January 21, 2010

Jones, Tyson curious about new roles

Georgia players will learn a lot more about their new defensive coordinator when Todd Grantham addresses his new charges for the first time Friday morning.

Until then, defensive tackles Abry Jones and DeAngelo Tyson will continue to wonder how they will respectively fit into the Bulldogs' new 3-4 scheme.

Whatever happens, Jones said the idea of switching to a new defense appeals to the players he's spoken with.

"I think it appeals to most guys because most everyone has aspirations of playing on the next level. I guess having having been an NFL coach he (Grantham) knows the 3-4 scheme pretty well, and that's what you see in the NFL on Sundays," Jones said. "Playing that defense in college could put us ahead just a little bit, so that could help us out in the long run."

But where might they play?

In the 3-4 defense the nose guard plays an integral role. Although neither Jones nor Tyson have played nose guard before, both players believe they could adjust to the position just fine.

Jones weighs 290 and Tyson 295, which on paper, would seem the perfect size to play the spot in Grantham's scheme. Grantham's former nose guard at Dallas - former Auburn standout and current All-Pro Jay Ratliff, is listed at 295.

In other words, to play nose guard in Grantham's scheme, the nose guard is required to be just as athletic - if not more so - than the two tackles who line up beside him.

Tyson said he would welcome the opportunity.

"I think I could be the one in the middle," Tyson said. "If I am, I guarantee you I'd work hard to learn it, and play it to the best of my ability."

Neither player believes they would need to put on much weight - if any - to make the transformation work.

"I know when a lot of people think of the nose guard, they think you have to be a big space eater," Jones said. "If I had to gain some weight, I'm pretty sure I could and keep my athletic ability. It shouldn't be much of a problem."

Tyson feels he would just need to get stronger.

"I'd just need to do that," he said. "I don't want to get too big so I can't move, but I can definitely get stronger so that's what I'm going to try and do."

Whatever happens, both players say they're looking forward to the change.

According to Jones, he's watched numerous NFL teams run the defense with considerable success and believes it will translate well to Sanford Stadium come fall.

"The 3-4 scheme, when see it on TV, seems like it a dominant defense, a defense that gets numbers around the ball, makes plays for your team. The way they talk about it is very appealing and it seems like you do a lot of blitzing; that's always fun," Jones said. "It might be a little transition, but should also be fun to get into."

Jones said he watched with admiration as Alabama used Nick Saban's version of the 3-4 to wreak havoc on opposing offenses, particularly the job the Tide did against Florida in the SEC Championship game.

In fact, it got him to thinking - why couldn't the Bulldogs enjoy similar success?

"Alabama was great on defense. You watch them run to the ball, causing all those turnovers, it looks like it's (the 3-4) a great defense," Jones said. "I'm seeing Alabama run that defense against the same teams we play and having so much success. It kind of makes you feel like you can have the same success they can."

Tyson agreed with what Jones had to say.

"I'm very anxious to learn it," he said. "We have good athletes on this team. It should work out just fine."

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