Georgia Bulldogs: About Them Dawgs

About Them Dawgs: Kwame Geathers

December, 31, 2012
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Editor’s note: Each day leading up to Georgia’s Capital One Bowl date with Nebraska, we reviewed the season for a key Bulldogs player and attempted to project what’s next. In today’s final installment, we’ll look at nose guard Kwame Geathers.

No. 99 Kwame Geathers
Junior/Nose guard
37 tackles, 5 TFL, 1 sack

Role in 2012: Geathers continued to share time at with senior John Jenkins at nose guard and also played alongside Jenkins in some defensive packages that utilized the two players’ monstrous size.

The good: At 6-foot-6 and 355 pounds, Geathers is obviously not the easiest player to move with a single blocker. He and Jenkins regularly occupied double teams and helped anchor the line this season, particularly in games against run-heavy teams like Florida, Alabama, Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech. Geathers closed the season by setting a new career high for tackles in two of the last three games, first with five tackles against Georgia Southern and then with six against Alabama.

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About Them Dawgs: Arthur Lynch

December, 30, 2012
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Editor’s note: Each day between now and Georgia’s Capital One Bowl date with Nebraska, we will review the season for a key Bulldogs player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at tight end Arthur Lynch.

No. 88 Arthur Lynch
Junior/Tight end
21 catches, 394 yards, 2 TDs

Role in 2012: After contributing almost exclusively as a blocker before this season, Lynch finally got a chance to catch some passes this season and had a productive fall.

The good: After a fairly quiet first half of the season, Lynch made his presence felt in the second half. He had three catches in each of the last four games, including a couple of long catches on the Bulldogs’ last-gasp drive that died at Alabama’s 5-yard line in a 32-28 loss in the SEC championship game. Lynch had only two receptions in his career (all the way back in 2009) before this season, but showed he can be a weapon in the passing game by ranking fourth on the team with 394 receiving yards.

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About Them Dawgs: Jay Rome

December, 29, 2012
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Editor’s note: Each day between now and Georgia’s Capital One Bowl date with Nebraska, we will review the season for a key Bulldogs player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at tight end Jay Rome.

No. 87 Jay Rome
Freshman/Tight end
11 catches, 152 yards, 2 TDs

Role in 2012: After redshirting behind Orson Charles and Aron White in 2011, Rome formed an effective tight end tandem with Arthur Lynch this fall.

The good: Rome played in every game and started once, against Georgia Tech, as a redshirt freshman. Rome caught at least one pass in each of the last five games and caught touchdown passes -- the first two of his career -- in the last two games. His 19-yard grab in the second quarter against Alabama helped Georgia take a 7-0 lead in the SEC championship game.

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About Them Dawgs: Michael Bennett

December, 28, 2012
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Editor’s note: Each day between now and Georgia’s Capital One Bowl date with Nebraska, we will review the season for a key Bulldogs player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at wide receiver Michael Bennett.

No. 82 Michael Bennett
Sophomore/Wide receiver
24 catches, 345 yards, 4 TDs

Role in 2012: The redshirt sophomore was quickly emerging as one of the Bulldogs’ go-to receivers when he suffered a season-ending knee injury during practice the week of the South Carolina game.

The good: Bennett ranked among the SEC’s top receivers statistically, had recorded his first career 100-yard game and caught a pair of touchdown passes against Tennessee in his last game before he tore his ACL in practice. Together with Marlon Brown and Tavarres King, Bennett was part of a highly effective trio of receivers who powered Georgia’s passing game.

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About Them Dawgs: Mark Beard

December, 27, 2012
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Editor’s note: Each day between now and Georgia’s Capital One Bowl date with Nebraska, we will review the season for a key Bulldogs player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at offensive lineman Mark Beard.

No. 79 Mark Beard
Sophomore/Offensive line

Role in 2012: After enrolling at Georgia in January, the junior college transfer became one of the Bulldogs’ top offensive line reserves in his first season at UGA.

