Georgia 2013: addition by subtraction?

Here’s how Glenn Guilbeau of Gannett’s Louisiana Newspapers, the only sports writer in the country who picked Georgia No. 1 in the preseason AP poll, explained his vote to the AJ-C‘s Chip Towers:

“Georgia easily could have won it all last year and they return most of their offense and (Aaron) Murray from that team. And I think it’s good that they don’t return that defense. Sometimes it’s better when you don’t return players from a bad unit, you know? So I think that’s a good thing, too. And I just think it might be their turn.  I think that’s what happens; sometimes it’s just a team’s turn.”

I think “bad” is a little strong to describe a defense that finished 32nd nationally in total defense, but I won’t argue that last season’s defense lived up to its potential.  I also don’t know if I buy Guilbeau’s rationale about the departures.  For every thought I have about how disappointing the run defense was over the last four games, I remember Jarvis Jones and wonder if his production can truly be replaced (and don’t answer that question until you first go back and reflect on what he did against Missouri and Florida).  I think about how well Grantham and Georgia have recruited on defense the past three years; then I remember how green this year’s secondary will be when it tries to defense Sammy Watkins and Tajh Boyd.

We’ll have to wait for the empirical evidence to know for sure, of course.  But I think what’s implicit in Guilbeau’s vote is a belief that the offense is good enough to overcome whatever defensive shortcomings may exist, whether early on or for longer.  We’ll have to see about that, too.

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43 Comments

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43 responses to “Georgia 2013: addition by subtraction?

  1. Glen Gulbeau is right. It is definately our turn. It’s time…let’s do this.

  2. Ben

    Valid points, but, seeing as he’s an LSU beat writer, I think the more salient point is not who he put at #1, but that he had Alabama at #2.

    • Go Dawgs!

      Let’s make sure the UGA SID staff gets this guy a really good seat on press row when LSU comes to town. Near a fan and close to the water cooler.

  3. Irishdawg

    You don’t replace a player like Jarvis Jones. Having said that, what you can do is hope you’ve got several players who are almost as good as Jarvis, and rotate them in and out. You can also be thankful that Alabama lost most of that mastodon offensive line to the NFL and hope there is some dropoff there.

    • adam

      Barrett Jones, Chance Warmack, and DJ Fluker all gone. They still return a good tackle in Cyrus Kouandjio, but they lost 3 stellar linemen. That’s going to make a difference. You can’t just replace those 3 guys. They’ll still have a good line, I’m sure. But it can’t be the incredible line it was last year.

  4. Alabama cannot be #1 forever. This is GEORGIA’S year by gosh!

  5. charlottedawg

    I too think Jarvis’s production will be missed and I’m very skeptical of the idea of addition by subtraction. Frankly I don’t understand the logic: unit or player A underachieved relative to expectations so thank god he left for the NFL or graduated because now player or unit B (the guy(s) who weren’t good enough to wrestle the starting job from “underperforming” unit/ player A) can come in and take over and we’ll immediately be better because you know last year’s starter was insert: entitled, coach’s pet, lazy, etc. If Georgia’s defense is better than the 2012 version it will be because the players who were the back ups last year improved from where they were in 2012 not because guys like Jon Jenkins sucked and Rodney and Grantham kept better Defenders on the bench “just because”.

  6. I don’t think Jarvis Jones type production can be replaced but I believe the defense, as a whole, can be considerably better. I also think the saving grace can be that the defense is pretty young which leaves most positions open for competition and that’s good, IMO. Of course, gotta find a way to win the first 2 games. The secondary issues and injuries do concern me, though but I believe we have high quality depth everywhere else. Maybe I’m being too optimistic but I don’t have any other choice at the point.

    • Last year we relied on well timed big plays by Jarvis. This year lets hope our defense is good enough not to require multiple big plays by a special player.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        +1. Remember, Jarvis Jones fell into our laps. Had the USC medical staff certified him fit to play he wouldn’t even have been at Georgia. What would have happened last season without Jarvis and, for that matter, the season before? How good would the D have been then?

