What’s Georgia defense’s biggest problem?

Anyway you look at it, Georgia is lucky to have won its last two games considering that its defense ranks 112th nationally in pass defense, 108th in scoring defense, 97th in total defense and, as the Athens Banner-Herald points out, has given up the fourth most touchdown passes (nine) among 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

The undisciplined, unfocused play by the Georgia secondary has justifiably come in for a lot of criticism after its performance last week against Arkansas, especially covering the long ball.

Others have pointed to the lack of an effective pass rush as a major contributing factor, putting additional stress on the secondary.

Still others, including Mark Richt, have put most of the blame on turnovers and other mistakes (such as giving up long kick returns or kickoffs going out of bounds) that often have given the Dogs’ opponents a short field to work with. David Hale of Bulldogs Blog provides a detailed look at how costly Georgia’s mistakes have been, contributing to 70 percent of opponents’ scoring drives this season.

Which is the biggest problem for Georgia's defense?

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It’d be wonderful if all those problems could be rectified this week against Arizona State, but even improvement in just one of those areas would be a big step forward.

So which one do you think is the biggest problem for Georgia’s defense? The secondary, the pass rush or turnovers and mistakes? Share your views in the comments, vote in the poll or both.

163 comments Add your comment


September 24th, 2009
6:05 pm

Anyone who bothered to click the link that you posted would realize that the main culprit is turnovers and miscues. You may feel otherwise, but the proof is in the pudding. And you know you’ve seen it yourself: Defensive stop, fumble, defense back on the field; kickoff, 50 return or kick out of bounds, defense has a short field to protect. I know ya’ll expect perfection, but it isn’t going to happen, so get over it. If I punched you in the mouth a few times, then, when it’s your turn, someone says there was a mix-up and I get to go again, I’m pretty sure you’d be a bloody mess, no matter how big and bad you are. That doesn’t go out the window just because you don’t like CWM. If you think because a guy drops a shoe-in interception that it’s the coaching, that’s fine. If you think CWM is to blame for all of our problems, then good for you. Speculate all you want about where we are or where we are headed, the bottom line is this: If you shoot yourself in the foot, you are only going to have one leg to stand on. Shoot yourself in both your feet, as we have done more than once this year, well, I’m sure you know the outcome. If we had been able to stop most of the drives that came from turnovers, then you would have to consider CWM as a great coach. No matter what he does, I know you folks wouldn’t have it. Have fun freaking out. I’m going to enjoy watching the season play-out, as I always have, cheering for the Dawgs, wishing the peanut gallery would make more noise in the stadium, instead of where it doesn’t count!

One Tin Soldier Rides Away

September 24th, 2009
6:05 pm

It is not talent, it is not speed, it is not desire, hmmm? Maybe it is the schemes and coaching which go hand and hand. I wish I were smart enough to make the decsion as to what the issue(s) is or are. I’d like to think that it is just schemes, and a lack ability to see the offenses before they go on the field, but then I think back to last year. Hmmmmm? So it has to be in schemes or execution. One is the coaches, and one is the coaches and players. I say, let’s see how they do, we don’t have any choice at this stage. Let’s hope the improve and maybe they will. Hope though is not a strategy, except for me and Billy Jack.

On the other hand, nobody is really running on us, and maybe that is a good thing. They sure are going up top though aren’t they. I’d say at this stage, if we can hold these guys this weekend, and then do the same next weekend. Maybe we can concentrate on the run game more. We will see for sure. Go Dogs


September 24th, 2009
6:18 pm

1. CMR’s blind loyalty to his assistant coaches. 2. Willie Martinez’s fear and cluelessness. 3. But mostly, the lack of a coordinator who is a firebrand. Someone who will get in the player’s faces and whip them into shape, or kick them in the a$$.


September 24th, 2009
6:19 pm

Lack of a pass rush puts pressure on the secondary to cover longer.
The receiver is not open if the QB doesn’t see him.
Turnovers just kill you. Momentum and all.
The kicking out of bounds can and should be stopped.


September 24th, 2009
6:22 pm

I guess we just need better recruits since the ones we’ve been getting since WM took over haven’t been very good!


September 24th, 2009
6:26 pm

How many games and counting that CWM defenses have allowed 30+ points???

I think UGA campus is a pretty cool guy

September 24th, 2009
6:36 pm

eh dumps 70 tons of trash and doesn’t afraid of anything.


