“We pound on them like they pound on us.”

I tend to roll my eyes a bit at the “iron sharpens iron” happy talk, with one exception.

That’s certainly true when it comes to the daily battles being waged at practice between the Bulldogs’ offensive and defensive lines, two units – at least on paper – that figure to be two of the best in the SEC.

“For us, it’s the same approach as last year,” left tackle Andrew Thomas said. “Whoever’s in front of us we’re going to move them, and when we have to pass protect, it’s the same thing. We’re going to bring that same attitude.”

Ditto for the defensive line.

The Bulldogs are having to replace the likes of nose John Atkins and tackle Trenton Thompson, but this year’s defensive front – led by Jonathan Ledbetter, Tyler Clark and Julian Rochester – could ultimately be one of Georgia’s most talented groups in recent years.

“Jonathan Ledbetter going to make me better every day, Tyler Clark is going to make me better every day, Julian Rochester is going to make me better – every day,” left guard Kendall Baker said. “Those guys are monsters.”

For Rochester, the feeling is mutual.

“I think they’re best,” he said. “They’ve worked really hard and I feel the consistency level is what’s so good. They work hard every single day. We pound on them like they pound on us. Iron sharpens Iron. I feel like the sky’s the limit.”

Man, I think both lines have a chance to be special this year.  I’ve felt that way for a while about the o-line — hardly a minority opinion, I know — but I’m feeling better and better about the d-line, too.

Now, if somebody can just make me feel better about replacing Roquan…

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39 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

39 responses to ““We pound on them like they pound on us.”

  1. Aladawg

    You don’t just replace Roquan.

    Like

    • stoopnagle

      This is what tickles my Munson nerve. His ability shut Tech down almost completely. They popped one big play to get them in a position to score; otherwise, he was all over them from one side of the field to the other. Just a great, great player.

      Like

    • Russ

      No, you don’t MESS with the Roquan!

      Like

  2. MDDawg

    If the D-line is good enough, it could take some of the stress off of whoever takes Roquan’s spot.

    Like

    • Otto

      Agreed and UGA has had a good run of LBs. Rennie Curran, Jarvis Jones etc. with Smart’s recruiting success I am not worried about effectiveness of the defense.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. atlasshrugged55

    Dominance on the line of scrimmage is key to that little trip the 2nd week. If we whip them across both LOS’s we win. If not, it’s gonna be a nail-biter.

    I wanna see grass stains on the backside of every USC(e) lineman.

    Like

    • Greg

      “I wanna see grass stains on the backside”

      Just reminded me of an old coach I use to have, God rest his soul. He use to say he didn’t want to see any “Lily Whites” after a practice or game (his team). Will never forget him or that term. In this case, he would want to see the grass stains there also.

      Like

  4. ScoutDawg

    You don’t replace Roquan, these lines however are going to bring salty tears to a lot of people.

    Like

  5. FivePoints

    Senator, I would be curious your take on Roquan’s contract holdout. It echos his previous decision not to sign a NLI, and seems to reinforce a mindset that he is going to challenge the power disparities between administrations/owners and players, at least while he is in a position of leverage. I personally respect his willingness to take the slings and arrows of impatient fan bases to get what he thinks is a fair deal. On the back end Chicago will not find a more devoted player and ambassador for the team. And that’s gotta be worth something.

    Like

    • ChiliDawg

      Not the Senator, but I hope he makes the Bears come crawling, begging for him to sign on his terms. If it takes not signing altogether, so be it. He’ll become a free agent and have 31 other teams competing to be the highest bid on the best linebacker in the rookie class, and they won’t force the stupid clause that makes him forfeit his “guaranteed” money.

      Eli Manning did it. So can Roquan.

      Like

      • stoopnagle

        This. Labor has to get all it can at those few moments when it has leverage. All power to the Roquan.

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      • JCDAWG83

        How does his free agency work? When would he be able to sign with another team? If the Bears can keep him out of the league for a full season before he would be a free agent he may not have as much “leverage” as some think.

        I don’t think you have to worry about the Bears “come crawling…”, pro teams don’t usually come crawling for rookies. I agree about the clause being stupid but the Bears are known as a pretty dumb bunch when it comes to those sort of things.

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        • ChiliDawg

          So I was wrong earlier when I said he would be a free agent. The Bears would still retain the rights to him even if he refuses to sign, but that essentially means he’s a wasted 1st round pick. So they could sit on the rights to him and wait for an offer from another team and trade him or release him. They won’t release him because he has too much value. And there’s definitely a market for him (can’t think of any of the other 31 teams that wouldn’t want him). Roquan definitely has some leverage here. John Elway was drafted by the Colts in 83 and refused to play for them. They traded him to Denver for two players and a 1st round pick in the next draft. More recently Eli Manning comes to mind, but that was a trade worked out beforehand by the Giants and the Chargers.

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      • FivePoints

        Thanks, good context. I think they don’t give Roquan enough credit in the motivation for this holdout (painting him as a bit of a pawn of CAA), which again doesn’t jive with the posture he took on NLI in college. That said CAA may have found their principled horse that they can ride a lot further to push contract terms than any other player would have. Hope they don’t ride it into the ground…

        Like

  6. ChiliDawg

    Yeah, talk dirty to me.

    Like

  7. Ginny

    Replacing Roquan will simply have to be by committee.

    Like

    • Macallanlover

      Indeed. R was a special breed, that fortunately came along at the best time possible. Doubt we win the SEC, and really doubt we would be in the final without his services.

      We have 2-3 quality ILBs if they stay healthy this year, and some quality youngsters. Collectively, we should be fine, so in this regard, it does “take a village”. I also think it requires some scheme changes to adjust to not having that one stud to rely on. It might not be regarded as a position of strength this year, but far from a weakness, imo.

