What are the Dogs’ main concerns on defense?

Most previews of the 2009 Georgia Bulldogs note that with all the uncertainty on offense, it’s going to be essential for the defense to continue the turnaround from last year that was evident in the bowl game. 

Which area of the defense concerns you the most?

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The return of Jeff Owens and Geno Atkins, with Kade Weston providing depth, should make the interior DL one of the team’s strengths, and the linebacking corps led by Rennie Curran and Akeem Dent looks pretty deep and strong. 

But what about defensive end, one of the least productive defensive positions last season? Justin Houston had the best spring, but he’s suspended for the first two games, putting the onus on DeMarcus Dobbs and Rod Battle, who missed the spring with an injury. Will Kiante Tripp step up to provide some depth? And will the plan to use linebackers Darryl Gamble and Marcus Washington as pass rushers in nickel-defense situations help make the Dogs more effective at pressuring the QB?

Then there’s the secondary, which loses Asher Allen and C.J. Byrd, though Reshad Jones is back at strong safety. Sophomore Brandon Boykin seems a likely starter at one corner (though redshirt freshman Sanders Commings might make a move) and the inconsistent Prince Miller looks to be the starter at the other corner, with Vance Cuff backing him up.  Bryan Evans is now at free safety, where he appears to be more effective than he was at CB. The ranks of defensive backs are kind of thin, though, particularly with the transfer of John Knox.   

And then there’s the X-factor: much maligned defensive coordinator Willie Martinez. While he wasn’t the one failing to wrap up tackles, he’s responsible for the overall performance of the defense, which came up seriously lacking in some big games last year.

So that’s our Question of the Day: Which area of the Georgia defense concerns you the most? Freel free to comment, vote in the poll or have it both ways.

92 comments Add your comment

Cuz

June 25th, 2009
7:07 am

Defensive backs. They need to hit like the second coming of Thomas Davis.

Cuz

June 25th, 2009
7:09 am

A standout defensive end would be great also, Tripp are you up to the challenge?

ceph

June 25th, 2009
7:17 am

The area of defense that concerns me most is (WILLIE THE WEASEL MARTINEZ)nothing more nothing less!!!!!!!

Rick

June 25th, 2009
7:26 am

The tackling and fundamentals are the greatest concern,the coaches have already admitted as much; hence the focus all spring and summer has been on fundamentals and a nastier disposition.

I am not declaring UGA as SEC champions, however; the D will be much improved.

Rick

June 25th, 2009
7:31 am

“INFANTILE” is a word that comes to mind when fans resort to blaming coaches and refs for losses. I am not sure that some of these fans remember the days of inconsistence during the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Columbus Dawg

June 25th, 2009
7:35 am

Well, it seems that the Marlon Brown/Facebook issue is not going away. Is there anyone who know anything about this? I understand that one of the people who run UGA’s Rivals.com message board confirmed that it was Brown’s Facebook site.

Jeremy

June 25th, 2009
7:57 am

I am waiting for RAMBLE ON to appear to continue bragging about their 9th win in the series since 1974.

Greg

June 25th, 2009
7:58 am

Several players on the defense have come out publicly and said that there was a lack of leadership on defense. In my mind the leadership starts with the D.C., I have not seen any since he (Willie) has been the D.C….by evidence of the results, inconsistencies and players not coming out ready to play (WV,UT,GT and many more). Until there is a change at D.C., I do not see any of this changing.

Pago Flyer

June 25th, 2009
7:59 am

Are we going to have “special” teams this year?!

dawgstephen

June 25th, 2009
8:01 am

Columbus…what are you talking about?

coachdawg 2000

June 25th, 2009
8:01 am

I think that the players need to accept the fact that they have to play with their head and heart. Too many tinmes last year they totally lost their focus on the task at hand. I know alot of yall are in love with Rennie Curran but i saw way too many occasions where he overpursued left mile wide cutback lanes. Physical toughness also is concern. We sometimes remind me of the Ray Goff teams where we have a bunch of playstation/jamie newberg all-americans with no ability to physically impose their will.

Hart co.

June 25th, 2009
8:04 am

Since the mb/fbook isn’t going away, tell us what it is.

