Count me in the group that thinks Georgia’s linebacking corps is an obvious team strength. (Seth Emerson lays out what he calls the team’s ice cream here.) Some of my optimism is based on improved coaching in that I believe Pruitt is going to do a better job of deploying the talent than Grantham did – I doubt we see Floyd dropping back in coverage very much and I’ll be shocked if Herrera and Wilson are on the field together in obvious passing situations nearly as often as they were last season – but most is due to having all four starters back. Experience, talent and better coaching is a nice formula for quality play.
And here’s some context for you to digest. South Carolina is making noises about shifting from the 4-2-5 scheme it’s run as its base for several years to some version of the 3-4 (per Lorenzo Ward, “At the end of the season I would be shocked if we didn’t play two-to-one 3-4 to 4-2-5…”) because the strength of the defense is at the linebacking position. And that strength is reckoned as top five in the conference by SB Nation’s SEC bloggers.
They rank Georgia second, three spots ahead, and a hair’s breadth behind what’s been the conference standard, Alabama. I’ll gladly take that.
Let’s just hope And The Valley Shook hasn’t delivered a 2014 epitaph for them: “This is a deep, talented unit surrounded by, unfortunately, the rest of the Georgia defense.”