This week we have been talking Georgia Bulldogs football and we’ve discussed who starts at quarterback for Georgia this fall as who will step up at wide receiver. Today, we continue our roundtable with a look at the defense….
Here’s the roundtable committee:
BernieDawg- Bernie’s Dawg Blawg
Greg Poole- Bulldawg Illustrated
Senator Blutarsky- Get The Picture
Tyler Dawgden- Georgia Sports Blog
Question: What is your biggest concern about the Georgia Bulldogs defense?
For the second year in a row it’s the secondary. But this spring is nothing, NOTHING, like last year when we were losing guys left and right and hadn’t yet seen firsthand what Pruitt could do coaching up his position group. The bottom line is that I think the defensive line is already vastly improved, even before the five-star defensive tackle gets on campus, the outside linebackers are an embarrassment of riches, and the inside linebackers didn’t seem to lose much this spring even after losing two guys like Herrera and Wilson. So the biggest concern is a secondary that is still filling up the roster and recovering for last season’s attrition. Still, I think guys like Tramel Terry, Reggie Wilkerson, and Malkom Parrish really showed this spring that they’re ready to step up. Having about 20 guys (slight exaggeration, maybe) that can rush the passer effectively will certainly help too. I think Pruitt has shown he can coach this position very well and has a high bar for his guys to rise to. With a lot of freshman d-backs on the way to campus this summer, the message is clear – “Play like I’m telling you to or I’ll find someone that can.”
My biggest concern on defense is the backfield. The front 7 has quality depth and should be solid. Actually, based on Pruitt’s performance with his woefully undermanned DB’s last year, I am not particularly concerned with the defense at all.
Interior run defense. Georgia has to replace a lot of experience on the defensive line and at inside linebacker. And it’s not like last season’s run defense was all that stout at times. You wonder if Pruitt can find that happy balance between having lots of defensive speed, which generally means not having as much defensive mass, and being able to stop power running games.
Depth. We look to have a great group of starters, and I really like the look where we have Floyd, Carter, and Jenkins on the field at the same time, but Pruitt’s best defenses at FSU and Alabama relied on rotation. I think we are one year away from that, unless we have another group of new faces step up and get up to speed. I’m specifically thinking of Jake Ganus, Ledbetter, Trent Thompson, and Natrez Patrick up front, as well as Rico McGraw, Jonathan Abram and Jarvis Wilson in the defensive backfield.
I’m going to side with the good Senator and say the run defense, and specifically the defensive line. In two of Georgia’s three losses, the Dawgs gave up 399 or more yards on the ground. Against Florida, Georgia just simply didn’t have an answer for the Gators running game and this was a Florida offense that was anemic. Georgia loses Mike Thornton, Toby Johnson and Ray Drew off the line. Those guys weren’t stalwarts at stopping the run but they were still better than the next guy on the depth chart and that’s why they were on the field.
Chris Mayes looks like a guy who is going to have an impact on the line but who else will step up remains to be seen. The success or failure of Georgia’s defensive line could come down to two true freshman (Trent Thompson and Jonathan Ledbetter) and that’s a big concern.