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

Huh?

June 25th, 2009
10:33 am

Tackling, fundamentals, and sticking to assignments. I think Willie Martinez was about 30% of the problem last year and the players make up the remaining 70%. Whatever Martinez drew up against Tech seemed to be working reasonably well in quarters 1, 2 and 4. The players just decided to take quarter 3 off. Tech wasn’t doing anything differently in that 3rd quarter. As for the other games, just watch the tape. Most of the time Martinez’s call has the player’s in position to make the play but they just don’t execute. They whiff on the tackle, get bowled over, or commit a stupid penalty. I’m not saying Martinez is perfect. I think he plays things a little too soft and conservatively sometimes, but last year was not his fault.

Agree with RxDawg 1,000% on Reshad Jones. The guy has been a total disappointment to date. Totally overrated. He is more concerned with making the big hit for the cameras than with doing his job, and most of the time he even fails at that. Big SEC running back vs. Reshad Jones = No freaking contest. The big SEC running back is going to eat his lunch. We need a safety that makes people think twice about going down the middle of the field. We don’t have that.

I pick on Reshad Jones because I think he is emblematic of our problems on defense. A guy with a lot of stars by his name coming out of high school that really hasn’t done anything in college. Maybe he’s got potential but so far he hasn’t lived up to it. Is that coaching you say? Remember that Martinez was the same guy responsible for Grade A Bad A$$es like Sean Jones, Thomas Davis, and Greg Blue at safety. True story. Maybe it isn’t the coaching?

Zoomie

June 25th, 2009
10:35 am

Fix the DL and, hopefully, our options will return. I cringe at the thought of rushing our LBs, as mentioned. It ate us alive last year. If the line can pressure and disrupt, the occasional LB blitz should be effective again; however, I’ll get a knot in my stomach the first few times I see a LB break for the back field.

You also mentioned Reshad Jones will be back; that warrants another groan. He gets the benefit of the doubt to start the season, especially since the coaching staff claims they are stressing fundamentals. Last year, RJ seemed to become a liability at just the point in games where he could’ve made a difference. He has arms — I hope the coaching staff spends a lot of time showing him how to use them before the season kicks off.

With the loss of our most potent offensive weapons, and the anemic play of the defense last year, it’s difficult to tie down exactly what we have going into this season. No doubt, the opening with Okie St will set the tone. Those ‘boys are chomping at the bit to jump into the college football limelight. They’re looking forward to using UGA as a catapult. Hope we’re ready . . .

dawgfanatic24-7

June 25th, 2009
10:36 am

If we get a DE that can hurry up the QB then our entire defense will look better. A rushed QB makes turnovers.

MattDawg

June 25th, 2009
10:43 am

I would say who is going to be playing DE in the first two game before Houston comes back and then who is playing across from him. Next I would say I am concerned about our corners. Finally I don’t want to see Rashad Jones shoulder bump anyone EVER AGAIN. What is so hard about wrapping up a tackle and if you miss, grab his dadgum foot. Can I please be hired by UGA to show these boys how to tackle because no one there seems to be teaching it. Mark Richt and Slick Willie are you listening?

MattDawg

June 25th, 2009
10:46 am

Here is another question for thought. Why is UGA always used as litmus test for whether a team has “arrived” Examples: Hawaii, West Virginia, Oklahoma State. Then we get no respect at all in the press. I know we got a lot last year, but besides that no one ever gives us respect. I mean we didnt even lose the first game of the year and still dropped in the poles. You think that would ever happen to Florida or Southern Cal? I dont thinks so.

dawgfanatic24-7

June 25th, 2009
10:54 am

Another thing that will help our D is less stupid penalties. We gave up WAY too many free yards and first downs last season.

RxDawg

June 25th, 2009
10:59 am

Good post southgadawg88. I agree about Samuel. He just seems more like a LB to me. He runs hard, fast, and straight. This armchair coach feels like he’s just more of a LB then a RB. Plus, the cubbard isn’t bare at RB like it could be at LB comparetively.

coachdawg 2000

June 25th, 2009
11:00 am

The one comment i will offer about Rahad Jones is that ,broken hand or not, he absolutely (along with Rennie Curran) took the wrong pursuit angle and totally disregarded their assignment responsibilities during the tech(bummbling geeks)debacle. He is looking for a highlight reel instead of simply making the read.

