Justin Houston expected to rise above rest of Dogs’ defense

Todd Grantham is expecting big things from Justin Houston. (Georgiadogs.com)

Todd Grantham is expecting big things from Justin Houston. (Georgiadogs.com)

A lot of folks are expecting pass rusher Justin Houston to become a break-out star this season, and Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham is one of them. Grantham, in an interesting interview with ESPN.com’s Chris Low, says he’s looking for Houston to rise above the rest of the Dogs’ defensive players.

“I’m expecting a big year out of him and have talked to him about that,” Grantham says. “Everybody on your team isn’t the same, and he’s got to be one of those guys who rises above for us. We need to expect more out of him. You have to manufacture production from your linebackers in the 3-4, particularly your outside guys, because that’s where you generate your pass rush. I think Justin is made for the 3-4, and it’s a very good fit for him.”

No pressure.

Other notes of interest in the Grantham chat include him seeing cornerback as the most competitive position on the Georgia defense … mentioning that he sees incoming freshman T.J. Stripling playing behind Houston … saying again that his philosophy is “if somebody goes down, I’d rather play the next best guy instead of the next guy at that position” …  stressing the importance of developing a rotation of players on the defensive line (”If a guy feels like he has to play 60 plays, he’s going to coast. But if he knows he only has to play 35, he will give you more and knows when he gets tired that he’s going to come out and the next guy’s going in”) … repeating his belief that the way to improve Georgia’s turnover ratio is to disrupt opposing quarterbacks (”the guy who fumbles the most”) … saying he’ll call defensive signals from the sideline … and summing up by saying, “I know this, that the Georgia fans have a passion for defense, the ‘Junkyard Dawg’ defense that is so famous around here. I anticipate working toward giving them the things they have a passion for.”

As I’ve said before, Grantham says all the right things. The only question seems to be how long it will take the players to adapt to his scheme and for Grantham to get all the right bodies in the right places.

ALONG THOSE LINES …

Team Speed Kills picks Georgia to finish second in the SEC East but with a less than ringing endorsement, and one of the reasons is questions about the defense.

While the move to the 3-4 scheme is “probably the right decision for the future,” TSK notes that “it will take time for the players to adjust; it’s more complicated than ‘put an extra linebacker on the field.’ You have to wonder if the game or two the Dawgs might win because they fired [Willie] Martinez will be canceled out by the game or two the Dawgs might lose because of unfamiliarity with the defensive scheme.”

A fair assessment, I’d say. What do you think? Does the renovation of Georgia’s defense concern you more than starting an inexperienced quarterback?

TIME CAPSULE

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166 comments Add your comment

UGA Class of '13

July 30th, 2010
11:01 am

FIRST. GO justin houston! cant wait to see him wreck qb’s

DawgFan24

July 30th, 2010
11:05 am

Second. Yes, a fair assessment I would say Mr. King. But if your a Dawg fan, you gotta feel that our former AD made yet another good hire in Grantham.

learn something everyday

July 30th, 2010
11:10 am

Hey Bill, since Chip is out, you got any news on the rumors Wilder and Crowell are comming to Athens this weekend with their families? And what do you think that could imply? Also heard Rome is going to but that one seems to have been debunked.

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Dawg House

July 30th, 2010
11:16 am

I’m loving the pics of UGA thumping on those honey bees!!

Since they troll these blogs so much, may as well remind them while they are here!!!

36 Days!!!!!

GeoffDawg

July 30th, 2010
11:16 am

That’s fair for an outsider to say. I’d say that a return to aggressive play on defense will also help make up for the unfamiliarity of the scheme.

beatdowns galore

July 30th, 2010
11:17 am

Hope Houston doesnt injure his toe or it will be big trouble for the mutts.

How2fish

July 30th, 2010
11:18 am

Good article Bill..I think the D’s ramp up time will also be tied to the offensive play with a new QB if the O can limit turnovers and drive killing penalties it will help the D. A lot fewer short fields for the opposing teams offensive units will certainly help shorten the time it takes the D to jell on the field.

How2fish

July 30th, 2010
11:20 am

beatdowns galore great name its one the Bull Dog Nation has applied to the Bugs many times , with many more to come…

Sho-Dawg of Harlem

July 30th, 2010
11:20 am

The defense will decide our season. Willie decided not to coach and our season went to hell for the past 2 years.

BobDog

July 30th, 2010
11:21 am

I’ll take anything over the slow death of our defense the past few years. I know we’ll give up some long plays, but maybe we’ll be able to stop somebody sometimes.

Dawg 39

July 30th, 2010
11:24 am

Based on their physical abilities & with Houston as the leader, we might have 4 players at OLB who can play the way the DC needs them to play.

