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

J Dog

April 1st, 2010
3:43 pm

There sure are a lot of Gator fans on this blog. Why would Gator fans follow a team like UGA? Why concern yourself?
Then again, if my head coach was found sobbing in the floor at 4 AM after loosing a GAME, then quit the team only to came back a few days later, I think I’d find something else to do as well. I wouldn’t want to follow that mess either.
Oh well, we welcome all football fans to the BULLDAWG NATION!
Even the obnoxious ones that have no class!

Joe

April 1st, 2010
3:44 pm

all sounds exciting…..hmmmm….if we blitzed so often with Martinez and it didnt work- why do we think it will now????????? hmmmm….could it be the players???????? wow- novel concept Guess it’s easier to blame the coaches for everything

We_Run_This_Country

April 1st, 2010
3:44 pm

Grantham: “Blitz!!!”
Richt: “Dad-gumm-it! There goes Anthony Allen for a TD!”
Grantham: “Blitz!!!”
Richt: “Dad-gumm-it! There goes Roddy Jones for a TD!”
Grantham: “Blitz!!!”
Richt: “Dad-gumm-it! There goes Stephen Hill for a TD!”
Grantham: “Blitz!!!”
Richt: “Dad-gumm-it! There goes Josh Nesbitt for a TD!”
Grantham: “Blitz!!!”
Richt: “Boo hoo…where’s my little Willie when I need him?!?”

UGA player in jail

April 1st, 2010
3:50 pm

Dawg 3/20

April 1st, 2010
3:50 pm

J Dog – How is Coach Mark “2-7″ Richt working out for you?

KJ

April 1st, 2010
3:52 pm

“There sure are a lot of Gator fans on this blog.”

No, there aren’t, the gnats have just reverted to their natural state (living vicariously through real football programs).

Jax Dawg

April 1st, 2010
3:54 pm

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!

I’m pretty sure that a loser would be defined as a rival fan posting something (see above) under an article about the opposing teams Spring practice. Go cruise the Hog town newspaper and write posts under Pat Dooley’s articles or spend the day reading about who and where Tim Tebow had dinner. Oh, it’s spelled “grandeur”. See what happens when you try to use too many dollar words. Work ‘em, Silly Gator.

Dawg Fud

April 1st, 2010
3:58 pm

If we have to be thin at a position, I would choose WR.

run the ball

April 1st, 2010
3:59 pm

This is very exciting. We really were a poor tackling team for the last 3-4 years. The lack of tackling contributed to our lack of turnovers. The lack of tackling contributed to way too many 3rd down conversions. We got killed in T.O.P. for the last 3 years. This is good stuff.

The Hangover

April 1st, 2010
4:01 pm

“None of us were particularly drunk,” witness to the incident Brent Borganmeister told The Red & Black Wednesday. “We got the cab more just out of convenience.”

Yeah, right. “particularly drunk” Classic!

How2fish

April 1st, 2010
4:05 pm

We_Run_This_Country Caleb just scored again….

ga gator

April 1st, 2010
4:10 pm

Is it my imagination or are there a lot of bugs on here today?

chc4

April 1st, 2010
4:13 pm

Why are we always dangerously thin at one or more positions? I realize scholly limits explain some of it but it’s every year in Athens.

athdog

April 1st, 2010
4:19 pm

We have two tight ends, White and Charles, that can legitimately line up at wr and be effective. Talk about mismatches! Once the defense gets things figured out at game speed, probably three games or so, it should be fun.

BigTimeTECHFan

April 1st, 2010
4:23 pm

A 3/4 defense always blitz more then 4/3. thats part of the purpose of a 3/4 is so you don’t know where rush is comeing from.

Roc

April 1st, 2010
4:24 pm

I am so pumped for this season. I’m loving what I’m a readin but I want to be level headed about this too. I just hope the D clicks sooner rather than later because after all it is brand new.

AceDawg

April 1st, 2010
4:25 pm

When has UGA ever really had “depth” at wide receiver? Most years we have about two receivers that catch the majority of our passes. Maybe there is “depth” in that guys who are officially wide receivers are more plentiful, but I feel the opportunity for impact at the wide receiver position is GREATER, not less, than most years under Richt.

John "Blitzkrieg" Tenuta

April 1st, 2010
4:28 pm

Wow, that’s the same style of defense I run! I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll win about 7 game a season with that style D… Oh, and CPJ will have his way with your blitzes. His system even beat me with Navy’s talent!

