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.
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.