ATHENS - Ray Drew spent much of his freshman season waiting to play. He may have been a five-star recruit, but the presence of two elite outside linebackers blocked his path for most of the season.
Now Drew is working at a new position, defensive end. Although that's not quite the whole story. He's also preparing to play some interior defensive line, as well as edge rush at outside linebacker ... or even quarterback. (He was joking about that. Probably.)
In this interview, held after Wednesday's spring practice, Drew talks about how many eggs he eats for breakfast, why being versatile will hopefully get him prepared for a pro career, and why he hopes his new position coach will make him a lot of money someday.
Q: Coach Richt was saying that you may actually be getting too big to go back to linebacker. Is that about right?
Drew: As of right now yeah I could see that. I've actually been trying to put on weight. I can eat but I don't really put on any weight. I've been around the same weight area for awhile.
Q: What is that?
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Drew: About 269, 270. ... I've been around that same area for the last month and a half, two months. But it's nothing to do with my diet. I start off every day with breakfast of a half-dozen eggs. It's nothing I'm doing as far as eating-wise, I guess I just have a high metabolism. I'll keep working on that, trying to eat a lot of protein, I need to put on more weight because I know that I'm gonna be playing down there. So I know I'll need more weight behind me for when I go against guards and tackle that are 300-plus pounds.
Q: We here so much about how those outside linebacker and end spots can be interchangable. What's the difference between what you're doing now and what you were doing last fall?
Drew: There's not too much of a difference. The five-technique in the base defense, when I'm on the inside, is pretty much the same as a nine-technique. It's just that a nine-technique has a little bit more room to work. When I'm on the inside, you have to be more power-driven, being able to work on your hands real well, more hand placement, being able to knock down the offensive tackle or guard's hands off you in order to be able to make the play. Whereas the outside (linebacker or end) you can be a little more finesse with what you're doing, maybe a spin move here or there, things like that.
Q: Do you consider yourself a defensive end, or does it matter yet?
Drew: Uh ... I label myself as a player. Whether it be defensive end, outside linebacker or quarterback. (Laughs). I just want to be on the field. But as far as that label itself, I could say defensive end. (Laughs.) Yeah, I could.
Q: (Asked by different reporter coming in late about his weight)
Drew: Well when I first I was 245, 250. Then when I first got here I put on about 10-15 pounds, so I played about 260, 265. Now I'm up around 270-ish.
Q: Where do they want you to get?
Drew: Before I leave here as a senior, the projected amount right now is about 285-290.
Q: That's an NFL-type defensive end, that's what they're trying to get you to?
Drew: Yes sir. And if I could get to that type of weight, get my speed as well - everyone has dreams and aspirations of the NFL - and that would open you up to not only the 3-4 teams but the 4-3 teams as well. You can be looked at on both sides, a defensive end in a three-techcnique, or five-technie. (Demarcus) Dobbs (the former Georgia DE) is a great testament to that. He's with ... (thinking) ..
Q: The 49ers, right?
Drew: Yup. The coaches love him because he can play the seven, the five, the nose. He's very versatile. When it comes down to it, if you're choosing between guys on the defensive line and you've got a guy that can play all the postions, versus a guy that can play the five or the seven, then it's up to a point where you have to cut someone, you're gonna choose the guy that's (more versatile). So it gives you an opportunity in that aspect.
Q: The most fundamental change now is you're working with coach Garner now, rather than coach Grantham?
Drew: Yes sir.
Q: What's that like, a dramatic change?
Drew: Not so much. Coach Garner's a great guy, and coach Grantham's a great guy. (Coach Garner is) a heck of a coach. He has a lot of talent. He's produced a lot of people. He knows what he's doing. He can look at what you're doing, tell you what you're doing wrong, tell you what you need to do to correct it as well. I said earlier, Richard Seymour was a defensive end here, and he put on some weight when he got here and he didn't really want to move inside at first, and now he's the highest-paid defensive linemen in the NFL. So anyone that can make me that much money and help me to help myself to get that much money, let's put it that way, I'm willing to do whatever they say.