Let Me See Your Stance

The advantage Kwame Geathers holds in the battle to start at nose tackle began in his uncle's yard at an early age.

ATHENS – Kwame Geathers doesn't ever expect a friendly hello when he sees his uncle Jumpy.

For Jumpy Geathers, it's all football, all the time. And when he sees Kwame, a sophomore nose tackle at Georgia, he wants to see progress.

‘Let me see your stance,' first thing," Kwame smiles as he recalls his uncle's customary greeting. "It's not even ‘Hey, how are you doing?' It's, ‘Get down in your stance. Let me see it. When are you coming by the house and getting to work in the yard with me,' or something like that."

Jumpy played 12 seasons in the NFL, a 6-7 mountain of a man known for picking up blockers and carrying them on his way to the quarterback. Jumpy's brother Robert, Kwame's father, played defensive line at South Carolina State. Kwame's two older brothers, Robert Jr. and Clifton, currently play in the League.

"With my brothers, it's a little bit different," Kwame, 6-6, 350 pounds, said. "I mean, they're still playing. They tell me to keep working every day and just try to give me little pointers. My uncle? He's so hyped and ready to get after it."

Jumpy's obsession with Kwame's stance is advantageous. Kwame is currently the No. 1 nose tackle, ahead of highly touted junior college transfer John Jenkins. Kwame's stance, which leads to his explosion off the ball and keeping his pad level low, is one reason he's held on to the starting job.

"It doesn't surprise me," Jenkins said. "You've got to think about it, Kwame has been here for a while. I'm still learning."

That's true—Geathers has been in the program for three years now. His freshman year he was out of shape. Last season he was often injured. But the last eight or nine months have seen Geathers at full health and full strength.

And as one source puts it, "all the attention and hype Jenkins got when he signed in February really pissed Kwame off."

"The day we signed Jenkins, I think most of us coaches would have said Jenkins would probably be the guy," coach Mark Richt said. "But after spring ball, I think we knew that Kwame wasn't going to just lay down and let somebody take his job."

Kwame won the defensive MVP award in spring. He didn't miss a beat this summer. And he's been the starter all through fall camp. With Jenkins missing time with a strained hamstring, Geathers figures to be a lock to start the season opener.

"In our mind we're ready to go, but I'm just saying every day you've got to keep working," he said. "You can't let any days go past. We're out there every day to get better."

Kwame says he wants to be more than a starter.

"I come out here to work every day, so in my head, yes I want to be an impact player," he said.

And how does one become an impact player from the nose position?

"Come out, be aggressive, don't take any plays off," he answers.

"It's difficult," he continues. "It's tough, you know, when you've got two guys about your weight coming at you and one guy posts you and the other guy comes to slam your hips."

This is the grind of the nose tackle—nothing short of devastation, mass chaos needed for at times subtle spoils. If Geathers does his job correctly, most often other players will make the tackles.

"He makes everybody else's job so much easier by eating up blockers," defensive end Abry Jones said.

The defensive line isn't for weak hearted-types. And Kwame comes from a long line of men adept at disrupting what offenses want to do. Jumpy, who lives in Andrews, S.C., and the rest of the family have been preparing Kwame for this essentially since his birth.

"Oh yes, he always wants to test you," Kwame said of Jumpy. "I barely go out there because I'm always (in Athens). I barely get to go out there and work with him, but my cousin will be out there every day. (Jumpy) will be playing o-line and he'll be trying to get off (the line) and everything."

"He definitely is a big part of their family and is in the middle of their discussions about football, whether it's technique or whether it's recruiting," Richt said. "He's very close to the boys. You look at Jumpy, you look at the dad, you look at Kwame, Clifton and Junior. We had Junior. All those guys are NFL players, and Kwame's going to get his chance, too."

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