        • You miss the other part of the story – no way Jarvis comes to Georgia if Martinez and Jancek were still there when he left USC.

        • Irwin R Fletcher

          In 2005, Georgia had to replace its top passer in Greene, its top two receivers in the wizard of Waycross, Mr. Fred Gibson and Reggie Brown, its starting Kicker, and 3 guys on defense named Pollack, Davis, and Thurman.

          No disrepect to Jarvis, who is one of my all time favorites or any of the other players, but the replacement of the production depends on who is left on the roster…not on who left the roster.

          • BMan

            I don’t think it’s easy to replace someone with Jarvis Jones’ combination of size, speed, power and motor. It can be done, but it’s not easy, and I’m not implying that anyone here has said it will be easy, just to be clear.

            What I think will be missed the most about Jarvis is his ability to defend the read option offense. He could come around the corner and make the QB commit to either handing off or keeping, and then he was quick enough to make a play on whichever option was followed. That’s a rare combination of physical gifts and football intelligence.

            • Carlton Thomas

              Um, Jarvis was pretty slow. Take a look at that UT reverse for a touchdown, he got outrun pretty badly despite having the angle. 7:20 mark right here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjxkQXlCAfE

              “Jarvis was fast” is one of the bigger myths out there.

              • Dboy

                Yes, would be more accurate to say Jarvis was QUICK rather than FAST. There were a few plays last year when he looked slow when making a play required running sideline to sideline. But he was deadly bursting into the backfield.

              • WF dawg

                I may be misremembering, but wasn’t Jarvis also dealing with hammy issues during part of last year? That certainly limited him somewhat. Agree with BMan about Jarvis’ skill in defending the option. He had very good football instincts to disrupt that play.

  7. sniffer

    Highjack Alert….
    “So that you know, nobody at The AJC votes on the AP poll anymore. We stopped back in the early 2000s when schools and sometimes coaches themselves started lobbying us to vote their teams high in an effort to get into the BCS Championship.”

    This is a sobering statement. If it was a problem ten years ago, how bad is it now and what will it be like when a Selection Committee is seated?

    • Governor Milledge

      At some point the newspapers need to re-evaluate their stance. Since the AP hasn’t been a component of the BCS formula for several years, shouldn’t their stance immediately have switched back to being involved with the AP polls?

      Even though the AP Poll is the most distinguished method of crowning a national champ, now that they are theoretically operating outside of the former external BCS pressures, shouldn’t a sports department view it as a dereliction of their roles not to be involved?

      • sniffer

        Governor, my guess is that the AJC would love to be relevent again and part of the NC discussion. The fact that they choose not to be says volumes about the pressure applied to vote a certain way.

        It couldn’t be that they have moral or ethical issues, could it?

        • Governor Milledge

          The columnist claimed it was BCS pressures that caused them to quit participating in the AP Poll.

          The AP Poll was removed as a component for the 2005 season (http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=1951112).

          If there are other additional pressures, shouldn’t the AJC update their rationale as to why they continue to not participate? Or else, logically, they should alter their stance.

    • Big Shock

      I’ll take Seth Emerson and his vote over anyone at the AJC any day of the week.

  8. uglydawg

    IT’s refreshing to see a sports writer who thinks for himself..instead of following the drumbeat that Georgia’s defense is depleated. Even if he’s wrong…and I hope and pray he isn’t….at least he won’t be accused of being a homer.

  9. I read this piece this morning and didn’t think much of it. I agree his use of “bad” to describe the defense was a bit much. It was bad at stopping the run, but good elsewhere. As stated above, let’s hope this iteration of the defense is better overall, even though it won’t have the star power of Jarvis.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      It was bad at stopping the run after the D-linemen were left out there until their tongues were hanging out. Yeah, then it was bad at stopping the run.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        P.S. I might mention that the 3 starting D-linemen all are playing in the NFL now so maybe they weren’t really so bad. Garner was a bad coach–the players were good players. Soooo glad he’s gone.

