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

JokeByCoke

September 23rd, 2009
12:38 pm

I’m almost embarrassed to be asking this but just what does the GATA acronym mean?

Hungry Dawg

September 23rd, 2009
12:39 pm

Then “Independent Thinker” you must really enjoy arguing with yourself!

SaintSimonsLover

September 23rd, 2009
12:47 pm

Get After That A$$!

ChuckWDawg

September 23rd, 2009
12:49 pm

Everybody knows the problems on defense. Even us ignorant fans that never played a down of Div 1 college football. Fix them or make big changes.

How2fish

September 23rd, 2009
12:50 pm

Independent Thinker from what I’ve read out of you so far….best arm yourself…your just another teenage troll trying to bother your elders…nice try but …YAWN! Or are you the new Ramble On??

ChuckWDawg

September 23rd, 2009
12:51 pm

Back in the days of Erk Russell he had fun with the acronym GTAA that stood for for Georgia Tech Atheletic Association and had t-shirts made up for the Dawgs that read GATA and stood for Get After Their A**. It’s been a rallying cry ever since.

dawgtreat

September 23rd, 2009
12:54 pm

You know I’m not going to beat the WM drum because it’s been beaten to death already, but Evans comments are quite telling.

“we’re just lackadaisical at getting to our positions”

If the players aren’t busting their ass in the game then it’s the coaches job to get in their face and take them out of the game. Can we at least put someone in who is going to play all out, even if they suck???? The dawgs might as well rotate in some of the younger players and let them get beat if the other guys aren’t going to play hard and still get burned.

Relief? Get rid of Willie!

September 23rd, 2009
12:59 pm

“Fundamentals” are a problem…and our defense setting up to defend the run when the offense is going to pass…sounds like bad coaching to me!

Gratefuldawghead

September 23rd, 2009
1:03 pm

Would love to see what Van Gorder could of done with all our talent on defense right now! Martinez trying diffrent players, but refuses to change scheme.

southgadawg88

September 23rd, 2009
1:04 pm

We have to get more physical in the secondary.If teams are going to go to 2-3 step drops against us it wouldn’t matter if we had Reggie White at DE we wont be able to get to the QB.Willie has to make some adjustments… teams know our Defensive scheme is based on pressure from the front 4 so we can drop LB’s back into pass coverage so they scheme to neutralize our pass rush.They go to short drops,roll outs,play action and shotgun formation when they want to pass and it’s catching on.Thing is you still need big receivers and either a strong armed or mobile QB to be effective.What could we do?I say go with a 4-4 look but instead of 4 LB’s use 2 safeties. something like Curran,Dowtin,Evans and Cummings or Rambo…then we would have speed and ht without giving up much tackling ability.Another option would be stay with our scheme but change up the lineup..Go big at corner with say Cummings and use a safety like Rambo or even Nick Williams as the nickel back.One thing to note is the rest of the teams on our schedule looks more run oriented than pass so wholesale changes may not be necessary.However I’m positive teams are going to have to pass to beat us and will employ those tactics.Willie is going to have to adjust to the way we are being attacked.I’m not a blind homer by anymeans..but I am not one for knee jerk reactions about our coaching staff either.The program is in the midst of a transformation of personnel over these next two seasons..I love the young kids we have on Offense and we definitely have a lot of help on the way on Defense next year but we can win THIS year if we make some adjustments and do some fine tuning on D.

Dawgcatcher

September 23rd, 2009
1:05 pm

If one of my employees made the statement that Evans just made, would be looking for a job tomorrow. This attitude and performance standard is unacceptable in any walk of life. Sports or Business, you never get out hustled by your competition.

That statement reflects a sad state of affairs on our D…..

Defense at UGA once meant that the QB of the opposing team knew he was going to get hit when he dropped back, RB’s once feared running between the tackles of the UGA D, Receivers would spend days treating sore ribs for going across the middle against UGA…..