RxDawg

June 25th, 2009
11:09 am

dawgfanatic, that’s a very good point. I completely forgot about how bad our penalties were last year. Not only were they numerous, but they seemed to just come at the absolute worst times. We just stoped them on 3rd and 5, they’ll be sure to punt….but wzit, there’s a yellow flag on the ground. UGHHH, I could of kicked a nerd last year. =P

RxDawg

June 25th, 2009
11:11 am

I’m having a major typo problem this am. Please excuse my literation. I blame my football withdrawls. This is the worst time of the year.

45-42

June 25th, 2009
11:32 am

Wait till yall get a load of CPJ’s offense again. You will be crying about all kinds of problems.

bulldawg fan… WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!
WE LOST AGAIN!!!!! WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! WE STILL LEAD THE SERIES!!!! IF THE REFS WOULDN’T HAVE CALLED THAT PENALTY, WE WOULD HAVE WON!!! WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

45-42

June 25th, 2009
11:32 am

Oh yea
45-42
45-42
45-42
45-42

jarvis

June 25th, 2009
11:45 am

Tech can’t beat Georgia in Atlanta. 1977, 1985, 1989, 1999….only times Tech has beaten Georgia in Atlanta since 1970. That’s almost 40 years boys.

45-42

June 25th, 2009
11:49 am

who has the most recent victory as well as the most recent National championship????

TECH
TECH
TECH
TECH
TECH

45-42
45-42
45-42
45-42
45-42

IN YOUR FACE DAWGGIES!!!!! HUNKER ON THAT!!!

jarvis

June 25th, 2009
11:54 am

The friendly confines of Grant Field. We get a warm feeling everytime we’re there.
Dawgs are 16-4 in the last 20 meetings in the Capitol City. You should be ashamed of your lack of an advantage. MARTA hasn’t seen much in the way of happy gold and white in November’s past. No reason to think this will change anytime soon.
Your program hasn’t been relevant in 50 years, and you know it.

bbcsickdawg

June 25th, 2009
12:05 pm

anybody that can hold teams under 40 points! buford high school football defense would be ok!

MattDawg

June 25th, 2009
12:28 pm

51-7
51-7
51-7
51-7
Oh Yeah! Now that is a beat down.

Huh?

June 25th, 2009
12:36 pm

Don’t forget Georgia Tech MattDawg. We are always their one and only litmus test. They act like Champions of the Universe on the extremely rare occasions that they beat us, then when they lose its only because we had an unfair advantage because we recruit illiterate murderers than don’t take calculus. You know the drill. They are the most worthless fan base on the face of the earth. Even those soccer hooligans in South America and Europe can’t light a candle to the clowns on North Avenue. At least the soccer hooligans actually go to the games. What a joke the Techies are.

Long Dawg

June 25th, 2009
12:45 pm

This cry baby nectur licking bee boy that keeps coming on this blog to say nanah nanah boo boo is a real mental case. His low self esteem from being a life long Tech fan is only assuaged by displaying severe immaturity. We know the score 45 to 42. It does not bother us. It will lead to Tech getting a good ass kicking later this year.

AltamahaDawg

June 25th, 2009
1:11 pm

R. Jones was a sophomore in his first year starting last year. He lead the team in ints, missing the SEC lead by 2. He had MORE tackles than Eric Berry. I seem to remember more than one occation making a potential game saving play. He appearantly needs to work on his tackling technique coming from opposite field and catching a tank from the side. Probably helps if the coaches let you practice that for real in the last half of the year.

45-42

June 25th, 2009
1:23 pm

WE WON WWE WON WE WON WE WON
45-42
45-42
45-42
UGA…SUX

45-42
45-42
45-42
BARK LOSERS BARK! BARK LOSERS BARK!!
45-42
45-42
45-42

TECH OWNS YOU NOW!

FLORIDA OWNS YOU!

