Taylor on the road back

ATHENS – Last spring Georgia's starting linebackers took a hit when Tony Taylor went down with a torn ACL in the Bulldogs' spring game.

Taylor's injury meant he would spend the 2004 season on the sideline for the first time since arriving in Athens. As a freshman, Taylor contributed to Georgia's 2002 SEC Championship team. In 2003 Taylor was a starting outside linebacker for the Dawgs. 2004 was indeed different for him. He spent the spring and summer rehabilitating. And in the fall he could be nothing more than a spectator.

"It was hard watching everyone out there play," he said. "I wanted to be out there with my guys playing along side them."

Taylor never got that chance in 2004 and now Odell Thurman is going pro. But he did make an impact on the team by playing on the Bulldogs' scout defense.

"You see a lot of guys on the scout defense and they would rather be in the two-deep playing on Saturdays," said Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt. "But that went away when Tony started practicing with that unit. You could tell the level on intensity jumped when he arrived."

Tony Taylor will likely return to Georgia's starting linebacker rotation in the spring, but his playing time will be cut into because of talented sophomores and freshmen competing for time. Defensive Coordinator Brian VanGorder gives another reason that he might have to compete for more playing time in the spring.

"He might be at nose guard if he keeps eating," said VanGorder with a smile on his face.

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