Good news on pass defense: We be jammin’

Secondary coach Scott Lakatos is teaching a more aggressive style of pass defense. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Secondary coach Scott Lakatos is teaching a more aggressive style of pass defense. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

One by one, the new defensive staff at UGA appears to be addressing the most frequent complaints heard from fans over the past few seasons.

For those who thought Willie Martinez didn’t call enough blitzes (he actually called a fair number, they just weren’t successful all that often), Todd Grantham’s 3-4 scheme promises a blitz-your-brains-out approach.

If it drove you crazy the way the Dogs’ cornerbacks tended not to look back for the ball, we’ve already heard that new secondary coach Scott Lakatos is addressing that.

And then there’s probably the No. 1 lament about Georgia’s defense heard in the stands in recent seasons: that soft “prevent” or “bend but don’t break” zone that the Dogs played, with defenders often giving receivers a cushion of 10 yards or more at the line.

The results last year were less than stellar, with the Dogs ranking 10th in the SEC in pass defense, giving up an average of 200 yards per game.

Thankfully, the philosophy of playing back off the receivers apparently is history as well under Lakatos. Talking about the new approach in The Macon Telegraph, the secondary players say Lakatos believes in press coverage, something rarely done under Martinez. Basically, it means having the cornerbacks lining up closely on a wide receiver and “jamming” him at the snap.
The idea, Brandon Boykin says, is to “knock them off their timing and to frustrate them.”

Lakatos also is much more interception-minded, which will be a big change from last year, when the Dogs only snagged 10 picks.

The way the new coach teaches pass defense, cornerback Vance Cuff told the Telegraph, the defenders are going after the ball. “Coach Martinez wanted you to play the man, the hand and basket. … but Coach Lakatos, he wants the ball. Yeah, he wants the ball.”

There is, of course, a danger in such aggressive play that if you go for the ball and miss, you give up a big play. But under Martinez that still frequently happened, even with all that cushion his players allowed, due to poor positioning and tackling.

The key to this gambling kind of defense is execution, and it remains to be seen how it’ll work out.

But I like the more aggressive mentality being instilled in the defense now.

JUST HOW THIN IS THIN?

If there’s an aspect of the offense where a lack of depth could potentially be a big problem for the Dogs, it’s wide receiver. With nagging injuries this spring there’s often been just four healthy scholarship players practicing at that position.

Just how thin is it? When The Red and Black asked Tavares King which young wide receivers had impressed him in spring camp this far, he named two walk-ons: Taylor Bradberry and Rhett McGowan.

It’s a tough situation, A.J. Green says, “but it’s just going to prepare us for the fall. We don’t have [depth], so at this point we’re just going to have to push each other and give each other a break whenever you can.”

Those tight ends are going to be more important than ever.

177 comments Add your comment

Willie Martinez

April 1st, 2010
1:41 pm

Was I really that bad? Wow.

I hope the OU boys aren’t reading this!

unweaned lil pup

April 1st, 2010
1:46 pm

Willie … if you were still here, it would solve the problem about how to get Carlton Thomas on the field. You’d have him getting reps at corner by now.

BlitzDawg

April 1st, 2010
1:47 pm

See there Wille M thats how you coach the secondary go for the ball. Blitz Your Brains Out thats how you do it. Nice Going Coach Lakatos and Coach Grantham. HUNKER DOWN DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!

meh

April 1st, 2010
1:48 pm

gonna be the all overest defense ever!

bigdawg88

April 1st, 2010
1:48 pm

Yes, Grantham has been a DC before, but politics (bad HC) got him fired. Defense (Browns) went downhill after he left.
He was good enough that Saban wanted him at Miami.

Big D Dawg

April 1st, 2010
1:56 pm

“reality” = 1-9 in last 10 years, 30-24 against the acc chumps
don’t forget a mediocre UGA and SC team beat the best in the acc

gt4ever

April 1st, 2010
1:56 pm

Hope the DC got his money up front……. Blitz your brains out, this is so funny…….

We_Run_This_Country

April 1st, 2010
2:06 pm

CPJ 1-0 @ Sanford Stadium(aka Cesspool of the South)….make that 2-0 in 2010…I’m calling it early 38-13 GT.

hut hut hut

April 1st, 2010
2:10 pm

Defense wins championships. by oct. 30, georgia’s 1st real test, the defense will be locked and loaded. might go 14-0 if get past south carolin and ark early in weeks 2 & 3. gonna be a huge improvement. can’t get worse.

force turnover u

April 1st, 2010
2:11 pm

the defense HAS TO preach forcing turnovers. the defense has to go from worst to first, in 1 season like the saints. the defense needs to turn into:

force turnover u

Delbert D.

April 1st, 2010
2:18 pm

“If it drove you crazy the way the Dogs’ cornerbacks tended not to look back for the ball”

It drove me crazy because they couldn’t even find the receivers.