ALABAMA OWNS YOU NOW!!!

HUNKER DOWN IN ATHENS!!!
45-42
45-42
45-42

WOOF WOOF LOSERS BARK!!!!!

45-42

June 25th, 2009
1:24 pm

OH AND TUCK FECH, HOW CLEVER!
YOUR INFERIOR BRAINS COULD NOT HANDLE TECH!

NOW, I’LL TAKE FRIES WITH THAT!

Huh?

June 25th, 2009
1:41 pm

“He lead the team in ints, missing the SEC lead by 2.”

Whoopdeefreakindoo. We were also 8th in the league in pass defense. He had more tackles than Eric Berry because Eric Berry had guys in front of him that were making alot of those tackles for him. You can twist and spin the stats all you want to make the guy look good, but the game film tells a different story. And don’t give me this crap about him only being a sophomore. It was his third year in the system and he’s a freaking safety. That’s not exactly the most cerebral position on the field. Its about 80% instinct and 20% attitude. RJ is lacking in both departments. I’ve watched more replays of the LSU game than I care to admit and I’m pretty confident that RJ still has Charles Scott’s cleat marks all over his body. The guy was getting taken to the woodshed the entire game. That is NOT Georgia football. You should expect more. If not, don’t be surprised when we’re getting run out of the stadium by every good offense we face like we did last year. Don’t say you weren’t warned. I’m tired of the damn excuses. I want to see results. Good day.

AltamahaDawg

June 25th, 2009
1:55 pm

a safety getting burned a few times……..really?

I pretty sure that my hopefullness of a team that I supoport isn’t going to have a huge bearing on the actual outcome of the games. But yes, you warned me of the dangers in that.

AltamahaDawg

June 25th, 2009
1:58 pm

Incedentally sport, I wasnt talking to YOU about Jones. I thought you spoke fairly on him, and that position in the past in general. It’s the folks who claim he was going to be a liability this year despite clearly we have no better options and he IS going to be one year bigger , stronger, and wiser.

AltamahaDawg

June 25th, 2009
2:11 pm

While we are on pass defence, that stat says as much if not more about the front line than it does the backfield. You are right Berry did have some help. Jones did not. He was hung out there to do or die about every play.

I also think its pretty easy to look at the stats on tackles to dispute whatever you assersion was about Berry. It’s just not factual.

The point was, 76 tackles vs missing a handful hardly seem like a disaster.

Ferndolin

June 25th, 2009
2:24 pm

Gotta have a pass rush. If it’s there, it disrupts the whole offense. If it’s not, our pass defense could look real bad. With a good pass rush, other areas benefit, including the score.

Zoomie

June 25th, 2009
2:33 pm

“Last year, RJ seemed to become a liability at just the point in games where he could’ve made a difference.”

That’s pulled from my previous post, Altamaha. I didn’t say he was going to be a liability this year.

“He gets the benefit of the doubt to start the season, especially since the coaching staff claims they are stressing fundamentals.”

That’s also pulled from my previous post.

And if you weren’t referring to me either, it’s all good. I just noted that I specifically used the word “liability” and wanted to make sure it’s kept in context.

Huh?

June 25th, 2009
3:08 pm

You cannot honestly think that Reshad Jones is as good as Eric Berry? My assertion about Eric Berry was that Tennessee had a better overall defense. Therefore, he didn’t have to make as many tackles. As far as the safety position is concerned, I don’t think a bunch of tackles alone really says all that much. It may mean your defense is getting schooled and I think that’s the case with Reshad Jones.

As for this year, nobody knows what the hell will happen this year. I hope they have been listening to people like me dragging them through the mud. I hope they want to rip my head off. I hope they get p!ssed off and want to prove me wrong. If not, its going to be another season of 40-30 type wins and losses. More shootouts and blowouts. It won’t be much fun. Prepare yourself. I have.

MattDawg

June 25th, 2009
3:49 pm

Eric Berry > Rashad Jones.

Eric Berry = the only player on Tennessee’s team worth mentioning.

MattDawg

June 25th, 2009
3:51 pm

I bet Eric Berry really regrets not picking Georgia now!

