Blitzing excites fans but carries big risk for Dogs

Justin Houston and company need to get to Stephen Garcia ... fast. (Associated Press)

Justin Houston and company need to get to Stephen Garcia ... fast. (Associated Press)

In a recent blog, Buck Belue strikes a sobering note amid all the talk about the Dogs’ new 3-4 defense being aggressive and heavy on the blitzing.

Remembering when Donnan’s Dogs went blitz-happy under the not-ready-for-prime-time Kevin Ramsey in 1999 and got burned on lots of big plays, Belue notes that NFL veteran Todd Grantham is no Kevin Ramsey and “surely his plan involves covering [wide receivers] downfield.”

Still, Belue says, “Spurrier is probably thinking this: Blitz us and we’ll have Garcia throw it out to 6′5″ Alshon Jeffrey, who’s working on 5′10 Brandon Boykin, 5′11″ Vance Cuff, or 5′10″ Branden Smith. Dog CBs might have tight coverage, but can they defend the jump ball? Just saying. Might want to get to the QB fast.”

A good point, and one that Mark Richt himself has made about the 3-4 defense. If you go after the quarterback and don’t get him, you put a lot more pressure on your secondary.

And while I really like the talent of the Dogs’ defensive backs and believe ultimately they’ll be a solid unit, they’re not terribly experienced and we still have the problem of those rather short cornerbacks that Willie Martinez loved to recruit. Questions about the defense are likely a big reason the Dogs don’t rank higher in the initial USA Today Unknown Aides Filling Out the Form for Coaches Poll.

As Belue notes, ace pass rusher Justin Houston “looks to be in for a big season in this system,” and the Dogs really need him to live up to those expectations, especially early on against Stephen Garcia and Ryan Mallett.

I’ve said it before: The in-progress renovation of the defense concerns me a heck of a lot more as the season begins than starting a redshirt freshman quarterback.

Your thoughts on Georgia’s defense, especially concerning the South Carolina and Arkansas games?

Find me on Facebook.

Follow me on Twitter.

149 comments Add your comment

guy

August 6th, 2010
11:32 am

see also: GT and Jon Tenuta

Amsterdam Sam

August 6th, 2010
11:38 am

Why, guy, why?

guy

August 6th, 2010
11:40 am

similar situation. super blitz heavy defense that comes up big sometimes, but can also get burned on big plays without a lockdown secondary. you live and die on the blitz, and GT frequently died, to the tune of 4-5 losses a year under Tenuta. maybe uga has the talent to make it work. time will tell.

uga_b

August 6th, 2010
11:42 am

The 3-4 is just a different formation where we have different blitzing options. While I do think it will be more aggressive, 3-4 play base packages all the time. This team has a secondary that has good cover skills and hopefully some big hitters. Blitzing plays to this strength, but will not even be employed a majority of the plays.

outkasted

August 6th, 2010
11:44 am

not concern about the D…. we got some athletic corners and safeties with speed that are young and hungry…. unlike bryan evans (always getting beat) and reshad jones(Slow) and prince miller (5′8)

LowCountryDawg07

August 6th, 2010
11:47 am

Unfortunatley, our DB’s have not been the best in the country with tight coverage.

BurningRedBleedingBlack

August 6th, 2010
11:48 am

We have other players who will emerge bil this year that we are not familair with to make huge plays, happens every year, I remember so many times going “wow whose that guy man he’s making some plays”
I know its kinda all new to all us dawg fans. We do have alot of young guys, however they are skilled and very atheletic and fast, washington, Robinson, hamilton, i think we just need that first game for the defense to gel together.

Riley Cooper

August 6th, 2010
11:49 am

Man, I wish I was back in the SEC.

LowCountryDawg07

August 6th, 2010
11:52 am

I swear our deep coverage looked like they had no idea where they were supposed to be last year, players uncovered, people behind them, let them catch it then tackle, etc.

PMC

August 6th, 2010
11:54 am

Buck needs to go check out Boykin’s vertical. Go ahead and throw that fade. Tall CB’s generally are less athletic and aren’t as fluid in thier hips (see Jimmy Williams) Boykin and Smith are world class. They can handle the position. Just let Lakatos do his thing.

Better Perspective

August 6th, 2010
11:55 am

Boykin… wasn’t a slam dunk king? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_dFEWYqEUk
They don’t when we’ll blitz… that’s their problem.

Better Perspective

August 6th, 2010
11:56 am

Boykin… wasn’t a slam dunk king? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_dFEWYqEUk
They don’t know when we’ll blitz… that’s their problem.

PMC

August 6th, 2010
11:56 am

The CB’s they have are excellent. WHat they have lacked is any shred of decency in the pass rush and lackluster outside linebacker play. (Garbage tackling)

Not to mention the secondary coaching was deplorable and counterintuitive.

