It’s sort of tucked away in Seth Emerson’s assessment of what the pre-spring defensive depth chart looks like, but it’s kind of a big deal if Georgia’s going to take steps to improve a so-so performance in opponents’ third down conversion rate:
WILL LINEBACKER (MLB)
Starter: Ramik Wilson, Sr.
Top backup(s): Reggie Carter, Soph.
Don’t forget: Ryne Rankin, Soph., Johnny O’Neal, Soph.
Not here yet: Wilson was a consensus first-team all-SEC pick, blossoming after two seasons of mostly coming off the bench. He could still get a push from Carter, but it’s more likely that Wilson will retain his spot but come off the field in certain situations. So could Herrera. Bostick moved down from safety during last season, when he was redshirting because of a summer injury. His background would indicate that he brings an element of speed that the inside linebacker spot has been missing since Alec Ogletree bolted for the pros…
Not to take anything away from Wilson’s and Herrera’s performances last year, as both were warriors who played the run well, but if there was anything close to a gimme for other team’s offenses it was running patterns that isolated a receiver on whichever Dawg ILB was left in coverage. Pruitt has to find somebody who’s quick enough to stay with a receiver on a crossing pattern and – unlike the case under Grantham – is solid enough to deploy on third down in substitution for one of the starters.
With good reason, reshuffling the deck in the secondary is going to get most of our attention in the spring and in August, but this is something else that bears watching.