Glad you stayed.

Nah, it’s not as big a deal as the decisions of Chubb, Michel, Bellamy and Carter to return last season instead of opting for the NFL draft, but I have to admit to a palpable sense of relief that Deandre Baker elected to return for his senior season.  I’m reminded of that every time I read a projection of Georgia’s defensive backfield.

What to watch: With all the attention Roquan Smith, Lorenzo Carter and Davin Bellamy received on defense, Baker probably didn’t get the respect he deserved. Down the stretch of the season, Baker turned into a lock-down cornerback for the Bulldogs

This was evidenced by his game against Alabama in the national championship, when he was tasked with guarding receiver Calvin Ridley on the outside. While Georgia doesn’t match its cornerbacks against a team’s top wideout, Baker saw Ridley quite a bit. And while Ridley did catch a game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter, the star receiver was held to four catches for 32 yards.

Baker was a big reason why. The rising senior finished second on the team in interceptions with three and led the Bulldogs with nine pass breakups. Baker will be one of Georgia’s focal points on defense and should return as one of the SEC’s better defensive backs.

As we know, the secondary is going to get a little greener this season (which isn’t to say it won’t be talented).  Having Reed and Baker back to anchor the back five I would think is a huge comfort for Smart and Tucker.  I know it is for me.


Filed under Georgia Football

20 responses to “Glad you stayed.

  1. Agreed. I think you can argue that the secondary will be much more talented, just young. The real question is linebacker; where we will be young and talented, but not young and ore talented and without that leadership the secondary has built in. How quickly those linebackers come up will decide just how good this defense is going to be.


  2. ugafidelis

    That gives me a feeling down deep in my soul that I just can’t lose.


  3. Vidaliaway

    As far as the secondary, it was just just as big as the RB’s and bookends. Went back and watched all of our SEC games last year and Baker was money. Not just on lock down but tackling as well. I did not watch the Nat’l championship game. Still cannot make myself do it. On step 2 of 10.


  4. Gravidy

    “(which isn’t to say it won’t be talented)”

    To one degree or another, I can’t think of a single position group where this phrase doesn’t apply. I understand that observation isn’t profound, but it sure is a nice feeling to have for a change. I could definitely get used to it.


  5. Dave

    Baker coming back is huge. Don’t forget about Tyrique McGhee. He was a bit inconsistent, but made some good plays, and played a lot. I’ll be interested to see if his experience wins out over the presumably more physically gifted younger kids nipping at his heels.


  6. HiAltDawg

    Insert the idiot “but we gave up a million bajillion points and six trillion miles in yardage to Missouri” post here.


  7. DawgPhan

    Are we assuming that Gibbs is gone, or is he going to be back enrolled this summer? Seems like that could make a difference in this secondary.


  8. Granthams replacement

    A talented freshman has a much easier transition at CB than FS. It’s much easier to understand cover your WR than play deep 1/2 while supporting the run. I’m hoping LeConte and Gibbs are ready.


  9. Uglydawg

    Baker’s coming back is huge. He is very good at stripping the ball out of the receiver’s hands as he attempts the catch.
    He will be good for at least a few INTS this year.
    He will be great at showing the young’uns how it’s done.
    DGD, that Deandre Baker!


  10. Uglydawg

    BTW..does anyone know the over/under on UGA’s turnovers from 2017? Looking back, it seems we had very few turnovers. A lot of that was disciplined ball control with the senior running backs. I hope it’s mostly attributable to coaching, which means it will continue.
    It was also (along with the low incidence of injuries) a huge factor in UGA’s success.


  11. willypmd

    By the end of the year I fully expect this to be a top 10 defense.

    I’m expecting a top 5 offense from day one.


  12. 202dawg

    Lest we forget, that “touchdown” Ridley scored shouldn’t have happened due to the missed false start.


  13. I’ve read people saying the secondary just wasn’t good enough. That’s based mainly on the last play of the last game. It’s also total bullshit. Our DB’s covered opposing receivers very well all year. Anybody see the 2nd half of the Rose Bowl? There was no daylight between our guys and the OU receivers. Same with the Bama game with a couple of exceptions. It was really amazing considering a couple of years ago there were guys running wide open all over the field. If our secondary is as effective this year, we’re in damn good shape.


  14. Macallanlover

    A-fricking-men, DB’s return is the biggest positive in my mind that our defense can be enough to get us through the early part of the season and give us a chance to reach the level we need to be to compete in the SECCG. He is one of the top 5 CBs I can remember at UGA, his presence shuts down one side of the field in an opponent’s passing game. Just need him to stay healthy and set the standard for some talented young pups. He isn’t a secret weapon any longer, offenses will scheme around them and that helps our defense play accordingly.

    I realize why there is angst about the defense considering the talent we lost from last year’s team but our offense will provide cover for them until the defense closes the gap.