August 19, 2010

Grantham making final defensive plans

In Todd Grantham's very first interview upon becoming Georgia's defensive coordinator was his stated desire to put his best players on the field at all times.

Based on his comments following Wednesday's practice, he's taking the final steps to accomplishing just that.

"We're getting close on some positions. We've still got some time but the next week and a half is critical from the standpoint that we're still trying to move some guys around and find out No. 1, from a depth standpoint of where we can play guys as the season goes along," Grantham said. "We've been doing that, but we're also honing in on guys to start, but also work guys in at other positions to develop some depth. It will be an on-going process."

When asked for specifics and what positions he was looking at developing more depth, Grantham glanced up from his chair. He didn't miss a beat.

"All of them," he shrugged. "I'm talking inside guys playing both sides, outside guys playing both sides, nose playing end, ends playing both spots, safeties playing both spots.

"It's like I've always said, defense is about making plays and to do that you've got to get your best players on the field, so sometime you got to move them around and kind of go through some growing pains with them to get them used to those positions but down the road it will help you because you need that depth."

Grantham's fingers are crossed that Moe linebacker Akeem Dent will be part of opening-game play.

Dent hasn't practiced at all since injuring his foot prior to camp, but is no longer wearing a protective boot and is expected to resume practice in another week.

"It's yet to be determined, but he's going to try and see how he feels and how the other guys progress. He's been in all the walk-throughs, meetings and things like that," Grantham said. "Obviously, it's not like playing but he is an older guy so I don't think it would take him long to get ready to play. How we would play him or if we would play him would be based on how he does the week of Game Week."

Grantham echoed defensive line coach Rodney Garner's take on nose Justin Anderson as well.

Wednesday, Garner surprised some when he said Anderson would be the starter at nose if the season were starting today.

Grantham seemed to concur.

"I think one is the conditioning factor of playing, because he didn't play in the spring. I think actually hearing the call, knowing where to line up I think that's critical and then the reaction to blocks," Grantham said. "The closer you play to the ball, the faster things happen so as a D-lineman, as an end, things do happen as fast but when you become a nose things happen a lot quicker because you're right there. I think sometimes you've got to get in there and work on the reaction, blocking schemes, how to key things and those kinds of things. I feel he's done a good job with that."

Grantham wasn't ready to say what, if any, freshmen would be ready to make an impact - at least not right away.

With the season-opener now just over two weeks away, Grantham said he's been more concerned with getting players prepared for the opening contest against Louisiana-Lafayette.

"The thing of it is, you're trying to get the team ready now and sometimes you're giving limited reps to those guys if they're getting any reps at all," Grantham said of his freshmen. "When that happens and you don't get reps you can fall behind a day or two."

As far as Georgia's depth goes, Grantham said he has no concerns.

"We'll take the guys we've got and go play," he said. "We'll take the guys we think will give us a chance to win and put them out there. We'll be ready."

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