Dent Happy to Get Physical

ATHENS – His senior year in high school, Akeem Dent made 140 tackles. Dent looked at it as 140 opportunities to hit someone.

The sophomore from Atlanta is a throwback. He loves playing linebacker because he loves everything the position entails – speed, aggression and a desire to play physical.

So when coaches approached him with plans to move him to the middle linebacker spot in hopes of being better prepared to stop the spread offense, it simply made his job a bit more fun.

"Just a little," Dent said with a grin. "You're still getting signals from coaches, but there's more running, there's more moving in transition."

Dent will be part of a linebacker rotation that will see him split time with Darryl Gamble at the strong-side linebacker and rotate to the middle in other sets. His versatility has two important affects on the Bulldogs' defense – he'll be better prepared for those teams that run the spread, like rival Florida, and he adds depth to a linebacking corps that lost Charles White for the season last week.

"Working at Mike, right now it's just an on-going process," Dent said. "I feel I've become more comfortable at the position and learned a lot more about it."

The move to the middle puts him behind Dannell Ellerbe, the Bulldogs' All-SEC linebacker, on the depth chart, but that's not a concern for Dent.

Ellerbe has been Dent's role model, and he said the entire defense feeds off Ellerbe's energy. That's something Dent wants to emulate when he does get on the field, no matter where that might be.

"I just want to go out and get better," Dent said. "If I'm not playing, and I just play special teams, I just want to go out and do my job."

As long as that job lets him put a hurting on the opponent from time to time.

"As long as I get to hit somebody," Dent said, "that's all."

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