Atticus

June 25th, 2009
8:05 am

All the above.

Pass rush is critical. Tackling. Coach Martinez preparing the kids and holding them accountable AND making the necessary adjustments. Intensity. Leadership.

coachdawg 2000

June 25th, 2009
8:14 am

All of you bent on blaming Willie Martinez for the lack of guts by our defense last year are really delusional about your fond memories of BVG. I think that Van Gorder was/is an outstanding DC.With that being said do you not remember the 2003 SEC championship game when our D let Justin Vincent set the SEC CG record and gave up 34 points. I was as didsappointed in our D’s play, but come on! You can only coach them up and hold them accountable but was he going to pull Ellerbe (and put in who at MLB-gamble and dent were unavailable for the tech game) or burn redshirt of true freshman safety because CJ Byrd apparently prefers touch football.

Red Dawg

June 25th, 2009
8:15 am

AMEN C dawg!! defense is preparation & DESIRE!!!!!

athensdawg

June 25th, 2009
8:15 am

cuz you are right. we need a thomas davis/greg blue in the secondary – heck, I would be fine with a whole team of guys like that.

rick, i am a little confused by your remarks.

are you saying that is it “infantile” to mention that mark richt, in his second year, did something with Jim Donnan’s players that Jim Donnan could never do….win the SEC championship?

is it “infantile” to realize that these are 17-22 year old boys who don’t know their a** from a hole in the ground and need leadership and focus and discipline in order to become a team? and that without it, you can have the most talented players in the world and never get anywhere? in fact, that doesn’t just apply to the college ranks. All one needs to do is look at the Dallas Cowboys to see a perfect example…or even our own Atlanta Falcons.

in that light, i guess it is also “infantile” to bring up certain games in which we did not play at a consistant level of intensity…. (The last two losses to UT, the 4th quarter meltdown vs tech, WVU, not being able to stop Auburn on 3rd down a few years ago, etc.)

who is to blame for that? the coaches do their jobs – they have, if you listen to mark richt, the most incredible game plan for every game…but we just fail to execute. Why do they fail to execute? Who is to teach them how to execute in these situations? Who is responsible for making sure that they learn and get better?

But yet, we continue to hear about the superiority of our game planning and lack of execution….

Albert Einstein once said, to repeat the same action and expect different results is the definition of insanity. Guess he was “infantile” as well.

CMR has a system….and he is going to stick to that system from here on out….his goal is to outlast the competition….just like Bobby Bowden….that drives some of us crazy. So please excuse the complaints from the preschoolers.

Red Dawg

June 25th, 2009
8:21 am

OKIE ST will be Martinez’ litmus test.If they score 30 & we lose he will have a problem.

Columbus Dawg

June 25th, 2009
8:23 am

There are claims that Marlon Brown made a Face book entry towards potential recruits to “enjoy the visits, and get as much out of those white folks as you can because it will be hell when you get here.” And also was saying something about getting money.

coachdawg 2000

June 25th, 2009
8:26 am

Sometimes being the best Ath-ah-lete or being uber-talented is not enough to get it done in football. This observation answers this question, the Stafford questionand solves the riddle of our team last year. I know that David Greene and Buck Belue wasn’t in the same solar system as far as talent with Stafford or Stat-Man(Zeier) but they both were winners and dedicated to Georgia. I am pretty sure that any of our 2008 D-ends would out-run,out-leap,and out-athlete Pollack but they would not out-work, out-hustle,or out-desire him. The game of football is about passion, discipline,and a steadfast commitment to imposing your will on your opponent. You’re either the hammer or the nail!

NC_DAWG82

June 25th, 2009
8:30 am

Apparently Marlon Brown has 2 facebook pages, and I’d say there is a pretty good chance that this whole thing is a fake put together by a UT fan on his personal blog. That is where this whole story first came to light. If it smells fishy, it’s probably a fish…

tim

June 25th, 2009
8:31 am

the puppies main concern on Oct 31 will be holding UF to under 50…..which they will not do

dd

June 25th, 2009
8:32 am

I’ll go ahead and say it before saint simons comes on here.

tech has UGLY women

coachdawg 2000

June 25th, 2009
8:34 am

dd-
correction tech has NO women.