The good: Beard appeared in all 13 games and started twice at left tackle. He initially shuffled between guard and tackle after he arrived at Georgia, but eventually seemed to find a home on the edge. By the end of the season, his improved play had caused offensive line coach Will Friend to develop a three-man rotation on the left side of the line that featured Beard, Kenarious Gates and Dallas Lee.

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About Them Dawgs: Kenarious Gates

December, 26, 2012
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Editor’s note: Each day between now and Georgia’s Capital One Bowl date with Nebraska, we will review the season for a key Bulldogs player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at offensive lineman Kenarious Gates.

No. 72 Kenarious Gates
Junior/Offensive line


Role in 2012: One of Georgia’s most versatile offensive linemen, Gates started every game and filled in all across the line when necessary this fall.

The good: Gates’ natural position might be guard, but he held down the left tackle spot admirably for most of the season. As the season progressed, he often worked out of a three-man rotation on the left side of the line with Mark Beard and Dallas Lee. Gates played either guard or tackle, depending on which player was subbing in. Through his career, Georgia’s most experienced offensive lineman has played at least a few snaps at every position on the line except for center.

The bad: It is unlikely that Gates will forget what South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney did against him -- at least, mostly against him -- in Georgia’s lone loss of the regular season. The Gamecocks’ star pass-rusher completely overwhelmed Gates and Georgia’s other blockers, who flailed at him helplessly as he harassed Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray all night. Of course, Clowney finished sixth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy, so Gates wasn’t alone. But he needs to improve against elite pass-rushers next season if he stays at left tackle.

Crystal ball: Gates’ 2013 position might depend on how things go for Georgia on national signing day. If the Bulldogs sign five-star prospect Laremy Tunsil, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he could contend for a starting spot at left tackle next season, much like true freshman John Theus did at right tackle this fall. Regardless, Gates is almost a certain bet to occupy a starting position somewhere as a senior after starting 25 games in the last three seasons.

About Them Dawgs: John Theus

December, 25, 2012
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Editor’s note: Each day between now and Georgia’s Capital One Bowl date with Nebraska, we will review the season for a key Bulldogs player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at right tackle John Theus.

No. 71 John Theus
Freshman/Offensive tackle


Role in 2012: Theus came to campus as one of the highest-rated offensive linemen to sign with Georgia in years, jumped into the starting lineup in Week 1 and held onto the job all season.

[+] EnlargeJohn Theus
AP Photo/Paul AbellThe much-hyped John Theus lived up to pretty much all those lofty expectations this season, earning SEC All-Freshman honors after starting all 13 games.
The good: You can count on one hand the number of true freshman offensive linemen who have started Georgia’s season opener through the last few decades -- and Theus is one of them. He was an enormous get on the recruiting trail and immediately fit in well on Georgia’s offensive line. He mostly lived up to the advanced billing, becoming one of two Bulldogs (along with one of his roommates, tailback Todd Gurley) to earn SEC All-Freshman honors from the league’s coaches.

The bad: Without question, there were moments when Theus looked lost out there. Then again, true freshmen don’t expect to come into the SEC -- with its trademark fearsome talent along the defensive lines -- without experiencing a few hiccups. Nonetheless, he started all 13 games after initially battling with Watts Dantzler for a starting spot during preseason practice.

Crystal ball: Make no mistake, it’s a major accomplishment for a true freshman to start every single game in his first season of SEC football. Georgia’s coaches clearly have huge expectations for Theus as his career progresses. Who knows what the future holds, but it appears as though he will remain at right tackle for now. Wherever he lines up, Theus must take several steps forward to fulfill his potential, but his ceiling is unquestionably sky-high.

About Them Dawgs: Chris Burnette

December, 24, 2012
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Editor’s note: Each day between now and Georgia’s Capital One Bowl date with Nebraska, we will review the season for a key Bulldogs player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at right guard Chris Burnette.

No. 68 Chris Burnette
Junior/Offensive guard


Role in 2012: Along with fellow guard Dallas Lee, Burnette returned as one of the starters on a rebuilding offensive line and helped the group -- one of the biggest uncertainties before the season -- enjoy a successful first season together.

