June 22, 2010

Dent is excited about change

Senior linebacker Akeem Dent won't deny it.

There was a lot of hurt and angst among many of Georgia's defensive players when Willie Martinez, John Jancek and Jon Fabris were let go following the conclusion of the 2009 campaign.

But at the same time, it didn't take long at all for the group to get excited about the changes that new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, secondary coach Scott Lakatos and inside linebackers coach Warren Belin are now bringing to the program.

When talking about Grantham, Dent's eyes get wide and a large smile becomes etched across his face. Yes, the excitement most Bulldog fans seem to share for the new DC is also shared by the players themselves.

"We were sad that changes were made and Coach Martinez was let go, but we embrace Coach Grantham, Coach Belin and Coach Lakatos. Those are also great guys," Dent said. "Bottom line, we just trust in Coach (Mark) Richt. He's been around and he knows exactly what he's doing."

Grantham's passion for defense stands out to Dent most of all.

"It's been great seeing Coach Grantham come in and bring is passion, his fire and energy to this Georgia program," Dent said. "He's a guy who's been around a long time. He's been in the NFL and he's been in the college game so he knows what's going on. It's been nice having him around."

In more ways than one:

Besides his afore mentioned passion, Dent said that the new staff's attention to detail and ability to explain the most difficult plays on an easy-to-understand level is a fact that's made the adjustment period easier than he thought it would be.

"Coach Grantham is one guy who knows what he's talking about. Just being in the meeting room with him, he's real smart guy, he knows how to break down an offense. It's going to be real interesting to see the season unfold," Dent said. "He's always about business, but he also helps everyone around him understand what the scheme is and what we're trying to accomplish on defense by just the way he is able to break down an offense."

Grantham isn't the only stickler for details.

Belin is Dent's position coach and the senior can readily attest to the former Vanderbilt assistant's detailed approach.

"Coach Belin is all about detail. Just the way we start off practice and reacting to his movements," Dent said. "He could move a pinkie and we would have to react to it. He's a real detailed guy and just playing the linebacker position, you've got to be that detailed to be able to follow your keys. If the offense lines up, nobody's moving but the fullback happens to move, that's a false start so you have to be that detailed to be able to do your job."

But as Dent was quick to add, Georgia's new defensive philosophy is all about pursuit.

During the G-Day game, Dent said Grantham showed maybe 10 percent of plays that have actually been installed. Still, the Bulldogs were credited with seven total sacks.

"As soon as we unleash it, it's going to be real exciting to see," Dent said. "When we open up that first game with Coach Grantham and the new coaches, let them get a taste of that first game and that atmosphere … we're going to be so excited to go out between the hedges and play."

Contrary to popular belief, Dent says there's no reason the defense can't pick up the new scheme quicker than some might think.

Granted, there's some terminology that's still somewhat confusing, but with effort, those issues should be corrected by the time preseason camp opens in August.

"Summer workouts have just gotten started so I think if we go into the film room and meeting, things like that, it will obviously help a lot," Dent said. "Right now the seniors are taking on the roles as coaches since they can't be with us, so we're making sure guys are in their playbooks and doing the things they need to. It might take a while to learn the defense but we're going t get the gist of it."

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