I know you have zero experience as a college DC, so if you need any advice let me know… I’ve been doin it for a while now. Call me at NCSt, because that’s the type of school this type of defense will get you coachin at after you run those blitzes into the ground over in the SEC. That type of speed might actually be too fast for our style… Guess we’ll see!

Well Grantham, I’m with you bro… Keep bringin ‘em until someone finally gets to ‘em… no matter how good or bad the game is a goin’.

P.S – If it don’t work out in Athens, maybe we can team up at a Conf USA school and blitz the hell out of teams togeather!!!

WILLIE ROBINSON

April 1st, 2010
4:34 pm

I’M GLAD THAT WILLIE MARTNIEZ IS GONE.

I Hate Life

April 1st, 2010
5:06 pm

Live by the blitz, die by the blitz. UGA will still stink next year and the D will not be any better.

Florida has ugly school colors!

April 1st, 2010
5:10 pm

Todd Grantham has brought a much needed energy to UGA! Can’t wait to see how his defense performs. Red and Black > Orange and blue

Da'rick Rogers

April 1st, 2010
5:24 pm

Ugh! I think I’m gonna throw up… Damn you Nash Nance!

Da'rick Rogers

April 1st, 2010
5:25 pm

Ugh! I think I’m gonna throw up… Screw you Nash Nance!

BigHairyDawg69

April 1st, 2010
5:31 pm

I think the bulldogs should have made Mitch Doolittle the defensive coordinator. He may be young, but he knows how to run a defense!

we bomb this country

April 1st, 2010
5:36 pm

I love being a tech fan for three reasons. Number one my team sucks soo bad that I have to disguise myself as a fan of another team to have a legitimate argument against uga. Number two we’ve got the prettiest girls at our trade school. Number 3 we serve Allah.

Jimmy

April 1st, 2010
5:41 pm

To those who think our D will struggle next year:

It is very possible.
I hope everyone in the SEC thinks that too.

Jimmy

April 1st, 2010
5:45 pm

I don’t understand why UF fans come here.
If UGA is as bad as they claim…what sport is there in coming here?
Either we are better than you say…we must be a threat, or–
You guys are just total, classless jerks who are proving with every comment how
unsportsmanlike you are to pick on poor, hapless UGA.

Which is it?

bruce mac

April 1st, 2010
5:47 pm

WOW, CMR and CTG sure have everyones attention in Gatorville it appears. “Bama Rolls the Gators” coming to a town near you. Next Stop, Tuscaloosa 2010.

tidog

April 1st, 2010
5:58 pm

Smith and Boykins will be shut down corners and preseason all americans next season.

1eyedJack

April 1st, 2010
6:01 pm

Can some of you nerds help Coach Groh find his teeth? His gruel is ready.

Johnny DangerDawg

April 1st, 2010
6:02 pm

The term “Junkyard Dawgs” was coined for a group of UGA defenders who came to UGA without much fanfare or excitement. Their goal was to be meaner, nastier, and hungrier than the other guy even though the other guy had more raw talent. That’s not really the goal at UGA nowadays. Now the goal is to recruit the top players and to get them to live up to the hype.

gatorboy62

April 1st, 2010
6:16 pm

Can’t wait! Florida and Brantley are going to light up GA when the blitz. Most teams in the SEC will have the offensive line and scheme to neturalize the blitz. Also I doubt GA has the manpower to blitz consistantly. it is going to be a long season for the DWAGS. They’ll wish that M. Vick was their owner and put tehm out of their misery.

Dawg 39

April 1st, 2010
6:24 pm

About the O line. When fall camp opens 16 scholarship OL will be in attendance. Only 3 are seniors.
Lack of experience: Maybe. Lack of depth: No Way. If I was a HS OL, I would hesitate about committing to the Dawgs after looking at the depth chart. Offensively the same would hold true for TE &QB. RB; Maybe . FB & WR, particularly WR, are the only O positions of imediate need.

Dawg Stephen

April 1st, 2010
6:28 pm

We be jammin….isnt that Bill King’s motto on Nerd Loving night?

