Georgia Defensive Coordinator Mel Tucker – “Strong Up The Middle”
Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker discussed a number of subjects, including key returning defenders up the middle.
University of Georgia head coach Kirby Smart made his two coordinators available to the press, for most likely the only time this season, before Fan Day on Saturday.
Georgia defensive coordinator Mel Tucker discussed a number of subjects, including key returning defenders up the middle. Georgia finished fourth in the conference in total defense last year, second in passing defense (183.3 yards per game) and fourth in rushing defense, allowing 143.7 yards per game. With 11 out of the teams top 12 tacklers returning, the Dawgs are expected to have a dominant 2017. Following are several of Tucker’s remarks:
On John Atkins in the nose guard position
“You want to be very strong up the middle, just like baseball, so you have to be strong at the defensive tackle, inside linebacker and safety. You have to be stout and John is an anchor for us in the middle. He doesn’t get a lot of credit, he’s not going to be flashy. As long as he’s consistent and he can anchor in the middle for us, that’s what we need him to do.”
On Trenton Thompson emerging as a leader
“Trenton is a lead by example guy. He brings a tremendous amount of energy to the field. He is very, very destructive and runs to the ball. He is very consistent in that matter. When you have guys that lead by example, that really shows the way for the other guys.”
On Dominick Sanders fighting injury throughout last season
“Dom is doing well. He’s one of our leaders. He’s very consistent. He plays fast and practices hard. He is very attentive in the meetings. He is a good guy to be around. It’s a privilege to coach guys like that because he brings a type of energy and passion to the game that energizes me as a coach. I want to bring it every day for him, to help him get better. Injuries are a part of the game. At some point in time everyone is going to be a little nicked up, but he is a very tough guy and he is going to push through and do whatever he can for this football team.”
On Roquan Smith’s impact on the defense
“Roquan has come a long way. He is playing really, really fast right now. He’s showing outstanding leadership for us. He’s playing with a lot of confidence and he’s a guy that see a lot of plays in the run game as a blitzer and in coverage. I like his ability to be an all-around player. He loves football. He’s a student of the game. He’s a good leader for us and he has high character. He’s a guy that’s going to lead the way for us and we’re going to need him to be consistent. I except him to do that.”