“We want to alleviate some stress off of the secondary.”

At least we know Mark Richt is seeing the same thing we are.

… Coach Mark Richt said he feels like his defense is “vulnerable” against passes through the middle. So far, it’s only cost the Bulldogs one game, but this is not the weekend they can afford to have similar issues in.

“We’ve got people underneath that need to be walling defenders and safeties that have to react on balls that are thrown either down the middle or to the side,” Richt said.

Next to Todd Gurley, the biggest key to Georgia’s success is a pass rush.  But there’s a sense that the staff isn’t all in on that.

This team has the pass-rushers in Jenkins and Leonard Floyd to make life miserable for quarterbacks, but you can tell that there’s been some hesitation to let them loose more because of some weaknesses in the secondary. But Georgia’s defense looked so good against Tennessee when it brought the pressure.

They’ve got to go after Mauk this week.

29 Comments

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29 responses to ““We want to alleviate some stress off of the secondary.”

  1. Russ

    Wonder what the thinking is about not bringing pressure? I think we get burned if we don’t, or if the pressure is late. But if the pressure gets there we can completely disrupt their play calling.

    I will say that as bad as the pass defense has been, we still seem to avoid 3rd and Willie, which is a major improvement.

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    • Brandon

      Right, you’ve always got to bring pressure, even when you have good defensive backs, the best defensive backs can’t cover the best receivers for more than 5-6 seconds. The offensive player has the inherent advantage of knowing where he is going, what direction he is going to plant his next foot step in. Even Deion Sanders could only watch and re-act. It’s certainly better to be able to get pressure with just 4 guys but if you can’t, you’ve got to bring more. Pressure in passing situations is not optional.

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  2. Obviously, it’s the coaches’ call. But without pressure, our DBs are even more glaringly vulnerable.

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  3. @SmallwoodTrent: Key to win for Georgia on Saturday? #UGA has to get in the face of Missouri QB Maty Mauk. Force 3rd and longs. Mauk only 18% on 3rd and 10+

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  4. I was surprised how many times I saw Floyd and Jenkins dropping back in coverage on Saturday. Supposedly the Mizzou OL is weak this year, though I haven’t watched them play yet, I missed most of their game against SC. We need to bring the heat.

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    • Scorpio Jones, III

      Rev I always thought a pass rush and good coverage kinda like complimented each other, and that if nobody is open, the QB has to run for his life, which is a good thing.

      If our secondary, bless their pea-pickin hearts, has got open receivers running hither and yon, a full out pass rush is a dangerous proposition.

      Cover and rush, rush and cover, it’s all the same thing.

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  5. Joe Schmoe

    South Carolina did a great job of containing Mauk by putting a spy on him and limiting his running. What scares me is that we bring the heat, our DEs get washed out and Mauk runs all of us. We really need to take a page from USC and make sure we spy him. Not that running QBs have been a problem for UGA in the past or anything.

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  6. Mayor

    I said this in a post on another thread. The Dawgs need to rush Mauk up the middle. The Mizzou D-line is susceptible to this and Mauk can’t handle it. Blitz an ILB or Safety between Guard and Center, sometimes both sides at the same time. Mauk gets flustered and will start running to one side or the other where he can be tackled by the DEs.

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  7. Skint

    We need to blitz Herrera or Wilson every play. Either that, or get them off the field. Anything to disrupt the offense will help. They are not coverage LB’s. Pruitt is recruiting smaller, quicker LB’s to negate these spread teams.

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  8. I think we showed on the first couple of Vandy drives we could get to their QB, and we spent the rest of the day working on dropping into coverage since that’s our biggest weakness. Just a theory. I think we’ll go after Mauk Saturday.

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    • Macallanlover

      I hope so, sitting back and having more people in coverage has not worked. We have a very obvious weakness, to fans, and of course to opposing coaches. That means we have to take risks with the pass rush and force the ball quicker. Hopefully the QB will not be real accurate on forced throws or on the run but I would hope we also bring DBs up closer under the assumption our rush will be effective. What I have seen is a pretty good rush but so much cushion it isn’t difficult to find someone open and make a low risk throw. That combination has obviously been deemed too risky I think so we have seen teams have success but not beating us deep (except over the middle against LBs.

      I hope we go after Mauk, and think we will. Yes, he will scramble free some but we will dump him for losses just as often based on their OL performance so far. My two-tiered aggression will not work against a good OL, but this is a week it could be our best strategy. I know, Pruitt understands all this better than I but I have been flustered when I see us force a quick throw yet they find a receiver wide open 7-8 yards in front of our DBs. I do think we can score 30+ against them so I am preparing for a shootout unless we do something different on defense. A shootout on the road seems to favor the home team, imo, although Morgan can be a weapon that balances that late in the game if needed.

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      • Dawgwalker07

        ” I am preparing for a shootout unless we do something different on defense.”

        I’ve been saying that to myself for the past…idk…6 years.

        There was a time in 2011 when I didn’t, but it was quickly reset in 2012. Not a happy way to live a football life. Also note: not an indictment of Richt or Pruitt. Just a personal observation.

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        • Macallanlover

          True, it has been a very long time since the defense carried their share of the load. We should be very grateful that we have been blessed with an over achieving offense during that period or there would only be about a dozen posters on any UGA blog.

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  9. I looked hard at Maty Mauk vs. SC. He’s about as good as Bo Wallace. Meaning? He’s no Connor Shaw, and he can be rattled.

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  10. “We want to alleviate some stress off of the secondary.”

    IIRC, you and Mac harped on this all summer. But it’s pretty much been nonexistent.

    you can tell that there’s been some hesitation to let them (pass rush) loose more because of some weaknesses in the secondary.

    I’m not sure about that at all. I doubt that’s been the case, most of the time.
    ~~~

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    • Macallanlover

      Actually, I have seen some good results with the pressure, just feel we need to use it more often. We have done well on sacks and hurries against everyone but SC’s OL when we use it, imo. Several close misses on sacks and the ridiculous grounding rule has saved several nice losses for opponents (a major rule change that has contributed greatly to the change in offensive/defensive balance.) I understand the blitz can be over used and leaves you vulnerable but in 2014 we have to take that chance more often than other teams. Mauk is one that needs to be flustered or they will pick us apart.

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  11. Leaving the middle exposed might be a bit by design considering our secondary. If you’re gonna give them anything that is the place to do it. Of course, the bend don’t break gives you chances to make plays as well as leave your D in some long, tiring drives. I think Pruitt is doing about the best anyone could with them. He’s mostly sets them in position to not give up big plays and hopefully make a few of their own and get off the damn field.

    I agree, though, that this D will live and die by the pass rush. Unfortunately, our pass rush becomes non-existent when our smallish DL gets swallowed up. Then it’s Wilson and Herrera covering the middle against a QB who has time in the pocket and safeties that are back in punt return.

    I think this is what we’ve got to work with this season.

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