A 3-4? What Does that Mean for Georgia?

ATHENS – Georgia's hiring of Todd Grantham means more than one change in the defense.

It is expected that Grantham, who is well known for deploying a three-four defensive scheme, will do so in Athens. In that defense one nose guard rather than two defensive tackles occupy the middle of the defensive line.

This probable change in alignment raises some questions:

Which player is most likely to be Georgia's starting nose guard?

As it stands right now probably DeAngelo Tyson, who will be a junior this fall. But keep an eye on two big bodies: Kwame Geathers and current offensive lineman A.J. Harmon. In terms of recruiting and the 2010 class, Jeff Whitaker is the prototypical nose guard in the 3-4. He is also uncommitted and interested in Georgia. Whitaker suddenly becomes a huge recruiting commodity to the Dawgs

What about on the outside of the defensive line in a 3-4?

This might be the best year to move from a 4-3 to a 3-4. The departure of five scholarship defensive tackles means Georgia will have to move some younger players into bigger roles. Perhaps no player on the team is physically equipped to be on the outside in a 3-4 like Abry Jones. A former defensive tackle, Jones, like many Georgia defensive linemen is in-between a true defensive tackle and defensive end in a 4-3. But he's perfect for the outside in a 3-4 – throw Garrison Smith in that mix as well.

What happens with Georgia's defensive ends? I thought they were pretty good?

They are pretty good, and now they will get even more chances to run around on the field. In terms of athleticism, I'm not sure you will find better than defensive end than Cornelius Washington. He may be the player who benefits most from the move, but Justin Houston could do well, too. In the 2010 class T.J. Stripling is the player who best fits the 3-4 perfectly.

In a 3-4 defense the linebackers are going to be asked to make plays and tackles… right?

Yes, this will be the area I'd watch the most. Marcus Dowtin and Nick Williams are the most athletic of that bunch, but Akeem Dent and Darryl Gamble will have a slightly different role now, too. Expect to see the 3-4 take advantage of those linebackers who have playmaking abilities. The nose guard is so critical, as he must occupy two players on the front line. That, in turn, allows the linebackers to run freely and make tackles and plays.

What is the most important position in the 3-4?

In my view the most important spot is at nose guard. Georgia needs to find one or two true nose guards. If they can find that or even develop a couple from the players already on the roster the defense will be noticeably better fast. But they could struggle if the nose guard they need does not appear immediately.

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