Now, we ACCEPT half azz efforts from players and “AH Shucks” “Gosh darn it” excuses from coaches ……. Sad day.

Cuz

September 23rd, 2009
1:09 pm

A lady reporter was asked Erk what the GATA stood for on his shirt. He rubbed his bald head, smiled at her and said, “Get After Them Aggresively”. He was indeed a true gentleman.

HH

September 23rd, 2009
1:10 pm

A six year old kid knows UGA’s defense is sadly lacking. DOES RICHT? Or, more importantly for the future, does he CARE? If he does, then he ought to start showing it and to stop using the same tired, worn out platitudes that he drags out everytime he is asked about it. It’s time for him to ACT like a head coach and DO something about it. Hell, what is he being paid 2.8 million dollars a year for?

Whopper Dawg

September 23rd, 2009
1:14 pm

No encouraging signs, those are, however, encouraging words. If anyone thinks Willie is not a problem. look at the points per game average which have doubled since he has been DC, and the number of games over 30 points since he has been DC which is off the charts. We are last in defense now in the SEC and finished next to last in 2008. College players are always loyal to the coach and that is a good thing. Unfortunately, they are loyal in this instance to someone that hasn’t a clue. It is not even debatable.

shards1967

September 23rd, 2009
1:16 pm

Where are the top four SEC teams in the top 10 national poll and their defense, statistically. If they too are ranked 137th or whatver lousy number that UGA is, we are fine. If they are not, then, gulp Houston, we have a problem. This one stat will tell us if UGA is not coaching them up or that “D is lousyall over the USA due to powerhouse offenses”, which is Richt’s excuse.

Another reason is that we did not recruit good D players. If that is true or part of the truth, it is so easy to fix. After 8 or 9 yeas, we simply change the current coaching staff and problem solved. These coaches are very,very portable in their resumes and ultimate careers. They know it is produce now or else. Where in corporate America is a $200,000 job a job for life? I am speaking of the low level position coaches, my friends. They do the job ( top 4 / 5 ) D team in SEC or they are gone. Giive me a break ………….this long on the job and continued lousy D performances???

We are horrific on D and the Arizona State game will not prove much if they score 35 points on UGA. If we hold them to 17, that would be step in the right direction.

UGA, class of 73

JokeByCoke

September 23rd, 2009
1:19 pm

Speaking of defense, I just saw an article where CPJ is going to change his defensive scheme against NC this weekend. After getting severely torched by the Canes I guess that’s in order. The line in Lost Wages has GT a favorite but I don’t buy it. The bees have been exposed big time.

P.S — Where in the Yech are RAMBLE ON!!! & YellowFuzz??? I guess they’re still crying too hard to even see their keyboards. (((((((33 – 17))))))) Ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!

FLA DAWG

September 23rd, 2009
1:21 pm

I think the comments from the players are repeats of what Martinez & Richt told them. Bottomline, we have talented D players that are not coached well and are now being used as the scapegoats.

No Way!

The problem IS and HAS BEEN Martinez. Lose him, hire a firebreather DC and we don’t get 40 points hung on us – Period!

Otto

September 23rd, 2009
1:30 pm

BulldogHeroZero, Yes UGA has been known for stable of RBs. UGA does not have those unless Caleb can step up. Samuel can not hold to the ball. Jackson is hurt. Samuel is not a power back so Bobo can’t find a way to get him in space. The OL has not been up to UGA stnadard since the Donnans recruits graduated out. However, UGA does have 4 Elite 11 QBs.

Otto

September 23rd, 2009
1:30 pm

*Thomas is not a powerback.

Sanford Drive

September 23rd, 2009
1:37 pm

I’ve enjoyed the week without seeing Yellow Fuzz on here.

