As someone whose memory is still scarred by the breakdowns that routinely marked the last defenses of Martinez and Grantham, I have to pinch myself more than once as I read this:
In terms of tackling, Georgia is also the best in the business thus far. Through five games, the Bulldogs have only missed 23 total tackles and only miss a tackle on 7% of opportunities, tied for the best in FBS. For comparison purposes, the average FBS team has missed 41 tackles through five weeks and misses them at a rate of 15.5% of opportunities. Our top-graded cornerback, Deandre Baker (90.4), has yet to miss a tackle and only allowed 14 yards after the catch on 12 receptions.[Emphasis added.]
It’s not just the defense that’s excelling in fundamentals. Here’s the rest of what Pro Football Focus has to say about Georgia:
While No. 2 in our overall rankings, the Bulldogs are blocking and tackling better than anyone in college football up to this point. Even with an injury to initial starting RG Ben Cleveland (83.0), the Bulldogs are getting above-average to elite play across all five offensive line positions (lowest-graded starter at 74.5 grade). The group is led by left tackle Andrew Thomas, who has only given up four total QB pressures and has the highest overall (92.9) and run-block grade (92.0) among all FBS offensive lineman with at least 150 snaps. As a group, the Bulldogs’ offensive line is 25th in pass-blocking efficiency (PBE), only giving up 17 total QB pressures (three sacks).
It’s the running game, though, where they are at their best. After finishing fourth in team run-block grade in 2017, Georgia has elevated that even more this season. Bulldog running backs have gotten slightly over half (50.2 percent) of their yards before contact. It’s not just the offensive line or tight ends helping in the running game either, as four of their five top receivers from a snap count perspective have a run-block grade of at least 71.3, led by Tyler Simmons 83.3 run-block grade.
Elite blocking and tackling? That’s like Dawg porn for Kirby Smart.