Can the defense be ready for the opener?

Yesterday, I mentioned the Dawn of the Dawg post that, among other things, put us on high alert about North Carolina’s defense.

Georgia loses the opener because “North Carolina’s defense figures to continue its upward trend under defensive coordinator Gene Chizik, who turned the Tar Heels’ defense around in a big way last season. I expect that to continue in 2016, and that should give Georgia a loss in week one.”

I’m thinking if North Carolina wins the opener, it’ll be because of what happened on the other side of the ball.  The Heels will be bringing a lot of offensive firepower into the game.

… That means that an offense with four returning starters up front and three at receiver shouldn’t miss a beat. Oh, and those three receivers were the Heels’ top three wideouts, combining for 140 receptions for 2,080 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. Don’t forget that Hood is one of just five returning Power 5 running backs with at least 1,000 yards, 10 touchdowns and an average of 6.0 yards per carry.

We know what the bad news is:  Georgia’s defense, at least from this distance, looks to have a ways to go on settling on an effective front seven, especially on the d-line.  But there is some good news, too.

Georgia had great success with its secondary statistically a season ago as the Bulldogs led the nation in passing yards allowed with an average of 156.5 per game.

Of course, that number might have been skewed some since Georgia did face run-heavy teams Florida, Auburn, Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech, as well as a cupcake early on in Louisiana-Monroe. But even against teams that could throw the ball, Georgia more than held its own for the most part…

This is Georgia’s most experienced unit, which will need to aid the large number of new players stepping into bigger front-seven roles. Sanders cemented himself as a leader and was lauded in this area by head coach Kirby Smart early during spring practice. The Bulldogs will need Sanders, who has started every game except one in his career (last season’s Florida game, in which he was suspended for a half for a targeting violation in his previous outing), to continue posting numbers such as the team-best six interceptions he had in 2015.

Mauger also brings valuable experience to the safety position and is someone who can rotate down to nickel back if need be. On the outside, Parrish locked down the No. 1 cornerback spot once again this spring and could be joined by Juwuan Briscoe as the top two. Briscoe ran with the first team during Georgia’s G-Day spring game and earned one of the program’s most improved player awards after its conclusion.

McGraw picked up where he left off as Georgia’s top nickel defender, and Davis appeared to slide into a primary backup role.

That’s a relief.  Because Smart and Tucker are going to need all the help they can get from their secondary.

One big reason Georgia will need its back end to lock down receivers, especially early in the season, is the fact that the front seven is breaking in a ton of new players. It won’t be easy replacing pass-rushers Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins, thus making the secondary’s job of keeping opponents covered that much more important.

Or, for Bellamy and Carter to step up and take charge.  Or, even better if we’re really being greedy here, for both.  I’m okay with greed.

26 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

26 responses to “Can the defense be ready for the opener?

  1. GoooooooooooooooDawgs, woof, woof.

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  2. ASEF

    I’ll be interested to see two things in this game when the D is on the field:

    How complicated are the coverages? Alabama had all sorts of issues on the back end until last year. Mel clearly helped a lot, but so did a roster sporting a bunch of 4 and 5 star CBs, one of which moved to safety.

    How vigilant are the refs on the 3 yard downfield for the OL rule? NC does a lot of RPOs that really muddle the traditional reads of LBs and DBs.

    Put those two things together with a front 7 sprinkled with a lack of experience, and we might see a lot of busts.

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    • How vigilant are the refs on the 3 yard downfield for the OL rule? NC does a lot of RPOs that really muddle the traditional reads of LBs and DBs.

      That is an excellent point. It would be nice to see a couple of early flags fly on that. It would also be nice to see Kirby Smart getting in the officials’ ears early and often about enforcing that rule.

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  3. WarD Eagle

    I think UGA’s DL dominates UNC making their QB throw under lots of pressure. Last year, once UNC hit the meat of their schedule, they weren’t so impressive. They greatly improved from the previous season, but that doesn’t make them a top 10 team.