JB

June 25th, 2009
8:35 am

Heart, leaders and coaching last year………We know the coaching will be the same…..I think the other two will change……Let’s all hope so……..But in some defense of the defense, the kicking game and a high rate of 4 and out did not do those guys any favors. They had to start defending at mid field most of the time it seemed !!!!!!!!!!!!

reebok

June 25th, 2009
8:39 am

Tech fan here…if I were a UGA fan, I’d say my biggest area of concern on defense is the Defensive Co-ordinator…see you on the Flats in November.

Cuz

June 25th, 2009
8:44 am

No one is that stupid to put something like that on a facebook page. Marlon has been hacked plain and simple. How many times has someone taking anothers name on this blog and posted something off the wall. If you haven’t had your name hacked here, you are not trying hard enough.

AJC accounting dept.

June 25th, 2009
8:51 am

Sorry Bill but we are going to have to let you go. Your third-grade level column and its fourth-grade level responses are not worth the $56 a week we are paying you. We need to use the money to hire a person with a non-Uga degree to review spelling throughout the paper. Being that we have oodles of Uga grads working here, that is a daunting task.

Cuz

June 25th, 2009
8:55 am

Columbus Dawg, you have brought up Marlon’s alleged facebook comments on three seperate blog topics. Do you have some kind of agenda you would like to share with the class? NRBQ gave you an answer already. Was that not good enough or do you want Marlon to twitter you with his comments?

JB

June 25th, 2009
9:00 am

reebok………let me tell you what Tech’s problem will be this year, and it is kind of a back handed compliment , but you won’t take it that way…..Under Gaily, Tech did not put the fear in anyone heart ( and Reggie Ball) so teams didn’t ‘ GET UP ” for you guys….Well, you looked pretty good last year….Guess what ? Teams ( Including Georgia )will prepare better, emotionally and physically for you guys this year and your games will be harder to win. Count on it.

techie

June 25th, 2009
9:03 am

To answer the question – talent and coaching.

Saint Simons

June 25th, 2009
9:09 am

45-42!!!!!!!! hahahahaahahahaahahahahahahahaha

Long Dawg

June 25th, 2009
9:20 am

I can’t speak for the other Dawg supporters on this blog but I have never been on a Tech blog. Why? I am not interested in anything that’s going on at Tech. I read the stuff in the paper that says they can’t fill a small stadium and have to hire an outside firm to sell their tickets for them which says to me no one else is much interested in them either.
So why do you think so many of them get on the junkyard blog? Because without the Georgia game each year (which is the only thing that gives their program any relevance)they have nothing to focus on or aspire to. Their greatest aspiraton in life is to beat Georgia. So, when they win one occassionally they go banannas. It is kind pitiful really.

Now to the question. For better defensive play- more aggressive attitude(more blitzing and less predictibility) better defensive backs and defensive ends.

Cuz

June 25th, 2009
9:22 am

Saint you are late. Must have been a big crowd eating at the Sand Castle this morning.

Otto

June 25th, 2009
9:23 am

The secondary is the question mark. Healthy good DTs will help the DEs. Very few were complaining about the defense after ‘07 and CWM was coaching then. IMO he changed practices after the injuries and it cost UGA, with everyone healthy I doubt there is a problem.

Denver Dog

June 25th, 2009
9:24 am

Bees are out, obviously reveling in the great cathouse Saturday 3 point victory of 2008. Let em have their fun. They don’t have anything else to do, and their mother is putting them to bed without supper again for looking at peep shows down at the concrete campus.

Anyway our defensive play that concerns me is depth on the line. We have some real horses coming back, but I’m concerned with the depth and with the scheme.owever, if can keep the ball for much longer periods this year, with some good long drives behind that O line, we should be able to stay rested, are at least not be dragging around.

Fundamentals like tackling and switching are big cocerns for me. If we can make tackles in the secondary, on plays that get through the line, then we should be a lot better.