Paddy

April 1st, 2010
2:21 pm

This defense of the Dawgs is sounding better with each passing day. If the offense will just not be so predictable as it has the past 3 years, Dawgs could really make some noise this fall!

SEC_Champion

April 1st, 2010
2:27 pm

SEC_Champion

April 1st, 2010
2:27 pm

SEC_Champion

April 1st, 2010
2:28 pm

reality

April 1st, 2010
2:30 pm

Gotta run, the Heretic is calling, gonna go get a “rise” out of a bunch of men of a different sort. Call me!

Thirty Points To Your Twenty-Four Points

April 1st, 2010
2:37 pm

Why does Georgia Tech have trouble selling tickets to their home games??

Thursday nights are “Salute to Shatner” nights on the SyFy Channel.

{{{{30-24}}}}} hahahahahahaha!

Thirty Points To Your Twenty-Four Points

April 1st, 2010
2:39 pm

My friend has a dog that does a backflip every time UGA beats Tech in back to back seasons.

I asked him: “What does the dog do when Tech beats UGA in back to back seasons?”

He replied: “I dont know. I have only had the dog 10 years”

{{{{{30-24}}}}}

Thirty Points To Your Twenty-Four Points

April 1st, 2010
2:40 pm

Wha do Georgia Tech and Marijuana have in common??

Teey are both frequently SMOKED in bowls.

{{{{{30-24}}}}}

Hap Hines

April 1st, 2010
2:40 pm

GT is not going to score 38 against us in the next 10 years. The fluke win in 2008 only happens about once every 10 years.

GT’s last decent chance to beat UGA was last year, and we saw how that worked out.

Ed Oregeron's cleavage

April 1st, 2010
2:46 pm

“only snagged 10 picks”

snagged only 10 picks … only modifies picks, not snagged

A simple rule of thumb. Move the word “only” as far to the right as you can and have it still make sense, and that’s where it goes.

Ed Oregeron's cleavage

April 1st, 2010
2:47 pm

modifies 10 not snagged.

GT3O

April 1st, 2010
2:54 pm

Sounds like UGA just landed themselves a wannabe Jon Tenuta. A good QB will eat that “blitz your brains out” defense right up. Ask Matt Ryan.

Can’t wait to see the blitz your brains out against the 3O, UGA’s defense will be running past everything. Hope Grantham got his money up front.

GT3O

April 1st, 2010
2:56 pm

Hap Hines,

Remember there was a time when UGA only beat GT once in a decade. GT still owns the 8 in row win streak record.

Gotta love selective memory.

Its a gator world

April 1st, 2010
2:57 pm

Same ole nonsense. A bunch of red meat for the dawg fans thinking their going to have a great season. Just more delusions of granduer for the most underachieving program in the sec. What is it? 30 years and counting……. Make it 18 of 21 with yet another blowout WE OWN YOU! Losers!

LHarding Dawg

April 1st, 2010
3:01 pm

We have a new quarterback according to the Columbus Ledger. His name is Greg Bingham and he’s a senior at Columbus High School. Greg is 6′4″ tall and weights 225 lbs. He also has a great arm, has been to numerous quarterback camps and is very bright. His GPA is over 4.0. As of now, he is considered a preferred walk on, whatever that is.

Here’s wishing Greg a bright furure at UGA!!!

JB

April 1st, 2010
3:01 pm

Gator world, better be tending to grass in your own back yard, I see some crab grass growing in Gator world.

bruce mac

April 1st, 2010
3:01 pm

Dillusional Gator, where for art though. We know you are scared to death or you wouldn’t have made houly posts on Dawg Blawgs your life’s mission. It will be alright, we know what you really want.

Gatorbait

April 1st, 2010
3:02 pm

none of this will matter a bit. we still own you. own you dogs. not sure what all this we run this state is about, but it’s clear we run this state!

Dawg Mark

April 1st, 2010
3:03 pm

The Dawgs will blow out Tech in Athens—bank on it. That loss 2 years ago was a fluke of nature. Ga was flat, overconfident and didn’t even show up. Plus, Tech got every big call in the game from the refs. This year, Grantham’s D will shut down that mickey mouse triple option and win big!!! Tech will be lucky to win 7 games this year and go to a minor bowl somewhere cold.

DawgBuzz

April 1st, 2010
3:03 pm

“TOP 10 REASONS TO ATTEND A TECH FOOTBALL GAME”

10. You won’t have to worry about the crush of a crowd.
9. Bopping up and down to the Budweiser song is soooooooo cool.
8. When you look at the tech student body, you begin to feel pretty good about your own appearance.
7. You see guys who actually seem to be content WITHOUT having pretty women around.
6. Plenty of available parking close to the stadium.
5. Watching high school caliber football is such an American thing.
4. It’s a relatively safe refuge from the surrounding area in Atlanta.
3. Singing “helluva helluva…” all night long makes you feel like such a bada$$.
2. Those delicious free hot dogs and cokes.
1. It’s such a great way to spend a Thursday night.

