Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Dawg-Like Preview: Secondary

Here is the good news about the Dawgs' secondary this upcoming season: it is going to be VERY difficult to be worse than last year. I mean, they were pretty bad. In conference play, UGA ranked dead last in 'passing yards allowed per game' (245), 'opponent's completion percentage' (61.4), AND 'opponents TD to INT ratio' (25 TD allowed to 10 INTs forced). They were also 10th in the SEC in 'yards per pass attempt allowed' (7.1). I realize that linebackers and defensive line pressure accounts for some of this, but let's face it, the bulk of the blame should fall on the defensive backs. With the loss of Prince Miller, Bryan Evans (not complaining), and Reshad Jones, Georgia's depth chart in the defensive backfield will look quite different:

CB Brandon Boykin JR-- 12 starts in 2009, 3 INTs, 54 tackles. Probably best overall DB. Good combination of strength and speed.
CB Vance Cuff SR -- 21 tackles last year. Not so big but at least he's got some experience.
SS Nick Williams/Jakar Hamilton JRs -- still unclear who will start, both are talented, but neither have a ton of experience.
FS Bacarri Rambo So. -- 25 tackles, 2 INTs (pick six at Tenn). Showed a lot of promise and was way better than Evans last year.

Here are the expected backups:

CB Branden Smith So. -- should get a ton of playing time. 14 tackles last year but was clearly an undersized Freshman. Talent alone should allow him to make big plays.
CB Sanders Commings So. -- Has some experience and will be counted on if someone goes down.
CB Jordan Love rFR -- A lot of potential but obviously no experience.
SS Shawn Williams So. -- Only 3 tackles last year.
FS Alec Ogletree FR -- Based on his talent, I'm guessing he'll get some PT this year.

While the DBs seem inexperienced, it is encouraging that Richt singled out the good work by the secondary so far this fall (per UGASports):

"I like our secondary. I like what I'm seeing. I think we've got some quality depth at all positions, quality starters and we're still not even sure who is going to start everywhere because it's fine competition," Richt said. "I think we're going to have a comfort level too, to make some substitutions maybe more than we have in the past."

Granted, that statement gets an A+ in 'Coach Talk 101' but I think it is positive nonetheless. I also think the big difference is going to be the coaching upgrade. By all accounts, secondary coach Scott Lakatos is as good as they come, and I think the Grantham's new 3-4 scheme may throw off some opponents this year. Regardless, at least I'm going to be excited to watch our defense again...hopefully the excitement will last the entire season.

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