Gratefuldawghead

September 23rd, 2009
1:39 pm

CUZ…Sports Illustrated was doing a story on Violence in Football and Showed ERK Russell a picture of 9 Georgia players tackling a Clemson player. They asked his reponse to the picture and he said “I want to know where my two other players are at”

The Central Scrutinizer

September 23rd, 2009
1:40 pm

In a way, it’s an unexpected surprise to see a college football athelete using a big word like “lackadaisical”.

I wonder, however, if he knows what the word means.

Apparently, his coaches don’t or his rear-end would be on the bench and not on the field.

The Ghost of Erk Russell

September 23rd, 2009
1:44 pm

Every now and then, I ran across a “lackadaisical” attitude among one of my former defensive players.

Note how I just said that….. A FORMER member of my defense.

Keep on treating these kids like they are entitled to everything, watch the team, and society, just go down the drain.

jaglaw

September 23rd, 2009
1:46 pm

Great Coaches get the most out of their players. Its obvious, based on the players statements, the “most” they can give is not comming out. Martinez is not doing the job he needs to. Yes, calling the right defense is one part of his job, but calling the right defense even 100% of the time does nothing if you cant get top performance from your players.
1. Replace the slackers ( its not like the backups will do any worse)
2. Loosen up and call some scheme blitzes (if u have any???)
3. Marinez…..take three weeks off, and then quit.

birddawg92

September 23rd, 2009
1:46 pm

Same old empty rationalizations and lame excuses. The defense needs “more film study.” Are you serious? “We need to get to the QB.” Well, DUH. And my absolute favorite: “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.” And CWM is still running Evans and others just like him making the same bonehead plays out there. UGA fans should be outraged. The very fact that a player seems to feel comfortable making such open admissions to a major newspaper says all that needs to be said about the level of discipline and expectations of the coaching staff of this football team. Unbelievable.

Cuz

September 23rd, 2009
1:47 pm

I love it Grateful, the Erkisms are just priceless.

My all time favorite, When asked by a reporter if hitting his head on the players helmets to fire them up was painful, He replied, “No they got helmets”. Not even thinking the question was about him.

David

September 23rd, 2009
1:49 pm

Bill–as always, appreciate the insight from the Dogs locker room. Will look forward to hearing more leading up to Arizona State kickoff. Hope you will check out some insight on http://pickinchickendinners.com/

jaglaw

September 23rd, 2009
1:51 pm

BirdDawg92, thanks for that comment. You save me the time and effort of typing it myself…….i guess i’m a little “lackadaisical”

jaglaw

September 23rd, 2009
1:54 pm

Title of article: “Encouraging signs on dogs defense” how is this encouraging? Bill, I love the article but you should have entitled it …..” Dogs Defense Sucks, and they know it”

birddawg92

September 23rd, 2009
2:01 pm

Right on, jaglaw. And happy to help. I should have concluded my post with another spin on your last one, “Encouraging signs, MY A$$!” But I corrected this oversight on my blog on the Dawgs, http://www.saturdayinathens.com.

DawginLex

September 23rd, 2009
2:02 pm

Don’t quite understand how scoring too many points and scoring too quickly hampers our defense. But that’s just me.

I’m hoping for a 42-0 blowout so Logan Gray can play a lot and we can see if he can actually help us.

WildBill

September 23rd, 2009
2:02 pm

Two points,
1. Too bad for us Bryan Evans didn’t learn to play football in high school. He looks like he came from JV straight to UGA.
2. This weekend game will be televised on ESPN-U. WHOO HOO!!!!! That channel is not carried on my cable by Windstream. I will tune in the radio, that is if the announcers decide to broadcast the game rather than run a coninuous stream of advertisements.

mcdaviddawg

September 23rd, 2009
2:05 pm

Nothing new about all the defensive problems. We haven’t rushed a quarterback in years. It’s not Georgia thing. Now we don’t cover either. Old problems now dominate. There is little coaching going on at all. It’s obvious that if Richt can’t or won’t fix it, the whole crowd will soon need to go. How can Richt let early success turn in to such a mess. Apparently no management skills and maybe work ethic. On another subject, bring the Ga/Fl game home. At least we souldn’t need to travel as much to get home after games like last year.

