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

jazzy jeff

April 2nd, 2010
12:25 am

Alaska Dawg

April 2nd, 2010
12:30 am

I agree with you UGA Alumni. How many wide receivers do we need? Run the ball with Ealey and King, hit the big tight ends and then hit Green,Troup or King for a deep pass on play action. I am more worried about cutting back on penalties, rushing the passer and getting some turnovers than the receiver situation.

#2 BAMA FAN

April 2nd, 2010
6:18 am

Georgia and the gators both have had many players get in trouble with the law in the past few years. Saban’s first year at Bama they won the Fulmer Cup for getting kids in trouble with the law, but they
have slowly weeded out the bad apples. Bottom line every major college football power will have some
trouble with utes being utes!! Alabama Slag!!

ThreeSheets

April 2nd, 2010
8:03 am

Have not played one down against an opponent and this defense is the best in the nation. Yeah buddy.

hatfieldgeoff

April 2nd, 2010
9:06 am

Bill, I can’t help but notice that all the good stories about UGA are in the Macon Telegraph. Now that the AJC is just a front for a newspaper, I guess I just have to subscribe to the Macon Telegraph to get some good coverage on the Dawgs. Thanks for putting me on to a good sports page I been looking for one for years. Jesse Outlar must be spinning in his grave.

Dawg Hater

April 2nd, 2010
9:15 am

Overrated, nothing but hype and just another season of waster booster money and tickets.

kopper

April 2nd, 2010
9:19 am

The Macon Telegraph said this… the Telegraph said that. Why doesnt the AJC just employ David Hale and stop copying him.

Thug Ville

April 2nd, 2010
9:21 am

Georgia has more football thugs in trouble for beating up people in a cab—it never ends. Richt is going to have to start holding practice in the yard at the Clarke County Jail!

BigGAdawg

April 2nd, 2010
9:33 am

The more I read about the new Defensive coaching staff and the way they are doing their jobs, the more I am convinced that CMR picked the right guys for the positions. Why would anyone coach it differently?
GATA! No games off, No plays off, full tilt aggressive knock you on your butt football–it’s the only way to go! Woof!

CDAWG

April 2nd, 2010
9:41 am

Way to go Lakatos!!!!! I have always been a fan of knocking the wee wee out of the receivers off the line. I have NEVER understood why you would let a tall fast receiver off the line unscathed. If he gets jammed every single time he will definitely be frustrated with less confidence through-out the game with less catches. I am freaking FIRED UP!!!!!

Im a jawja boy thru and thru

April 2nd, 2010
9:43 am

We are the greatest with our #1 Head Coach, #1 Defensive staff and #1 recruiting class. I will be stunned if we dont run the table and win the NC. Book it!!

Corch Mark

April 2nd, 2010
9:45 am

I am going to have those bad boys who hit those folks in the cab in church this sunday.

Robert Dunn

April 2nd, 2010
9:49 am

The whole coaching staff needs to be more aggressive. While he is teaching them to jam, he should also teach them to tackle. Give me some DBs that can stop the extra yards by making a tackle with more than a shoulder pad to the legs. Pretty, flashy head rags and sweat bands don’t mean anything. Look at pretty boy Deion Sanders. He could cover but if they ever did catch the ball, he couldn’t tackle them. BRING THE WOOD MEN!! PUT THEM BOYS ON THEIR BUTTS!!

Corch Mark

April 2nd, 2010
9:50 am

The more I read about the new Defensive coaching staff and the way they are doing their jobs, the more I am convinced that CMR picked the right guys for the positions. Why would anyone coach it differently?
GATA! No games off, No plays off, full tilt aggressive knock you on your butt football–it’s the only way to go! Woof!

________________________________________________________________________________

I guess its a good think my first 4 choices said no.

Robert Dunn

April 2nd, 2010
9:58 am

Due to the penalty problem, our Dawgs should be the most well conditioned football palyers in the country.

Robert Dunn

April 2nd, 2010
10:08 am

Jax Dawg! Get a life. You’re just like all the rest of Gator Nation. Haters! If ya’ll are so good, then why don’t ya’ll sit back and shut up. It’s because you can’t. Another thing, how bout scheduling some real games. All your Gator teeth are going to rot out from all of those cupcakes.

Will Dawg

April 2nd, 2010
10:21 am

Brantley will be just like Timmy T. Chrissy Leak and Doug Johnson. If you hit the $^&@ out of him he’ll fold like a cheap suit or Urban Crier after a loss. To quote PULPWOOD Smith after the first touchdown in Jax someone should run out of the stands and do a chicken dance or soulja boy in Urban’s face.

#1 hater

April 2nd, 2010
10:54 am

It wont matter what Brantley is like Will Dawg, if we can own you with the Zooker, we can own you with anyone.

David

April 2nd, 2010
11:16 am

Funny to see a column by an old, white haired, white guy with a semi-literate line derived from “ebonics” for a heading. But appropriate given that football players are third rate students coached by a vastly overpaid glorified PE teacher. Maybe one day after the US has fallen behind the rest of the Western and Eastern world with its increasingly poor math and science education and illiteracy you people will wake up and retire this silliness called “collegiate” football.

David

April 2nd, 2010
11:18 am

And I wonder how many of the semi-literate “Bulldogs” will be arrested this year? Any wagers on how well Richt, the bible thumper, covers up for them?

BurningRedBleedingBlack

April 2nd, 2010
11:45 am

I love all these GT fans have to get on here and disguise themselves as UF fans. How much of a loser do you have to be to do that. UF has enough of there own problems this year to worry about. That game in j-ville is 50-50 this year looking forward to it. As far as GT well we all know how that works out. We Run This State. GO DAWGS!!!!!! GATA

Will Dawg

April 2nd, 2010
1:19 pm

#1 hater put your jorts back on and go home to FLA

Race Dawg

April 2nd, 2010
2:09 pm

This could end up being the best GA team since the 1980s, based on everything I’ve read in the AJC. They are loaded on offense, the D may be the best in the SEC and they have the best kicking game in the country. Look for the Dawgs in the BCS this year—1 loss max in the regular season with all this talent. Florida and Tech–the party’s over—Ga’s back on top–take it to the bank.

CMRonthehotseat.com

April 2nd, 2010
3:40 pm

I agree with Dr. Kenneth Noisewater. Logan SHOULD BE moved to WR. The sooner the better. He’s herdly ever going to see time as a QB. He can be a Shipley type of player.

Dawg Tired

April 2nd, 2010
9:22 pm

Listen people we do nor even know whether the actual incident occurred, much less who did anything if it did occur. I live in North Carolina and most of the state had the Duke lacrosse players going to jail for the rest of their lives. Well, they were innocent. The accusations were false. How do we know this actually happened? How do we know football players were involved if it did happen? How do we know they were University of Georgia football players? Some of you people need a basic course in basic civics. CMR is exactly correct when he says, “Right now it’s all speculation.” Why can’t people wait and see whether it is true before going crazy?

Plus, I’m pretty sure it could not possibly be any of our players because the accusers state that the alleged culprits actually hit what they intended to hit. If that is happening, our new coaches have already performed a minor miracle.

christophorm

April 3rd, 2010
9:43 am

NOW if richt will go back to calling his own plays, like he did at FSU when charlie ward was QB…then we could take alabama next year.

Mark Richt

April 4th, 2010
10:15 am

Our pass defense looks good, but I have to admit it’s because we have no quarterbacks.