Smith Will Play Anywhere

ATHENS - Senior Garrison Smith isn't nearly the biggest defensive lineman in college football, but that won't stop him from taking on the nose tackle position.

Smith has primarily played at defensive end in his previous seasons at Georgia, but now he's being asked to play more snaps at nose tackle. He played more downs at that position during the Dawgs' loss at Clemson, and said he'll play wherever his coaches ask him to.

"I enjoy just playing on the line," Smith said. "You have to be a man in the trenches."

What does Smith consider being a man, and what does being a man have in common with being a dominant nose tackle? For Smith, it means being the primary force on every defensive down.

"It's a different kind of animal down there; definitely at nose, but I like challenges," Smith said. "It takes a real strong person to be down there, but I like the challenge so I'm going to do it to the best of my abilities."

Looking at recent Georgia nose tackles like John Jenkins and Kwame Geathers, Smith doesn't fit the position's typical physical profile. Smith willingly admits that, and if asked about it he'll give one of his consistently-entertaining responses. Smith says there's a big difference between he and Jenkins and Geathers physically, as well as all other nose tackles who've played at Georgia in recent history.

"It feels real different. I'm not the size of a double wide trailer like John Jenkins and Geathers," Smith said. "I'm like a dually truck and they're like 18-wheelers or freight liners. There's a difference between our sizes, but I'm doing the best I can."

Smith isn't the only player to note his unique physical stature in comparison to former nose tackles. It's hard not to notice. Jenkins outweighed Smith by 52 pounds while Geathers outweighed him by 56. Linebacker Jordan Jenkins says that difference will help Georgia be more explosive on its defensive line.

"That's definitely something interesting," Jenkins said. "I feel like he's definitely a great enough athlete where he can play any spot on the line. That'll definitely be good because he's a lot quicker than John was last year, so he'll definitely help us out on some of these rushes this week."

Along with his quickness, Jenkins says Smith has that never quit attitude that allows him to dominate wherever he's asked to play.

"He's a guy that doesn't like to lose," Jenkins said. "He's an aggressive type of guy and he's going to keep fighting out no matter what. Even if he's getting triple-teamed he's going to make sure he wins that."

Though Jenkins wasn't noted as saying Smith could play any position outside the defensive line, Smith says he'd drop back in coverage if he had to. There was a hint of humor in his tone, however. Nonetheless, the self confidence Smith has about his abilities as a defender are undeniable.

"I moved around in camp so I was used to it [nose tackle]," Smith said. "It's the coaches' jobs to make sure you can do everything and play your position on defense. I can even play linebacker too. I'll be working on that next."

Smith just wants to be on the field helping his teammates. It really doesn't matter to him where he's at.

"I never complain," Smith said. "I'm just happy being able to contribute."

Defensive line coach Chris Wilson says Smith will play anywhere he asks him to, but his responsibilities at nose tackle wouldn't be much different than the ones he's had before.

"A shade's a shade and that's all it is," Wilson said. "I always say you've got 11 X's out there and at the end of the day you just try to put guys in the best positions to create match ups."

As far as Georgia's upcoming matchup with South Carolina, it will be a crucial one for Smith and the fellow members of his senior class. That class has yet to defeat South Carolina in its time at Georgia. Smith personally can't recall a time he's been satisfied with his play against the Gamecocks, but he desperately wants to change that on Saturday.

"No particular memories. Just bad memories," Smith said. "Every game is important. We just want to do the best we can."

Smith just wants his team to win, which is what Wilson likes most about the defensive leader.

"At the end of the result we base everything on winning, so that's what it comes to," Wilson said. "That's the part Garrison really puts more emphasis on than anything else and that's what I enjoy about him and that's what's made him a leader for us."

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