Encouraging signs on Dogs defense

Demarcus Dobbs knows improvement is needed up front. (Georgiadogs.com)

Demarcus Dobbs knows improvement is needed up front. (Georgiadogs.com)

If talking the talk is at least half the battle toward improving, then I’m encouraged by some of the comments coming out of Athens about fixing Georgia’s defense.

First of all, at least the players appear to recognize some of the problems. David Hale of Bulldogs Blog talked to Demarcus Dobbs and Rennie Curran about why the Dogs have been successful against the run but unable to generate much pressure on the quarterback. Dobbs said the Dogs’ defensive line has been bad at getting off their blocks on passing plays because they were expecting run, and said the defense has been killed by play action. Curran said it comes down to needing more film study and being better at reading pass formations, while Dobbs said the linemen have to improve on reading the blocks of the offensive line.

Fundamentals, in other words.

At least there’s no question Georgia has a lot of talent up front on defense. They just need to get it done, as Jeff Owens noted in the Macon Telegraph: “For the front seven, we’ve got to get more pressure on the QB. We’ve got to rush more. That’s what our focus should be this week. We know Arizona State is going to throw the football, and as a defensive tackle, I’ve got to pin my ears back and try to get to the QB.”

Meanwhile, back in the secondary, where just about everyone had scorch marks on them after the Arkansas game, cornerback Bryan Evans admits most of the blame belongs with the players. He told Hale: “Some plays we’re in great position to make plays, we just didn’t make them. Other times, we’re just lackadaisical at getting to our positions where we’re supposed to be at.”

That sort of play calls for some bench time, so it’s good to see defensive coordinator Willie Martinez saying he’s going to “get some other guys some more opportunities” back there, specifically young safeties Bacarri Rambo and Sanders Commings. Martinez said Commings might even see some playing time at cornerback.

Meanwhile, in his Tuesday press conference the head man, Mark Richt, succinctly summed up Georgia’s problem on defense: “It’s always the same answer, a combination of pressure and coverage. Which comes first? What helps the other one the most? … If we put pressure on the quarterback he tends to throw the ball too soon or a little bit off balance, and that helps your coverage. It’s as simple as that. We have to cover better and we have to put more pressure. One area where I thought we might be putting a little more pressure on the quarterback where we really haven’t up to this point on a consistent basis is right up the middle. We need to get more from the inside push. If the quarterback does step up he’s got nowhere to be comfortable or no space and we’ve had too much of that.”

The Dogs have been “stout against the run,” Richt noted, but he doesn’t believe Georgia’s defensive front is only suited to doing that. “I’ve seen Jeffrey [Owens], Geno [Atkins], Kade [Weston], DeAngelo [Tyson], I’ve seen all those guys, and even young Abry [Jones], they all have the ability to rush the passer and push the pocket. We just haven’t done it well enough on a consistent basis. So that’s definitely a big point of contention for us.”

Like I said, at least they’re talking the talk. The bigger question remains: Can Georgia fix the problems on the field when it counts?

163 comments Add your comment

Cuz

September 23rd, 2009
10:42 am

Turn the turnover margin around. GATA DAWGS!

dtdawg09

September 23rd, 2009
10:44 am

Pressure on the QB and coverage. Yes we know what the problem is. Sounds like it’s easier said than done, as far as fixing it. Maybe our studs on the D line aren’t quite as studly as we thought they were.

True Dawg

September 23rd, 2009
10:44 am

I think our defense will get well against ASU and our offense will light it up again.Im telling you this could be a very good season,keep the faith we are 2-0 in conference and thats what matters right now.GO GEORGIA BULLDOGS…GATA!!!!!!

dawgdays

September 23rd, 2009
10:46 am

to EVERYTHING turn turn turn

TCDAWG

September 23rd, 2009
10:47 am

If or when these DAWGS get the defense turned around, looks l;ike the sky could be the limit.

L-Dawg

September 23rd, 2009
10:47 am

GLORY GLORY TO OLE’ GEORGIA!!!

WHEN THE (AZ STATE)DEVIL COMES DOWN TO GEORGIA…. THE OUTCOME DOES NOT CHANGE….

