So, while I'm away we take the pulse of the tailgate. Next, let's talk about the defense.
The big concern among many Dawg fans seems to be the defense going into the fall. Kind of the opposite of last season when we were concerned about the offense. What are your feelings about the defense going into spring practice with all of those holes to fill?
Joe Waterloo - When I look at the list of players we lost on defense I get very concerned. Then I remember how that unit played all season and I start to realize it can’t be all that bad. Maybe we had too many studs fixated on their draft status. Or maybe our DC was too concerned with out scheming the opponent instead of out-talenting them. Either way that unit was a major underachiever last season, so I’m hopeful a new group of hungry players will player better as a unit and therefore get better results.
AthensHomerDawg - I've been a real big optimist concerning the D. The D continuity was disrupted far too many times in 2012. I hope everyone stays off the scooters and away from one way alleys, remembers their middle names, avoid renegade brownies, and leave the WWII mementos with the lost serial numbers at their parents home. I think we just reload. No pun intended. Are we there yet? I hope so.
Son of AHD - I would classify the defense as a question mark, but not a concern. With our latest signing class we gained some much needed depth on that side of the ball. We added around 20 guys to that side of the ball, and with Grantham’s quotes about needing to play more linemen I think he’s finally decided to utilize that depth. We got holes to fill, but we got guys to fill them.
Smoke Wagon - Going into spring practice, I feel excited about the potential for the next generation of bulldog defense. I am obviously not the first to say this, but I am looking forward to some new dogs that are trying to prove themselves. We certainly lost a lot of talent and we lost one of the best bulldogs that we have had in quite a while in Jarvis. However, there was definitely something about that group that caused them to underachieve at times. I am certainly proud to have cheered for all of them, grateful for their contributions to UGA, and wish them the best in the NFL. I also hope they appreciate what UGA has contributed to them as they enter their professional and adult lives. I have no doubt that many of them do. I am not going to call any of them bad apples, but there definitely seemed to be something that was missing that resulted in lapses in leadership, focus, passion, chemistry, or something that is not characterized by physical talent.
I think we will have enough size and talent to compete well upfront. My biggest concern is in the secondary. I really feel like Sanders Commings is going to be one of the most missed that is least talked about of the departures. It just seems like really good corners are harder to find than really good safeties. With that said, we have virtually no experience coming back at safety. Hope some of the puppies can step up and become Dawgs quick. I am hoping to find a Thomas Davis in one of these safeties (that may be a stretch). I get the feeling that the coaching staff, including TDG, gets a little extra enjoyment out of the challenge of developing new guys, so hopefully there is a sense of urgency and excitement that will lead to something special. We all know we have a lot of talent, so ultimately it comes down to how they gel together and whether they can be engaged and inspired to be a special defense and not just a collection of talented players. This next year’s defense will set the tone for the next 2 or 3 years with all of these young guys. The other concern is quality depth in the big beef department. Even with Jenkins and Kwame, we still didn’t have enough depth to hold up against the best of the best. We won’t have time to build depth, so I hope some of these young guys can get the most out of spring practice and preseason camp.
Namaman - I am concerned about the defense this year. It is strange how we were so worried about the offense last year and they did perform so well. It kinda makes me hopeful that the defense will pull together like the O line did last year. They will need to rely on each other and play as a team. Not so many individuals.