ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia has a more veteran team than it did a year ago. And with that means more leadership from the top.
Two such players who are embracing that type of role on the team this season include linebacker Reggie Carter and safety Dominick Sanders, both of whom are seniors. And they understand the impact that they have on those younger than them on the roster.
“It’s big, because we’re going to need those guys,” Carter said. “We’re going to need them at some point this year. By teaching them, mentoring them and keeping them ready? They’ll be prepared to play when their name is called.”
Carter, for instance, says he has told the freshmen on the team that they’re welcome in his room at any time during the fall camp to help create a closer bond with them.
With Sanders, it’s much of the same way. As a veteran he recalls what it was like to go through a fall camp for the first time and knows that it can be a difficult adjustment to make with no prior experience in it.
“A lot of the young guys are kind of mentally destroyed,” Sanders said. “They’re looking at the playbook as a lot. But as a bigger brother and a leader, I had to tell those guys that you’ve just got to focus on your position and not look at it as a lot right now.”
Smart called out the secondary in particular this week for its performance so far in fall camp, particularly in the direction of the young and inexperienced players behind the veteran starters this week. And Sanders is trying to do his part to help them through it.
“It’s just having everybody giving 100 percent effort on and off the field,” Sanders said. “But right now, it’s about focusing on your position and helping the young guys out.”
Georgia’s projected starting secondary, a largely returning group, is expected to have a veteran presence. Davis, a safety, is a fifth-year senior, while safety Dominick Sanders and cornerback Malkom Parrish also are seniors. Cornerback Deandre Baker is a junior.
Of the Bulldogs’ 25 enrollees in their 2017 signing class, seven alone are defensive backs. Richard LeCounte, Deangelo Gibbs, Tray Bishop, William Poole, Ameer Speed, Latavious Brini and Eric Stokes all enrolled as a part of the class.
Carter and Sanders are a part of a defense that returns 10 starters from last season, all of whom are either seniors or juniors.
(You can follow Dan Mathews on Twitter @DanMathewsATL)
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