The Bulldogs defense has been stellar thus far this season and although John Atkins may not be a leading tackler on the team, his role has been extremely important.
As the Bulldogs nose guard, Atkins does not accumulate stats like linebackers or defensive backs, but the dirty work that he does helps make this defense so effective. Atkins highlighted that his biggest role is gap responsibility and how well he does his job here makes a huge difference in the outcome of many plays, especially running plays.
“Gap responsibility. If I’m in the wrong gap and he hits that gap, then that’s on me so I feel like it’s more of gap responsibility,” said Atkins. “The dirty work to start it off, it’s kinda like I take on two maybe three blockers at times like to free up linebackers.”
Atkins ability to take up these blockers allows other players on the defense like inside linebackers Natrez Patrick, Reggie Carter, and Roquan Smith to get to the ball carrier and make tackles. When describing how he was able to play out his role and what he has to do, Atkins continuously mentioned that he has to be gap responsible otherwise it could lead to a huge play.
Atkins may not get a statistic for how gap responsible he remains or how many blockers he is able to take up on a given play, but if he continues to play his role out as well as he has this season, then the defense should continue to have the same amount of success that they have had so far.
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