What Lies Beneath

Depth at inside linebacker isn't a problem for Georgia – but there are some younger players at the position trying to make their move.

ATHENS – With four players with starting experience at inside linebacker, depth isn't a concern.

Alec Ogletree, Mike Gilliard, Christian Robinson and Amarlo Herrera started four games or more in 2011, leaving few snaps for others at the position.

So what's the answer for underclassmen Ramik Wilson and Brandon Burrows? Versatility.

Wilson, a sophomore from Tampa Fla., plays outside linebacker in the base defense and is training at inside linebacker when the team plays in the nickel.

"Wherever I can help the team at and try to compete for a starting job," he said. "I fit both of them well. I feel comfortable at both."

Wilson played in eight games last season, making two tackles on two occasions. Burrows, meanwhile, is still waiting to see time in his first game due to injuries during his career. The redshirt sophomore was recovering from a knee injury his first season on campus and had surgery for chronic shoulder instability in August last year.

"I definitely wanted to be out there, but I was just kind of vicariously living it through (teammates) because they were all so excited," Burrows said of not being able to play in the SEC Championship game last December. "I was happy to be with them, happy for them. It was a fun experience even though I couldn't be out there with them."

He's working at the ‘Mike' inside linebacker position in the base defense and what is termed the ‘Mack' in the nickel.

(Note: The ‘Mack' customarily stays away from tight ends and covers tailbacks on third down.)

"He's getting snaps out there," Gilliard said of Burrows. "Every day he's wondering, asking questions. He asks me questions. I'm trying to help him out as much as I can. He's getting better each and every day."

While some of this seems inconsequential for next season, there is reason for Wilson and Burrows to be ready.

With outside linebackers Cornelius Washington and Ray Drew training at defensive end, the option to play others on the outside has became a practical way to get the best players on the field and to find advantageous matchups.

"I feel like with our inside linebackers we have some versatile guys," Gilliard said. "I'm actually excited. I feel like Alec, Amarlo, me – we could play inside or outside with Cornelius and Ray moving around. I feel like we're all versatile and we could play either one."

This is what the spring is for – experimenting and experiencing. For Burrows and Wilson, all the moving around is making them more of a commodity for defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. In one game or even for one play in the future it could pay off.

"Those guys are learning quick," outside linebacker Jarvis Jones said. "I mean they're making plays out there. They know what we're doing. It's going to be fun because they're out there doing it and (Grantham) is putting them in the right positions and they're out there experiencing it."

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