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

southgadawg88

September 23rd, 2009
3:22 pm

Don’t see where Rashard Jones is playing poorly.Evans has issues not Jones.The guy played with a broken hand down the stretch last year so the whole “bump” thing is getting played out.

Sherlock Holmes

September 23rd, 2009
3:30 pm

A former player told me two years ago that the biggest difference in Willies D vs BVG D was the relationship the players have with the coach.BVG was not especially loved so to speak by his defense,he was feared.He demanded more and he got more.I don’t think the same relationship exists between Willie and his players and believe this may have an impact on defensive play.

dawgfan1911

September 23rd, 2009
3:36 pm

This is the same old bull crap from last year. Those defensive players have to step up and make some plays. i refuse to believe that the talent is not back in the secondary, however, They play like they are lost. Even on play action passes, I have never seen recievers as open as our opponents. The play is usually close. Except for our opponents the receivers are wide open by at least 10 yards. Let Commings and Rambo get ob the field if Rashad and Evan are fu***** up maybe they need to be benched so they can understand that if they dont play better, they will ride the bench. I am so sick of this loyalty crap with Rict and the rest of this coaching staff. Sit players who dont produce! Fire coaches who cant coach!

Jeff

September 23rd, 2009
3:50 pm

wonder when the defense will have a “revelation” like Joe and the offense did? Penalties and turnovers…same story different year.

Dawg Fan

September 23rd, 2009
3:54 pm

Willie Martinez has not built any confidence with the DawgNation that he can coach the defense into a better team.

TW

September 23rd, 2009
3:55 pm

Says a lot about CWM when he consistently puts his players out front to shield blame intended for him. He’s always done that. Absolutely pathetic that, once again, they are trying to hang this on player effort.

Too many years…too many players – IT AIN’T THE TALENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How2fish

September 23rd, 2009
4:08 pm

Love the Gator comments on our defense…yes we have problems but then we don’t get to post stats after 3 game where the Gators played the College of the Blind and followed with the North Alabama School of the the Lame..and then the creme de la creme played a UT team than can’t pass water with that QB…UGA’s defense may end the season at the bottom of the SEC D stat’s but damn…at least wait till most of the SEC has played a couple of good teams before you compare..its not apples to apples at this point of the season. Until proven otherwise the Gators are the yardstick in the SEC on D..with Bama coming close but damn..let them play a couple of teams before you start building

robodawg

September 23rd, 2009
4:13 pm

I’m optimistic we can coach our players up and turn the D around. I think it’s pretty obvious we had one of the best defenses in the land at the end of ‘07, and equally obvious that the ‘08 defense was lackluster and inconsistent. At least this team doesn’t lack for motivation. I believe they still have a chance to be pretty good. Hopefully the stout run defense and the playmakers on offense can keep us in the W column until we fix the pressure and coverage issues.

If the defense firms up, we start collapsing the pocket and chasing down the QB, and the secondary gets to where it can play aggressive and challenge passes in the air (like ‘07), CWM stays; if not, I expect CMR will find a new DC in the offseason.

How2fish

September 23rd, 2009
4:17 pm

robodawg I agree all hope is not lost for the D or the dawgs.They must however make improvement week to week and I think they have a chance to be pretty DOG GONE GOOD…IMHO..

jaglaw

September 23rd, 2009
4:31 pm

Southgadawg88, Jones was beat on the first TD and was traggin his azzz to get over and cover on the 1st TD ARk scored, he blew his assignment on a slow route. He has too many penalties, most attributable to his innability to read routes, thus, he gets there late and is out of possition= penalties. He was a “equal” recruit to eric berry and he couldnt hold berry’s jock. He can make a big hit once in a while and thats it. he cant cover, cant tackle, cant read coverages. PERIOD!

shannon

September 23rd, 2009
4:34 pm

brian evans sucks

jaglaw

September 23rd, 2009
4:38 pm

DAWGFAN1911, PREACH ON BROTHER, RREACH ON…!

