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Changes aplenty for spring drills

ATHENS, Ga. – It's an NFL approach that has been trickling down to the college level.

Alec Ogletree is the newest addition to Kirk Olivadotti's inside linebacking corps.

Nick Saban does it. So did Urban Meyer

And Georgia’s defense under Todd Grantham is now doing the same thing. He's ranking all of his players based on overall ability and shuffling players accordingly.

“We just got done, basically, doing that,” Grantham said Thursday. “You’ve got to find a way to get your best players on the field and allow them to make plays. That’s why we’ve made some of the changes that we’ve made.”

The Bulldogs plan to tinker with a few position changes once spring practice begins next Thursday, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.

Here’s a look at a few of UGA’s pending moves …

ALEC OGLETREE
(SAFETY TO INSIDE LINEBACKER)
Last year’s true freshman contributor at safety is now an inside linebacker, according to Grantham. Ogletree will be at the “Mo” spot opposite Christian Robinson, who is now full-time at “Mike,” the role of signal-caller that Akeem Dent played last season.

Said Grantham of Ogletree: “I think he can be a unique player at that position.”

“He’s a tall guy. He’s got good size. He can run. He can hit. He’s physical,” Grantham said. “I felt like moving him closer to the ball is going to allow him to make more plays and be productive for us. It was really a little bit of a work in progress. I wanted him to buy into it, because I think it gives us some flexibility with our defense with some pressures, and it allows him to run and hit and be productive.”

From now on, Cordy Glenn is a full-time offensive tackle for the Dogs.

As for the safety position that Ogletree is vacating: “This is a good opportunity for Jakar (Hamilton) and Shawn (Williams) to see what they can do,” Grantham said. “Plus, we have Marc Deas also. Those guys are going to get their opportunity in the spring to show us what they can do in the system.”

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JARVIS JONES
(WEAK-SIDE TO STRONG-SIDE LINEBACKER)

Grantham actually practiced Jones, the touted transfer from USC who is now eligible to play in 2011, at inside linebacker before the Liberty Bowl.

But no, Jones will now start out as the strong-side outside linebacker (where Darryl Gamble played), swapping from his planned starting spot of Justin Houston’s old weak-side position. In addition, Ogletree’s move is expected to keep Jones on the outside for good, with no more swapping in the works.

“I think it will free up Jarvis to really be aggressive,” Grantham said. “He gives us flexibility because he can cover tight ends, he can cover backs. That will be something we can add to what we do. … (Along with Ogletree) we’ve moved two guys that can make plays closer to the ball and kind of get them around the action a little bit more. I’m excited about it.”

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CORDY GLENN
(OFFENSIVE GUARD TO OFFENSIVE TACKLE)

This move had been previously reported, but what is significant now is that it’s no longer an experiment. It’s for keeps.

Mark Richt was clear Thursday in saying, “I don’t think Cordy will be anything but a tackle.”

So expect Glenn to be the right tackle in 2011 with Trinton Sturdivant at left tackle.

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CORNELIUS WASHINGTON
(STRONG-SIDE TO WEAK-SIDE LINEBACKER)

Washington has flipped sides with Jones and will now start out at Houston’s old hybrid spot as a pass-rusher. Ray Drew will also start out at this spot when he arrives in the fall.

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DeANGELO TYSON
(NOSE TACKLE TO DEFENSIVE END)

This one was finalized (and reported) as soon as JUCO target John Jenkins signed with UGA a few days after National Signing Day in February.

“Tyson has done enough at nose that if we ever needed to put him at nose, we could. … So we’re going to play him primarily at end in the spring,” Grantham said.

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JUSTIN ANDERSON
(NOSE TACKLE TO OFFENSIVE GUARD)

In a move long expected, Anderson is now back on the offensive line after a year at nose tackle. He never got much of a chance on the defensive side of the ball because of season-ending toe surgery last September. As a senior, Anderson will be in the mix at guard.

On defense, the moves leaves Kwame Geathers as the most seasoned nose tackle prior to Jenkins’ arrival in the fall.

“I will say I’ve been pleased with Kwame Geathers in the offseason,” Grantham said. “I think he’s busted his tail, and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can do in the spring. … He’s worked hard. He’s older. He’s mature. He’s changed his body a little bit. He’s gotten stronger, and as he’s added weight, he’s decreased his body fat. I’ve seen him work really hard.”

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BRANDON BURROWS
(DEFENSIVE END TO INSIDE LINEBACKER)

Burrows, a redshirt freshman, is listed as a defensive end on UGA’s roster. He will, however, practice this spring at the “Mike” inside linebacker behind Robinson, according to Grantham.

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*** In addition to the position changes, Grantham confirmed Thursday that Dexter Morant (shoulder) and T.J. Stripling (knee) will not participate in spring practice while recovering from season-ending injuries.

“They won’t practice in the spring,” Grantham said. “I’ve been really pleased with their rehab and what they’ve been doing. Both of them have turned the corner a little bit. It will be important for those guys to continue to rehab, learn in the meeting and obviously be ready to go in August."

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