Chris Wilson brings new philosophy to UGA D-line

Georgia’s new defensive line coach Chris Wilson is bringing a different philosophy to the position.

The former Mississippi State defensive coordinator and Oklahoma linebacker believes in getting a lot of players into the mix. And that’s not just during practice. Wilson said he intends to rotate defensive linemen liberally — “at least six or seven, preferably more” — during games this season.

“At the end of the day, you’re a lot more efficient playing 40 snaps than you are playing 60 snaps,” said Wilson, who succeeded Georgia’s longtime line coach, Rodney Garner, in January. “In this day and age of hurry-up offenses and (fast) tempo, to tell a guy to play full speed for 85 snaps, that’s not fair and it’s not realistic. So we’ve got to have detailed roles for guys when we put our game plan together.”

In part because of a lack of depth, the Bulldogs didn’t alternate much last season. Only eight defensive linemen appeared in games last season, and that shrank to seven when defensive end Abry Jones was lost for the season midway through the schedule.

In the SEC Championship game loss to Alabama, six lineman played, but the majority of the snaps went to four players — John Jenkins, Kwame Geathers, Garrison Smith and Cornelius Washington. The Crimson Tide rushed for 350 yards and overall had 512 in the game.

“That’s coach Wilson’s goal, to have us fresh so we won’t have to take 100 snaps a game,” said Smith, who led Georgia’s defensive linemen with 57 tackles last season.

Wilson’s philosophical differences extend beyond the number of snaps played. He’s also less inclined to designate a player for a certain position. Again, some of that may be dictated this season by the available personnel available — there are no 360-pound nose guards such as Geathers and Jenkins — but Wilson said he plans to move players around on the line.

“They’re interchangeable,” Wilson said. “That’s the beauty of our system, and it’s the beauty of the guys we’ve been able to recruit. When you have that, when you’re multiple, it really makes you hard to scheme against. That’s something we want to focus on throughout the season, not just the first game.”

Etc.: Georgia got its second day off of preseason practice Tuesday. Coach Mark Richt wanted the players to have the day to concentrate on academics as fall semester began. … Fans Picture Day will be held Saturday from 1-5 p.m. at Sanford Stadium. All UGA teams will be in attendance, but football players will be available for autographs the last two hours. Special ticket coupons, which are required for access to the location for Uga IX and Richt, will be distributed at 8 a.m. to the first 150 fans at East End ticket windows on East Campus Road.

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