jaglaw

September 23rd, 2009
4:40 pm

ROBODAWG…..Thats a lot of ifs. Too many to correct. Willie sucks

shane#1

September 23rd, 2009
5:05 pm

I was hoping that UGA would go with a 3-4 this year since most of their DEs are converted linebackers anyway, after more thought I believe the Dogs lack a true nose tackle on their roster. The DTs are just too light to be a real nose tackle. Harmon has the size but I have heard that he lacks agression and so isn’t getting much pt. If he isn’t agressive enough for the O, no way he can play D. So I guess the Dogs are stuck with the 4-3. Houston coming back should help get some pressure on the QB and with a couple of LBs back maybe Washington can be moved back into the DE rotation. As for the secondary, well boys, maybe you should spend enough time in the filmroom so that you don’t get burned on the old crossing pattern all night. Also, When a TE burns you repeatedly the way USCe’s TE did one may consider assigning a man to him. What you call a “spy”. Think about that next time Willie.

southgadawg88

September 23rd, 2009
5:14 pm

jaglaw so what?Everybody get’s beat on occasion in the secondary it’s part of the game.Jones had a few bogus roughness flags but he has played played well at UGA…he was all SEC last year…so I guess the people who watch the film and pick these all conference teams don’t know much about football either huh?Evans is a different story true but what applies to one guy does not automatically apply to the other.On the penalties anybody notice that most of the penalties are on the Offense this year?The D has played with more discipline in that regard…we are not giving out as many automatic first downs like 08.

LOOK ALIVE There are buzzards overhead

September 23rd, 2009
5:41 pm

The defense can be fixed in one day. Use a five man line with the defensive ends lined-up outside (not heads up with) the tackles. Never rush less than five and on 3rd or 4th and long blizt the qb so he doesn’t have time to throw a 15 to 20 yard pass. So simple even a caveman can do it.

Blawgdawg

September 23rd, 2009
6:58 pm

Hey M, there’s a new sherriff in town. His name is Barnie Fife Johnson, and he thinks his highschool offense can fool opposing defenses !

It doesn’t, get used to it . Glad it hurts so much !

F. Sinkwich

September 23rd, 2009
7:38 pm

Look, folks, no way is CMR going to fire CWM this season. Who do you replace him with? A new defensive scheme in mid-season? Never happen. I’m guessing that we’ll be better than the Donnan years (wouldn’t take much, agreed). Let’s get through 2009 then make some decisions.

That70sGAdawg

September 23rd, 2009
8:09 pm

Wait until after the season- I heard that all last year. Why wait? He had ALL offseason to make improvements and it’s clear that it never happened.

beanuga

September 23rd, 2009
8:44 pm

WM is not a good DC. Point Blank. Every year the dog fans have to watch WM waste talent. He does not have a clue. Why does MR keep giving him another year? Does Alabama and Florida have these problems every year? NO!

Skip Jacobs

September 23rd, 2009
8:47 pm

Enter your comments here

Low Country Dawg

September 23rd, 2009
8:52 pm

Let’s see…. Our defense is getting killed by play action…… Demarcus-that’s why they call it play action.
“Lackadaisical Attitude”–You’ve got to be kidding me!!!!!!! I thought the attitude was supposed to be this team’s strength??????????
I have not been in the “Fire Willie Crowd”, but comments like this are putting me there real fast!!!

SamoanDawg

September 23rd, 2009
8:52 pm

We can do it! We can do it all night long! I BELIEVE!

Sic’em!

Dawg Tired

September 23rd, 2009
8:53 pm

No mention of problems with the defensive scheme! When was the last time you saw our defensive linemen do a stunt? Every other team does it, why don’t we? Obviously what we’ve been doing is not working! Change the strategy! Try something new! Why are we so seemingly afraid to do something differently? Are we worried it won’t work? Is what we are doing working? This is insane!

jaglaw

September 23rd, 2009
9:27 pm

southgadawg88, Jones played strong safety in 08 and delt more with run stopping, not reading routes. And why bring up last year, it is 09 and he is playing sloppy. he was burt twice against OSU, three times against SC and twice against Ark and missed a fairly easy tacke to give a first down. big penalties this year as well as well as last yr. YOu must be a close friend or family member to defend his play. truth hurts sometimes

santa cruz dawg

September 23rd, 2009
9:52 pm

Why do we have all of these haters from other teams on the UGA blog?
I wish they would stay away.
I owe Joe Cox an apology, he really proved me wrong last week.
GATA Defense, we have talent, but some great players don’t play with enough urgency on the D.