Dawg Stephen

April 1st, 2010
6:31 pm

Hey Bill, please change that picture. I have 6 nieces who all just ran in terror. Seriously man, you are scaring the kids.

gators are whack

April 1st, 2010
7:03 pm

I am concerned about the Gators Brantley. He has not had a good spring so far, went something like 13 out of 40 in the spring game and threw several interceptions, 1 or 2 were returned for touchdowns. Meyer should have played Brantley at least 1 quarter a game last year, and got our running backs some experience instead of giving the ball to Tebow every play. Believe me, we’re all concerned about an energized Georgia team, the Georgia offense looks great, and the defense will be much tougher, straight up—gonna be tough holding off the dogs this year, but Gators should be back on track in 11′.

More than likely, Georgia will commit interceptions and fumbles against us this year again. Until the head goons figure that out, we gonna keep using that “force turnover” plan to beat Georgia. Works every time.

gators are whack

April 1st, 2010
7:30 pm

Dawg Stephen- Dude, looks like Bill King has more hair than you, and he’s 15 year solder probably. I wouldn’t be criticisizng no pic’s man. I like Bill’s pic, kind of has that Kenny Rogers look going, looks like the kind of guy I’d like to have a beer with and talk football.

Dawg Tired

April 1st, 2010
8:00 pm

Folks we must be doing something right. We have fans of other teams reading our blogs. I can only imagine how pitiful my life would need to be in order to even think about commenting on another team’s blog.

Call It Like It Is

April 1st, 2010
8:12 pm

What a joke as the little screen pass will eat that s*^& up! Why not keep your mouth’s shut and win for a change instead of trying to GIN up your fan-base with gimmicks?

Gators win the East again in 2010!

Enough Said!

ga gator

April 1st, 2010
8:38 pm

gators are whack, they haven’t had the spring game yet, just practices.

Observer

April 1st, 2010
9:37 pm

Defense is definitely more aggressive. Attacking off the corners, getting hands up, knocking balls down, but still dropping some picks. Corners are covering well but need to finish. Safety play is looking nice.

Offensively, running game looks very strong. All 3 QB’s looked good. Murray’s the most agile and can throw well on the run. Receivers & TE’s were catching balls left and right in practice this afternoon.

Offense was getting the better of the D in skeleton but when it was 11 on 11, it was about even. Lots of flags thrown and CMR made the guys pay for the sloppiness. Not a pretty sight to see after a 2 hour practice in 85 degree weather!

Dawg Stephen

April 1st, 2010
9:58 pm

IM just saying. He scared the kids.

Pathetic

April 1st, 2010
10:00 pm

is FL, UT and GT fans trolling our blogs day in and day out. You have your own blogs, right? Don’t your teams have spring practice? Stop worrying, the crying will be over soon enough. Face it, our revamped defense and playmakers on offense intimidate the crap out of you. Otherwise, you’d be elsewhere. Now run along, you’re neither needed or wanted here. Dismissed!

Dixie

April 1st, 2010
10:28 pm

nice to see the uga convicts are in top off season form!!

mod's squad

April 1st, 2010
10:33 pm

Hey guys-

the gators had a scrimmage this past sat. brantley did horrible, 13 for 31, and had a pass intercepted in the red zone and returned for a touchdown.

Of course, instead of saying their offense stunk, meyer and the gator media spuin it as how great the defense was. seriously, tebow went 17 for 21 against charlie strong in the spring scrimmage. brantley’s no tebow. under 41% pass completion rate. I knew the drop at qb would be bad, but good grief, 41%?????

http://www.gatorcountry.com/football/article/day_6_spring_practice_defense_dominates/\

jazzy jeff

April 1st, 2010
10:53 pm

lakatos sounds like exactly what uga needs. belin always lead the sec in tackles, and grantham and gardner will get the d-line moving. it’s gonna be a big, fast, hard hitting defense. be patient guys, this is gonna be good.

Observer

April 1st, 2010
11:17 pm

Lakatos is also very calm & collected. He’ll call someone out if needed but he’s coaching up as well. Secondary doesn’t look lost like they did at times last year.

[...] Bill King on UGA’s Hopeful Defensive Improvements [...]

Dawggone

April 1st, 2010
11:47 pm

Dawg P

April 1st, 2010
11:48 pm

Brantley is nowhere near tebow—he’s just a finesse passer who can’t take a hit. Grantham’s 3-4 will be bringing pressure from all angles and brantley will be running for his life. Look for 2-3 INTs from the GA and maybe a pick 6. Dawgs win that game easy this year. Florida lost their 3 best players on O and D and the backups are nothing special. GA takes over the series this year—take it to the bank!