August 17, 2010

Gamble not satisfied; hungry for more

It's not like Darryl Gamble hasn't been one of the more integral pieces of Georgia's defense for the past couple of years.

With 17 career starts, Gamble has shown a penchant for big plays, including a breakout performance two years ago at LSU when he collected 13 tackles and picked off two passes in a 52-38 Bulldog victory.

But despite such success, Gamble is apparently hungry for more, not satisfied to sit back and relish past accomplishments.

Gamble wants to get better, and that's something head coach Mark Richt has been quite apparent of for a number of months now.

"Once the season ended he's become very sincere about wanting to be a leader, wanting to have a great senior year and wanting to do it right, not being the guy you have to push or motivate," Richt said. "I just saw a new sense of this self-motivation, not just for him but to help others get better, too. It's just maturity; a guy growing up and a guy wanting to be special."

Based on his showing in the Bulldogs' two scrimmages thus far, the results are starting to show up on the field.

Although played under controlled conditions, Gamble has been a defensive terror two weeks into preseason drills, collecting six sacks, three each in Georgia's two scrimmages thus far.

Gamble shrugged when asked about his early success.

"I guess maybe because I've spent a little more time actually learning it. I guess when I got on the field, it just clicked. Whenever I see something, I'm just able to go with it. We've got a lot of film from the NFL that Coach (Todd) Grantham has brought in from Dallas, so watching a guy like (DeMarcus) Ware do all this stuff. Seeing it visually has made it easy for me to go out and try to do the same thing."

Gamble hasn't been the only one who have benefited from the Cowboys' film sessions.

Considering that the entire Bulldog D is learning the 3-4 for the first time, getting to see how the pros run their sets has been something everybody can take a page from.

"They're one of the best-known teams that run it and everyone wants to be like that. They're a dominant D and we're just trying to bring that aggressiveness to our team," Gamble said. "For me it's more exciting to watch those guys do it. Guys getting paid to play ball and it's just fascinating watching guys who are pros at it make plays and we're getting the same coaching that they're getting playbook-wise. It's exciting just to be able to know it."

Moved to outside linebacker during the spring, Gamble is causing his damage from the Sam position where he's competing with Cornelius Washington for the starting job.

Former Bainbridge High teammate and Bulldog safety Nick Williams is not surprised to see his buddy enjoy the success he has.

"DG is a hybrid. You can put him anywhere and he's going to find a way to produce. He's going to be an awesome Sam. Whoever blocks him, my hat's off to him," Williams said. "Plus, he has good size. He's a big guy, and he's got great feet for such a big guy. I think Sam is a primary position for him and I think you can tell that because of his play. Nobody's going to block him. They're going to have to come with it."

Getting the chance to play in space is an opportunity Gamble believes suits his talents to a T.

"When you're outside you have more freedom, more area for your talent to play over the playbook. If you make your own choice, you just have to go with it," he said. "There's more bending, there's more flexibility there on the outside than playing in the middle where you've got to stick to one thing."

Richt says Gamble's progression could not have happened at a better time.

With Georgia's outside linebacker depth somewhat of a question, the Bulldogs need all the able bodies they can get.

Gamble's hard work appears to have paid off, at least in his coach's eyes.

"He had a great offseason. You can't practice as hard as he's practiced unless you're in shape. He got in good condition, if there's one key, I think he had a great summer, he got in great shape and he's able to play hard just about every play in practice. He wants to have a great senior year," Richt said. "There's no doubt he's been highly productive. Where I felt maybe Shawn Williams might be the most improved guy from the spring to the fall here, Darryl has been very close in that running."



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