Assuming the defensive stats improve as the season goes along — and, damn, they’d better — will it be due to Georgia’s players getting better, or opponents getting easier to defend?
The Georgia secondary has been particularly lit up, giving up six pass plays of 30 or more yards this season after allowing only 10 total last season and eight in 2014 under coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.
“I’m not here to point fingers,” defensive tackle DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle said. “We’re all a defense, we’re all together so not the back end giving it up, the whole defense is giving it up. Maybe if the D-line got more pressure, the back end wouldn’t have to cover for so long. I put it on all of us. It’s something we all have to work on and get stronger together with.”
Georgia’s secondary hasn’t been helped by the pass rush. The Bulldogs are second to last in the SEC with four sacks.
Davis chalks up this year’s growing number of big plays allowed from a secondary perspective as a lack of “eye discipline” and breakdowns in technique and fundamentals. For one-on-one matchups, Davis said that’s “squeezing guys off, getting our head around and making a play on it.”
The good news for Georgia is it may have faced its best offenses.
Missouri and Ole Miss are ranked fourth and 17th nationally in passing yardage and North Carolina is No. 13.
Of the eight remaining games, Florida is the highest rated passing team at No. 40. The rest are 82nd and lower.
None of the teams left on Georgia’s schedule rank in the top 50 in total offense. Tennessee is 85th and the Bulldogs schedule still includes Georgia Tech (117), Vanderbilt (121) and South Carolina (124).
Maybe October and November will be more inviting than September was for Georgia.
Hopefully, the correct answer is both.