More of the Same

September 23rd, 2009
10:02 pm

This is the same crap we have been hearing for the last couple of years . The defense will get better. These guys are young and learning the system. We’ve had too many injuries . Offense TO’s is giving the defense a short field. To many penalties Bwah Bwah Bwah. Our defensive line looks like Captain Kangaroo’s Dancing Bear’s. These guys can not shed blocks if their life depended on it. These guys are simply not as good as forecasted along with the coaching staff. The excuses need to cease and its time to play fundamental football and hit some people with a damn attitude.

Larry Munson

September 23rd, 2009
10:07 pm

“Oh look at the Chikin sandwiches falling out of the sky”

GT Dog

September 23rd, 2009
10:20 pm

Humdedum, more drivel from the memory challenged today? I get so tired of hearing how the cuurent defensive staff can’t recruit or needs to learn how to “coach ‘em up” (wow, use a cool catch phrase, sound like an expert?).

Since the 2000 season, the dogs have employed 4 defensive coaches on the staff. The only change was in 2005 when Van Gorder left. Martinnez took over as DC and Jancek was hired to take over LBs from VG. The rest of the staff has been THE SAME 3 GUYS WHO COACHED IN THE FIRST FOUR YEARS OF THE RICHT ERA! Over the past 8 seasons, the coaches have been:
DL – Gardner (4 1st round DL picks, 10 overall NFL players)
DE- Fabris (6 former players on CURRENT NFL rosters, not to mention a guy named Pollack)
DB – Martinez (9 players drafted in 8 years…and, uhm…4 All-Americans)

Yes, the D is having problems. What they are, I don’t have a clue. I don’t have 8 hours a day to spend breaking down film and schemes (by the way, neither do you). So, can we please cut the DRAMA and try to sound a little more intelligent, or at least a little bit knowledgeable?

And please, please, PLEASE don’t do what a few of you have suggested on here! Please don’t boycott the program by holding up your contributions to the program! The loss of your T. Boone-esque support will surely spell bancruptcy for not only the football program, but also the entire athletic department and possibly the university as a whole!

Yeah, NFL scouts are drooling to sign a bunch of untalented thugs who have never been coached. Geez, at times reading this blog feels like having an argument with my 3 year old over the difference between the colors red and orange…

Good night, and God bless…

F. Sinkwich

September 23rd, 2009
10:20 pm

I realize we’re all defensive geniuses here and we should submit our resumes to CMR post haste, but who could reasonably take over for WM right now? Only three days to AZ St. Time to reassess is January 2010.

GT Dog

September 23rd, 2009
10:22 pm

Oh, by the way…the terrible Jancek? He’s had 4 of his players go to the NFL in the 4 years since he joined the staff. Another “bust hire” i guess…

PowerDawg

September 23rd, 2009
10:23 pm

Play the pass until they start gashing you with the run. The LB’s roam the underneath and the corners play man. One safety on the strong side and one to the wide or back side. They can support the corners or come up and stuff the screen. This version of the Cover 3 works as long as the offense uses at least one TE.

Very few empty backfields are a problem to defend pass wise. Against stuff like the spread-option or that junk the dirt-dobbers run, rush the DE’s straight ahead to prevent the pitch and make the QB hand it off or keep it. Either way, the action is funneled to the middle of the field where we are strongest

Now I am not paid six figures like some of these guys but I know this method or some version of it, is how some of the greatest defenses, both college and pro, have played. You do what works until your opponent adjusts and then you do the same. Anyone else have any thoughts? Hell, maybe I’ll apply for Willie’s job come January.

YellowFuzz

September 23rd, 2009
10:39 pm

The Jackets will kill the dawgs.