GO DAWGS!!!!

3 DAYS TIL THE GOOD LORD SMILES ON ATHENS!!!!!!

Johnny Test

September 23rd, 2009
10:49 am

I predict a better showing against Arizona State and our best showing ytd against LSU. However, if we don’t stop gift wrapping touchdowns with fumbles and penalties it will still make for high scoring nail biters.

Denver Dog

September 23rd, 2009
10:50 am

Let’s just see now!

Mirna from smyrna

September 23rd, 2009
10:50 am

It’s the same old talk. My gosh someone step up and make some plays. The defense and penalties have gotten worse over the past year and half. What the hell was going on all summer? Lackadaisical = poor coaching if you ask me. I am “all in” with this and every team we field but this “lackadaisical” attitude has got to stop this week!!!!!!

PMC

September 23rd, 2009
10:50 am

Yeah I think they can really improve.. Little things are killing them right now. They obviously have lots of raw talent. Jeff is still recovering from that knee injury. I still don’t like the scheme but nobody cares what I think anyway and I don’t make 300 grand a year to come up with one. I’d really love to see a turnover free weeknend for the Georgia offense and no mental penalties. If the defense could force a turnover or two that would be perfect.

If they play clean… they’ll be tough to beat.

Alabamadawg

September 23rd, 2009
10:52 am

Nice to hear they recognize the problems…but did our coach say anthing about those stupid directional kickoffs ????What are they thinking ??? Isn’t that why we used a scholarship to bring in a junior college player, because he could put the ball in the endzone ??? Although I was never sure we needed him…but am glad to have him…

Julius

September 23rd, 2009
10:57 am

Being a Sun Devil obviously I’d like to see our boys go in there and steal one. Our team however is extremely young. Our linebacker Burfick was ranked the top Linebacker in the country last year. We are forced to put him in as a true freshman. We’ve gone back to the old days of recruiting SoCal kids. Expect a decent game this week.

boots

September 23rd, 2009
10:57 am

This conversation was the same thing being said over the summer about how they would improve over 2008’s defense. While the players must execute, WM needs to have taken steps over the off-season to prepare them. Who is to blame? I don’t care. What we need to see is action: more pressure, better coverage, forcing turn-overs and fewer penalties. From the entire team, we need some focus, more discipline and fewer turn-overs. It comes down to having your head in the game, and THAT is something some of the players AND coaches need to improve upon. With that said, we have a good shot to clobber the Pac-10, so let’s do it. Go Dawgs!

ovadatop34

September 23rd, 2009
10:58 am

I like what I hear but not what I see.

sarfdawg

September 23rd, 2009
10:59 am

Let’s continue to treat Willie with kid gloves. Shocks me that Bradley, of all people, was calling for his head. Plain and simple, Willie needs to go.

Fleischman in Chattanooga

September 23rd, 2009
11:01 am

You guys are a bunch of Homo’s

godawgs

September 23rd, 2009
11:02 am

uummmm just a thought/quick question. Whose job is it to teach the fundamentals? To fix repeated problems? We were two missed quaterback reads from losing to SC and the same with Ark.

Sanford Drive

September 23rd, 2009
11:03 am

What a joke. Haven’t we been trying to “fix” the defense for a few years now? It’s not going to happen in a week.

UGA72

September 23rd, 2009
11:05 am

“Bryan Evans admits most of the blame belongs with the players. He told Hale: ‘Some plays we’re in great position to make plays, we just didn’t make them. Other times, we’re just lackadaisical at getting to our positions where we’re supposed to be at.’” The fact is, Evans is a big part of the problem. He was the worst corner we had when he played there, constantly out of position, constantly flagged, constantly getting beat. Now, we’ve moved him to safety and the same bad things are happening. Face it! Evans is a big part of the problem. The worst part is that CWM doesn’t seem to recognize that he is a fly in the ointment.

chbeyer

September 23rd, 2009
11:07 am

Mark Richt is a talented and outstanding top tier coach. Further, his integrity is unquestionable and it shows in the loyalty he shows to his staff. In this case, however, he needs to step up to the plate and make a coaching change (Martinez). Georgia clearly has a high octane offense but having to score 50 points to win is a daunting task that will be impossible with Florida, LSU and other high level programs. The Georgia Tech game should have been the icing on the cake (last year). Scoring 42 points and losing is a real indicator of a major defensive problem. Now its happening again this year. Where is the accountability on the part of Martinez. That is Coach Richt’s job. In that area he is not proving to be up the task. That said, he excels in so many other categories (recruiting, motivation, player respect).

