Monday, August 9, 2010

Hair of the Dawg: Georgia's 3-4 Defense

Obviously, Georgia had one of its worst defensive seasons ever last year. They gave up over 30 ppg in conference play and could not force enough turnovers. The question many are asking however, is "how long will it take to adjust to the new defense". My response: "Who cares, they can't play much worse than last year".

Actually, the 3-4 might be just what the doctor ordered. Last week, we looked at how Grantham's defenses performed in the NFL. But the 3-4 in college is much more rare than in the NFL. Here is a good article by Rivals.com that primarily talkes about the Dawgs new defense, as well as the other teams that will be running it. Basically, out of 120 D-1a teams, only 14 will be running the 3-4, and over half of those teams are running it for the first time this year. (Interestingly, all three service academies run it).

One thing the article points out is that the 3-4 may be spreading (no pun intended) to adjust to the newer spread offenses. Because most teams run a conventional 4-3 (which means you pretty much know which four guys are rushing) many spread teams call their plays from the sideline based on how the defenses set up. Grantham contends that defenses are easier to disguise when using a 3-4, because the linebackers can be used in so many ways. This can confuse offenses both before and after the snap. (If you add the fact that Georgia ranked dead last in the SEC in scoring defense, I think we SHOULD expect an improvement over last year.)

When looking at Georgia's upcoming schedule, I noticed they face a few teams that run the spread. Florida, Mississippi State, Colorado, Auburn, Kentucky, and Arkansas all like to run a lot of shotgun sets with three or more receivers on the field, which is typical for most spread offenses.

Here is the generally accepted depth chart for the front seven as it stands today:

DE Abry Jones
NT DeAngelo Tyson
DE Demarcus Dobbs

OLB Cornelius Washington (don't be surprised if D. Gamble overtakes him)
ILB Akeem Dent
ILB Christian Robinson (he'll split a lot of time with Dowtin)
OLB Justin Houston

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