NEWNANDAWG

July 30th, 2010
11:25 am

any word on the ncaa investigation? Also i think the defensive adjustment may not be as bad as many think, play fast play first to the ball and hit hard. Also Lakatos will have the DB’s hunting for the ball all of this may give up some big plays but i think it will have them making more, also do not forget that Belin excelled at Vandy with Linebackers looking forward to seeing what he does with UGA talent pool

How2fish

July 30th, 2010
11:29 am

BobDog I’m with you on that..however I hope the Bull Dog Nation shows some patience because we will have break downs and long plays against us…flying to the football is all well and good but it will expose any blown assignments very very quickly. The only way we can overcome that is in take aways and long drives by the offense.

IPoopedOnABug

July 30th, 2010
11:30 am

Nesbit for Darwin awards!

beatdowns galore

July 30th, 2010
11:31 am

how2….you got it all wrong bud …..its the yearly beatdowns from Rocky Top and the Gators with more to come. Wake up its real dude….

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

July 30th, 2010
11:33 am

i think we’ll all be surprised by our new D this year. game 1 we’ll have some hiccups but by SC, Dawgs’ D will be ready. can’t wait to see garcia on his back for the whole game

RxDawg

July 30th, 2010
11:34 am

Our season comes down to only two questions. But those questions are huge.

1. How does Murrary do?

2. How does the new defensive scheming do?

1eyedJack

July 30th, 2010
11:44 am

It’s kinda like a dog who favors their master, or folks who live together a long time start to look alike. Players pick up attitudes and aggresiveness (or lack thereof) from their coaches.

Willie was soft and confused and his players played soft and confused especially the DBacks. I think big games made him blow a fuse. He seemed more concerned with giving up a long touchdown (10 yard cushions) than smacking the QB in the mouth.

I believe Grantham & Co. will bring a new attitude and aggressiveness to the defense. Can’t wait to see it in action. There will be a learning curve no doubt and they will make mistakes, but make them aggressively and with bad intent.

Now if we could just get CMR and CMB to not go into a turtle shell when they get a 14 point lead.

Boss

July 30th, 2010
11:44 am

Florida owns UGA. Oftentimes, they will rent UGA out to Chuckie Cheese so the players can entertain small childern.

UGA fans are the scum of the earth. You really are. 30 arrests in 4 years, just a disgusting program with disgusting fans. An embarassment to the USA.

SEC Football

July 30th, 2010
11:46 am

There will be a learning curve at the start but this is being done for the long term. I am sure there will be some palyers out of position at times to start with but I am impressed with the new coaches. The Bulldog Nation will see an improvement this year but I believe we are a year away from being back where we want to be. You will see the defense get better each game they play. Let’s just hope we are far enough long to get by Carolina.

Bippity Boppity Boo Boo

July 30th, 2010
11:49 am

My offense can be very Vanilla just go back and watch the Texas A&M game.

Oompa Loompa Dawg

July 30th, 2010
11:52 am

Im more worried about our midget at QB. Sure hope he doesnt fumble and stumble while trying to see over the line.

Dawg Tired

July 30th, 2010
11:53 am

There is no way the defense plays worse than last year. Therefore, the defense will be better. The offense will be better. Kick coverage will be better. The schedule is easier. Bottom line: a better season.

Boss – you need therapy. Please get some help before it is too late, if it is not already too late. I’m praying you find a good therapist.

mcdawghna

July 30th, 2010
11:54 am

Am really impressed at what Grantham says…….seems to have a go gettem, aggressive attitude which the players will pick up on as well…..but don’t expect too much too soon dawgs fans, they do’nt have the bodies in place yet to run the 3-4 the way it needs to be ran but I do expect a vast improvment over past years……..

Dawg Tired

July 30th, 2010
11:56 am

6′1″ is not a midget. Russell Wilson at NC State is 5′11″ and may be one of the best 4 or 5 QBs in the nation. Drew Brees is 6′0″.

jaglaw

July 30th, 2010
11:57 am

JUST LOOK AT ALABAMA.

The 3-4 is disigned for pressure. Yes, big plays will be made….but made sporatically…..by SEC offenses.

Her is the key…..is our opponent in 3rd and long at least (6) times for every 40 yard gain from their big play. Also, make sure those big plays are not TDs.

James Stephenson

July 30th, 2010
11:57 am

Hey Bozo, I mean Boss. At least UGA players are not stealing lap tops, credit cards and shooting ak-47s. In fact, either of those items pretty much outweigh a few drinking issues, or driving without a permit.

Luckie

July 30th, 2010
11:58 am

I dont see a big learning curve happening. Our defense are all talented and just blitzing alone will create more havoc in the backfield. Willie never turned them loose enough. Grantham will do that from the start. sure they will blow a call or two, but there will also be more turnovers. The D will be alot better this year.

