Pete Thamel talks to some folks who coached against the Rose Bowl participants this season to get some impressions. I wouldn’t exactly say there’s anything earth-shattering included in the discussion, but I liked this bit about Georgia’s defense:
The biggest thing with Georgia, and the biggest difference since Kirby Smart took over there, is just how hard they play. That’s not a little thing, it’s a huge thing. And along with playing a lot harder, they are also playing a lot faster. That’s a hard combination. And they are playing a lot harder this year than last year. And much harder than the year before that, which means he has the whole culture of the program heading in the right direction.
“Defensively, they are talented but it seems as if the sum is better than their parts. They have good players and good speed, but they’re not all that big for an SEC team. But they’re very athletic and can run sideline-to-sideline.“Everything starts defensively with Roquan Smith. He’s one of the best linebackers we saw in the SEC this year. He can really run and make plays. He looked fast on film, but when I saw him live I was still shocked at how fast he was. He was back-dooring some zone runs and counter plays, it was stunning. Up front, no one stands out, but they do a really nice job rotating six or seven guys up front.