Edwards, Carey Will Start

The two tightest position battles of the preseason have been settled for Saturday's opener at Georgia Tech. Senior Mahlon Carey has won the starting strong safety spot, while junior Larry Edwards is now the starting strong side linebacker.

"They won the job," head coach John Bunting said Tuesday. "They earned the position through their play and through training camp."

Carey, who has amassed 149 tackles and two interceptions in his two seasons on defense, beat out sophomore Trimane Goddard. Edwards got the nod over senior Jeff Longhany (124 career tackles) after proving that last season spent in Bunting's doghouse for reporting out of shape was a thing of the past. He had a terrific freshman season (89 tackles) and saw a sophomore dropoff (38 tackles), though he did earn ACC honors for his first start of the season against NC State (8 tackles, a fumble recovery and a 54-yard interception return).

"I can't tell you how proud I am of both of them, and I'm real hopeful that they'll have success," Bunting said. "They have really put their nose to the grindstone in terms of learning what to do and focusing on the right keys and reads and responding in a way that makes us successful.

"They're both competing against players who we were projecting as the starter, Jeff Longhany and Trimane Goddard. Both of them are great kids, and that's why they will keep playing. But those other two have won the starting jobs for right now. And once again, they weren't starters last year. So it's a tribute to them."

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