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Georgia Football

Is Georgia’s Defense being Overlooked?

September 24, 2020

ATHENS - If your name is Bo Nix or Charlie Brewer, congratulations. They were the only two players to score a rushing touchdown against the Georgia defense last season, and they are quarterbacks. 

12.6 points allowed per game. 276 yards allowed per game. The No. 1 team in total defense was the 2019 Georgia Bulldogs.

Not much more needs to be said to prove how good Georgia’s defense was last year. 

So, why is nobody talking about a defense that is returning eight starters, along with several other key rotational players from the No. 1 defense in the country? Because, everybody is focused on who is going to start for the Bulldogs at quarterback. 

Monty Rice and Azeez Ojulari return from the 2019 team. They were the squad’s leaders in tackles and sacks, respectively. Richard LeCounte also returns to Georgia this year after leading the team in interceptions, fumble recoveries and forced fumbles. 

The attention to the offense and lack of attention to the defense has even seemed to bother Kirby Smart.

“I didn’t think we had a lot of preseason hype with our defense… I would think that all the better defenses are somewhere else,” Smart said on Tuesday.

Barring an unforeseen drop off, people are going to start talking about how good Georgia is defensively soon enough.

No, there probably is not going to be a player on the level of Roquan Smith in 2017, but the depth on the defensive side of the ball will give opposing offensive coordinators headaches. The team is littered with four and five-stars, thanks to the excellent recruiting that Smart and the staff has during his time in Athens. 

Guys like LeCounte, Rice and Ojulari figure to be the leaders, but there are many different players that can make a strong impact this year. 

High-level recruits such as Nolan Smith and Nakobe Dean will look to make strides in terms of impact and production. Smart likes what he has seen so far out of Dean in camp and practice.

“Nakobe has had a really good fall camp. He is extremely intelligent. He is extremely competitive. He loves football. He is a great leader. He has made himself a better player,” he said. 

Dean, the former five-star linebacker, was limited in his freshman season due to some underlying injuries. This year, he may be one of the most important players on defense for Georgia.

“He sets the tone. He makes a lot of calls for us in our defense,” Smart said.

How can Georgia get better on defense? Is that even possible? Despite being such an impressive unit last year, there is always room for improvement, and Smart wants to get better.

“There’s a lot of things we can do better than last year, which is create more turnovers and try to create the havoc we talked about last year that we didn’t get to do at the rate we would like to do it,” he said.

The defensive-minded coach is hungry to make a leap on that side of the ball this season. 

People are not going to stop talking about the Georgia offense, particularly the quarterback situation. That storyline has been eaten up too much for it to come to a halt all of the sudden, especially with the season so close. 

Plain and simple, Georgia’s defense was really good last year. There were very few things that the Bulldogs did not excel at when the offense was on the sideline. 

If the defense is better, people will not just talk about it, they will rave over it. 

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