KC in Athens

September 23rd, 2009
11:10 am

Talking about studs on a football blog sounds gay dude. You might want to watch out for that. Sorry to point that out, but next time I turn around you’ll be talking about “Cox getting penetration.”

Class of '98

September 23rd, 2009
11:11 am

Why do our DB’s never seem to have any clue where the ball is? It’s so frustrating to see the ball fall directly over their shoulder right into the arms of the receiver.

Bill is the biggest Willie Martinez apologist in the world, but that is coaching. They are being taught to NOT LOOK FOR THE BALL, but instead wait for the moment it comes into the receiver’s arms and then knock it away.

I hate it, and it’s cost us about 2 touchdowns per game for the past couple of years.

red hill

September 23rd, 2009
11:16 am

If the coaches were going to fix any problems with the D they would have already done it by now. These are the same issues that have been cropping up for the last 4 years. Nothing new. In order to fix a problem one must know how do so. I don’t even want to get started, too much talk and not enough action.

big dawg 89

September 23rd, 2009
11:16 am

first of all, did you hear tech is playing on saturday?? welcome to the world of college football, ga. tech….how’s that 6-6 season gonna sit with ya?? and i swear i heard CPJ say nesbitt was going to have 3000 yds passing and 1000 yds rushing this year….or did he say 300??

anyway, i still say lets not panic YET? we’re not 0-3, and we do need to be positive, there’s still ALOT of recruiting to be done…wink,wink…high school players do read this stuff ya know…and what if win the SEC this year? then what? i still think we have a pretty good shot at playing for the championship…

and last, my source(who’s on the team) tells me that a lot of people should be excited to see Rambo play…lets hope he can create some TO’s…

Preston

September 23rd, 2009
11:17 am

I have to admit something. I didn’t get to watch the whole game Saturday because I was at my high school reunion and I passed judgement on UGA’s D based solely on the final score. I did DVR the game and after actually watching the whole thing last night the guys did a pretty damn good job most of the time. Yes we missed some assignments in the secondary but what made us look bad was the penalties and the turnovers. Until we get these two issues straightened out, the best coaches in the world won’t help.

Bibble

September 23rd, 2009
11:21 am

Lackadaisical? Why wouldn’t any player who admits to being that way not be buried on the depth chart? What’s wrong with this unit?

I wonder how many players in years past ever said this to coaches like Bear Bryant, Ara Parsegian, Darrell Royal, Tom Osborne, etc.:

“Gosh coach, thanks for your patience and understanding. I’ll try not to be out of position or lackadaisacal any more. We just need to TRY HARDER. Will work on that, don’t you worry!”

Any player who didn’t stick to assignments or appeared to give less than his full effort would need to see a proctologist to get the Bear’s shoe removed from his rear end, if an assistant didn’t get to him first.

Same for Lou Holtz. We like to dog him for his ESPN work, but as a coach the guy had absolutely no tolerance for careless play or stupid penalties. I can still see him grabbing some giant lineman’s face mask and giving him an earful after a stupid penalty cost Notre Dame.

As I said after a certain safety’s horrid play in last season’s Georgia Tech game, there’s no consequences for a bad or indifferent performance. Georgia trots the same players out on defense game after game after game, no matter how bad they stink up the place.

Richt needs to remind himself of the definition of insanity.

Dawgcatcher

September 23rd, 2009
11:22 am

WHAT!!! How in the hell can you be f*in off in the 3rd game of the year!! especially a conference game!! Evans should have his lack- of- play azz benched for even admitting such a thing! And shame on the coaches for not reconinzing such a thing and planting some azz’z on the bench before now!! What are these coaches being paid for? what’s going on here? And why are you expecting run when you’re getting torched for 300+ yds a game in passing!?

