Dawgs Look to Defensive Tackles

Rodney Garner

ATHENS — Rodney Garner has his own version of the old saying: "With great power comes great responsibility."

Georgia's defensive line coach believes that with great size comes great responsibility.

"There's something about big guys," Rodney Garner said. "If they can set the tone, you feel like you've got a chance. You like your chances when you have leadership from the guys up front."

That puts the burden for the Bulldogs' defense squarely on 315-pound Gerald Anderson and 292-pound Kedric Golston. With David Pollack, Odell Thurman and Thomas Davis preparing to start their NFL careers, the task of leading goes to Anderson and Golston, Georgia's starting defensive tackles, Garner said.

"He tells us that all the time," Anderson said. "He puts a lot on me and Kedric to take on a leadership role."

"He always says it doesn't matter what anybody else does," Golston said. "It always starts up front."

With the talkative Pollack, Thurman and Davis gone, Anderson and Golston will have to take more responsibility in the locker room this year.

"We're in a situation where we have to demand more out of ourselves," Anderson said.

"Neither one of us is really that vocal, but we need to be vocal this year," Golston said.

On the field, Anderson and Golston need to keep doing what they did last year. They combined for just 54 tackles, but that's not an indication of their impact since the Bulldogs use them mainly to clog up the middle and occupy blockers.

"I love them, they're great," Coach Mark Richt said. "I think they're great players, great leaders and great people. They're a good duo, too, peas-in-a-pod kind of guys."

Anderson said he and Golston aspire to be the Bulldogs' best duo since Marcus Stroud and Richard Seymour, both of whom were selected in the first 13 picks of the NFL Draft.

"Ever since I got recruited by Georgia, that's all I've heard, ‘Stroud and Seymour, Stroud and Seymour,'" Anderson said. "The thing is, me and Kedric are in the driver's seat to have that type of legacy. That would be a dream come true."

Anderson and Golston are very aware of the tradition of defensive tackles who have come before them. Two years after Stroud and Seymour left Georgia, Johnathan Sullivan was the No. 6 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

"We just know Coach Garner knows what he's talking about because he's had some great defensive linemen," Golston said. "The proof's in the pudding."

It's too early to tell or not he and Anderson can be as good as there predecessors, Garner said.

"I'm glad (Anderson) has that type of confidence," he said. "I'm glad they want to work to get to that. That's certainly going to be the goal, to work to get to that standard."

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