September 24th, 2009
6:39 pm

UGA went into the USCe game expecting a battle in the trenches and looking to stop the run and were caught flatfooted. The same thing happened at Arky. Who in there right mind takes a QB into his first SEC start and lets him bomb away? Petrino, that’s who! The Formula of stopping the run first and getting pressure from the DEs isn’t going to work anymore. Teams have gone to the playaction, the three step drop and the rollout to take the DEs out of the equation. Willie will have to mix it up on D because the OCs have caught on to his scheme. Could the D backs have done a better job of coverage in the Arky game? Hell yes, but the D was looking to stop the ground game that never happened. He could try jamming the WRs at the line and using press coverage on the three step drop to throw the timing off. The players will have to do a better job on playaction formations, like the DBs letting the front seven worry about stopping the run and staying with their man. Oh, since time began, or at least since the shotgun formation was invented, you beat the shotgun with the blitz! To make a long story short, the big points given up lately were due to the fact that the D was in the wrong scheme for what the enemy was doing. They were trying to stop the run against teams that had no intention of running!


September 24th, 2009
6:41 pm

The Dawg’s D is generally young and inexperienced. This is really true at the corners. They will make mistakes, and Richt is talking about more young players getting time this week. As an example, Smith is an exciting young (true freshman) player with a huge upside. However, he has made mistakes in coverage and the fumble on the kick-off return was huge.

That said, the real test is what players and coaches do when bad things happen. Smith said that after his fumble, the coaches and his teammates told him to forget about it and get ready to play. I heard a lot of people say he should never get back in, but there he was on the field just a few plays later. He scored a touchdown on a reverse.

Listening to the complaining and griping reminds me that most people don’t handle adversity well. They start pointing fingers and reacting with pure emotion. Teams learn this and they learn to ignore the nay sayers and focus on what’s ahead. I am not a UGA graduate but I am a season ticket holder and this is my team. I support the players and the coaches. I see winners that manage their adversity and maintain their focus. That is why Richt, Willie, Bobo, etc. have put so many players in the NFL.

Regardless of score in the game, losers in life will make execuses. Winners don’t whine and they face up to their issues. I am confident UGA is facing up to their issues and not making execuses. That is why Richt teams always improve during a season.

Whiner and winners. Which are you?


September 24th, 2009
7:04 pm

My thoughts.D- line pressure is predictable,secondary is nock the hell out of them,which is not bad except that they have already made a play for possitive yards.Get on the same page and give’em hell.GO DAWGS!


September 24th, 2009
7:05 pm

Mark since you are not a UGA graduate and I am, my opinion means more than yours. So I just want to say, I agree. You go Dude.


September 24th, 2009
7:11 pm

Fire WM! Hire Greer!


September 24th, 2009
7:23 pm

Will Greer was pretty good on the Waltons but I would not call him a defensive genius. Besides, he is dead.

Odella Dean

September 24th, 2009
7:27 pm

I think that was Mr. Geer and not Greer on the John-boy show!


September 24th, 2009
7:34 pm

Greer Garson?

Habersham Dawg

September 24th, 2009
7:40 pm

Having to defend a short field. That is killing my Dawgs.


September 24th, 2009
7:41 pm

The grass is Greerer on the other side of the fence?


September 24th, 2009
7:44 pm

Darth Visor is on TV. May the force be with us.


September 24th, 2009
7:49 pm

My only question is where was Georgia when their alum Will Muschamp was starting into the defensive coaching ranks a few years ago. He has built several defenses into national powers and is now slated to be the head coach of Texas when Mack Brown retires. Who dropped the ball of him?


September 24th, 2009
8:09 pm

Bill,Erk Russell must be rolling over in his grave!!


September 24th, 2009
8:09 pm

i heard the game will not be on espn. if you have directv- it’ll be on 614 ESPNU & i believe 298 comcast- Go Dawgs and let’s not give up more than 14 pts. D will make their changes this weekend


September 24th, 2009
8:37 pm

The Dawgs put 14 on USC(e) in the 1st and 17 in the 2nd.
What is Mississippi ranked. 4th?


September 24th, 2009
8:59 pm

I have concluded reluctantly that our problem is Willie Martinez.

Georgia Fan

September 24th, 2009
9:17 pm

Two words:



September 24th, 2009
9:23 pm

Wow.Ole Miss no 4?At this point it wont shock me if Ark beats Ala.It*s going to be a wild year in the SEC.

