I tweeted during the first half that I was concerned about Georgia’s apparent lack of a pass rush. Kirby’s response was not to sweat that.
“(North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky) is going to scramble if he wants to scramble. The big thing for us was stopping the run, making them one-dimensional. We really didn’t do that. They had some long runs that broke out on us. We tried to force them to be one-dimensional. There’s certain coverages that we wanted him in the pocket, we wanted him to stay in there because we were man-matching behind it. So much of our rush is tied to our coverage. I think there’s a misnomer out there that people think, ‘Oh, they don’t get any pass rush.’ Some of that is never by design, but when they have seven people blocking three, you’re not going to get a lot of pressure. Sit down and we might be covering. When we bring pressure, we usually get pressure. It’s just a decision of how many times you want to do that in the game. How susceptible do you want to make your guys outside? It’s something we’ve got to progress at and we’ve got to do a better job of conversion, meaning when they do pass the ball the defensive linemen convert into pass-rush mode. Look, guys, we don’t have the same rushers we had last year. There are some guys who could really rush the passer that are gone. It’s going to be a key for us to try to manufacture that in other ways.”
Honestly, I get all that. Georgia doesn’t have the d-line yet it needs to do what Smart wants. He’s not going to watch his defense get burned by a running quarterback, either (although that’s gonna get tested by better runners than Trubisky, I’m afraid). And, to be fair, I thought the pass rush was turned up in the second half.
The good news is they’ve got a couple of weeks before they’ll face a similar matchup again. The bad news is that Ole Miss has a more dangerous quarterback than North Carolina and better depth at wide receiver, too.
I promise I won’t tweet about the pass rush again, though.