ATHENS, Ga. — Demarcus Dobbs insists he’s still having fun, even if he no longer resides in the glamour world.
As a Georgia defensive end last season in a 4-3 scheme, Dobbs played a 5-technique, which meant he lined up over the outside shoulder of an opposing offensive tackle. In the 3-4 scheme implemented by new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, the 6-foot-2, 285-pounder is playing a 3-technique, lining up outside the offensive guard.
“It is definitely different,” Dobbs said. “In the 4-3, you are dealing with everything outside the tackle, but in the 3-4, you are dealing with the center and the guard and everything. It’s hard to get used to, but between the coaches working us and us watching the film and taking repetitions, you get used to it.”
Dobbs started all 13 games last season, tallying 30 tackles and finishing second on the team with 4.5 sacks. Collecting sacks could be harder this season, as the first in a 3-4 system to reach the quarterback is usually an outside linebacker.
Justin Houston, Cornelius Washington and Darryl Gamble are each outside linebackers eager to tally sacks, while Dobbs will be relegated to more inside duty.
“You definitely like being outside, because the outside world is a glamour world,” defensive line coach Rodney Garner said, “but they will definitely take the 3-technique over the nose. Nobody likes that one.”
Dobbs admits Houston and Washington have been among the most excited players due to their potential to attack off the edge. Gamble spent most of spring practice as an inside linebacker but prefers the outside because “there are less rules, and you get more freedom to be your own self.”
Garner is pleased with how Dobbs, a senior from Savannah, has handled his new environment.
“That’s a different world inside, and he would tell you that,” Garner said. “He’s gotten better from the first day of spring until now, and he’s going to continue to get better. We’re doing some different things with him to take advantage of his athleticism.
“He’s not going to be about brute power, so we’ve got to make sure we get him coached up on the proper techniques.”
After being a defensive end in the 4-3 for the first 39 games of his college career, Dobbs is an unknown commodity in the new scheme. He is not lacking for motivation, however, as he knows he has four months to prove himself in the 3-4.
“We’re not going to wait until next year to see if this defense pans out,” he said. “For us seniors, this is our last opportunity. We’re going to need to learn this system really fast if we’re going to be successful this year.”
Banks calls it quits
Senior Quintin Banks, who entered preseason camp backing up Nick Williams at strong safety, has decided to retire from football. Banks tore his MCL and PCL in two separate setbacks in 2008, and he suffered a meniscus tear last year.
“His knees have just not allowed him to move the way he’s accustomed to moving and move well enough to compete at this level,” Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt said following Thursday’s practice.
The 6-2, 208-pounder from Warner Robins amassed 11 tackles in 17 career games and will remain with the team as a student-assistant coach.
Odds and ends
Sophomore cornerback Branden Smith is in good academic standing for the upcoming season, according to Richt, and he can return to practice today after sitting out the past eight workouts. ... The Bulldogs worked on special teams Thursday, and Richt named six in the mix for punt-return chores, including junior receiver A.J. Green. ... Richt said if he had to pick the leader of this team, he would choose senior fullback Shaun Chapas.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...