Jackson loves the middle

ATHENS - If Jarvis Jackson gets his way, Georgia's coaching staff will have to make some tough decisions when Tony Taylor returns from injury.

Jarvis Jackson, a junior who has started three games at weakside linebacker this year, will take over as the Bulldogs' starting middle linebacker while Taylor recovers from a strained elbow ligament. At 208 pounds, Jackson is 30 pounds lighter than Taylor, but he still would rather play in the middle than outside, he said.

"Hopefully, I'll hold it down the rest of the season," he said. "I'm definitely not the size for it, but it's just the spot I'm used to playing. I like to run and hit."

Jackson started two games at middle linebacker last season during Odell Thurman's suspension.

"He think that's his most natural position," Coach Mark Richt said. "He likes (the middle) the best. His body type you wouldn't draw up for a (middle linebacker), but he lays the wood probably better than any of our linebackers"

Taylor started 12 games at weakside linebacker in 2003 before sitting out 2004 due to injury. He started the first five games of this season in the middle but was hurt against Tennessee. He is expected to miss at least the next two games and possibly return for the Oct. 29 Florida game.

Linebackers coach John Jancek said he won't rule out Jackson staying in the middle.

"Anything is possible," he said. "It's just a matter of the best combination."

Jancek also said Mary Persons graduate Jamario Smith will be the backup strongside linebacker behind Brandon Miller this week. Smith can expect about 5-10 snaps per game in that position, he said. Due to injury, the Bulldogs will have just seven linebackers for this game.

"We might have the only kickoff team in the country that doesn't have any linebackers running down there," Richt said. "We just don't have enough bodies.

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