Houdawg

June 25th, 2009
4:14 pm

Tackling > Attitude > Less Penalties …….

And although some stated we need a ” Thomas Davis ” hitter from the secondary,I disagree somewhat. From what I saw last year …. that was part of the problem. We had way too many DB’s / Safeties trying to get the ” HIT ” while their hands were in at their chest and simply NOT MAKING THE TACKLE. Inspired , Junkyard Dawg tackling will solve a lot of issues ……. IF we play that way of course.

jerry

June 25th, 2009
4:43 pm

The defense will be better by addition by subtraction. There won’t be so many 3 and outs because the QB threw the damn ball 20 yards over the receiver’s head on first down. It seemed like 10 times a game.

genxdawg

June 25th, 2009
4:53 pm

Order of concern:

1. Pass rush
1a. On-field leadership/accountability and awful tackling
2. Failure in the red zone

shane#1

June 25th, 2009
4:59 pm

UGA’s defense is built on speed because they have to play the Gators and other super fast teams every year. When Bama came to town and ran right at those boys behind that big old line UGA got taken to the woodshed. It is a truism in football that you counteract a speedy D line by running right at them. This year UGA will play spread teams and I formation teams and Tech, with their spread option. So what kind of base D would be the best given UGA’s personel and their strengths? I mentioned the 3-4 a while back and today I thought about Erk’s old defense. The spread formations, as a rule, are designed to attack the corners, whether by run or pass. Erk’s defense was designed to funnel everything back into the middle and not give up the corners. It also allowed his relatively small, but quick, D linemen to “hit the gaps” between the O linemen. Since you can’t change the base D for evey game, unless you want a Chinese fire drill at every practice, do you guys think Erk’s old D could be dusted off and used today? With some adjustments for the times, of course.

weston

June 25th, 2009
5:46 pm

>>do you guys think Erk’s old D could be dusted off and used today?

It doesn’t matter. Martinez is not going to change his defensive scheme. He can’t even make adjustments in the middle of the game and he sure has hell won’t make them in the manner you describe.

To answer the question: MARTINEZ is the biggest worry

Kendawg

June 25th, 2009
6:36 pm

My biggest concern to start the season is with our kickoff team. Too many times last year the opponent started at the thirty-five or forty yard line. This made it especially tough on our defense. Perhaps Bogotay can remedy this problem to some degree.

AltamahaDawg

June 25th, 2009
6:36 pm

I never said, nor do I believe he is “as good as” Berry. I think Berry is the best in the conference right now. Nor did I say tackles were the entire story BUT when folks are saying he cannot tackle, it was worth pointing out..

In more broad terms, Jones was one the top of the league in: 1.Ints 2, tackles 3. Passes defended. Those seem to be what a safety does.

BTW, you arent going to preach to me about crafting numbers when you state that playing safety in the SEC is 80% instinct and 20% attitude are you? Really? I think if we were to ask anyone in the football coaching industry to verify that, they are going to want to add a few slices to that pie chart. We might even have to bring in Ramble-On for that one, he is the king of fuzzy math.

snot bubble

June 25th, 2009
6:43 pm

Glad to see all the tech people got their periods early…That means no little yellow jackass’ running around annoying people…

yellow fuzz

June 26th, 2009
9:45 pm

Hey Bill, when is the AJC going to assign one guy to write about nothing but Tech?

“What are the Dogs’ main concerns on defense?” All 11 positions and the defensive coordinator position as well.

southgadawg88

June 28th, 2009
1:50 pm

….You guys see these recruits we have pulled over the last week?We are on our way to a possible no 1 class with the emphasis on Defense for a change!!look out…guard your grill the junkyard dawgs are about to make a return!!

dawgbone

June 30th, 2009
2:36 am

fellas, every one needs to go to the spring game next time where you can sit close and observe, ! damn these are just kids out there !, i cant be as hard on them, i believe in coach richt and if he wants rjones out ther at safety i can accept hes our best option and cox is our qb, although gray look good, seems like everyone is passing on him this year and next, if cox goes down we wont lose a step w/gray, he will light it up in 09 & 10