UGA '96

September 24th, 2009
9:27 pm

Willie Martinez is our problem. UGA has produced 2 GREAT, YOUNG DCs and potential head coaches in Will Muschamp and Kirby Smart. Richt, what’s your problem? Why don’t you hire these guys as your DC?

Afraid to be outcoached?

Wasn't Cox the problem?

September 24th, 2009
9:31 pm

or logan

September 24th, 2009
9:33 pm

Mitch (the one in Rome)

September 24th, 2009
9:36 pm

I’m never one to say a coach is terrible or that a coach “stinks” or whatever other insult gets hurled at CWM. I’m just observing the D on any given day. If I were so great I’d be coaching D 1. But alas, I’m not. But, when our DB’s are not even in the same zip code as a reciever something is not right. Either they can’t make the proper read and have so many options that they are just lost while on the field or they are not practicing / studying enough so that they can process all of their reads in a zone. Some one should be at least close, but they are not.
Could it be that our personnel is good enough to play man so that we can get some pressure? Again, if I were D 1 coaching talent I suppose I’d be there and I’m not, but something is not right. Our guys are good athletes. they have the smarts they just need to be coached up and made to study and practice their reads. What is it? Confused? Wrong scheme for the personnel? Not enough work? I don’t buy that it’s all turnovers.

UGA '96

September 24th, 2009
9:40 pm

Exactly, Roman Mitch. It isn’t turnovers. In fact, it’s the D’s job to FORCE them. We aren’t doing that. As it has been pointed out repeatedly on this blog and many others, these problems have carried over from LAST YEAR!!!

How long will this have to go on?

UGA '96

September 24th, 2009
9:46 pm

By the way, if tonight’s Ole Miss v Carolina game is any indicator, Ole Miss has a better defense than UGA. And don’t give me “They’re #4 in the nation.” No one…not even folks in Mississippi, No ONE really believes they belong there.

Ole Miss. Better D than the Junkyard Dawgs. Think about it.

Thanks Willie.


September 24th, 2009
9:48 pm

I don’t have a dog in this fight (sorry – couldn’t resist) but I don’t think Old Missy nor USC East look very good. IMHO as always.

But dang there was a lot of laundry on the ground in that 1st half.

Camden Mark

September 24th, 2009
9:51 pm

Main problem with the D is poor prep,poor coaching and being unable to adjust on the fly.
We need a new DC and if MR can’t see that maybe we need a new HC.

Clem and Son

September 24th, 2009
9:53 pm

We always do chikin right. South Carolina is a joke. UGA just cant shake the chikins right and its always a struggle for the mutts.

UGA '96

September 24th, 2009
9:56 pm

Until it’s proven otherwise, I stand by my belief that Richt didn’t hire Muschamp or Kirby Smart because he was afraid to be outcoached.

BTW, reebok…you’re right, the laundry list in Columbia tonight is as long as UGA’s.

Odella Dean

September 24th, 2009
9:57 pm

Honeys I always have a plenty of fried chikin and left over neck bone when i tailgate. I feed the squirrels too.

UGA '96

September 24th, 2009
10:00 pm

Whatever, Clem and Son. Your program is as relevant as Maryland, Purdue…I’d say Wake Forest, but they’ve exceeded expectations in the past 20 years.

Mike T.

September 24th, 2009
10:06 pm

Defense under Willie Martinez– 13 games yeilding 30 points or more
Van Gorder’s defense did it only once vs LSU

Kind of sums it up.

41 38 49 38 45 24 37 41

September 24th, 2009
10:11 pm

It the points stupid. Yards dont win football games…..

Brown Sugar

September 24th, 2009
10:18 pm

Willie dont have da moxie like da brotha’s and da sista’s do!


September 24th, 2009
10:37 pm

All of the above is the correct answer…

But if you are a coach, you realize the importance of field position.
And you realize how tough it is to fight back those huge momentum swings after offensive turnovers and special teams breakdowns.

Here’s a breakdown of when our defense looks good… When the other team doesn’t have the benefit of a short field.