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  4. “I’m okay with greed.”
    Despite the delusional Oliver Stone’s fictional yet effective attempt to demonize Greed his character , Mr. Gekko (sp?) was correct, Greed, for lack of a better term is good……it works. The defensive front seven is not as deep as we are use to but I view them as plenty talented enough to take on an ACC team. 11 wins or fire McGarity.

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    • Derek

      Murder works if your goal is that the victim be dead.

      Theft works if your goal is to have the property of another.

      Genocide works if you want to eliminate a pesky, annoying or, even worse, a “lesser” group of people.

      Morals are an unfortunate impediment to getting the things done that need to get done, thus they should be discarded. After all what about morality “works?” There literally is no tangible benefit for acting morally so why bother?

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      • Cojones

        Does this mean that you don’t like the Donald’s imitation of Gekko morality?

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        • Derek

          “Don’t like” is an insufficient description. A visceral and cerebral repulsion might begin to adequately describe it. The entire concept that doing the wrong thing is ok because it’s expedient and serves your own interests is repugnant. It certainly isn’t human, hence the lizard moniker.

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          • Jared S.

            Isn’t human? Greed seems like one of the most prevalent an naturally-occurring human traits to me.

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            • Derek

              It does occur with considerable frequency but I don’t think that greed drives most people. Even most financially successful people are driven by factors other than wealth and the money is a mere pleasant by-product. Those who suffer from that particular deadly sin are in a sizeable minority. How many people do you know who have decided that screwing people out of money for their own gain is the way to go? I know of one very high profile one and I’ve run across a few here and there in my life, but I find that very few people are out to screw people to make more money. The vast majority of the people care about right and wrong.

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          • Don in Mar-a-Lago

            Very sad!

            I am not a reptile. Hear me breathe.

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      • give me a cogent definition of what greed is and we’ll have a discussion but because 99% of the time it (the definition of greed)seems to be in the eye of the beholder I tend to not waste my time on this type of discussion. I submit greed is nothing more than enlighten self-interest ,which is demonized only by the economically ignorant or Marxists.

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        • Derek

          The difference between greed and self-interest is when you are hostile to or indifferent to other people’s interests in order to serve your own interests.

          One example would be failing to fufill a contract because you know you can get out of paying for the services you agreed to pay. If you agree to pay a man 35k, he does the job and you want to pay him 15k because you can get away with it, that’s greed. The presumptive GOP nominee is a greedy, slimy SOB who would fuck over anyone for a buck and has repeatedly.

          There is a difference between resentment of success and the need to level outcomes and recognizing what has been seen for centuries (we’ll before Karl) as sin. In fact, “do what thou wilt” is the sole Satanic commandment for a reason.

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          • Your example is assuming that the person who breaches the aforementioned contract never wants to do business with the other again and almost all business are built on repeat businesses. Sue for the breach and hope that your contact provided for attorney fees , mine do. Breaching is only seldom in either parties interest but the law provides for that. and it ain’t greed it is an economic decision .
            I also infer from your position that you do not think it is greedy for the presumptive Democratic nominee to receive/accept tens if not a 100 million dollars from foreign countries, that operate under Sharia law , to the Clinton Foundation while she was in a position of power in the government. The Clinton foundation that pays about 7 cents of every contributed dollar to stop diarrhea in Africa. The rest goes to pay for Bill ,Hillary’s and Chelsea’s lifestyle. I suppose that’s not greedy that is just good politics and the necessary for her to stop greed from spreading. I assume it is ok in your world for the nominee’s husband to get paid $750,000 for a speech while she is Sec of State. That’s not greedy just necessary to support furthering her agenda. Read “Clinton Cash”….this maybe as good a definition of greed as I can find. $200 to $300 million for absolutely nothing produced accept promises of future favored status. No greed here….. move along…nothing to see here.

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      • Dolly Llama

        Lighten up, Francis.

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  5. W Cobb Dawg

    “Oh, and those three receivers were the Heels’ top three wideouts, combining for 140 receptions for 2,080 yards and 18 touchdowns last season.”

    Their new QB doesn’t appear to be chopped liver either. Dawgs are going to need a loud partisan crowd in the dome.

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