Opportunities come in many different ways.
So, while junior Marcus Dowtin certainly takes no pleasure in Akeem Dent's recent foot injury, his absence does open the door for the junior to re-establish himself as a key member of the linebacker corps.
"It's a great opportunity but I still have to work hard," Dowtin said. "I've got to keep on studying, keep on learning and hopefully good things will happen."
Arguably Georgia's most physically imposing linebacker, Dowtin also has the reputation for being one of the defense's hardest hitters, after a sophomore season which saw him finish third on the team in tackles with 57.
Yes, Dowtin flourished in Georgia's former 4-3 alignment, but when new defensive coordinator Todd Grantham brought in the 3-4, something changed.
Suddenly, Dowtin said he wasn't able to pick up the new scheme as quickly as some of his teammates, and when spring practice was over, he found himself second on the depth chart at the Moe position behind Christian Robinson.
But with Dent gone for at least a month, Bulldog coaches decided to slide Robinson back over to Mike which allowed Dowtin to slide back up into Moe.
"At the beginning, we got a lot thrown at us so fast and I was not able to slow it down," Dowtin explained. "We'd be getting plays installed every day, but it really wasn't until after the spring that I was able to sit down and look at everything. That's given me a chance to analyze and break it down, and so far since we've been out there, everything has come a lot easier."
Dowtin said there's a good reason that's been the case.
Not that he didn't work hard in the past, but the Maryland native said he made it a point to not only work on his fundamentals and technique, but also spent an inordinate of time in the film room to learn and memorize plays.
"I did a lot of work in the summertime, learning the plays and stuff like that," he said. "The repetition and getting out there with the rest of the team helped refresh my memory."
He also credited new position coach Warren Belin, whom Dowtin admitted stayed patient him through what was somewhat of a bum spring.
"Coach Belin is a great coach, both on and off the field," Dowtin said. "He stayed real patient with me, as far as working with the aggressiveness that I try to carry out onto the field. He's helped me with my fundamentals so I can make the plays I need to make. He's taught me how to be in the right spot at the right time. Hopefully, I'm going to have a great year."
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