October 30, 2008

New position pleases Evans

Junior Bryan Evans sees his switch to free safety as an opportunity to start his career anew.

One of the fastest players on the Bulldogs, Evans started the first five games at wide corner, but struggled at times in coverage, most notably against Vanderbilt when he was the beaten for both Commodore touchdowns in Georgia's 24-14 win.

It's a subject the Jacksonville native would still just as soon not relive. But thanks to his recent position change, Evans feels his future is a bright one.

"I think the switch benefits me," said Evans, who is now the top backup at the position to starter Reshad Jones. "It will help me to know what's going on around the field a lot more and also help me make plays."

In other words, Evans says it's much easier to watch a play develop when everything is right there in front of you instead of when you're trying to stay on the hip of a receiver attempting to beat you deep on a skinny post.

"I think that could possibly be an advantage to me because I can see where the ball is being thrown. Instead of running with somebody I can freelance a little bit," he said. "When you're at wide corner, you're actually just looking at your man and you can't see the field. At free safety, you can see the field. When you see the field you can kind of put the pieces together and make plays."

Evans said he's not sure what happened during the Vanderbilt game when he was beaten for both of the Commodores' touchdowns.

"A lot of times I felt I was in good position but just couldn't make the play," he said. "Especially that second one. I thought I was in very good position, but he still caught the ball."

Evans said Jones and strong safety C.J. Byrd have already given him some valuable advice.

"Both those guys tell me to just trust your eyes," he said. "There's a lot of pulling with the tackles that goes on, and like this week against Florida, Tim Tebow might look like he's running then pull back up and throw. You've just got to trust your eyes."

Despite having never played safety in high school, Evans said he did not hesitate to make the move when he was approached by defensive coordinator Willie Martinez.

Contrary to popular belief, Evans is actually one of the better tacklers in the Georgia secondary, and with 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash, has the ability to converge quickly and stop receivers from gaining additional yardage after the catch.

Saturday's 52-38 win over LSU was the first time Evans had ever played the position in a game.

"I had been practicing over there every once in a while just in case somebody got hurt," Evans said. "I would basically be out there if they (the offense) were in an empty set and we were playing a Cover-2. I'd just be out there deep, while Reshad would go up on one of the bigger tight ends. I found out that it's pretty fun after I started doing it."

Evans has also received some advice from an unlikely source - Tennessee safety Eric Berry.

According to Evans, the two on-the-field rivals are actually very good friends and talk often throughout the year.

"I told him about what was going on with me and he said it would probably benefit my situation," Evans said. "He told me I'd be able to use my speed in open areas and that by itself will help me make plays. I hope that's going to be the outcome."

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