If defense wins championships, as the saying goes, then the latest reports out of Athens mean Georgia should be looking good this coming season.
First, Bacarri Rambo announced that he would be returning for his senior season at UGA rather than enter the NFL draft and now fellow safety Shawn Williams is saying he’ll be staying at Georgia and that he believes “everybody will be back” on defense.
That would mean nine of the regular starters will return from a group that finished the year ranked fifth in the country in total defense, with only departing seniors Brandon Boykin and DeAngelo Tyson missing.
The good news was topped off with defensive coordinator Todd Grantham shooting down return-to-the-NFL rumors by issuing a statement Wednesday that he wants to be at UGA “a long time.” Grantham said he was speaking up “because of the terrific recruiting class we are assembling and the juniors that have communicated to me their desire to come back to Georgia.”
Sure, there’s always the chance someone could change their mind before Sunday’s NFL deadline, but Williams’ statement has to be considered a pretty good indication of what the players are saying to each other, so it looks like Mark Richt’s program has so far weathered the postseason draft period pretty well.
Yeah, it would have been great to have tight end Orson Charles back, but of the two players considered most likely to leave for the pros — Charles and Rambo — losing the defender would have been a bigger blow to the team’s prospects for 2012.
Of course, the defense certainly can’t do it all. The UGA coaching staff still has a lot of issues to address on offense and special teams before we can say the Bulldogs are ready to compete with the likes of Alabama and LSU.
But, as we saw during the Matt Stafford-Knowshon Moreno era, you can have an all-star offense and still not win a championship if your defense isn’t getting it done.
Aren’t you glad those days appear to be past us?
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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg