Do you realize we have all of those kids who are still wet behind the years that will be starting on defense? My GOD, there'll be ALL THOSE TIGER PEOPLE in Orange yelling at them stacked on top of each other and all we'll have is 500 people and the band down in that one little corner. I just don't see how we can possibly keep Clemson from scoring 100! We are just gonna have to play that base defense and HOPE we can keep them out of the endzone enough to let Murray and Gurley and Marshall and Mitchell and all those guys do something.Or something like that.
Hey, I get it. We ARE young in the defense. We might well be just that green. I'm not saying we won't be, if for no other reason than we are that green. I'm still working on a post about scholarship numbers, but just glancing at the projected depth chart, we'll have exactly three seniors on the three deep (four if you count Blake Sailors who is the fourth CB listed). We only have 10 juniors and one of those just transferred in. That isn't irrational, that is facts.
However, one thing we've heard about all off season is how poorly Grantham's defense did last year. I didn't buy into them being terrible, but they weren't elite, either. Granted we held teams to below 20ppg, but still we were middle of the road in many other measures and worse in total rushing defense. That was with Jarvis Jones anchoring the defense.
This leads me to an observation from Glen Guilbeau, the one AP voter that put UGA number one on his ballot:
“I was surprised (more didn't),” Glenn told me. “Georgia easily could have won it all last year and they return most of their offense and (Aaron) Murray from that team. And I think it’s good that they don’t return that defense. Sometimes it’s better when you don’t return players from a bad unit, you know? So I think that’s a good thing, too."Guilbeau is saying UGA will be better because they aren't returning players from a bad unit. Now, I wouldn't have put it quite that way, but that is one thing that I've been rolling around my head for a few months. There is a whole other post on why we didn't do more substituting on defense, especially on the line, but we'll definitely have fresher bodies, because we have more of them. I don't buy the new guys can only improve the defense argument. Unless that was a shot at Garner, which I don't think it was.
However, I don't think we have necessarily be better. We just can't be worse, which I don't think we will be. Actually, we have to be more consistent at stopping the run and we have to be better at getting off the field on 3rd and short. Teams converted just 37% of 3rd down conversions on us last year. Nearly a third of those happened on 3rd and short rushing plays, with teams converting 60% of those rushing plays. Teams were 6 of 10 in converting passing plays for first down on 3rd and short.
One last thing: we've got to get Matthews and some of these other guys healthy and let them practice at full speed. Because nothing is going to prepare him for the speed of Boyd or Watkins, especially if he's in green until the end of next week. And that is definitely a source of concern for Westerdawg and myself.