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How2fish

July 30th, 2010
12:01 pm

Boss any truth to the rumor that for all home games Albert the Alligator will be sporting a AK-47 in one hand and a dead girls credit card in the other? Hmmmmm

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Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

July 30th, 2010
12:02 pm

Boss, so how’s the dead guys credit card holding up for you. And if you must look at scum, I’m sure there is a mirror in the bus station bathroom you can look into

How2fish

July 30th, 2010
12:02 pm

SEC Football good points the SC game will be huge!

Rabid Dawg

July 30th, 2010
12:05 pm

I’ll take an aggressive D that causes turnovers and gives up a couple of long TDs ANYDAY to the frustrating D the last four years which teaches corners to watch the receiver and put your hands up when his eyes look for the ball! There is no such thing as a route cut 30 yds downfield. Put a finger on his hip and find the ball! It is no mystery why we didn’t turn the ball over. Just the ABSENCE of our former D coaches allowed us to hold the #5 offense to 2 TDs (1 late junk TD).
I want to see the return of a dominating, punishing D. We need to give TG a couple of years to recruit, though. GO DAWGS!!!

beatdowns galore

July 30th, 2010
12:09 pm

Seems like UGA is always on the learning curve or using some other excuse like arrests or injuries.

I-DOG

July 30th, 2010
12:10 pm

Fair statement, by speed kills. I expect to see better tackling accross the board, I think we will create more turnovers because of the new defensive staff and also because it can’t really get any worse and we are probably due for a few TO’s to bounce our way. If we can also cut way down on the hits out of bounds that draw 15 yard flags and automatic first downs… that will help as well. You don’t have to be 100% comfortable with your assignment to stop committing those dumb mistakes.

In the first 2-3 games, we will probably get caught out of position, but I don’t think that will hurt us that badly. After the OK state game where we were IN POSITION most of the time… how many times did we see our opponents catch passes with no UGA player within 10-15 yards of the receiver? Again, how much worse can it be?

B Dawg Man

July 30th, 2010
12:21 pm

As long as we play hard, the adjustment time isn’t going to be an issue. Intensity is still intensity. If we don’t let the QB throw the ball then nobody can catch it. 6 seconds of hell!

SSIgator

July 30th, 2010
12:22 pm

“I anticipate working toward giving them the things they have a passion for.”

I guess that would be drinking, dancing, cruising around Athens until they get picked up, swimming, bowling, going to the tanning salon, oh, and occasionally playing football.

Boo Boo's boo's from Sanford Stadium.

July 30th, 2010
12:22 pm

I really think the D will be ok … I mean we practically had two gophers coaching the defense in the bowl game against A & M and they did a good job. Its Mike Bozo’s hot n cold play calling with a new QB that worries me. could be a long season or just another average one.

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Ruff Ruff Ruff

July 30th, 2010
12:27 pm

National Champions!!! Mark it down. Grantham is the best coach to ever walk the face of this earth and since he expects Houston to rise up, that gives us 16 All-Americans on our defense. This is going to be just like 1980.

Benard

July 30th, 2010
12:29 pm

Dawgs will give up a lot of points again to the gators,rocky top and to GT. I told you so at beeboy.org

Benard

July 30th, 2010
12:31 pm

Dawgs will give up a lot of points again to the gators,rocky top and to GT. I told you so at www beeboy.org

SKB

July 30th, 2010
12:37 pm

@Benard
Sorry I am kind of new to the college football scene.
Did UGA beat GaTech last season, wasn’t sure.. Or am I thiking of the wrong college. I know they finished 8-5 or something, but I heard they beat tech. Correct me if I am wrong.

Johnny DangerDawg

July 30th, 2010
12:40 pm

The Dawg defense will definitely make some mistakes while they work out the kinks this year. But they also have the advantage that the opposing teams won’t know how to defend them this year. Our opponents start the year with no film of the new UGA defense. And as the season progresses, the Bulldog D will look a little different every week as Grantham works out the kinks. By the time our opponents know what to expect from us, our defense will probably be firing on all cylinders.

DawginLex

July 30th, 2010
12:41 pm

boss, ssigator and beatdowns galore,

Your never ending obsession with UGA continues.

Scum of the earth? Look in the mirror you 3 gerbil boys.

FORTY ONE POINTS to your seventeen points

July 30th, 2010
12:42 pm

oh yeah,

(((((((((((((((((((41-17))))))))))))))))

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Dawg Man

July 30th, 2010
12:46 pm

Boss,
Please go back to whatever hole you crawled out of, or at least us alone. This is a UGA Football blog. If you want to hate, go hate on your school’s blog. Unbelievable