ATHENS, Ga. — Considering that one year ago he was a 245-pound fullback who had to build strength and weight to become a surprise impact player at defensive tackle, David Pollack is reacting to another position change with understandable apprehension.
Pollack has moved to defensive end for Georgia's spring football drills. The speed and quickness that made Pollack so effective at defensive tackle last season helped convince coaches that he could help fill a big void at end this year.
Lost from the 2001 team are ends Charles Grant, Bruce Adrine, Terin Smith and Josh Mallard. Each of the four had starting experience. The heavy losses leave Pollack and Nic Clemons as the top players at the "Buck'' defensive end. Sophomores Will Thompson and Robert Geathers as the top candidates at the "Rush'' end.
"I came in as a fullback and went to defensive tackle,'' Pollack said with a smile Monday. "I figure I can play four positions in four years.''
Added Pollack of the move: "It didn't matter to me. They needed me to make the move. It's supposed to be big team, little me, so I was willing to do it.''
Pollack is wary of making end his full-time home because he was becoming more comfortable at defensive tackle. Playing in 10 games with four starts, Pollack finished his freshman season with 37 tackles, nine quarterback pressures, two quarterback sacks and one caused fumble.
Pollack, from Shiloh High School, was an All-Southeastern Conference Freshman pick by the SEC Coaches, The Sporting News and the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Now Pollack feels he is starting over.
"I guess it works to my strengths and weaknesses,'' said Pollack of the move to end. "I was a better athlete (than some other defensive tackles) inside, and I'm an average athlete outside.''
Late last season, Georgia coaches moved Johnathan Sullivan at end, clearing the way for Pollack to start at tackle. This spring, Sullivan has moved back to tackle. Making the adjustment to end more difficult for Pollack have been hamstring and knee injuries.
"We're used to seeing his motor going 100 miles per hour every day,'' said Coach Mark Richt. "I don't think he's full strength. ... It's tough to tell (how Pollack is adjusting).''
Pollack admits he is still accepting the idea that he is a defensive end.
"I think I'm better inside, but maybe if I keep working hard I'll be better outside,'' he said. "Whether I stay (at end) or not, I think it will make me a better player.''
Pollack at least knows this much: While one year ago he chose number 47 to help keep alive the option of playing at fullback, he now knows his future is on defense.
"I think I've found my home on the defensive line,'' he said.
Now it's just a matter of picking the right spot on the line.
NOTES: Richt said Monday that safety Cap Burnett's attempt to revive his career has ended. Burnett, whose 2001 season ended due to a frequency of concussions, suffered yet another concussion in last Saturday's first scrimmage of the spring. The concussion was not serious, but Richt said team doctors and Burnett's family were convinced that the senior should end his playing career.
Richt said Burnett will remain on scholarship and serve as a student-coach.
Concerned about the lack of intensity in some of last week's practices, Richt was more encouraged by what he called a "pretty good'' practice in full pads Monday. "It was a little more intense than on Thursday, but we're still not quite there,'' Richt said.
Richt said tight end Ben Watson, linebacker Tony Gilbert and Sullivan — "when he decides to do it'' — have enjoyed strong starts to spring practice. Richt said Watson "has the capability to be as good as anybody in the United States of America.''
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