CHDawg

April 1st, 2010
3:04 pm

I don’t get the wide receiver talk, either. IMO, this is the best receiving corps UGA has ever had! Plenty deep, too.

The Hangover

April 1st, 2010
3:09 pm

Classy,

The riders “hunkerdown” for the remainder of the cab ride. Classic!

Gator Teeth

April 1st, 2010
3:09 pm

Bring on the blitz. We’ll screen around you and the result will be the same.

UGADawg83

April 1st, 2010
3:11 pm

Gee Bill, I’m glad I subscribe to the Macon Telegraph. Now I’m as informed as you!!!

Boca Baby

April 1st, 2010
3:16 pm

The only defensive coach at UGA that could play a bend-but-don’t-break scheme was Erk Russell with his “Wide Tackle Six.” But when you got too close, look out! It was blitz your brains out. In addition he would give you a dose of the blitz if you had the ball inside your own twenty. I like coach Grantham’s approach, “One of the linebackers is coming on every down. You get to pick which one you think it is.”

Say What?

April 1st, 2010
3:18 pm

“TOP 10 REASONS TO ATTEND A TECH FOOTBALL GAME”

10. Tailgaiting cleanup gives your other alum a job to do after the game.
9. You don’t have to go far to meet a trailer salesman.
8. Everybody looks the same and acts the same. You are one!
7. You don’t have to worry about being out smarted. Everyone’s dumb.
6. Safe to drive to and from the game as all the players are busy and not driving.
5. Everyone can go cow tippin after the team gets waxed again.
4. If your car breaks down your alumnus buddy is a mechanic so, no worries.
3. Don’t have to worry about getting a date – all the girls are easy.
2. You still have a goal of winning your second NC in a zillion years.
1. You only play Florida once a year.

PHIL

April 1st, 2010
3:19 pm

After they give up a few long passes because they went for the ball and the blitz gets burned a time or two, all the rocket scientists here will be calling for the coaches heads just like always.

Boca Baby

April 1st, 2010
3:22 pm

GT30: When was that eight in a row streak? Could it be indicated by your call sign? Oh, yeah, 1930. Please move your argument into the modern era of college football. Otherwise we got Carlisle beating Notre Dame.

Florida Fan

April 1st, 2010
3:23 pm

I really enjoyed the winning times against UGA. To bad these days are over now for us since Richt will be working with offense again and Willie is gone.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

April 1st, 2010
3:23 pm

Smith could probably line up at receiver in an emergency also , if for nothing else than to run a fly pattern .

DawgBuzz

April 1st, 2010
3:25 pm

Say What? I didn’t realize Tech played Florida once a year.

fire hydrant running scared

April 1st, 2010
3:26 pm

Grantham’s approach, “One of the linebackers is coming on every down. You get to pick which one you think it is.” UGAs only problem is the boys are so stupid, the wrong one or 2 will blitz and then toad head Todd will stroke out.

Ron Zook

April 1st, 2010
3:27 pm

Is Richt really going to start calling plays again? I want to schedule UGA with Illinois.

GO GATAH

April 1st, 2010
3:28 pm

I guess every team has it’s weaknesses, but it still amazes me that with a throw-happy offense and play-caller in ex-QB Bobo that UGA is short in the WR dept.

Boca Baby

April 1st, 2010
3:29 pm

All you UF fans have very short memories. I know that it has been a while but I remember UGA winning 12 of 13. There are trends in this series so be careful, you might have to eat all this banter. I know you had this tremendous recruiting class but I have yet to see a large number of incoming freshman come in compete at a high level in the SEC. And have you taken a good look at what you just lost to graduation and those leaving for the draft?

Ron Zook

April 1st, 2010
3:33 pm

We got short memories and big bawls but we dont stop on the 50 yard line and lick ours.

gtfanfrom1951

April 1st, 2010
3:35 pm

what brains? in a bulldawg no way! press coverage makes it easier to block them!

birddawg92

April 1st, 2010
3:36 pm

I have been optimistic about everything I’ve read about the new D coaches until today. When the Jalapeno took over 5 years ago, he said he wanted to “create more turnovers.” As I’ve said on this board and on my own blog incessantly, that was a red flag to me as soon as I read it. I’ve found that emphasis on TOs usually translates into poor fundamentals, resulting in big plays for the opponents’ O. If you EARHOLE somebody, the TOs will take care of themselves. I’m getting a sinking feeling.

http://www.saturdayinathens.com

Debose

April 1st, 2010
3:43 pm

“All you UF fans have very short memories. I know that it has been a while but I remember UGA winning 12 of 13.”

Can you give us some years on that one because we just don’t see it.