Friday, July 25, 2014

Defensive tackle - optimism and concern

The dismissal of Johnathan Taylor hurts the depth, no doubt. But the thought I keep coming back to is that the defensive front was a much deeper and well balanced unit last season under Chris Wilson. He substituted a lot more and it helped tremendously as the season wore on.

So losing a tackle with a lot of upside can hurt, but we're much better off to absorb that loss now than a year ago. Sure, Wilson is gone. But I didn't get the idea this spring from new d-line coach Tracy Rocker that he was go one deep along his line.

I'll let Gentry Estes pick it up from there.
Reasons for optimism: Even without Taylor, the depth is good. So is the experience. Georgia doesn't really have holes to fill on the defensive front as much as it will be choosing from a menu of entrees with the ability to sample each one or favor different ones on a weekly basis. While that creates a question mark at the moment, depth and variety is not a bad thing for a coach to have. Rocker has several different paths he can cross, and it's likely that Georgia will have an effective D-Line because of it.
 And then down to the nitty gritty truth:
The guess: So much of what you see from this D-Line will be based on scheme. Georgia may only technically have two defensive linemen in nickel packages, for instance. Then perhaps other times, the Bulldogs really will go with four across the front (with OLB Jordan Jenkins likely playing with his hand down as a DE). Anyway, Georgia's D-Line is deep enough to where the Bulldogs have the luxury of playing by situation if they want. In other words, maybe one type of down-and-distance is better for Toby Johnson, and another favors what Chris Mayes can do, etc ... Having said that, though, the fact that we honestly have no clue who Rocker is going to tap to start is why this topic was included in the series. This is going to have to be sorted out in the preseason better than it was in the spring.
I'd feel much worse about losing Taylor if Mayes hadn't played so well down the stretch. He really has the size and athleticism I think we'd like to see at tackle. Hopefully between him, Johnson and Thornton give Coach Rocker what he needs for a good rotation.