      Like

  8. Puffdawg

    Did I read somewhere somebody has liked what they’ve seen out of Wyatt, but maybe expect him to not come into the mix maybe until later in the year?

    Like

  9. Trbodawg

    I’m too lazy to do it, but I’d be interested to read a review of last year’s pre-season talk about our linebackers. In particular, did we know Roquan was going to push for the Butkus? I just don’t remember being so high on him last year. Good, yes, absolutely. But best in the Nation??? My point being, at this time last year, we didn’t KNOW we had what we had, and neither do we this year. I, for one, think we DO have the next Roquan on the team, we just have identified him yet.

    Like

    • artful codger

      I saw him as best D on the team, upper echelon in SEC, never really nominated him as nationally elite until about 1/2 way thru season

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      • Milledge Hall

        Roquan got a lot of exposure from his great plays against Miss State. From then on, everyone knew who he was!

        Like

  10. W Cobb Dawg

    While its difficult to replace anyone who ended up being a top 10 draft pick, I don’t believe we lack talent at ILB. Natrez, Rice, Taylor, McBride, Crowder, Q. Walker and Tindall is a good group. Rice was impressive last year and on G-Day. Look for Natrez to redeem himself and have a very good senior year. We’re not up to bama standards with multiple 5-star LBs (yet). But we’ve got a solid nucleus.

    Like

    • Trbodawg

      Perhaps this is the difference in the mindset of a Georgia fan and an Alabama fan. Over the years, we’ve become accustomed too (and expect) ‘off’ years. I blame Herschel. The idea of ‘we need a generational player to have a chance’ is (hopefully) transitioning to ‘we need to maintain the high level of play from all of our student-athletes’

      In any event, I am soooooo ready for football to start.

      Like

  11. Greg

    Agree on Roquan, he was to the defense what Fromm is on offense. Gonna be hard to replace, more than just a talent.

    Like

  12. Dawg in Austin

    I may be struck by lightning by typing this, but Roquan was not a perfect LB. He missed reads and keys from time to time, and even had bad halfs of play (see Rose Bowl, first half). But his speed corrected those mistakes a lot of times. What we have now though is multiple talented ILBs who have played 2 full years in this system and several newbies with Roquan-esque speed but less experience. That combo should suit us fine, because of the scheme and good teaching they get from this staff.

    Like

    • What we have now though is… several newbies with Roquan-esque speed…

      You are the only person I’ve seen suggest this. How do you know and whom are you referring to?

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      • Dawg in Austin

        Tindall and Walker are elite recruits known best for their speed of pursuit. McBride is a 4.4 guy as well.

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    • Greg

      LAWD!… can’t believe I just read that. For me, he is the best overall linebacker I’ve seen at UGA….and that could probably be argued. But certainly one of the best. BTW, how do you know what assignments or reads he missed??….unless you knew what defense was called and the responsibility he had on the play.

      Like

      • Dawg in Austin

        I couldn’t agree more with you. My point was that he wasn’t perfect and can be replaced by experienced players who know the defense just as well (or more) and put themselves in the right places on run fits. Whether they can run with a slot receiver or fast TE to the back of the end zone and tip away a pass, maybe not so much, but you make adjustments to your formation and assignments accordingly. The young guys are speedy and could be developed into playmakers perhaps as early as this year. Walker and Tindall are two of the best LBs I’ve seen coming out of HS in GA since Roquan and Reuben Foster.

        My point was only that I’m not as worried as others seem to be about the loss. That doesn’t mean I don’t think Roquan was great. I was at the Rose Bowl and watched him destroy OU in the second half too. He is an all-time great for a reason. As for whether I know about assignments, I know as much as you or the broadcast team does, since none of us are calling plays. But there were several times over the course of the year where it was shown on the broadcast that he missed the assignment and his speed made the difference in making the play. Feel free to go back and watch the broadcasts to confirm.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Greg

          I can respect that, but I would have to go back and see what you are talking about. But no matter how good you are, you will get beat from time to time. As far as Roquan goes, he was always around the ball…you do not always see that. One of the reasons he got drafted in the 1st.

          The dude had the desire, he had the attitude and he had the DOG in him….and as I posted earlier, he was also a leader.

          He will be missed, I’ve probably on seen 2 or 3 like him in the past 20 or so years (college or pro) …but I like you, hopes somebody steps up. Again, I respect your opinion & hope your right.

          Like

    • artful codger

      McBride supposedly has great speed, 2nd year guy but I guess would be a newbie to seeing the field much other than ST

      Like

  13. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    I love Roquan, and support his holdout, and we’ve know for years that he was fast (he was one of the few that could cover a receiver out of the backfield effectively), but all that said, the D last year was designed to showcase his talents. They could do that (basically cut him loose to make a read) because the talent around him was good enough and willing to play assignment football. I am not watching practices, but I suspect we have folks that are fast enough, and quick enough that we could showcase another LB this year with all the other talent we have in support. Maybe Rice. Maybe not even a LB, maybe LeCounte. I’m going to let Kirby and Mell work it out, but I don’t think the question is can we replace RS; I think it is more who replaces him and is the support going to be there. I’m optimistic. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Jt (the other one)

    Well according to the two talking heads on SEC Now last night we aren’t even in the Top 5 on DL…

    Like

  15. TMC DAWG

    The defense will take care of itself. IMO Tyler Clark is the most underrated d lineman in the sec. we will be suprised with the play of the linebackers. And in the secondary we have 3 guys that should be all sec. Baker, Reed and LeCounte

    Like