Pit Bull

September 23rd, 2009
10:43 pm

I believe in daydreaming also. Willies record since he took over is just that. A record. You can’t excuse it, ignore it, close your eyes and wish it away. The only thing that could change it would be 1. Willie give the job of actually running the defense to an sub. 2. Willie resign. 3. Willie goes back to coaching Def. backs position. Otherwise we can keep on daydreaming and making excuses. Nothing will change. Coach Richt wanted to be a CEO. Any good CEO will tell him you can’t let PERSONAL feelings enter into your job performance. You have to be TUFF to be a CEO! Richt is NOT a good CEO. He’s letting himself down and the team, and the Bulldawg nation. As for Willie, he could care less!

RAMBLE ON!!!

September 23rd, 2009
10:44 pm

I really hate that Miami team but we’ll beat the snot out of NC. Let’s just hope that Miami loses to VT this weekend. Go Jackets!!! Yeah!!! Yeah!!!! We can still win it all. We have rings from beating UGA. Yeah!!! Yeah!!! We have rings. Uh-huh. Yeah!! Yeah!!!!!!!

RAMBLE ON!!!

September 23rd, 2009
10:51 pm

Pit Bull, we’re looking forward to seeing you inept clowns on the field here in Atlanta. Have you ever been here? I’ve been to Athens and thought it was a hick town – bunch of NASCAR cheering butt wipes. Here in ATL we have class and you will soon find out how to lose with CLASS, dawg boy.

Pit Bull

September 23rd, 2009
10:52 pm

I have decided to stop all contributions to UGA. If Coach Richt doesn’t care. Why the heck should I.

PowerDawg

September 23rd, 2009
11:11 pm

Seriously-
I seriously doubt if one single contributor to this blog have ever coached at, played for or otherwise been affiliated with, a D-1 football program. (I’ll bet the majority of you have never coached a Pee-Wee football team)

But, I digress. It is probably safe to assume that most of you are like me…you love this football team and you want to see them succeed greatly. Everyone has an opinion on what is wrong with the defense, the special teams, the coaches, ect. I don’t have a clue how to truly fix whatever I percieve is wrong. But I know that sitting in my arm chair on Monday morning and bitching about it is not really accomplishing much.

I believe we may see a change on the staff and it may in fact, be Martinez that is let go. This is almost certain if the same problems continue even after benching some players and letting some younger kids have a shot at it. But either way, it won’t be until the end of the season.

And it is also entirely possible that we will lose some prospects because of it. Relationships that develop between players and their recruiters are sometimes all that keeps a kid on board when they are being courted from all different directions. But unless some type of drastic turn-around occurs in the next 3-4 weeks, I am pretty sure this is going to happen.

This is my opinion. I am and will always be a DAWG! I want them to play better than they do sometimes, but I am just not going to bash the coaches for the sake of venting. And I will never say ugly things about any student athlete, period. They work their tails off trying to balance class room responsibility and athletic training and performance. I have never walked in their shoes and I don’t think I could. Some of you should think about that.

Denver Dog

September 23rd, 2009
11:26 pm

Let em play, we will see, nothing any of us can do about it now except support the dogs.

Denver Dog

September 23rd, 2009
11:32 pm

To you Tech jerks

Last time I was down at Grunt Field, Dudd Stadium, the only D1 stadium that has fewer seats than it did 40 yeaars ago, i was acosted by a student with a needle stuck in his arm. I was panhandled by 3 beggars, and so 7 or drug deals going down. That was just on the Tech sideline, outside it looked like walking through a homeless disrtict in Philiadelphia.

Tech is in trouble, financially, academically, and of course athletically. They are now the number 5 school financially, in the state, the # 4 school academically, and of course last in athletics.

ButlerDawg

September 24th, 2009
12:27 am

I got through the first two or three paragraphs of this blog and this little voice inside of me started screaming: “BS!!!”
The D players are nothing more than good soldiers taught to obey their leader (in this case the leader, and I use the term lightly, being Martinez).
Enough with the trying to “pull the wool over the eyes” Georgia! This is eerily similar to what the Obama administration is trying to pull…the little people are getting the shaft and the people in charge just don’t care!

