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Friday, June 26, 2009

Health, Opportunity Elude Dewberry

As frustrating as 2008 was for so many Bulldogs, few had more frustrating seasons than Darius Dewberry.

Fall camp began amid controversy. His season started with a suspension. His return was barely a blip on the radar and playing time was hard to find. When things finally began to click into place -- including a two-tackle, one-interception game against Vandy -- a shoulder injury cropped up and cost him the rest of the season.

After missing all of spring practice, Dewberry is finally feeling better and, while a healthy start to fall practice isn't a sure thing, he's hoping to make the most of his senior season.

"I'm doing pretty good," Dewberry said. "I think I'm pretty healthy right now. I'm still rehabbing my shoulder a little bit, but I think it's going pretty well. I'm definitely getting a lot stronger."

Dewberry is hoping that he'll be cleared to go at full speed when fall practice begins in August, but playing time may still be an issue.

After missing so much of last season, Dewberry was shuffled toward the bottom of the depth chart. With an influx of incoming freshmen at the position, a return to health of injured veterans like Marcus Washington and Akeem Hebron, the emergence last season of Akeem Dent and Darryl Gamble and the quick transition for Nick Williams after moving from safety, there's a crowd of Bulldogs hoping to crack the lineup at linebacker this fall.

The solution may be a position change for Dewberry, who has long been rumored as a candidate to play defensive end.

"Yeah, they've talked with me about it and I think I'll get some snaps there next season," Dewberry said.

During spring practice, both Gamble and Washington were used as stand-up rushers at defensive end, and while both are expected to get reps there in the fall, Dewberry's size and strength make him a natural fit at the position.

"There's not really that big of a transition from linebacker to d-end. They are really similar. I think I'll play both position next year like Marcus and Darryl."

1 comment:

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