With Justin Anderson no longer in the mix at nose, it's now up to DeAngelo Tyson, Kwame Geathers and possibly Abry Jones to carry the load at the position for the rest of the year.
Wednesday, head coach Mark Richt announced that Anderson's turf toe will require surgery which will cause him to miss the rest of the year.
Anderson had already sat out games against South Carolina and Arkansas, leaving Tyson to take the majority of the snaps at nose on a defensive line still trying establish itself from a physical point of view.
According to defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, he's been pleased with the way Tyson has held up to the grind, although the time may be coming for Geathers to start playing more of a role.
"I'm ready if that's what Coach wants me to do," Geathers said. "I'm pretty comfortable out there, but there is more I need to learn."
Last week, Geathers received only three snaps against Arkansas but had one tackle for a loss of almost 2 yards.
Tyson said Geathers continues to make strides.
"He's working hard," Tyson said. "He's still a young guy, but he's getting better every day."
As for Jones, playing nose is an entirely new and different position for him to play.
Although he received some looks at the spot back in the spring, the sophomore admits his head was spinning when he played the position for the first time in a game Saturday against the Razorbacks.
"That's not really what I want to do, but circumstances came up, so I do what they need me to do," Jones said Wednesday. "I didn't play nose at all in high school, but I did get a few reps in the spring, so there was a little familiar ground. But it still wasn't easy."
"Just trying to figure out what the offenses might be doing, what I need to do to make a play," Jones explained. "There were a lot of thoughts racing through my head."
Grantham feels improvements are being made, although Jones said the defensive line still needs to do a better job of asserting itself from a physical standpoint.
Jones concedes he and the rest of the defensive line were handled pretty easily two weeks ago at South Carolina.
"We've got to learn to be more aggressive," Jones said. "The game starts and ends with the guys up front. We've got to take more responsibility for our jobs, put it on our shoulders to do our best because everything on defense starts with us."
Grantham said he's been pleased with the effort.
"Those guys are continuing to work hard and I think they'll come," Grantham said. "I think those guys played the run better last week and showed up so I think now it's just a matter of doing it week in and week out. If you're consistent then the things you're talking about will show up."
Jones agreed with what Grantham had to say.
"We just need to keep building on our strengths," Jones said. "We've got some weaknesses, but we've got some great coaches who are working on correcting those. As the weeks go by we'll keep on improving."
So, what are those strengths?
"Our strength is we've got some big bodies on the defensive line and every one of us can move," Jones said. "That's definitely one of the strengths."
But there is also a weakness.
One of the problems teams often face learning a defense for the first time is being able to play full speed right away due to lingering questions regarding the scheme in live game situations.
"Sometimes I think we try to be ready more than attack sometimes," Jones said. "After the South Carolina games, that's something we've tried to work out. We're more in the attacking phase now. It's just a matter of playing more aggressive. That's what we're trying to do."
"We just need to be more physical and more disciplined," he said. "Basically, we've got to play hard every down."
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