  10. Rusty

    If the D beats the general expectation and plays well, and the O lives up to the general expectation,,,Whoa, Nellie.

  11. mant

    Let me just say this, T. Martin. Peyton has no MNC ring, T. does. So based on that addition by subtraction. I freaking love UGA’s chances…..

    • I don’t think Tennessee was better with Tee Martin under center as opposed to Peyton Manning. They accomplished more, but Peyton was hardly holding that team back.

      • Biggus Rickus

        They were probably better on defense and in the running game than they were with Peyton, but yeah, imagine that Tennessee team with the best QB in the country instead of Tee Martin.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Nothing against Tee Martin or Peyton Manning but the reason UT won the ’98 BCSNC was luck. Sure, they had a good team but they really were beat twice that season and both times luck intervened to bail ‘em out. The best team in the nation that year was 12-0 Tulane and the BCS suits wouldn’t let them play. They manipulated the rankings because they didn’t want a non-BCS conference team like Tulane as champ.

  12. PTC DAWG

    I always knew them Cajuns were smart. :)

  13. The other Doug

    I could see this years defense being more consistent than last years and finishing 32nd in total defense. That Kentucky game was as bad as the Martinez years.

  14. Our hope is that the depth of players available will make up for the lack of experienced talent. It’s not that the players last year were bad; it’s that there are more players ready to play this year than last. If they lost x starters, hopefully there are x+5 guys that are ready to contribute this year to make up for those losses. If UGA had depth on defense last year, the end of the season may have turned out differently… for the better.

  15. Biggus Rickus

    Relative to the amount of talent, the defense WAS bad last year. When they showed up, they could be nasty, but they rarely did that. I know people have talked about depth being the problem with their run defense, and if they got worse against the run over the course of a game or the season, I think there could be something to that. However, when they were bad against the run, they were bad all day long, start to finish. And it began the first game of the season. It’s pretty much impossible for fans to judge how poor the effort was, but considering a player on the team called them out halfway through the season, we can surmise that it wasn’t great for a lot of the season. I will say that they played better against the run after Kentucky, and the numbers would back it up if they hadn’t played two option teams and the team with the best offensive line in college football.

    • Biggus Dickus

      Not so, Bro. After Sean Jones gave the D a wake-up call post UK the D showed up every game. True, the run D fell apart in the second half of the SECCG but that was only after the coaching staff left the 3 starting down linemen in the game virtually the entire second half until they were totally gassed. That also led to the long TD pass completion for the Tide as the DBs had to play run-first because the D-line wasn’t tackling anybody. That one’s on the coaches, particularly Garner, not the players. The D-line and LBs held their own in the first half against the “best offensive line in college football.”

  16. A lot of things have to fall into place to win a national championship. You have to have a very good team, but you also need to get a few lucky bounces, a few close calls, and have the other team make some timely mistakes. UGA has the very good team, so they will be in position to take advantage if all of the other things mentioned above fall into place.

  17. Raven

    The Dawgs went to the Final Four the year after Nique’ left.

  18. IveyLeaguer

    ["And I think it’s good that they don’t return that defense. Sometimes it’s better when you don’t return players from a bad unit, you know? So I think that’s a good thing, too."]

    I appreciate Guilbeau’s take and have a lots of respect for his insight. As some of you know, I’ve been saying this, and talking about the day when we would finally be able refresh the defense, for more than two years now.

    I think he’s dead on when it comes to this point. How he knows about it is a mystery, unless he has some inside source, because most Georgia fans aren’t aware of it and no media members either, AFAIK.

    Maybe, when you just look at statistics and rankings, it’s not fair to say Georgia’s defense last year was bad, but it sure wasn’t good. But it was bad in my book, because I go the play on the field. Without Jarvis, it would have been much worse.

    So yeah, it’s good that defense doesn’t return. And who knows, maybe Guilbeau reads Get The Picture or the former Leather Helmet Blog.
    ~~~