Filling Out At the Nose

ATHENS – While DeAngelo Tyson has done enough for Todd Grantham to call him the starting nose tackle, Georgia's first-year defensive coordinator has a couple of "big" options at the position.

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Using 15 spring practices as a free-for-all at many positions, Grantham was satisfied with DeAngelo Tyson as the man in the middle along his defensive line.

At 6-foot-2, 295-pounds, Tyson is smaller than the prototypical 3-4 nose, but showed he was strong enough to hold his own. Although clearly establishing Tyson as the man holding down the nose guard spot, Grantham sees versatility when he looks at the junior from Statesboro.

"I think DeAngelo did a good job in the spring," Grantham said. "He's the No. 1. I also think he's a guy that can give us flexibility by playing the end position too. So, based upon on how other guys come on both at nose and end, he can move. He can play. I think he's a guy that will start out at nose for us, but based upon how other people play during training camp and as the season goes along, he has the ability to play either position for us."

Those other people Grantham is referring to: Kwame Geathers and Justin Anderson.

Those two have the premier nose tackle body; Geathers is 6-foot-6, 315-pounds. Anderson is 6-foot-5, 330.

The catch is neither has any game experience at the position.

Geathers, a redshirt freshman, entered fall camp overweight and out-of-shape as a true freshman last season.

He's since lost nearly 40 pounds, and has been cited by many of his peers as one of the strongest players on the team.

"(Kwame) is doing a good job. He's one of the guys I'm talking about when I say how young guys come on," Grantham said. "I think it's important that you have depth in your front, because I believe in playing a lot of guys on the defensive line because up there it's a relentless approach to the ball each play. They're going to get gassed a lot quicker than probably some other positions. Sometimes it's a little bit harder because bigger guys don't get rejuvenated as quickly.

"I think a rotation is very important. To be able to rotate you've got to have depth. I think his development during training camp will be critical to our success as we move forward in the season."

If creating a rotation is Grantham's model, then Anderson will be in the mix.

Spending his first two seasons on the offensive line, Anderson made many All-Freshman lists in 2008.

Last season he made five starts, but with a solidified front five on offense Anderson's size and strength were deemed necessary on defense.

He missed all of spring practice with a shoulder injury, making him an even more unknown heading into fall camp.

"We haven't seen him in practice yet. I know that he was excited about the transition," Grantham said. "He's obviously from a size standpoint a guy that I can feel like can demand double teams in there. He's been excited about the move.

"I know he's worked hard in the offseason to try to learn the system, which he's going to be somewhat behind because it's one thing to learn in a classroom, but then go out in 90-degree heat and do it is completely different. If he can come on that obviously gives us some depth. I'm excited about seeing him, and seeing what he can do once the pads come on."

Highly touted freshmen Garrison Smith and Michael Thornton round out the competing entries for the position, but expect one of the aforementioned three to start this fall.

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