Spring Practice Countdown: Defensive tackles

Each year spring practice is the best indication of the depth, starters, and players at each position on the team. Even with Georgia's personnel losses due to graduation and the NFL, the Bulldogs are strong at many positions, and defensive tackle is one of them. Like the rest of the defensive line, it is one of the strengths of the Bulldogs going into this spring. Two could-be All-SEC returning starters return to help bolster an already veteran interior defensive line.

Defensive Tackle:

2004 Starter: Kedric Golston (20 career starts, 72 total tackles, 2 sacks, 3 recovered fumbles)

Golston returns to Athens for his final season. After three years of playing tons of minutes in Athens, Golston might finally be recognized as an All-SEC player this summer. Golston's work ethic has been tremendous – especially considering he had a metal rod in his leg his freshman season. Junior Marquis Elmore (0 career starts, 5 total tackles) enters this spring at the bottom of the depth chart. Elmore has played two seasons in Athens, but has only five total tackles to show for it. Injuries have been a burden for him the last two years, but now he must step up and make progress towards starting in 2006. Ray Gant (4 career starts, 47 total tackles, 1 sacks, 17 quarterback pressures), who is returning from injury, is Golston's backup; he's followed by Richard Cook (0 career starts, 3 total tackles) – a player listed as a defensive end for the Outback Bowl.

Nose Guard:

2004 Starter: Gerald Anderson (20 career starts, 113 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, 21 quarterback pressures)

Anderson, like Golston, returns to Athens for one final year. Anderson, too, might be selected as an All-SEC performer this summer. He never seems to get the credit for slowing or stuffing opposing running games, but without Anderson the Bulldogs would struggle. Darrius Swain (4 career starts, 85 total tackles, 10 quarterback pressures), also a senior, returns as Anderson's back up. Swain seems to have gotten his act together on the field and appears to be a solid backup for 2005. Dale Dixson (0 career starts, 4 total tackles) is the third string nose guard. He's been dealing with injuries (will be a junior and has played in only eight games as a Dawg) and might have to carry the load some in 2006 when Anderson and Swain leave. Getting production from him this spring should make coaches happy.

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