It will all come down to coaching, let there be no doubt about it. I hope I never again see a UGA player not wrap up a running back around the edge of the secondary and give up a long winning touchdown. We stopped Javon Ringer, now it is time to stop the rest of the teams. That is where the story will begin at OK State, and end at the Concrete Flats that they call Grant Field.

We will see; but beware of the Dogs

Columbus Dawg

June 25th, 2009
9:25 am

Cuz, I absolutely do not have an agenda, just became very concerned with the allegations. I just don’t want anything going against the Dawgs. I bleed Red and Black, and am one here who thinks we are going to have a very big year. Just being a worrywart I guess. Don’t want no trouble in The Classic City! Hunker down you hairy Dawgs!

coachdawg 2000

June 25th, 2009
9:25 am

Long Dawg-
blitzing is too feast or famine. It’s great when you sack to quarterback or force him to rush his throw. but if you don’t get there you db’s are left twisting in the wind.(Rememer the 1999 Allbarn game)

Denver Dog

June 25th, 2009
9:30 am

Columbus Dawg, that sounds like some PWT hillbilly still talk. While sitting around drinking white liquor during the break on the road crew. If you bleed red and black why would you even bring that trash on the UGA blog. If it truly bothers you, call CMR’s office and see what they say. I’m sure if it is on Facebook, you can go look it up! The story is coming from the same guy who has been employed about 7 months and has 16 recruiting violations. If you are a real dog fan, quit bring up that kind of trash!

southgadawg88

June 25th, 2009
9:47 am

That Marlon Brown facebook stuff has been debunked already…it was a hoak.I have a bit of a different take on the D than some.Over the last 4-5 years UGA has taken what I would call the “Raider”approach to defensive prospects…..we seemed most concerned with speed…at LB,DE,and the secondary even Owens and Atkins are considered light for the position but have great agility and quickness which makes them disruptive penetrating players(Atkins runs a 4.6 40 by the way)However when u go for speed you give up bulk…I know the trend for awhile was to get these fast guys on the field to keep up with the FLA spread type offense..Fla puts a lot of small fast WR’s on the field and spreads you out so we started recruiting these type of kids to match up to that.But fast players are usually poor tacklers…it’s a trade off…it kind of nullifies the impact of speed when u get run over when you get to the ball carrier.As teams trend towards these super sized WR’s it will become more apparent.I personally think the days of 5-7 to 5-9 CB’s being the bulk of your secondary are coming to a close.Look at what WE are putting out there this year AJ 6-4 220,Brown 6-5 225,Charles and White 6-3 235…WE will be taking advantage of a lot of 5-7 to 5-9 160-180 lb corners this year as well!!Notice how ALA,LSU,Tenn and yes the DAWGS have signed a lot of 6ft200lb secondary players in the last couple of seasons it’s not going to stop.As I said Owens and Atkins are studs yet you can run directly at them and have some success…it’s when you throw the ball where they are awesome..I think both are pro 3-4 ends.Lucky for us we do have the “beef” in Weston and Tyson… they wont send many QB’s scrambling for their lives but you are not gonna find much success running at them either.As for Tripp and the DE’s I’m going to take a wait and see approach…we have talent..we look to be healthy going into camp…competition should produce at least 1 guy to join Dobbs,Houstin and Battle into the mix..we shall see.Willie gets put in the spotlight right out the gate..OK state supposedly has a potent Offense(i say supposedly because I’m not sure they face any real Defense in the Big 12…that includes Texas and OKL in my book!)Bobby Petrino is hailed as an Offensive guru by many so by the ASU game we should have a handle on what’s what.I do LOVE the additions of Cummings,Rambo,Love,Smith to the secondary!!You know Evans is not a bad tackler(he just made too many tackles running people down from behind after getting beat)word is Reshard played with a broken hand down the stretch like Allen but it was kept on the hush…makes since because cracking heads was something he was doing regularly earlier in the year then all of a sudden he was just bumping people.I look for Washington,Williams and Dowtin(keep your eyes on this kid…I think he’s the next star at LB)to brings some big hits and athleticism to the LB crew.Love Renne too..however he is a bit of a liability in pass coverage and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some one else out there more in passing situations this year.I think Renne will play pro ball but he definitely will NOT be an every down player.Look for a lot these youngster to make an immediate impact on special teams..getting some more head hunters on the field is critical.Last I got a gut feeling Samuel will be playing LB next year.