The good: In his second season as a starter, Burnette was one of the Bulldogs’ most consistent performers along the line. Also one of the Bulldogs’ smartest players, Burnette served a key role in helping true freshman right tackle John Theus understand his assignments if ever he needed assistance. Away from the field, Burnette’s public marriage proposal at a Sunday church service -- with dozens of teammates in attendance to cheer him on -- was one of the season’s feel-good stories.

The bad: Throughout Burnette’s career, injuries have cost the junior lineman at least some playing time. More severe ailments kept him from contributing much at all until 2011, when he started 12 games and injuries forced him to miss two starts. And this season he missed the second half of the Ole Miss game and the two ensuing games after suffering a shoulder injury. Most football players endure injury issues at some point, but Burnette would submit that he has already hit his quota.

Crystal ball: Burnette will be a senior next season and has started all 23 games in which he competed through the last two seasons. That doesn’t necessarily guarantee he will start in 2013 -- particularly considering that the coaching staff vows they will host open competition for the starting spots during spring practice -- but, so long as Burnette is healthy, we’d be surprised to see someone else line up at right guard to start the 2013 opener against Clemson.

About Them Dawgs: Dallas Lee

December, 23, 2012
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Editor’s note: Each day between now and Georgia’s Capital One Bowl date with Nebraska, we will review the season for a key Bulldogs player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at left guard Dallas Lee.

No. 64 Dallas Lee
Junior/Offensive guard


Role in 2012: One of the returning starters on a rebuilding offensive line, Lee and his line mates enjoyed a productive season in which they exceeded modest expectations.

The good: A season after starting seven of the eight games in which he played -- he missed the rest of the season after breaking his leg against Florida -- Lee has started all 13 games at guard this season. It was not uncommon to see Lee or fellow guard Chris Burnette pull and lead tailbacks Todd Gurley or Keith Marshall through a hole for a big gain, as the line’s steady improvement helped power a largely effective running game.

The bad: It’s not necessarily all that bad, but Lee lost some playing time at points as Georgia’s coaches experimented with different rotations. In the most frequent lineup change, Kenarious Gates would shift to Lee’s spot at left guard with Mark Beard taking over for Gates at left tackle. There were also times that Lee shifted to right guard to fill in for an injured Burnette. And reserve Austin Long has started to see time along the line here and there.

Crystal ball: Georgia’s coaches have made it clear that not only will there be open competition for starting spots along the line for the Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl against Nebraska, but spring practice will require the starting linemen to prove they deserve to keep their spots. Lee will be a senior in 2013 and has started 20 of the last 21 games in which he participated, so he seems to be a likely starter next fall. But keep an eye on the position battles during spring and preseason practices to see if any of the reserves continue their pushes for additional playing time.

About Them Dawgs: David Andrews

December, 22, 2012
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David AndrewsRadi Nabulsi/ESPN.comCenter David Andrews has had flashes of brilliance this season in filling the big shoes of former four-year starter Ben Jones as the anchor of Georgia's O-line.
Editor’s note: Each day between now and Georgia’s Capital One Bowl date with Nebraska, we will review the season for a key Bulldogs player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at center David Andrews.

No. 61 David Andrews
Sophomore/Center


Role in 2012: Andrews took over for four-year starter Ben Jones and held his own at perhaps the most important position on the offensive line.

The good: The sophomore played here and there behind Jones as a true freshman in 2011, but he entered the 2012 season with essentially no experience at crunch time against SEC starters. But Andrews was one of the pleasant surprises for the Bulldogs, performing capably -- and exceptionally at times. The line was one of the team’s biggest question marks entering the season, but Andrews and company seem to be heading in the right direction.

The bad: Always reluctant to publicly give himself high marks in interviews, Andrews often focuses on what he should have done better. A bad snap here, a missed block there. He once remarked after missing a block against Florida Atlantic -- in which the Owls defender dragged Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray down by the face mask, drawing a 15-yard penalty -- that he “almost got Murray decapitated.” But it was largely a solid season for Georgia’s center.

