Have some havoc, please.

A couple of other quotes from Kirby’s presser yesterday deserve their own post, because, havoc.

On if they work on schematic or individual defensive plays…

“There’s definitely some schematic stuff. We have a base defense that we feel good about. Within that, we have pressures and we have a lot of things we didn’t use last year for whatever reason. We may not have thought they fit the opponent. We may not have thought the fit who we had on the back end to protect it. I think we’re going to be deeper and older and wiser on the back end, which allows for a little more complexity. Last year was s tough year. It was nothing to do with Coach (Mel) Tucker. It was tough. We had some young guys in the secondary, a lot of young guys. Where now, I feel like we have a group back there that is emerging with some personality. Divaad (Wilson) has grown a little confident. That bowl game worked wonders for him. He’s playing good. Mark Webb is where he understands things. J.R. Richard…there’s good competition at safety with Otis (Reese). We just have more competition, which I think allows us to create more havoc. Some of that is scheme where you go meet with five times that are in the top 20 creating tackles for loss and you say ‘How do you do it?’ You start learning that and you try to put some things in that they do. We’re trying to that, but to be honest with you, you’re running against a big ole wall of grown men up that, and that’s tough. That’s a good offensive line.”

I read that to say that the defense was limited last season by inexperience in the secondary, which, if you think about it, is a little strange to say given that Baker and Reed were starters at two spots.  Indeed, you can make the argument that there’s as much inexperience coming into this season, as Reed is the only projected starter with more than one season under his belt.  Which leads me to this observation about the defensive front:

We want some quickness and twitch. When we study all these ‘havoc rates,’ a lot of it is twitchy players…quick guys. It’s a catch 22 for us because if you have quick twitchy guys and you’re playing against our guys every day in practice, our offensive line, when you move and they move you, some times the displacement is huge because when you’ve got Salyer and Andrew (Thomas) and really good offensive linemen and you start moving sideways, they just whack you and move you. We’re not built to be an extremely violent quick, twitchy defense.

This is where I think the real issue lies.  What every defensive coach wants, whether it’s out of a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme, is a defense that can put real pressure on a quarterback with no more than a four-man rush.  Georgia really didn’t provide much of that consistently in 2018.

Seth Emerson ($$) writes some of that is by design.

Some of it is scheme:  Georgia often asks its edge rushers to essentially sacrifice stats (mainly sacks) for the greater good of the defense. Outside linebackers can be employed to “mush rush,” a term for keeping contain on the outside rather than making a mad dash for the quarterback and risk exposing the outside.

Significantly, it’s a design that works.  For all of Kirby’s newfound interest in havoc, it’s worth repeating that Georgia’s defense was very, very good last season in not giving up big plays.  I doubt Smart’s willing to sacrifice that in the name of havoc.

I suspect what this all really means is that Georgia is going to be more creative with personnel than with scheme.  Kirby wasn’t talking up Smith and Johnson in that presser to make them (or us, for that matter) feel better about themselves.  It will be interesting to watch the defensive brain trust’s juggling act in that regard.


Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

11 responses to “Have some havoc, please.

  1. ASEF

    I really thought the front 7 would be the centerpiece of Kirby’s teams – but it’s always the question mark. The recruiting is there. It’s year 4. If the front 7 isn’t cleverly top 3 in the SEC by the end of the season, something is wrong.

    I think that’s where all the havoc talk is coming from. After Roquan, there just hasn’t been much happening out of that group. And if those guys aren’t making things happen and working their way up to the top of the draft, then recruiting gets that much harder.


  2. Scorpio Jones, III

    “havoc rates” Cry havoc and let em loose by God.


  3. It can all be boiled down to the front 3 (or 4) not getting pressure organically. We haven’t had a Jarvis Jones-type player since he left, and let’s be honest about it… that’s what it takes. You need to be able to rush 4-5 guys and get home and Georgia hasn’t been capable of doing that in a while with the consistency of Bama/Clemson/etc.


  4. CEPH

    I wasn’t impressed with Rocker (he was a lazy slob) and I am not impressed with Scott. Great assistant coaches make head coaches great and Scott doesn’t fit the bill. Spurrier was a great example, not only would he fire you but when he was looking for an assistant his mantra was to scour the country to find the best coach to hire (example He found Bob Stoops at Kansas State)The defensive line is just not cuttin’ the mustard!!!


  5. Ozam

    JR Richard? We have a new DB? 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tony Barnfart

    I’m kind of in the Seth Emerson camp. I think so much of the game is what you might call “zero sum,” and that’s even more true if you are confining all of your comparative variables to the same side of the ball.

    It bothered me some that we didn’t create more havoc, sacks, TFLs, but I was always confident that it was by design, to contain, and contain we did. I had a hunch we would flip a switch in the SECCG and we did. I kind of look at it as a fairly Big Swingin’ Dick move to be able to beat 11 of 12 teams with your base defense and treat blitzes and jailbreak tactics as almost trick plays, only needed against the best. Why show what your uppercut looks like against Kentucky when you can jab punch them into submission.


  7. willypmd

    I really liked Mel Tucker, but I liked Pruitt better. That mainly centers around havoc rate and pass rush. Pruitt has a very good knack for designing and timing blitzes that present good risk/reward scenarios. UTk got more pressure on us with less talent than just about any other team last year. I also think our personnel has improved some, but Carter and Bellamy weren’t exactly chopped liver.

    I’m hoping decreased pressure was related to Tucker’s system and not coming from Kirby, but if we have to settle for consistent top 10 defenses that don’t cause much havoc you won’t hear me complain all that much either. I bet we’lol be better, I’m just hoping it’s not the old Richt game of whack a mole where you address one issue just to have an equally large problem pop up somewhere else.


    • W Cobb Dawg

      I’ll give Kirby the benefit of the doubt. We lost Roquon, LoCarter and Bellamy at LB and Atkins and Thompson on the DL. Our best returning pass rusher was Walker, and then a big gap til we got to David Marshall – both of ’em had injuries for extended times in ’18.

      Problem is, none of the young players in the front 7 established themselves as good pass rushers. We really need ‘somebody’ out of all these 5-star and 4-star sophomores and freshmen to start showing they are more than hype. As it stands right now I have absolutely no idea who’s gonna be our next all-sec player on D from the front 7.


  8. Nolan Smith appears to be the “twitchy” guy. It’ll be interesting to see how he’s going to be used.