Will

June 25th, 2009
9:54 am

The defense will be much improved this season. Marcus Washington, Sanders Commings, Jeff Owens and from what I hear a tremendous crop of freshman & redshirt freshman DE’s should make us one of the SEC’s best. I do worry a tad about our secondary but I think we will be so strong up front it will shelter those guys. I look for our defense to keep us in many games this year.

Will

June 25th, 2009
9:58 am

I forgot about stud freshman DB Brandon Smith, who will dominate by season’s end. My bad Brandon. Never mind my previous statement about me worryying about our secondary. I feel better now.

dawgstephen

June 25th, 2009
9:58 am

I will be recording an interview today with JEff Owens for playback on my radio show tomorrow. this IS an interview scheduled THROUGH the university and is on the level.

Gonna get Jeff’s take on 2009 and the defense. I will post links tomorrow for a listen live….Go dawgs

JB

June 25th, 2009
10:00 am

must be “get your slide rule adjusted free ” day at Tech today. Very little Tech 3 point win blather on here today. Thank goodness.

YoungDawg

June 25th, 2009
10:01 am

I hope CWM adjusts his schemes to the talent that available to him each given week. We should be switch to go to different packages as our base D if necessary. For example if the DE’s can’t get pass rush & the injuries there continue then we should go 3-4 or nickel with Gamble or Washington playing OLB or rush end ala Thomas Davis. To give you another example say the WR’s develop but the TB’s don’t go with the FB’s in a one backs look with 3 (or 4) WR’s & a TE. We could still use the base I a lot as well but send the TB’s in motion to add a WR. Basically the coaching staff needs to adjust based on the talent & have the pancakes installed to be able to do this. I think they have the latter just need to do the former on the fly not after a bye week when the season is half over!

RxDawg

June 25th, 2009
10:03 am

Without reading anything but the title, I’m going to guess most dawgs are going to say DE and a good pass rush. I’m not going to say that’s not important, it is. However in my opinion the biggest question mark on D next year is our secondary.

I don’t care what people and the stats say about Rashad Jones, I watched him closely last year and he plays soft. Really soft. It’s time for him to step up.

Then our other saftey, Evans, is a converted CB. The coaches may be blowing smoke about him, but I still need to see it in person.

Asher Allen leaving early really hit us harder then most people realize. He was the 2nd best member of our D last year and was making plays all over the field. He will have some big shoes to fill.

Prince Miller is kind of quite. But in a way I guess thats exactly what you want out of a corner back. That means he’s not getting thrown to a lot.

I’m highly concerned about our secondary. Hopefully some of the new guys will have what it takes. Now let me ready the article lol.

Cuz

June 25th, 2009
10:04 am

Don’t be so hard on the Tech bloggers. They have nowhere to go. Their fan blog was cancelled for lack of interest until fall. This explains all the buzzing around the UGA fan blog. Is there a twelve step program for football addiction?

DirtyDawg

June 25th, 2009
10:17 am

Seems to me there was some Civil War General that coined the phrase, and concept, ‘Firstist with the Mostist’…it’s not enough to have speed, you’ve got to ‘do something’ when you get there. I’ll always remember Jim Donnan talking about one of his DBs (probably Champ Bailey although I never really got the idea that it applied), ‘That guy will knock their ‘d**ks’ off’…We need some guys like that now.

1eyedJack

June 25th, 2009
10:21 am

If everyone can stay healthy I believe CMR and co. will find the answers to all questions.

Cuz

June 25th, 2009
10:27 am

Nathan Bedford Forrest. Actual quote was “General how did you win so many battles? Forrest: I always tried to get there first with the most men.”

1eyedJack

June 25th, 2009
10:27 am

DirtyDawg, that would be Nathan Bedford Forest, who also, when finding himself and his cavalry surrounded, shouted “attack both ways” and was successful. Maybe that is good advice for the Dawgs, attack both ways.

Run the ball and stop the run, be solid in the kicking game.