Crystal ball: There were certainly times when he played like a first-year starter, but Andrews seems to have settled the questions as to whether he is big enough (6-foot-2, 295 pounds) to hold up against the monsters who reside at the center of SEC defensive lines. He seems to have solidified a spot on the line for the next two seasons, and if he continues to make steady progress Andrews might contend for all-conference honors before his time at Georgia is up.

About Them Dawgs: Jordan Jenkins

December, 21, 2012
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Editor’s note: Each day between now and Georgia’s Capital One Bowl date with Nebraska, we will review the season for a key Bulldogs player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins.

No. 59 Jordan Jenkins
Freshman/Outside linebacker
30 tackles, 4 sacks, 7 TFL


Role in 2012: Jenkins arrived at Georgia amid hype that he could be the next Jarvis Jones and flashed skills that might help him be the Bulldogs’ next star pass-rusher.

The good: The true freshman is second on the team in sacks (four) and quarterback hurries (21) and third in tackles for a loss (seven). He also had a hand in two key fumbles -- a recovery at Missouri’s 5-yard line after Jones forced a fourth-quarter fumble, and a forced fumble in the fourth quarter against Tennessee that helped preserve Georgia’s fourth-quarter lead. It wasn’t far into the season before Jenkins was clearly one of the Bulldogs’ top pass-rushers.

The bad: Sure, there were times when he rushed too far outside, creating space for quarterbacks and running backs to dart inside of him, but Jenkins’ greatest regret seems to be the sacks he allowed to slip out of his fingertips. He could easily have had a few more quarterback take-downs this season, which is a source of comedy when he wears a wide grin and recounts the missed opportunities with reporters.

Crystal ball: It’s tough not to get carried away when forecasting Jenkins’ future. The kid is the real deal. He has smarts and every physical tool his coaches could want in a budding star pass-rusher. Jenkins predicted that he will record double-digit sacks in 2013, and we’re not going to doubt him. He will be one of the centerpieces of the Bulldogs’ defensive scheme next season and in 2014 and we’ll see after that. The NFL is almost sure to come calling.

About Them Dawgs: Garrison Smith

December, 20, 2012
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Editor’s note: Each day between now and Georgia’s Capital One Bowl date with Nebraska, we will review the season for a key Bulldogs player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at defensive end Garrison Smith.

No. 56 Garrison Smith
Junior/Defensive end
55 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack

Role in 2012: Smith joined the starting lineup when an injury knocked Abry Jones from the lineup for the rest of the regular season and the junior wound up leading the defensive linemen in tackles.

The good: Smith built off a strong effort last season against Georgia Tech, when he came off the bench after DeAngelo Tyson was injured and played well in his first extensive playing time, by developing into one of Georgia’s top defensive linemen in 2012. Jones played a similar role last season, rarely racking up huge tackle or sack totals, but holding the point so teammates could make plays, which is essential to the defense’s success.

The bad: It would be interesting to see what kind of numbers Smith could have accumulated in a full season as a starter. The situation is understandable -- Georgia had experienced seniors across the board on the defensive line, and Jones was a preseason All-SEC pick -- but Smith fared well as both a reserve and in his seven starts.

Crystal ball: Smith recently said that he plans to return for his senior season, so he should be one of the known quantities within a group that must replace a ton of experience. If he and fellow junior Kwame Geathers return next season, the Bulldogs will be in great shape up front. But either way, Smith will probably be on some preseason all-conference lists and projects as a strong performer in 2013.

About Them Dawgs: Amarlo Herrera

December, 19, 2012
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Amarlo HerreraKim Klement/US PresswireAmarlo Herrera was one of Georgia's top tacklers in 2012.
Editor’s note: Each day between now and Georgia’s Capital One Bowl date with Nebraska, we will review the season for a key Bulldogs player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at linebacker Amarlo Herrera.

No. 52 Amarlo Herrera
Sophomore/Inside linebacker
67 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 INT

Role in 2012: After playing considerably as a freshman, Herrera ranked among the Bulldogs’ best run-stoppers from his inside linebacker spot as a sophomore.

