One less candidate at nose tackle: Taylor moves to end

semerson@macon.comMarch 29, 2013 

ATHENS - Entering spring practice, John Taylor was considered one of the favorites to be Georgia's new starter at nose tackle. Well, never mind, at least for now.

Taylor confirmed after Friday's practice that he was now an end, and he's been practicing strictly at end this spring.

"Coaches thought it was the best fit for me. We've got a lot of nose guards coming in, and we've gotta move some people outside," Taylor said. "Coach said he'd move me inside for some plays."

That makes Taylor easily the team's biggest defensive end: The 6-foot-4 Taylor is listed at 335 pounds, and while he said he's now between 325-330, that's still well more than starter Garrison Smith (297 pounds), whom Taylor is behind on the depth chart.

Taylor said it's been a bigger adjustment mentally, having expected to compete to start at nose tackle. Comfort-wise, he said he feels fine at end, and he thinks it fits his skill set.

"I'm pretty excited because I can go out and make some plays, do a little one-on-one pass rushing," Taylor said.

Mike Thornton, who has stayed at nose tackle, acted as if Taylor could move back eventually.

"They just want him to be able to learn that so we can all be able to play along the line," Thornton said. "He needs to be able to learn everything just in case somebody goes down, God forbid, or we've got a situation where we need a big guy on the end."

One of the other defensive ends, Sterling Bailey, said Taylor had done a good job so far.

"Being able to transition over to end and playing at that weight, and just being able to move off some of the pressure that we have, he's showing the coaches that he can play end," Bailey said.

So with Taylor (for now) out of the picture, what's the depth chart at nose tackle? Thornton continues to get most of the first-team reps, according to teammates and Thornton himself. And junior college transfer Chris Mayes is getting the most second-team reps, according to Thornton. John Atkins, a prep school transfer, is also getting reps there.

Junior college transfer Toby Johnson arrives this summer, but he's recovering from an ACL injury.

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