Minter to take on Johnson

ATHENS — Georgia junior DeMario Minter expects to draw the formidable assignment of covering Calvin Johnson this week.

Johnson is Georgia Tech's leading wide receiver and the probable ACC Rookie of the Year, but Minter isn't approaching Saturday's 3:30 p.m. game any differently than he has the No. 8 Bulldogs' first 10 of the season.

That's the lesson he learned in his first two seasons in Athens -- approach every week the same as the next.

"The first two years, I didn't know what it took to play at the level I'm playing at now," said Minter, who will be starting his 12th straight game at cornerback when the Bulldogs play the Yellow Jackets.

Minter's first year as a starter has been harder than he expected, he said.

"It's a lot more time-consuming," he said.

It's that time that Minter has spent, in the weight room and in film room and on the practice field that has gotten him into, and kept him in, the starting lineup, secondary coach Willie Martinez said.

"He's been a player who has put in a lot of time off the field in preparation," Martinez said. "What has happened is he has matured."

Minter played 12 games at cornerback as a freshman before being moved to safety as a sophomore. He had a hard time getting playing time there and also struggled with injuries.

"He lost a lot of reps and a lot of confidence," Martinez said.

He has gotten that confidence back this season. Minter was expected to be the weak link in Georgia's secondary across from the more veteran Tim Jennings, but he has played as well, and, at times, better, than Jennings. Minter is sixth on the team with 40 tackles and second on the team with five pass breakups.

"When the play has gone to him, usually he has made plays," Martinez said. "He's just been a consistent player."

Minter is drawing the assignment on Johnson as much for his size as for his consistent play. At six feet, he's four inches taller than Jennings.

"That's the only reason for it," Minter said. "(Johnson) is good. I think it's going to be fun. He's a freshman, but he looks like a senior."

The good news about defending Johnson is Minter will get plenty of chances to erase a blemish on his resume. In 34 career games, he doesn't have an interception.

"I think about it every week," he said. "Every week, I say this is going to be the week. It doesn't happen, so the next week here it comes again, this is my week."


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