To be a successful inside linebacker, it all starts with having a solid foundation. That's a fact new assistant Warren Belin explained to UGASports is vital for his players to understand.
Lessons are definitely being learned.
During Thursday's third day of spring workouts at Georgia's Butts-Mehre Practice Facility, Belin made sure they were getting his point.
A common sight thus far has been Belin putting his players through a series of precision-laced footwork drills designed to ensure a proper foundation which the new coach is crucial to his position's ultimate success.
Players are learning Belin's way is the only way.
"My philosophy again is No. 1, I ask my guys to be honest with me, be honest with Coach (Mark) Richt and the defensive staff; No. 2 to be fair with each other and that means doing things the right way. No. 3 is to give 100 percent," Belin said. "If you can do those three things, I can coach you. I can help you to be the best player and person that you can be. "
Slackers are not tolerated.
Thursday, Belin barked loudly at one Bulldog to repeat one footwork drill after it was not completed to the coach's satisfaction.
"As any linebacker, any defensive player really, you start off with your stance," Belin said. "If you've got a poor stance and a poor start you're behind the ball before it's even snapped. So, we work a lot on stances and footwork. We're just trying to get better at those little things. If you're going to be fundamentally sound, you've got to start from Base 1 then work yourself up."
Although it's just three days into spring camp, coaches are demanding that players be on top of their respective game.
If they want to play for Belin, they've got no choice in the matter.
"Mentally, you've got to be sharp because of the way we're installing our defense, the way Coach (Todd) Grantham wants to install the packages," Belin said. "I think he's done a great job with that, but our guys have to be on top of their game right now mentally. That's why we're going to continue working on the fundamentals, get them in position to tackle, get their feet right and get them in position to make plays."
According to the coach, Grantham is wasting no time adding new parts of the new 3-4 package every day.
"Our guys are picking it up," he said. "We're trying to throw as much at them as we can."
Belin said most of the new defensive scheme will be installed in time for the G-Day Game April 10 at Sanford Stadium.
Although there is obviously much to learn, Belin believes some progress is being made.
"All the guys as far as the inside backers have done well. For the first day in pads, I think Akeem Dent had a really good day without looking at film. He was really flying around," Belin said. "Christian Robinson is another young linebacker who is going to get better each and every day. Darryl Gamble and Dent have been two of the leaders up front, really showing leadership on the field. Marcus Dowtin has been very impressive."
But plenty of work remains for Belin who said he will continue to stress fundamentals, correct stances and proper footwork throughout the spring.
"We're going to continue to work on the fundamental stuff because that's going to help us be the best in the SEC," he said. "I'm pleased with where we are right now."
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