ATHENS, Ga. — There is a responsibility that comes with being a Geathers. Members of the family are not just born to the role, although everyone in the family seems to be big and tall these days, built like a football player.
No, they have to do something with that endowed talent, as Kwame Geathers knows well.
Finally, after nearly a year-and-a-half at Georgia, he may get the chance to show what he truly can do.
Geathers, a reserve defensive tackle, received an increase in playing time last week at Colorado. And with Georgia set to face a bruising tackle in Tennessee’s Tauren Poole, Geathers could receive more action today.
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But any increase in snaps won’t be just because of matchups.
“It’s a little bit of him progressing, too,” Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said. “I think it’s a combination of both.”
Five weeks ago, Geathers watched from the sideline as South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore gashed the Georgia defensive line. Back then, the 6-foot-6, 326-pound Geathers wasn’t used because he was not a part of the team’s nickel and dime packages.
In the base package of a 3-4 defense, the responsibility of a nose tackle is mainly to try to beat the center on the line and get ready for the run. The nickel and dime packages involve more pass rushing and gap responsibilities.
“There’s a lot more you have to know,” Geathers said.
Geathers redshirted his first season at Georgia, after being the latest in his family to play college football.
His older brother, Robert Jr., played at Georgia from 2000-03 and now starts for the Cincinnati Bengals. His father, Robert Sr., played at South Carolina State and was drafted by the Buffalo Bills.
His uncle, James “Jumpy” Geathers, had 62 sacks in 183 NFL games and played in two Super Bowls. And four cousins either have played or are playing on the FBS level. A fifth cousin, Carlton, will be a freshman on the South Carolina men’s basketball team this year.
“We challenge each other,” Jumpy Geathers said earlier this year. “You have to outdo each other. And you want to be the first to do this, to do that. You just can’t sit around and say, ‘OK, I play football; I play basketball.’ ”
Kwame Geathers said he talks to his older brother about every other day and sometimes more. Robert Geathers’ best advice? To keep his head up and just keep working hard.
Grantham should know a pro when he sees one, having spent the past 11 years coaching in the NFL. Most of that time was spent coaching the defensive line.
“I think he’s a guy that he’s got to continue to work hard,” Grantham said of Kwame Geathers. “It’s very competitive up there. And if he works hard, I think he can achieve whatever goals he wants to achieve. But it’s how much he develops and actually plays the game the way it should be played.”