March 13, 2013

Jenkins looking to step up

With Jarvis Jones, Alec Ogletree, et al no longer part of Georgia's defensive plan, sophomore outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins knows he's going to have to step up his game.

"There's no ifs, ands or buts about it," Jenkins said. "It's something I've got to do to help out the team. I want to be in that role and make more plays, not sit back and wait for somebody else to step up. We can't rely on Tree and Jarvis anymore, (Bacarri) Rambo, or any of the other older guys to make plays. I've got to step up and do it."

The former Harris County standout certainly flashed signs as a freshman of being capable of doing just that.

In 14 games, Jenkins made 31 tackles and collected five sacks as Jones' understudy at Will linebacker.

This fall, his sights will be set much higher than that.

"My goal is a minimum of 10 sacks. In the spring game I've got to get three," he said. "I know I've got make more tackles, make more impact plays like Jarvis caused, get some of those sacks … bat the ball out. I've got to make some of those plays."

Still, Jenkins admits it's taking some getting used to doing.

Last year, he was the young gun hoping to make his mark. This year, he's the player others on the defense are looking to step up and lead.

'It's fun. It's a different defense out there," he said. "It feels weird. I was a freshman last year. It was a new season and I was the one learning, but with all the reps, yeah, I guess I feel like a vet."

Although he's training down in Orlando to get ready for next week's Pro Day at Georgia, Jones is keeping tabs on his young protégé.

"He hits me up on Twitter a little bit ago and tells me to keep up the good work, keep the boys right, just little things," Jenkins said. "But I'm letting him do his thing, I'm trying to get this school work done and like he said, get these younger guys right."

Jenkins laughed even that can sometimes be a challenge.

"Some of them are older than me," Jenkins laughed "(Ryne) Rankin is actually older than I am. But it's one of those things where I've been here a year, I'm motivated, I've got rank. The guys know you've been through it before, so they pay attention."

But Jenkins said Jones taught him well.

Along with the daily lessons on the practice field, Jenkins said he relished the time the two got to spend together when they would room with each other on Bulldog road trips.

"It definitely gave me insight to how he did things, compared it to how I did it," Jenkins said. "Some of the things I did better than him and some of the things he did better than me. I've just tried to combine that and mesh it together to create my own style."

Jenkins' father R.J. is making sure he doesn't forget anything he's learned.

"He's hitting me up every week, almost every day telling me stuff I need to be doing this season," Jenkins said. "He wants me to go back to Florida game, always pressuring me to make better plans and keep working on things."

He's ready for whatever challenges await.

That includes the knowledge that this team year opposing offenses will likely be scheming for him, much like they did for Jones a season ago.

"People were more worried more about Jarvis so they didn't game-plan me that much, but this year they probably will," Jenkins said. "I hope they don't, but if they do I'll beat it no matter what."