Kirby speaks, part four

The last of the comments I’ll mention, about the potential shift in defensive philosophy:

More than once, Smart has had to remind himself of such this preseason when the offensive line has put a beating on the defensive line. One of the things he said the Dawgs have to do better defensively this season is pressure the quarterback.

“We’ve got to affect the passer better and get a better rush,” Smart said. “We did that against Alabama. We gave up some points but affected the quarterback. We got to him and knocked him down and hit him. We were a little more rush the passer first and play the run second. That’s a little more of the demeanor we’re taking on this year.”

In particular, Smart said redshirt freshman outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari has had a strong camp along with senior defensive lineman Tyler Clark. He likes this freshmen group as well, including linebackers Nolan Smith and Nakobe Dean.

“We’ve got some active, athletic guys who can help us,” Smart said. “We don’t match up super well against our (offensive line) guys every day in practice. We’re getting smashed some, but they’re going to do that to a lot of people. I mean, they’re grown men, but that’s just going to make us better.”

He knows the risks he runs emphasizing havoc, but he’s more willing to take those this season.  Why?  I suspect it’s a combination of what he took away from last year’s SECCG, along with the personnel he has to deploy this year — although I do wonder what he’d be saying if Mel Tucker were still his defensive coordinator.

To me, this is going to be the change in approach to keep an eye on throughout 2019.



Filed under Georgia Football, Strategery And Mechanics

24 responses to “Kirby speaks, part four

  1. Got Cowdog

    I need to be alone now.


  2. Biggus Rickus

    It’ll be interesting to see how it looks against Vandy. It’s not like I think they’ll struggle enough to matter, but Vaughn is a legit back. Will guys take themselves out of position in the name of havoc and create lanes for him?


    • Russ

      I’m counting on improved DL play to help stuff running lanes in the middle. Linebackers should clean up any gaps. I think we have the dawgs to dictate our style of play.


  3. GruvenDawg

    Better ILB play and not having to protect the backend allows us to try to create more havoc. Nickel and dime packages on the backend will have more overall talent. Stokes is no Baker yet, but he might get there. Lecounte putting on weight along with the seasoning of Campbell and JUCO Daniel pushing him should be a better overall unit. That frees up more risks that can be taken up front. We missed Roquan so much last year.


  4. 3rdandGrantham

    “I do wonder what he’d be saying if Mel Tucker were still his defensive coordinator.”

    This is one area that Smart and Tucker didn’t see eye to eye, and indeed you’re right that we would not be hearing much about ‘havoc’ if he were still in the DC role.


  5. Mick Jagger



  6. UGA '97

    also the qbs we face this year scroter-dame, mizz-who, gayturds, utknox, Tex-am-not, and the usc cluckers will all have veteran qbs. and by all accounts, auburn qb should be settled in by nov. no real shocker that this should be the focus…GATA!


  7. Bulldog Joe

    There is still an upperclassman bubble in Georgia’s defensive line talent remaining from the transition from Coach Rocker to Tray Scott. Only two classes at Georgia were recruited by Coach Scott and we saw how vulnerable the front seven was from the time D’Andre Walker went down in the Alabama game through the end of the season.

    Devonte Wyatt and Tyler Clark showed some promise in the second half of the Texas game and Julian Rochester has a lot to prove in his senior season if he is going to play at the next level. Otherwise, we will be rotating in a lot of ‘green’ talent so gap coverage will be a challenge if we indeed mix our pressure packages more this season.

    Without a dominating Clemson and Alabama-like DL, Kirby and Lanning will resort to mixing it up and playing more people to get stronger second half production when fatigue sets in. Expect some head-scratching long gainers early in the season while the young guys figure it out.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. W Cobb Dawg

    Other than D’Andre Walker and David Marshall, we didn’t have much in the way of effective pass rushers returning in 2018. I believe finding those end rushers is by far our biggest challenge on D this year. If we don’t find players who can consistently apply pressure from the outside, look for the D to go vanilla/bend-but-don’t-break.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was an incredibly effective bend but don’t break. The narrative jumps on the lack of our sacks but we were protecting youth in the secondary and did very very well overall on defense considering. I frankly thought it was genius

      Liked by 1 person

      • W Cobb Dawg

        Agree. I’m not criticizing last year’s defensive approach. It wouldn’t bother me if we stick with that strategy. I’m saying if we want more pressure on the QB, we need OLBs and DEs who are capable of it. Last year, Walker was essentially our whole pass rush. On the other side, Grant couldn’t get near a QB. Marshall is good at applying pressure, but got injured. Ledbetter wasn’t much of a rusher. If Kirby wants more pressure he’ll need the newer players to step it up.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Yep. I just think that it wasn’t a sexy so people created this narrative. But it was very effective. If Kirby has the Smarts to manage weaknesses on defense I think that’s fantastic. I’m all about contain on the outside. That might mean you don’t sacks but that’s fine with me


  9. practicaldawg

    I’m sure we’ll see some extra havoc against Vandy, but I expect most defensive looks to be pretty vanilla until ND.


  10. JustSomeGuy

    Just read all 4 snippets, and GOT DAMN SON!

    This death star might just be fully operational. After a few practice shots over Jacksonville and other backwater locations that few will notice or miss, it will be time to orbit over Tuscalaoosa and go weapons hot.