Talk Is Cheap

September 23rd, 2009
2:05 pm

Talk is cheap. How long have we been hearing that “things are gonna get better” or “we just have to make a few improvements”? This scoring fiasco has been going on since last year. Repeat…LAST YEAR. They’ve had the off season AND spring practice to figure this out.

You want a simple improvement? Get rid of Martinez.

toemeetsleather

September 23rd, 2009
2:06 pm

arena football lives…in athens/wait til we crush your silly defense again…..YELLOW FEVER

bulldogincairo

September 23rd, 2009
2:10 pm

we have to face it the talent is not there on defense…need to focus more on recruting defensive players…too much emphasis on offense…buddy ryan could not win with this bunch….maybe next year…RECRUIT RECRUIT RECRUIT

jaglaw

September 23rd, 2009
2:10 pm

1. Willie Martinez…. take three weeks off and quit
2. Reshad Jones…..wish you would have left last year, you will never make it as a safety in the pros. start plyaying like a veteran and u will get the respect
3. B Evans…..go with willie, he needs some “toast” with his jelly.

Top Dawg

September 23rd, 2009
2:13 pm

We’ll be having this same blog topic/conversation five years from now, if CWM is still in charge of the defense.

Get Real

September 23rd, 2009
2:15 pm

I agree, Top Dawg. In fact, we’ve been having this conversation for too long already!

Top Dawg

September 23rd, 2009
2:16 pm

READ MARK BRADLEY’S COLUMN YESTERDAY.

Saint Simons

September 23rd, 2009
2:18 pm

((((31-17))))) boohooohooo. And to make matters worse the Tar Heels are going to tear us a new one, wow, I just got excited. Did I mention that I am a gay man?

Just Wondering

September 23rd, 2009
2:21 pm

Could it be possible that the mess left from tail-gating is a reflection of fan frustration over the issues facing the coaches and the team?
I suggest a new gigantic recruiting action over this years’ crop of high school football seniors, bring them to Athens over the summer, and get them a uniform that fits and play them right out of the box.

NC Dawg

September 23rd, 2009
2:23 pm

It ain’t our players guys. We have plenty of talent.

CaliDogg

September 23rd, 2009
2:24 pm

For CMR and his man-love, CWM:

“What you do speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you’re saying.”

MaconKnight

September 23rd, 2009
2:31 pm

I CWM HAS TO GO!..With the talent level we have at UGA there is no excuse for poor play, players being out positions, penalties, DB’s not making a jump for the ball while the ball is in the air or DB’s just getting plain beat is not an excuse. we haven’t had a good DE since Q moses and C johnson graduated at the of 2006 season. don’t give me M howard.. he was a converted LB. PLAN AND SIMPLE UGA COACHES GET OFF YOUR BUTTS AND RECRUIT BETTER DE’S AND YOU WILL GET A PASS RUSH.

GaCracker

September 23rd, 2009
2:34 pm

Still got to reduced the turnovers and penalties!

Spike

September 23rd, 2009
2:43 pm

And stop the ever loving false start and holding penalties!!!

Kelly's a Dawg

September 23rd, 2009
2:50 pm

If some of our D backs don’t know where to be on EVERY play…who’s fault is that? There’s no way our defensive talent isn’t as good or better than SC or ARK. They just require better coaching. So the question remains: how many games are going to go by before (1) defensive schemes and coverage improve and (2) needless penalties decline?

The Truth

September 23rd, 2009
2:51 pm

If UGA only had Florida’s defense they would have an excellent shot at the SEC title this year.

Vick=Dog killing thug

September 23rd, 2009
3:15 pm

Willie has to be putting in 18 hour days trying to fix this? Let’s hope we can ride it out !!!!!

GO DAWGS Love ya