No doubt it finished the regular season on more of a whimper than a bang, but I think it’s fair for Grantham to point out this perspective:
“We were pretty low in points allowed this year,” Grantham said. “As a matter of fact, lower than we were last year. That’s really more important than anything. We got to the SEC championship game two years in a row. To me those things are more important than stats.”
All true, but there’s still that sinking feeling in my heart that if the Dawgs had been just a little stronger stopping the run in the SECCG, we’d be chatting about all things Irish at GTP right now. And the more I think about it, the more I think Chip Towers has correctly identified the biggest problem from that game.
The Alabama game exposed one of the Bulldogs’ weaknesses, which is depth along the defensive line. For all the accolades John Jenkins, Kwame Geathers and Garrison Smith have received this season, the drop off was pretty steep behind them. Ray Drew, Cornelius Washington and Mike Thornton are good athletes but are undersized when it comes to defending smash-mouth football. As a result, Jenkins, Geathers and Smith played nearly every snap of the Alabama game.
The game against Alabama was really the first one I was conscious of truly missing Abry Jones suiting up. Jenkins and Geathers aren’t built to withstand playing throughout a game without wearing down and that showed up in the fourth quarter, as even Grantham acknowledges.
“I thought we got tired at the end of the game,” Grantham said. “I think we’ve got to continue to work and develop some depth. I think if we do that they’ll be fine.”
Grantham thinks he’s got some up-and-comers on the defensive line. And it’s great that the underrated Smith will be back next fall. But I sure would feel a whole lot better if Geathers decided to spend all of 2013 in red and black.