published Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Big Dogs on the line: UGA defenders Jenkins and Geathers are tough to stop

Georgia's Kwame Geathers (99) tackles a Tennessee running back.
Georgia's Kwame Geathers (99) tackles a Tennessee running back.
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

ATHENS, Ga. — When Georgia Southern walks up to the line of scrimmage Saturday at Georgia to begin an afternoon of cut-blocking for its triple-option offense, the Eagles will be dealing with some sizable trees.

John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers were once Georgia's rotating noseguards, but the two monstrosities are frequently playing side by side now with Jenkins as an end. Geathers is a 6-foot-6, 355-pound junior, while Jenkins is a 6-3, 358-pound senior.

"I think they're going to get down and get ready to come after us," Geathers said, "but in the back of their mind, they've got to be thinking that these are two pretty big jokers."

Geathers and Jenkins are the biggest defenders for the Bulldogs, who also have Garrison Smith (6-3, 297), Cornelius Washington (6-4, 268) and Ray Drew (6-5, 284) up front in their 3-4 scheme. Georgia has allowed just 59.3 rushing yards the past three weeks against the run-oriented trio of Florida, Ole Miss and Auburn.

Georgia Southern averages 401.2 rushing yards per game and ran for 302 in last season's 45-21 loss at eventual BCS champion Alabama.

"We've got to be in a run-stopping defense every single snap," Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said. "I don't care if it's third-and-25 or a two-minute drill."

Georgia will be facing the triple-option for the third time since Todd Grantham became defensive coordinator in 2010, with the first two matchups occurring against Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs survived 42-34 two years ago, when they allowed 411 rushing yards on 77 carries (5.3 yards per rush), but were more effective in last year's 31-17 win, yielding 243 yards on 53 carries (4.6).

In the meeting two years ago, defensive linemen DeAngelo Tyson and Abry Jones each tallied 16 tackles. An ankle injury on a cut block knocked Tyson out of last year's game in the first quarter.

"You don't have to get cut," Richt said. "You can play the cut block if you get your hands in the proper spot. There will be times when a guy gets caught up with one lineman and then another one is going low on him. Sometimes it's your quicker noseguards or quicker D-linemen who fare better as they're trying to navigate all the things that are going on.

"There is space that needs to be covered, and you can cover it by being a big man, but you can also cover it by your speed and quickness."

Sack chase stalling?

Junior outside linebacker Jarvis Jones racked up 13.5 sacks last season, just missing David Pollack's single-season school record of 14, and has 10.5 this season. His sack tally could stall the next two weeks considering the opposing offensive styles.

"I hate games like this personally, and I'm sure everybody on defense does, too," Jones said. "This week is very intense in practice, because everybody hates it, so they're kind of peed off."

about David Paschall...

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 ...

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