The good: A sure and physical tackler, Herrera played a key role throughout the season, but was particularly valuable early in the fall when starter Alec Ogletree was serving a four-game suspension. Herrera started four more times after Ogletree’s return and ranked fourth on the team in tackles -- including a season-high 11 against South Carolina.

The bad: Herrera was inconsistent at times in pass coverage -- although yes, he had the team's only interception return for a touchdown (against Florida Atlantic) -- which cleared the way for Christian Robinson to take the field on third downs and in other passing situations. The sophomore was fairly quiet down the stretch, totaling just six tackles in the final four games after ranking near the top of the team’s tackles list for most of the fall.

Crystal ball: With seniors Robinson and Mike Gilliard -- and most likely draft-eligible junior Ogletree -- departing after the season, Herrera immediately moves into a leadership role in a couple of weeks. He will be the only inside linebacker with significant experience and Georgia’s coaches will certainly count on him in the coming months to help a group of newcomers make the adjustment from high school to college football.

About Them Dawgs: Christian Robinson

December, 18, 2012
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Editor’s note: Each day between now and Georgia’s Capital One Bowl date with Nebraska, we will review the season for a key Bulldogs player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at linebacker Christian Robinson.

No. 45 Christian Robinson
Senior/Inside linebacker
44 tackles, 6.5 TFL

Role in 2012: Robinson mostly contributed in third-down situations -- although he played a much greater role in defending the option offenses of Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech at the end of the season.

The good: The senior mostly had a quiet season until the final two weeks against Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech. He tallied half of his season total for tackles (44) in those two games alone -- 13 against Georgia Tech and nine against Georgia Southern -- and four tackles for a loss. Otherwise, he typically played on third downs while Amarlo Herrera and Michael Gilliard alternated alongside Alec Ogletree on first and second downs.

The bad: Robinson is the first to admit that he isn’t Georgia’s most physically gifted linebacker -- and that was a key reason why he lost playing time to Herrera and Gilliard after opening 2011 as a starter -- instead having to rely on smarts and preparation to get his job done. There were times where opponents exploited that shortcoming with quicker receivers or backs, but by and large he played his role effectively.

Crystal ball: Although he plans to eventually become a football coach just like his father, Robinson hasn’t given up on the idea of playing professional football. He was invited to participate in a postseason all-star game -- the Raycom Bowl in Montgomery, Ala. -- along with teammates Gilliard, Cornelius Washington and Abry Jones. One way or another, he has a promising future in the sport, whether it’s on the field or on the sidelines coaching.

About Them Dawgs: Shawn Williams

December, 17, 2012
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Editor’s note: Each day between now and Georgia’s Capital One Bowl date with Nebraska, we will review the season for a key Bulldogs player and attempt to project what’s next. Today we’ll look at safety Shawn Williams.

No. 36 Shawn Williams
Senior/Strong safety
87 tackles, 5.5 tackles for a loss


Role in 2012: Williams provided a senior presence in a secondary that was without two key contributors when the season began, and he delivered throughout with physical play.

The good: Despite his on-field production in the past two seasons, Williams’ long-term legacy will probably be that he fired up his teammates with critical words about the defense’s soft play on the week of the Florida game. The Bulldogs needed a spark, and Williams was the guy who provided it. He also led the team in tackles as a junior and finished second as a senior, providing a physical and spirited presence in the secondary.

The bad: Williams’ comments might have been what the defense needed, but they also generated unnecessary friction with some of the players he criticized. However, the defense rallied and turned the situation into a positive. On the field, Williams helped stabilize the secondary while Bacarri Rambo and Sanders Commings were suspended, but there were moments where he could have done a better job wrapping up on tackle attempts -- like when Alabama’s T.J. Yeldon escaped his grasp on a third-and-5 conversion that set up the Crimson Tide’s game-winning touchdown.

Crystal ball: Williams looks to have an NFL future ahead of him after totaling 159 tackles through the last two seasons. In fact, ESPN Scouts Inc.’s Steve Muench wrote last week that “A team looking for immediate help in the back end would do well to land Williams in the second round.” He’s not a flashy performer, but he’s a steady, durable safety who has produced consistently in the SEC -- and that’s an obvious indicator of pro potential.

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