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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dawgs to Watch No. 6: Kade Weston

In two years playing at Georgia, Kade Weston has made 32 tackles, 6.5 for a loss, and racked up two sacks. At 320 pounds, he's a beat at defensive tackle. He has appeared in every game for the past two seasons.

Yet one thing has eluded Weston thus far the role of starter.

Weston did start five games last season, and he is usually mentioned in the same breath with fellow interior linemen Jeff Owens and Geno Atkins in terms of their value to the defensive line, but when it comes to the depth chart, he's a notch lower.

"I don't see them pushing me out of the limelight as the two starters," Weston said of Atkins and Owens. "Coach knows what's best, but every day I work hard just like I'm a starter and come out to play. When the starters come out, we don't want no slack nowhere."

That's a mentality garnered through two years of battle-tested experience.

Georgia's defensive line rotates players early and often, and the extra reps both in practice and on game day have made the defensive tackle spot one of the most experienced on the team.

"We definitely do have a lot of experience because we've got four guys in the rotation, and we all played a quality amount of snaps last year," Weston said. "We still just working like we're young, and we're competing for the spot."

More than simply gaining experience, the heavy rotation keeps players fresh and keeps their heads in the game. Weston may be a backup, he said, but that's really just a figure of speech.

"Starter is just a name because there are some games I end up playing as much as Jeff played." Weston said. "At the end of the game, we're all right there in reps. If you're rollin', we'll let you roll."

Weston hopes to be rolling often this season, along with the talented crew of defensive tackles he's fighting for playing time. Whether he is in the game on the first snap or the last, his goal remains the same.

"I see myself as the same as everybody else," Weston said, "playing big, being a playmaker."

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