PMC

August 6th, 2010
11:57 am

Boykin will just undercut like Terrell Buckley and take it away. (now that the coaches will be focusing on finding the ball rather than faceguarding anyway)

LowCountryDawg07

August 6th, 2010
11:57 am

PMC very true. We have great talent at Georgia, where is the breakdown? Coaching

Better Perspective

August 6th, 2010
11:57 am

Corn Wash is going to break out this year

PMC

August 6th, 2010
11:58 am

Martinez had them playing like Chris Houston.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Gordo and Tim Tucker, AJC Junkyard Blawg. AJC Junkyard Blawg said: Blitzing excites fans but carries big risk for Dogs http://bit.ly/btC4ZO [...]

ca dawg

August 6th, 2010
11:58 am

i’d be more concerned if we hadn’t given up so many big plays last year. willie’s defense managed to give up the short and long stuff. how could we really be worse?

LowCountryDawg07

August 6th, 2010
11:59 am

We are constantly in the top ten recruting and have not played in a NC in many years. How do we always end up with Moreno, Stafford, Green, King, etc. these great top recruits that coaches like Spurrier, Saban, Meyer would kill for and can’t put together a national championship team?

LowCountryDawg07

August 6th, 2010
12:00 pm

I still will never get over Auburn game several years ago , letting them get behind us from thier own 5 or 10.

PMC

August 6th, 2010
12:01 pm

It’s not all about Blitzing either. It’s about bringing pressure. That’s not all out. It doesn’t mean you can’t roll coverage.

Georgia’s defensive philosophy the last several years was Back off 15 yards and let them take an entire quarter to score and or try for a big hit instead of wrapping up and dropping them. They wore out thier own defense with that garbage style. SO what if you give up a long TD. They have the firepower to score with anyone… the pathetic turnover ratio is directly correlated to the style of defense.

Kevin

August 6th, 2010
12:17 pm

I’m not a football coach or super familiar whith schemes but I can’t believe how many people (especially the people writing these articles) miss this IMPORTANT FACT. In a 4-3 there were always 4 people rushing (the down lineman). With a 3-4 there will be 3 people and a 4th will be a blitzing LB. Still only 4 people. There will not be 5 or 6 coming on every play, sometimes there will be a blitz of 5 or 6 but mostly the blitz will be the 4th person. The confusion for the QB is figuring out which person will be the fourth. Its not that hard to understand if you do a little research.

guy

August 6th, 2010
12:18 pm

yes kevin, but all indications out of athens also point towards a more aggressive, attacking style of D, including more blitzing. its not just the scheme.

LowCountryDawg07

August 6th, 2010
12:18 pm

Good post PMC

Grandad

August 6th, 2010
12:28 pm

I’m not a bit woried about the defense;
why?
Willie’s not coachin’ it.

robodawg

August 6th, 2010
12:30 pm

Valid concerns. Arkansas at least doesn’t seem to have the defense to keep up from grinding clock and keeping ball possession with our running game. But they could score enough that it won’t matter. We’ll see. S. Carolina concerns me more, b/c an Ellis Johnson defense might give them the ball too many times in good field position, and their experienced offense will know what to do with it. I’m afraid we’ll fall behind early and getting us back in will fall on Murray’s shoulders.

Old Dawg

August 6th, 2010
12:31 pm

Kevin’s right. The basic scheme of the 3-4 is to confuse the QB into making mistakes, especially in the short passing game where tight ends and running backs come into play.

A wrong read by either one equals an INT or incomplete pass. There will be times when all 4 LBs come but not as often as many think. Also, with the 3-4, it’s a better set to have half man/half zone coverages, or underneath zone and over man, or the exact opposite. Even for experienced QBs, the defense can be totally confusing and frustrating.

It will take time for Grantham to teach all of this to his defenders and to get the right players, just like it was for Saban at Alabama and others.

I’m frustrated that UGA will be playing against two of the best QBs in the conference early in the season. If UGA had more time to get the system fully in place, then I’d feel better about hounding the QBs from South Carolina and Arkansas.

David Green Sells Avon Products

August 6th, 2010
12:32 pm

Mine eyes have seen the glory
Of the N.C. Double-A
They’re investigating G.A. players
To see how much they’re paid

After counting all the cars
And the loans Alumni made,
They out pay the NBA.

RabidDawgFan

August 6th, 2010
12:32 pm

I’m not worried about the defense. Didn’t Coach Lakatos coach the secondary of Connecticut that shut down South Carolina in their pizza bowl game? Yeah I thought so. No worries here.

RabidDawgFan

August 6th, 2010
12:33 pm

Anyways I’m more worried about our run defense than our pass defense to be honest with you. I hope DeAngelo Tyson can hold the point of attack and take on two blockers or we may be in for a long season.

Willie Wonka Dawg

August 6th, 2010
12:38 pm

Mark Richt simpy needs to quit recruiting midgets on both sides of the ball.

