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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...

I think the time learning defensive techniques will pay off in spades for Bean. He has 1st team all SEC potential, you can never have enough offensive lineman at Georgia. Better have some guys gunning for tackle too, just an injury or two away from starting there also. O-Line is the key to the season. If they dominate, you're looking at maybe winning the SEC East. If they have another year like last year, giving up 23 sacks, and finishing 10th in SEC rushing, turn out the lights.

Anonymous said...

The offensive guard battles will be something to watch this Spring. Need to find a solid 4 at that position.

Anonymous said...

Anderson was scouted as a superior run blocker, top 16 OL in the country, which is what's needed for Crowell to do some damage. Passblocking should be secondary this season, shouldn't throw more than 15-20x a game.

Anonymous said...

Bean will be the frontrunner for starting gaurd. This is his last chance, 2011, so he'll bring it. Just hope he stays healthy. Needs to play a lot smarter, his body is his tool set.

bhdawg said...

Bean told me at liberty bowl practice that he wanted back on the OL. Its his last year and he wants to show the NFL what he can do. I m pulling hard for him.

Anonymous said...

Hey Seth,
How about some scoop on this:

Anonymous said...

Justin a heckuva Lineman, feel sorry for the DL's that try and push this dude back. Whew, 6'5'', 345, he's a hoss. Then again, South Carolina's D-Line is filled with 1st SEC Team DL's, so they'll be happy to try and throw Anderson aside.

Seth Emerson said...

Dash, the short answer is no. The long answer is he can apply for a sixth year after next year, but the only way he gets it is if somehow it's determined he redshirted in 2007 for medical reasons - or something other than playing time - and that's not the case, as far as anyone knows. Hence his quotes about this being his final year.

Anonymous said...

Hope the guy can run block through a wet paper bag ! Our line has been terrible the last few years.

Anonymous said...

Under new coach Will Friend, from amazing University of Alabama Birmingham powerhouse, won't matter who tries to play offense, the coach ain't much better or experienced than the players.

Anonymous said...

$10 says UAB could beat GT's mickey mouse team

Anonymous said...

Will Friend's O-Line, will continue the decline and get worse.

Anonymous said...

Photos a reach? Go look at some photos at other players in the SEC like Bama, Auburn and SC and you cant tell a difference? A picture is worth a thousand words. Guess we just disagree but fair enough its only been three months into the new strength program.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but Dull Gray is a Big Difference than Bright Silver.... just saying.... and Im color blind.

Anonymous said...

Hey Seth...I too have noticed that Coach Richt has put on a few lbs.