The glass is not half empty.

I don’t want to do too much hand wringing over the state of Georgia’s defense.  After all,

It’s hard to overstate just how dominant Georgia’s defense was in 2021. The Bulldogs gave up just 10 points per game as eight opponents were either shut out or held to single digits. Only Alabama scored more than 20 points against Georgia and the Bulldogs responded by beating the Crimson Tide by 15 points in the national title game.

While the top five tacklers from last year’s team are part of those eight starters gone to the NFL, the great news for Georgia is that a ton of players saw playing time in 2021. DL Jalen Carter looks poised to be the next dominant Georgia defensive lineman after recording 37 tackles and three sacks. Robert Beal led the team with 6.5 sacks despite recording just 23 tackles. And linebacker Nolan Smith was a force as well. He could easily emerge as the team’s leading tackler in 2022 after getting 56 stops last season.

Kelee Ringo and Christopher Smith are back in the secondary after combining for five interceptions. You likely remember Ringo’s game-sealing pick-six against the Tide in January. Five-star 2022 signees Julian Humphrey and Jaheim Singletary could also see early playing time while Georgia also signed three other five-star recruits along the defensive line in this year’s class. Casual fans may see a lot of players they don’t immediately recognize in Georgia’s Week 1 game against Oregon. But they aren’t going to notice much of a talent drop-off.

If I’m nervous about the secondary — and I am, at least a little — who’s on Georgia’s early schedule capable of taking advantage of it?  Oregon, which will start a new quarterback and was 62nd in passer rating last season?  Ditto for 73rd-ranked South Carolina?

28 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

28 responses to “The glass is not half empty.

  1. I think the first half of the schedule sets up well for the defense to establish its “persona”. Get past the Ducks and then the Cocks in game 3 and by that point hopefully this D is as imposing as previous Junkyard Dawg defenses.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Hogbody Spradlin

    And eighth year senior Julian Rochester should finally step up.

    What?

    Oh. Never mind.

    Liked by 7 people

    • Russ

      You shouldn’t make fun of your elders. He’s enjoying a well-deserved retirement.

      He was one of my favorite players. Made some big stops but more importantly seemed like a good teammate/coach on the field.

      Liked by 14 people

    • Spell Dawg

      Julian was in Kirby’s first class, 2016!
      Glad he went out with a ring, DGD in my book.

      Like

  3. toccoadawg

    Me thinks the key to the DL will be taking pressure off Carter via the nose and tackle. Carter will be double teamed until we get pressure from other DL positions. LB is loaded and as a group will have a big year off the edge. Think fast, elusive rushers here. The secondary will be fine with the young bucks mixing in with Ringo, C Smith, and Poole. Tykee Smith will play a major role if healthy. Kirby added no one from the portal for a reason, he has what he needs.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hobnail_Boot

    Rattler-Vann could be a good test for the DBs.

    After that? Likely not an issue until Tennessee.

    Like

  5. jsteph1967

    We were worried about the secondary last year and they did fine.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Ozam

    Lack of experience at LB worries me the most. We lost some incredible talent and experience.

    Like

  7. uga97

    As always, our dline & edge rushing vs a PAC 10 Oline & keeping a a spy chasing nix should bode well for the Dbacks’ jobs. Challenge will be conditioning & depth. As long as we aren’t tired by 3rd Quarter. Btw, when is the last time we faced a pac 12 team?

    Like

  8. HirsuteDawg

    Reminds me of the joke about the difference between kinky and perverted. (kinky you use a feather and perverted you use the whole chicken). What we are going to do to the Ducks (and the Chickens) isn’t something that should be discussed in polite company – nothing to worry about here at GTP. The D is going to be fine – better than fine.

    Liked by 4 people

    • archiecreek

      Damn good post there, DAWG!!
      Anytime you can throw some well-timed kanky metaphorlogical examples into a football blog post is a good day’s work!

      Like

  9. dawgphan34

    After this weekend it is unlikely the Dawgs play another ranked team. Hard to see how any teams on the schedule compete with UGA this season.

    Like

  10. I’m ready to find out if 88 is the best now that he won’t have 99 occupying the Gulf of Mexico for him. I can’t say but people suggested it last season. Between that and “the lack of sacks”, some still forget the role of that position in that defense.

    Also, I think the secondary could be our best ever by the end of the season. I don’t expect a copy of the 2021 D but I do see a championship caliber D, unless I’m overestimating them.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Terry McCullers

    Has anyone seen Robert Beal? Man he’s been quiet this offseason

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    Everything that I have heard about the secondary is that they are longer and faster than last year’s. That doesn’t mean they are better because they are also inexperienced, and they do not have the kind of help that last year’s secondary had from the D-line. Who knows? All I can say is that I am probably going to have to pee 500 times between now and Saturday evening. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  13. PeachPit

    CLS Sid Beal is a quiet sort of man. Sounded like he was looking for more vocal leadership from him this year. Let’s hope he does his talking on the field as well as the practice field and locker room.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. 81Dog

    This reminds me of last year before game 1.

    Pundits: All the issues UGA has to address are unsolvable, and each will prevent them from being a NC contender. All the issues Alabama, Ohio St, and probably every other team in the SEC East face will all be solved favorably, and make them unbeatable.

    My analysis? FTMF. Tee it up and let’s separate the sheep from the goats.

    Liked by 2 people