All that positional movement happened to Georgia’s DeAngelo Tyson over a matter of a week or two. It should be good preparation for actual games, when Tyson figures to move around from series-to-series, if not play-to-play.
Tyson tried to break it down the other day:
“More than likely I’m gonna be playing nose. But obviously things can change during the game. I can play end. But I am the starting nose this week.”
Tyson is mainly just happy to be earning a start, something he didn’t have his first two years at Georgia.
The player set to start next to him had to wait even longer.
Brandon Wood, a senior, played in 10 games each of the past two seasons. But the Buchanan native only has a half-sack to his credit, from the 2008 season.
Wood thought he entered this preseason in competition with Abry Jones for a starting spot at defensive end, opposite Demarcus Dobbs. Instead, a little more than a week ago coaches said Tyson was in the lead to start there, with the nose tackle set to be Justin Anderson, a converted offensive lineman.
Wood thinks it was partly a motivational ploy to get him going, and that it worked.
“I felt coach did that to motivate me to get me to work harder and learn my stuff,” Wood said. “It just really made me want to work harder and get that starting spot.”
And Wood has his own opinion on where Tyson should be playing.
“DeAngelo is really a nose guard,” Wood said. “I don’t think they really wanted him to play end, but he’s athletic enough to do it.”
Whether or not that’s true, the plan is still to use Tyson at end in certain packages, like nickel. Tyson, at 6-foot-2 and 295 pounds, has the ability to get around blocks on the edge and apply some pressure.
Tyson’s preference is to play the end. But that depends on how much confidence the coaches have in Anderson and redshirt freshman Kwame Geathers, each of whom are bigger than Tyson, but have less experience.
“I’m more of a quicker guy that can move, and can fight off blocks – not to boast or brag about myself,” Tyson said. “In a typical defense you wanna have a big guy in the middle, and I think if Kwame and Bean keep developing, I think (they) should be one of the starting noses.”
Tyson said it’s not a big deal to switch positions, even play-to-play. He said he had a great comfort with the schemes, crediting the coaches for their teaching.
Tyson’s flexibility allows the Bulldogs to know who two of their three starting linemen will be: Dobbs (who had five and a half sacks as a junior last year) and the versatile Tyson.
Defensive line coach Rodney Garner named four other players he was willing to use: Wood and Jones at end and Geathers and Anderson at nose tackle.
Jones may have the best long-term potential. The sophomore had one sack last year, playing as a true freshman.
Wood used the preseason to earn more time. If he doesn’t produce, Jones – or Tyson – will be ready to grab the spot.
Garner said Wood’s problem has always been injuries and confidence. In fact, Garner still isn’t convinced Wood has enough of the latter, but he’s ready to put him out there anyway on Saturday.
“He’s done well, but he’s just got to show that he can handle that pressure, from being a role guy to being the guy,” Garner said. “It’s just a little more pressure on you. But he’s got some ability.”