Folks I maybe over reaching here but these statements by coaches and players are frightening. It seems that our D woes are much deeper than expected.

Cuz

September 23rd, 2009
11:23 am

Well the players just through themselves on their swords for Willie. I think it is not just WM but a combination of players and WM. After three games all I know about our defense is that we cannot make sacks or grab interceptions. I thought by now I would have a good idea what we have. I am as confused as anyone. We give up yards until we get to the red zone. We stuff the run and make a QB look like a first round NFL pick. When the game is on the line, then we make big plays. You would think this is some kind of spaghetti Western. A cliffhanger til the end. Anybody else think Willie looks like Eli Wallach from “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”.

Ed

September 23rd, 2009
11:26 am

Preston, Georgia’s defense surrendered 485 yards total offense to Arkansas. Any way you spin it, that’s a lousy performance.

BAMA STAN

September 23rd, 2009
11:27 am

12 NATIONAL TITLES – 21 SEC TITLES!!!

Repeating myself from yesterday…..

Too much Matinez bashing will be bad for recruiting as a lot of recruits read these boards.

I realize that a lot of folks use these type of forums to be a head coach or to take out their frustrations or to tease another opponent.

No doubt – see a trend with discipline, points, yards, etc with the UGA defense – hold the coaches accountable at the end of the season.

BulldogHeroZero

September 23rd, 2009
11:28 am

They’re daydreaming about those loose women. Then, when something bad happens during the game, they regret it all game. They may become frozen, and have forgotten the game-plan with the nervousness that comes with not being prepared. I also question whether they are eating properly, and receiving the correct amount of rest during the week.

All of this from ball players who don’t appear to be as talented as previous UGA defenses (and those defenses could not stop Florida, Auburn, Tennessee, and Georgia Tech in one entire season). So, they cannot afford to be celebrated before they take a snap as Bulldogs. They are shocked at how bad they are on defense because everyone puffed them up and gave them everything before they actually put their minds to work. Players are out-of-position. If a player is dumb, or lost focus because of the lifestyle of being a major college ballplayer (Bars, women, celebrity, beer, or worse), then they won’t improve this season.

TN Jeff

September 23rd, 2009
11:28 am

“Can GA fix problems on field where it counts?” – NOPE

Talk is cheap & if it’s taken them this long to recognize the problem then doubt correction is coming overnight. IF they do fix it, sucks that they didn’t TALK about it and fix it last year before the AL, FL, GAtech games. Idiot at the helm on Defense – there’s your problem so why not FIX him.

ALSO, the other fixture to UGA teams these days – PENALTIES. Maybe they should TALK about that too. Though reports were that this was the focus of Spring Drills and Fall camp. WOW – TALKing about it has led to double digit flags each game.

SaintSimonsLover

September 23rd, 2009
11:35 am

Encouraging would be CMR giving Slick Willie an ultimatum to fix it or go home. Tell him to take Fabris and his directional kicking BS with him.

Sam

September 23rd, 2009
11:38 am

Love a player named “Rambo” especially as a safety.

BulldogHeroZero

September 23rd, 2009
11:38 am

Here is another problem that I see with UGA.

Their offense is not design to help their defense.

Cox is what I thought he was going to be: Smart, accurate, and a leader.

The Problem:

UGA cannot run their version of The Spread (that Florida uses)

The Spread on 1st down and 2nd down won’t beat Tennessee, Florida, and Georgia Tech in the same season to win a National Championship.

UGA has to do what these teams don’t do… What UGA is known for…

Using a great stable of RBs, and pounding the ball between the Tackles is the way they’ve won these big games. UGA has always had NFL-Caliber RBs, and good Offensive Lines.

If they don’t have the defense to slow-down these high-powered SEC offenses, they can run the ball more, and control the clock. Every time that they have beaten Florida, they had a RB who ran out of the “I-Formation” and Pro Style Formation. The pass was more effective because of the play-action. Plus, the defense was not on the field as long during these games.

