 280 Freshman

Is DeAngelo Tyson big enough to hold down the nose in Grantham's 3-4 scheme?

No question. When Grantham was at Dallas, former Auburn star Jay Ratliff became an All-Pro at the position weighing just 295 pounds, the same as Tyson. While Tyson might not be as quick as the Cowboy star, his familiarity with the position and desire to succeed at the position should net the Bulldogs solid results this fall.

What will be Kwame Geathers' biggest challenge as he learns to play the position?

As Geathers said above, he just needs to stay low. If he can do that, opposing offensive linemen are going to have a difficult time. Don't overlook Geathers' quickness, either. Assistant strength and conditioning coach Keith Gray is quoted as saying Geathers is "Quick as a mongoose" which is an interesting way to say the Bulldog staff has confidence in the redshirt freshman to adjust to his role just fine.

How much will Justin Anderson contribute?

If you were to mold the perfect nose tackle, give him impressive size, dominating strength and cat-like quickness, Anderson is more than a reasonable facsimile. The only question is, how quickly will the former Irwin County star pick up the scheme? Anderson hasn't played defense since high school, and it seems a bit risky to suggest that he'll immediately be able to step in and push for extensive playing time. Stranger things have happened. While Anderson certainly has the physical tools, there's going to be a definite adjustment period so quickly he's able to do that will determine the amount of snaps he ultimately receives.

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