I’m not doing the regular version this week because… well, mainly because I don’t feel like doing it.
Instead, I think it’s worth taking a look at this Marc Weiszer article, because I think it identifies Georgia’s biggest problem on defense right now.
First, some telling stats.
The Bulldogs, No. 5 nationally last season in total defense, rank in the bottom half of the Southeastern Conference in every major statistical category.
Georgia is eighth in pass defense (212.3 yards per game), ninth in total defense (373.8) and pass efficiency defense (125.4), 10th in rushing defense (161.5) and scoring defense (24.2 points per game) and 12th in sacks (1.7 per game)…
Georgia’s defense has given up 14 plays of 30 or more yards so far this season. Tennessee is the only other team in the SEC to have given up that many, according to CFBstats.com…
Georgia gave up 232 yards rushing to a South Carolina team was content to move the ball via the ground game after building a 21-0 lead. The Bulldogs have slid from 11th nationally against the run last season to 68th this year. They are giving up nearly 100 more total yards per game than last season’s 277.2 average…
Next, a couple of Spurrier observations:
“We didn’t do anything special for Georgia,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. “We called our protections and went and played. Of course, we didn’t attempt a whole bunch of passes after we got that big lead.”
Spurrier said redshirt freshman offensive tackle Brandon Shell did a good job blocking Jones.
“He pushed him past the quarterback,” Spurrier said. “He’s sort of a wide rusher. He pushed him past several times. We didn’t have to do anything special as far as our protections to block the Georgia D-line.”
Finally, an award.
South Carolina center T.J. Johnson was named SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week on Monday. He had seven knockdowns and allowed no quarterback pressures.
This is not a great offensive line Georgia faced Saturday night. (Shell, in fact, had to be moved from the left side of the line after the Vanderbilt game because he was having trouble.) This isn’t even a line that’s been together for years and has some of its members being talked about as NFL draft picks, like Tennessee’s. It’s a functional line that looked like it didn’t even break a sweat.
Georgia’s defense isn’t getting pressure like it did last year. Outside of Jarvis Jones, there isn’t a consistent pass rushing threat. And Jones hasn’t been 100% for the last few games. They’re not disrupting the rushing lanes, either. Grantham is all about getting the quarterback out of his comfort zone. Saturday night was the equivalent of busting out the recliner and a bowl of popcorn for Connor Shaw.
Yeah, Rambo and Commings got beat on a couple of deep balls. But there isn’t a secondary in the world that’s going to cover everything if it’s facing an offense that gets zero pressure on its execution.
I can’t say why it’s happening, but if they can’t get it fixed soon, I can think of a couple of offenses coming up that are going to feast on Georgia’s lack of presence up front.