Ed

September 23rd, 2009
11:39 am

The problems on defense first appeared around the time of the ‘05 Auburn game. They flared up big-time during the Sugar Bowl after that season. I think almost 4 years is enough time to fix the problem.

In almost any other SEC or major college program, all of this would be academic. The underperforming assistants wouldn’t have made it past the ‘06 or ‘07 seasons, much less into this year. For reasons that remain a mystery, mediocrity is accepted at UGA.

Dawg

September 23rd, 2009
11:46 am

I agree with Ed. The performance of Martinez and Fabris wouldn’t have been tolerated for this long at many schools, especially schools in the SEC with top football programs.

Independent Thinker

September 23rd, 2009
11:55 am

From the AJC: “Tailgaters dumped about 70 tons of garbage and left mounds of tents, grills, coolers, chairs and bottles across the North Campus. They urinated on public buildings and defecated outside, UGA President Michael Adams said.”

And you wonder why U(sic)GA is called the “cesspool of the South?”

Tech sucks

September 23rd, 2009
12:02 pm

No one calls UGA that, nerd.

Independent Thinker

September 23rd, 2009
12:03 pm

Apparently I do, thus your statement is patently false.

Independent Thinker

September 23rd, 2009
12:04 pm

I love a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent!

Okefenokee Dawg

September 23rd, 2009
12:05 pm

Let’s see … the problem with our pass rush is that they block us and they run play action at us. Hum … we may have to deal with that all year.

dawgrific

September 23rd, 2009
12:07 pm

I am SO sure that other fans on other campuses leave an immaculate campus after heavy tailgating! Yeah Right!! Having said that, I find people purposely leaving a bunch of of garbage behind inexcusable, so, CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELVES!!
Go Dawgs!!!!!!!!!!!!

T.O

September 23rd, 2009
12:13 pm

Hate to say this as a UGA fan but the coaching appears to be extremely poor not only on the defensive side of the ball but as an entire unit. The Dawgs committed 14 penalties and a few of them were in clutch situations ie. 3rd and shorts, both 2 pt conversions. We kicked the ball out of bounds 2 or 3 times on kickoffs. Fumbled the ball 3 times. Bringing in and out Running backs during the same series and dissrupting the offense. This team does not pay close attention to detail and I think that falls on the head coach. If we were playing a decent opponnet, these mistakes would have had us blown out. This team has no discipline. We make too many mental errors. I don’t think the Dawgs have the makeup of a team that can be better than 9-3 this year. Al that talent on D, and we’re last in the conference. Unacceptable. I agree that we should be pounding the running game more and eating up the clock to keep the D off the field. Hope we get a win at home this weekend. I’ll be there to see it.

Dawgcatcher

September 23rd, 2009
12:17 pm

For years the history and tradition of the SEC and UGA has been defense. Fast, hard hitting, never back down defenses was the marquise of the SEC. At SC, Tn, and Bama it still is, but not here at UGA any longer. This defensive style is good for the PAC MAC WAC and yellow pretenders on North St. BUT NOT HERE!!

A D ranked 109 in the country is BS!! C’MON MAN!!

Wil Muschamp! play time is over….it’s time to come home!!

Steve McGarrett as Chin Ho's Leader

September 23rd, 2009
12:21 pm

Enter your comments here

Steve McGarrett as Chin Ho's Leader

September 23rd, 2009
12:23 pm

Play action passes are one thing but not knowing passing downs? Like 3rd and more than 10 yds? That is a lame excuse and as normal, Bill King likes and agrees with it.

PNWDawg

September 23rd, 2009
12:31 pm

Our defense is as effective as the US/Mexico border. I saw about 5 Mexicans running past our defensive backs last Saturday. You can’t fix what’s dead.

Freud

September 23rd, 2009
12:36 pm

So how does all of this make you feel?

PeligroPero

September 23rd, 2009
12:38 pm

In Oct. ‘08, Coach Richt saw considerable improvement in the McCain Campaign. He said “just work harder at what you’re doing and success happens.”