OK State…
Starting on their own 8 yard line… 19 yards (1 first down) punt.
Starting on their own 2 yard line… 21 yards (2 first downs) punt
Starting on their own 20 yard line… 14 yards (1 first down) punt
Starting on their own 24 yard line… 25 yards (1 first down) punt
Starting on their own 6 yard line… 11 yards (1 first down) punt

Starting on their own 20 yard line… 11 yards (1 first down) punt
Starting on their own 23 yard line.. 77 yards (4 first downs) TD
They had 3 passes for 10+ yards and a pass interference to drive.
Starting on their own 20 yard line… 20 yards (1 first down) punt
Starting on their own 19 yard line… 1 play INT to Boykin
Starting on their own 22 yard line… 56 yards (3 first downs) FG
Starting on their own 19 yard line… 74 yarsd (5 first downs) turnover on downs
Drive extended by pass interference on 3rd down

Starting on their own 20 yard line… 13 yards (1 first down) punt
Starting on their own 6 yard line… 42 yards (1 first down) they fumbled
Starting on their own 30 yard line… 6 yards (0 first downs) punt
Starting on their own 20 yard line… 9 yards (0 first downs) punt
Starting on their own 15 yard line… -3 yards (0 first downs) punt
Starting on their own 29 yard line… 65 yards (3 first downs) FG
Had a 30 yard pass to Childs to move the drive downfield
Starting on their own 23 yard line… 0 yards (0 first downs) punt
Starting on their own 9 yard line… -7 yards (0 first downs) punt

19 possessions… 13 points… 3 turnovers for the Dawgs.
I can live with these defensive statistics.

Let’s not giftwrap 53 points in 3 games.
That’s how we lost 3 games last season (AL, UF, GT).

Chicken curse

September 24th, 2009
10:41 pm

Looks like South Carolina might just choke again. Cant put ole miss away. 16- 10 SC leads with over 9 mins. left

UGA '96

September 24th, 2009
10:42 pm

Meansonny, why do you insist on defending Martinez? These issues have carried over from last year. I repeat, these issues have carried over from last year.

You don’t think someone can do better than Martinez has since, say…the ALA game last year?

What are you afraid of? Why are you afraid to see change? Afraid to see UGA have a tremendous defense? A great defense no matter what the offense does?

What’s Wrong?


September 24th, 2009
10:46 pm

19 possessions with 13 points given up.
13 punts…1 fumble, 1 INT, 1 turnover on downs, 1 TD, 2 field goals.
Averages giving up 23 yards per drive.

The opponent has 8 drives starting on our side of the field (after 5 fumbles and 3 long kickoff returns).
The defense has given up 48 points on these drives… That’s horrible!

But wait… the average yards accumulated on those 8 drives is only 26.3 yards given up per possession.

Holding opponents to 26.3 yards per drive is not very good. But what do you expect when they can go for broke without worry of giving back the field position to us.

Mike T.

September 24th, 2009
10:52 pm

41 38 49 38 45 24 37 41

It the points stupid. Yards dont win football games…..

Who said anything about yards?


September 24th, 2009
10:52 pm

Quote from Buddy Ryan: “There aren’t any open receivers if the quarterback can’t see them.”


September 24th, 2009
10:53 pm

UGA ‘96,
I’m not defending Willie Martinez’s job.
He’s a big boy. If he produces… he keeps his job.

I’m reminding our fans that our team isn’t perfect (the offense and special teams have hurt this team severely in our losses and some of our victories).

I’m reminding our fans that Willie Martinez coached up an extrenely tough team in 2007.
That team finished #2 in the country (something our own fans seem to forget)

I’m reminding our fans that smash-mouth Brian Van Gorder style offense only works if you remember the importance of field position (Van Gorder gives up a lot of yards, too. But he doesn’t have an offense or special teams put more responsibility on his team than they can handle).

Van Gorder used to rush 4 guys and get pressure. We don’t have those 4 guys.
BVG doesn’t have them in ATL (and they run the exact same style of defense as CWM right now).

Quit complaining just to hear ouselves complain.
Quit haiting just to hear ourselves hating.
Let’s think like coaches for a bit… and think about what would make this team better.

1) Quit putting our defense with their backs up against the wall.
That’d be my first priority.
This defense plays pretty well when they have field position on their side.


September 24th, 2009
10:54 pm

Dawg ‘94,
That’s a great point.

I don’t think Buddy Ryan faced too many 6′7″ QB’s that could look over the blitz to find the wide open receiver. Vision isn’t much a problem when you’re taller than all the lineman.

UGA '96

September 24th, 2009
11:01 pm

Thanks for the stats, meansonny. All that I’m saying is that there are many, many superior DCs than Martinez. Why not hire them?


September 24th, 2009
11:08 pm

Because they already have jobs at Texas and Alabama and Florida and Tennessee.

And even a new DC is going to have the same Defensive Ends this season, the same young corners, and potentially the same short fields.