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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Q&A: DeAngelo Tyson

The 2006 senior class at Statesboro High School produced two current starters on the Georgia football team. You all know about Justin Houston, the SEC sack leader. (Here's today's story on the redshirt junior.)

But there's also DeAngelo Tyson, who has done a yeoman's job this year for the Bulldogs. Much like he did in high school.

When he was a star senior at Statesboro, Tyson was double and tripled a lot, forcing him to “sacrifice” for his team, according to Statesboro High School head coach Steve Pennington. Tyson is sacrificing again in college: As the nose in the Georgia 3-4 defense, it’s his job to help push the pocket, often taking on multiple offensive lineman.

Tyson has started all seven games this year. While he only has 14 tackles, he has been credited with six quarterback pressures, and at Kentucky got his first sack of the season.

We spoke with Tyson after Wednesday’s practice, about his hopes, his desires, his forecast for the mid-term elections … No wait, it was mostly about football:

SE: First, on Justin Houston, your former high school teammate. Did you know even back then that he could do some things on this level?

DT: Yeah Justin is a very talented guy. He listens, he’s very coachable. And as long as you have those attributes to those games, then of course anybody’s gonna be a great player. And I think he’s a great player. I think he’ll be a great one for awhile, as long as he keeps learning, and keeps getting good coaching.

SE: You all played on the same line in high school, but did you make your decisions independent of each other?

DT: Justin, me and him have been knowing each other for awhile now. It’s just like a best friend, you didn’t want to leave your best friend to go somewhere else. Of course Georgia’s a good school, and I did take my options that I had with visiting schools. But Georgia was a good one, because I liked it here, and he was here.

SE: So Justin committed first.

DT: Yes.

SE: What were your other options?

DT: I could’ve gone to Florida. Some SEC schools.

SE: So what is this Florida game like for you?

DT: It’s gonna be a very intense game. Everybody’s focused. We want to go out there and win, and we’re just gonna have to keep preparing, as we’re supposed to, if we want to go out there and win.

SE: We spent a lot of time the other day talking to Aaron Murray (who’s from Tampa) on why he didn’t pick Florida. What about you?

DT: I just wanted to stay close to home. I’m from Georgia, and Georgia was in Georgia. I had friends coming up here. I didn’t really want to go anywhere I didn’t know anybody. I wanted to meet new people, but I also wanted to feel comfortable.

SE: In the preseason, we heard a lot about you cross-training, and playing some end. Have you done any of that, or pretty much been at the nose?

DT: Basically, we really haven’t been running that base set (with Tyson at the end). Because of what the offense gives us. But I have played at end a little bit, and I did do a pretty good job, of going out there and doing what the team needs us to do to win.

SE: How do you think your adjustment to the nose has gone?

DT: It’s going very good. I’m getting a lot of coaching from coach G. And he’s a good coach, and I just take what he gives me, and run with it.

SE: You ever feel like you get swallowed up in there, some double-teams, and even some triple-teams?

DT: Yeah all the time. But it’s all about a fighting attitude, down in the trenches.

SE: Do you feel you all on the line deserve some of the credit for all those sacks? You’ve got to push that pocket to allow Justin and the other edge rushers to get outside.

DT: Yeah, we’ve been doing what we’re supposed to be doing, being conscientious about rush lanes against everybody. That’s one of the key things that you have to do, and try to get a sack in pushing the pocket. It’s mainly a team effort. One guy can’t be doing just one thing. You’ve gotta have to keep contain, and push the pocket.

SE: In run defense, you all went from the South Carolina game to now being No. 1 in the SEC in run defense. What changed?

DT: Everything was new to us. We had to get a feel for it. Coach Richt always said our defense was gonna get better as the season goes on. We thought the same thing, and we just stuck with the attitude that we’re going to get better and we have to get better. And I think that’s what we’re doing right now.”

SE: Is that what happened with the team in general, after the 1-4 start?

DT: Yeah. Didn’t nobody want to be a 1-4 team. So we had to come out of the hole somehow. And we’ve got to stay our of the hole, going into this weekend.

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