R. Battle not getting lost in DE shuffle

ATHENS – When you are backing up the two best defensive ends in the SEC there are times when you get lost in the shuffle.

But not Roderick Battle.

After sitting out last season to redshirt, Battle has played in all three games this season. He is Charles Johnson's backup on the depth chart, so that means Battle is getting a little less time than most backups on defense. Johnson was named the SEC's Defensive Player of the week two weeks ago for his performance against South Carolina. Still, Battle is happy to get onto the playing field.

"Everything is going well. There are still some things I need to work on, but it has been fun so far," Battle said. "Playing behind Charles has been a learning experience. Charles put on a show in that South Carolina game. There are a lot of things he did that I feel like I can do."

Coming out of high school Battle was considered one of the top defensive ends in Georgia. He was named the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's and Georgia Sports Writers Association' 2004 AAAAA Defensive Player of the Year. Scout.com ranked Battle as the No. 13 defensive end in America. In his final season at Atlanta's Douglass High School Battle recorded 65 tackles, including 15 sacks and 30 tackles for-a-loss. He also had 25 quarterback pressures, caused ten fumbles and recovered three fumbles.

When Battle was signed by the Bulldogs in February of 2005 he was a package deal with his high school teammate defensive tackle Brandon Sesay. But Sesay never made the grades and never made it to Georgia.

Now Battle is making waves of his own in Athens. He got good pressure on South Carolina quarterback Blake Mitchell two weeks ago. He says he is looking forward to more of the same as this season goes on.

"I am looking forward to getting better as the season goes on and hopefully to making more plays," he said.

Battle said playing in games rather than watching them make him prepare more for the weekend.

"I would say I am more focused than last season," he said. "I know that there is a good chance that I will play, and that's more motivation to get ready to play."

Battle said he is interested in closing plays out from now on, and that he wants desperately to do so.

"Blake Mitchell turned the corner on me and I could not get him. But I have been trying to get to those quarterbacks," he said with a laugh.


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