AZDawg5

September 24th, 2009
12:52 am

PowerDawg….Amen brother….you’ve hit the nail on the head throughout this blog…just wishful we can put that final nail in the coffin and send Willie Vanille packing…you got my vote for the interim…keep up the good work!!

rx-dawg

September 24th, 2009
1:08 am

Give me a break people. GO BACK AND WATCH THE GAMES!!!! All you guys harping that we can’t win with this soft zone, we can’t win with man coverage, our db’s just get burnt, we can’t win with our offense running the spread. Go back and actually watch the game and learn what we run. We don’t run the spread, we run a pro-set offense. We don’t play man coverage, we play a 2 deep zone defense quite similar to Tennessee’s. Here, read about it…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tampa_2

It is the same zone defense we have been running since 2001. It is meant to minimize the big pass, shut down the run and make the offense work to get the ball down the field hoping they make a mistake. It is meant to utilize our speed, tackling ability and attitude. The quote regarding our attitude is particularly telling in this circumstance. Our problem is Bryan Evans, no matter the coaching is our best safety and he is not a Thomas Davis or a Greg Blue (Greg Blue had his own problems). Reshad Jones is the same. They are our best players right now, so they play, but they aren’t what the defense needs. So go back and watch the games again and please, please, please don’t just spout off stuff to sound smart because to the majority of us, you just look stupid. BTW, I don’t want to hear about needing to blitz more. Watch the SC game and that is why our middle was open so much. Martinez dialed up the blitzes a few times and SC managed to block 5 and 6 with their front 5. Left us exposed in the middle of the field. Plain and simple, we don’t have the athletes y’all seem to think we do. We have them coming in (Smith, Boykin, Washington, Abry Jones), but we don’t have them yet.

Dalton Dawg

September 24th, 2009
6:12 am

All these comments and excuses lead to one word…discipline. Penalties, missed assignments, turnovers, personal fouls, off the field issues, etc., all lead to one characteristic that has been evident for the past three seasons…lack of discipline In my opinion, it’s not going to get any better until the players begin to “fear” the consequences of their actions. I appreciate that much of this coaching staff is made up of high character men, but based on the player’s actions off the field and on the field, it appears that the team needs discipline. Do you think players at Alabama and Florida could consistently have some of these same issues and get away with it…I don’t think so. Players have to respect their coaches and fear the consequences of their actions and this message can only be delivered by the coaching staff’s actions. If the coaches continue to deliver lip service only, expect to see our opponent’s scoring average (34 points per game) only increase through the rest of the season.

Brown Sugar

September 24th, 2009
6:22 am

Oh that Jeff Owens has the mmmm Moxie !

Robert Daniell

September 24th, 2009
6:41 am

Hey L Dawg….in case you haven’t noticed….the Good Lord smiles on Athens and the rest of us…..EVERY DAY….it’s up to us to recognize it.

Goooo Dawgs!!!!!!

Brown Sugar

September 24th, 2009
6:54 am

Reshad, he got tha Moxie witha brotha’s and sista’s too!

GTDog

September 24th, 2009
7:23 am

You see PITBULL’s comment above? That’s what I was afraid of. Now UGA won’t be able to get the new Indoor Practice Facility. Hopefully, however, PB will use the witheld funds to buy new tires for his home, thus saving the state’s economy.

Keeping my fingers crossed…

azdawg

September 24th, 2009
8:31 am

Too many penalties, too many mistakes, lack of discipline and focus, poor coaching decisions mainly on def, too many TO’s, etc.

ASU could be GA’s U of Washington so hope the coaches have them ready to play and that scares me.

Blackberry Cobbler

September 24th, 2009
8:43 am

Was watching a College Football show on ESPN last night– the one with David Pollack and Randy Cross. Pollack said he had talked to WM and that Martinez said the problem was that UGA has no pressure on the QB.

DUH!!!!!!!!! No $h*t Sherlock!

The REAL problem is UGA hasn’t been able to get pressure on the QB yet WM still has his defense back in that soft zone crap. The guy is a moron.

If you’re not getting pressure on the QB and you’re playing zone, you’re inviting the QB to just pick you apart. I really think WM doesn’t have a clue.