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Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring primer: Justin "Bean" Anderson

Justin Anderson would have a right to feel he’s been shifted around too much. Instead, the man known around the Georgia football team as “Bean” feels relieved.

He’s back on offense, or as he puts it, “back where I belong.” More importantly, he has a chance to finish his career as a starter.

Anderson looked to have a promising career on the offensive line in 2008, when he started seven games as a redshirt freshman, and appeared in five other games. He was a freshman all-SEC pick by the coaches, and made several other all-freshman teams.

The next year, he appeared in every game and made five starts. But by the end of the year his starting spot seemed taken, and entering 2010 Anderson seemed out of the mix.

So when Georgia coaches approached him about switching to the other side of the ball, he was open to it. The Bulldogs had switched to a 3-4 defense, creating the need for a big, physical nose guard, and the 6-foot-5, 330-pound Anderson at least had the ideal build.

“We needed a nose tackle,” Anderson said. “I felt that I could be suited for that position. And so did the coaches.”

He thought it was the right move at the time.

“Then I went and got hurt,” Anderson said. “I took that as my symbol that this isn’t what I (was supposed to do).”

He missed most of spring drills, then was sidelined for the season after an early case of turf toe. The move to defense was officially a bust. He hardly even learned the defense.

The coaches were already thinking of moving Anderson back to offense, where there were no longer five cemented starting spots. Once nose tackle prospect John Jenkins signed in February, that seemed to push it over the top.

Anderson’s eagerness to move back was evident to head coach Mark Richt last month, after new offensive line coach Will Friend was hired. When Friend was set to meet with his new players, Anderson jumped in the meeting.

“He was trying to give us the hint,” Richt said. “Coach Friend took one look at him and said, ‘I’ll take him.’”

Now Anderson has a real chance to compete for a job at one of the guard spots, which was opened by the shift of Cordy Glenn to tackle. Kenarious Gates, a freshman last year, has the inside track at one of the other spots. If Friend wants veteran experience at the other spot, Anderson fits the bill.

“When I got hurt I said: this is my last year, I probably need to go back to what I’m used to doing,” he said. “Because I still wasn’t up to par on all the techniques and stuff on defense. I was getting better at it. But I still wasn’t as good as I needed to be. So being back on the offensive line is probably best for me and this team.”


Anonymous said...

Hey Seth,

Was Anderson able to take a redshirt on last season since he didn't play?

Seth Emerson said...

No, he was not able to take a redshirt. He redshirted his freshman year, 2007, and not for medical reasons.

Dash said...

So... Any chance he gets a medical hardship for last season? I'm not sure how that works, or if its possible after you redshirt.

Dawgaholic said...

Medical hardships are only available if the original redshirt year was for medical reasons. (Tavares King or Trinton Sturdivant would be eligible.) Just being eligible for a medical hardhship still does not guarantee it though.