Duking it out at outside linebacker

I know that it’s dangerous to parse every little development in fall camp – especially early fall camp – but I can’t tell you how much pleasure I take from this bit of news:

… I asked Todd Grantham where the hottest battles for starting jobs are being waged on defense, and the first one he mentioned was a bit of a surprise:

“Outside linebacker. You got [Darryl] Gamble and [Cornelius] Washington. I’ve been pleased with both those guys’ progress. Both of those guys have improved.”

Justin Houston is entrenched at one OLB spot, and Washington came out of spring practice a solid No. 1 at the other. But Gamble, who moved from inside linebacker to outside in the final week of spring, “has had an excellent camp,” Grantham said. “And literally Cornelius has improved the last couple of days. So we’ll see how those guys go when we start playing.”

If you’d have told me in the spring that this would have developed, I would have laughed.  Healthy competition means less complacency (note the “Cornelius has improved the last couple of days” comment).  More importantly, it also means better depth – in this case, at a crucial area that desperately needs it this season.

Yeah, this could all turn out to be a bunch of smoke being blown up our butts.  We’ll see when things get going in a month.  But for the moment, I’ll just smile, thanks.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Duking it out at outside linebacker

  1. Bulldog Bry

    I was wondering if anyone else noticed. I thought Washington’s name was set in stone. I’m glad he’s being pushed and even more happy that we’re not doomed if Houston or Washington have to come out.

    If, that is, this is not just smoke being blown up our Kiffin.

  2. ChicagoDawg

    One of the things that has separated UF from the rest of the pack over the last 20 years is the depth, but not just in sense that they can fill injury gaps. That is an obvious benefit. The top 20-25 players for UGA vs. UF have been largely on par. However, that next set of 20-25 players is what pushes the first set. That continuous push of competition drives urgency and accountability, which is all important as the starter knows he can be fired at any time.

    So, anytime you see camp “battles” going at positions where you have elite athletes in the mix (i.e. C. Washington), that can only be a good thing.

  3. do not resuscitate

    Great news. As stated, we need some healthy competition at what could be the most important position on the defense this year.

    Also, I get the impression that Grantham doesn’t do too much smoke blowing, but like you said I guess we’ll have to wait and see.