76-Dawg

August 6th, 2010
12:49 pm

I didn’t follow Garcia that much but if you blitz Mallet he will make a lot of mistakes or get sacked. Uga can beat Arkansas if you keep the pressure on Mallet.

TallyDawg

August 6th, 2010
12:54 pm

Spot on Rabid. If the nose man gets whipped up on, the run game will be a concern. It’s been so frustrating for so many years watching such defensive talent be so poorly coached. All we can do is watch and wait…and make more nerd jokes at the bugs.

jawga boy

August 6th, 2010
12:56 pm

Garcia won’t be able to get Jeffrey the ball …..when his face is in the dirt.

SSIgator

August 6th, 2010
12:58 pm

“Blitzing excites fans but carries big risk for Dogs”

Yeah, UGA might want to check in with Germany. It did not work out too well for them either at the end of WWII.

Scott W.

August 6th, 2010
12:59 pm

Also when worn out with the15 yards off mentality you ended up giving away the long ball you were trying to stop in the first place.

NEWNANDAWG

August 6th, 2010
1:11 pm

anyone heard any news on how Alec Ogletree is performing so far?

dawg39

August 6th, 2010
1:22 pm

We have the same DBs whether we are in a 3-4 or 4-3. Either they can or they can’t. I think they can . They practice against A.J. I think the 3-4 is the way to go. GATA.

Just a fan

August 6th, 2010
1:23 pm

As long as we get to the QB or force him to hurry his throw we will be OK, we will need someone other than Justin Houston to step up though great player but cant just rely on him

uga_b

August 6th, 2010
1:24 pm

SSIgator, football doesn’t have offenses on both sides of the field with the defense in the middle. Perhaps you should bone up on some Mongolian history too.

destin dawg

August 6th, 2010
1:27 pm

we’ve got to be MUCH improved with basics like wrapping up on tackles.. hard hits not just shoulder .. No late hit penalties !! keep pressure on Mallet and Garcia !! Go Dawgs !! can’t wait !!

Gamec0ck envy

August 6th, 2010
1:33 pm

Dogs will get torched and scorched in Columbia on 9 -11. Garcia will make the Kevin Ramsey II defense look silly. Get out the Rolaids mutt fans !

Dalton Dawg

August 6th, 2010
1:34 pm

The G-FENSE will be fine !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
SEARCHIIIIINNNNNN,SEEK AND DESTROY !!!!!!!!!!!!

Yellow Stripe

August 6th, 2010
1:34 pm

you can’t out TALK us techies… we’re stuck here in downtown Atl.. nothing to do .. locked inside on the computer…no women.. scared to come out at night.. muggers.. sirens all night…. I HATE you folks over in wonderful Athens.. It’s just NOT FAIR !!

DawginLex

August 6th, 2010
1:36 pm

Spurrier made a living while playing and then while coaching of recognizing the blitz and throwing into the spot where the blitz came from. This is why there is so much concern. Also, it should be remembered that this is not Grantham’s first rodeo.

My guess is that we will be multiple in our looks and blitz packages and try and disguise them as much as possible. Garcia has never impressed me as someone who has learned how to read coverages and throw to the 2nd or 3rd receiver. With no running game established, we will blitz all day. Their OL was horrid last year and Garcia made it worse.

Mallett has a good teacher in the scumbag Petrino. He too will throw into the area where the blitzer came from.

In both cases, we must disguise the coverages as much as possible. The frustrating thing about WM was we never adjusted to the success of the opponent.

Grantham has a lot on his shoulders and the kids have a lot to learn.

UGA Recruiting

August 6th, 2010
1:46 pm

While the Dogs have consistently outrecruited most of their SEC brethren in the Richt era, we have not gotten the number of 5 star, gamechangers that Florida and LSU, and lately Bama have gotten. It looks like that may change this year, and even the talent playing field. That, plus some deficiencies on the defensive coaching side, has had the Dogs lagging since 2005. Nobody has out-talented Florida most of the Meyer era, and it is hard to outcoach him. Bama has had a couple of #1 or #2 recruiting classes under Saban, and it is hard to outcoach him.

Scott W.

August 6th, 2010
1:46 pm

Hopefully the NFL type practices will take care of that.

dawgs01

August 6th, 2010
1:47 pm

How tall do you want your conerbacks 6′4″. CB are always shorter and usually the most athletic person on the field. Boykin has a 42″ vertical. How good does a person that is 6′4″ backpedal i will answer not very good and you have to have fluid hips something tall people usually dont have. I keep reading about our short corners go look on other rosters they are all the same size every now and then you get a 6′1″ guy. It is not their ht. that was causing them to get beat last yr. it was the coaching and inexperience.

guy

August 6th, 2010
1:53 pm

tell us more about these fluid hips, dawgs01.