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October 23, 2006

MSU Game: Thoughts on the Defense

Charles Johnson bats down a pass vs. Miss. State (Photo by Jim Hipple)

Defensively before the game I was hoping to see:
    More pressure on the QB - check
    More blitzing from the LBs - check
    Using Ellerbe and/or Dewberry on obvious passing downs - check
    Better tackling - nope. way, way, way off
The good news is that we tried some new things vs. Mississippi State. Unfortunately, our linebacker coach hasn't taught our young LBs to shed a block or wrap up on a tackle any better than he taught our older LBs to do it. So the blitzes weren't all that effective. That said, Tony Taylor had a very good day with the exception of some horrific arm tackles late in the game. It was also good to see both our Defensive Ends have a very productive days.

Why so many points?
The Drive Chart tells the story, and it's awfully hard to blame the defense when the offense gives up five turnovers.

MSU had a 2 play 13 yard scoring drive resulting in a touchdown. They also had a 4 play 8 yard drive resulting in a field goal. Those were the gimmie points that we served up on a silver platter. Even the world's most inept offense can score in that situation. We also gave up another TD after a turnover.

The Bizarro Dogs had only 1 drive of more than 51 yards on the day. That's it.

The DBs:
Bryan Evans played like a redshirt freshman corner generally plays in the SEC. Some good, and lots of bad. On Tuesday, when they show the replay on CSS you'll see that he was the victim for most of MSU's big passing plays. The good news is the upside. He looked no worse than Paul Oliver, Tim Jennings or Tim Wansley looked as freshmen in their first start. Byrd still didn't get a ton of minutes, but Tra Battle had a solid game with a huge INT return to set up Georgia's first scoring drive. Hopefully, Remarcus Brown will be back for UF.

The LBs:
Worst tackling linebackers at Georgia since at least Marion Campbell's early 90s squad. If that group tackled better than this one, then we either have to go back to the 4-7 '90 team or some group coached pre-Dooley in the early 60s. They tackle at a level only Hal Mumme could appreciate.

The good news is that Tony Taylor really stepped his overall game up. He still missed some tackles, but he had a variety of big plays all over the field. He has a case of the want its. And it's obvious.

The DL:
As I said earlier, Moses and Johnson had a huge game. Richt said after the game, "They made a difference in this game and I was thankful for that. I was proud of them for that." I agree 100%. We're going to need a bunch more of that in Jax.

If you're mad at Willie Martinez after this one (other than the tackling with I personally put on the position coach) you're barking up the wrong tree or you didn't watch the game. An opinion that David Ching shares with me. The turnovers put us in the position we were win. The offense must protect the ball better.

As someone else said this weekend, every scheme looks better with great effort, pressure on the QB and great tackling. I think we got 2 out of three. Still room for improvement, but I thought it was progress given the field position.



C. Paul said...

Thanks for this analysis. So the question I put out to the fellow Dawgs is this:

"What on earth can we do to try to shore up the tackling over the next 4 games?"

I read CMR this morning and he seems as confused as anyone. If we practice them hard, they get worn down. If we take it easy on them, they won't improve.

I'll hang up and listen-

Go Dawgs!!

Anonymous said...


Your conclusion that the position coach has failed to teach our player how to tackle is ridiculous. All of these players have been exposed to the fundamentals of tackling since grade school. The ability to tackle is 90% instinct and execution of what you have been taught and how your personal ability matches up with the person you are trying to tackle. How do you account for the difference in performance of Tony Taylor and the rest of the LB's. They have the same position coach. Please answer this question.

Anonymous said...

If you don't think we have a scheme problem on defense with Martinez, then how do you explain giving MSU the ball at their 23 yardline and then being on pins and needles at the end of the game when they are at our 18 yard line with only 18 seconds to go. It only took them 3 PLAYS!!!!

Anonymous said...

You want like this answer. Our only hope with this group of players is to play teams with equal or less ability on the other side of the ball or offenses that give us little to think about other than the run game. The real answer is to recruit more speed on defense and hope some of them develop leadership skills. If you watch these recruits in High School, you rarely see them against people of their own skill level so you really don't know how they are going to react when they are faced with having to compete with people of equal or greater ability. Reality is we have had too many mistakes in recruiting. I don't know who to blame. VanGorder signed off on most of the current defensive starters. Do you blame him?

Anonymous said...

As much as I admire and respect the accomplishments Mark Richt has made since his introduction to UGA football, I can't help but think that he needs to take a second look at his coaching style. It's great 95% of the time when the coach is level-headed and calm and portrays trust in his players, but this isn't a rookie team making it's debut in division I-A. This is UGA football were are talking about. I don't know how he reacts during practice, but come game time, he needs to install the fear of God in this defense if they are going to continue to miss tackles. Just once, I would like to see Richt blow up and lay into a player who displays shotty defense. Don't get me wrong, there is a reason why these guys were recruited for UGA. Obviously they have displayed some sort of upper level athlectic ability to eve be looked at by this program, but perhaps a "come to Jesus" meeting would be just enough to wake up those who think tackling comes them and they don't have to go after it themselves.

Anonymous said...

Lets examine how Erk would handle this. He never blew up at his players. He motivated through loyalty and respect for his players and kept family business private. He loved his players whether they had the ability to get the job done or not.

Anonymous said...

Let's face facts. CWM is in over his head. This isn't a talent issue, every terrible passing team we've played has looked fantastic against us. Martinez is just in over his head. He defense was bad last year, and it's worth this year.

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