ATHENS — Tyler Clark represents the old warhorse on the Georgia football defense, a durable 6-foot-3, 300-pound lineman who just keeps coming back for more.
Clark, a starter on the defensive front each of the past two seasons, has played 41 games in his career and is ready for more and better this season.
“I feel great, I’m healthier, I’m stronger and I’m faster,” said Clark, a product of Americus, Ga. “We have everybody coming back (on the D-Line), and we’re ready.”
Clark and his fellow senior defensive linemen certainly have heard the talk that their unit is one of the most concerning on the team.
There are no apparent first-round NFL Draft picks or senior dominators, and Clark admits he didn’t make the progress last season that he should have.
“I didn’t do as well as I thought, or as well as I could,” Clark said. “I started feeling myself too much, and it got in my head. But I’m going to be back this year.”
The fact Clark came out to talk to the media and own up to his lackluster junior season was telling. Apparently, all it took was letting him know the media wanted to hear from him during his autograph session at FanDay.
Clark gives the impression of a team-first guy who is eager to please the fans and his coaches, to the point of playing through several painful ailments.
Indeed, Clark said the training room has been a big part of his regiment and staying durable enough to answer the bell for the Bulldogs week-in and week-out.
“It’s been pretty tough playing in the SEC, and when I come out of the games, of course there will be bumps and bruises,” Clark said. “I go in the cold tub, I get the hammers, I get rolled out, stretched and massaged every Sunday.”
And then Clark comes back for more, working against one of the best offensive lines in the country to sharpen his skills.
“It feels like a Saturday in Athens going against that O-Line in practice,” Clark said. “But it’s the only O-Line we’ll face like that.”
Clark would know, he’s seen them all, and now he’s ready for a strong finish his senior season.