"This team's way different than last year. We don't have 16 guys who are going to be drafted next year. We don't, but we've got a lot of guys who are tough, they're physical, and they like practice. They buy in to being around each other, they're connected, they like to compete with each other."
- Kirby Smart
That was a quote from Georgia head coach Kirby Smart following his team's dominant 48-7 win over SEC East division foe South Carolina. It was not the first time; Smart reminded everyone that he doesn't have the same amount of NFL talent on his roster this season, and it certainly won't be the last time.
That quote is not a slight or a shot at what his program has built over the last seven years because Georgia has a lot of talent; go pull up the recruiting rankings over the previous four years. The Bulldogs have recruited at an elite level since Kirby Smart was hired, and they are expected to continue that trend in the future. The big difference for Smart and co. is that his team does not have the experience like the team that gave him his first national championship as a head coach.
While that fact is true for the team as a whole, it is especially true on defense, specifically in the front seven.
Georgia's current front seven doesn't have four first-round picks currently. Defensive tackle Jalen Carter is projected as a top-10 pick, but outside of him, not many are consensus first-round projections.
That well-known fact of not having a Travon Walker, Jordan Davis, and DeVonte Wyatt upfront helps explain why the Bulldogs' defense has only one sack so far this season.
On paper, that certainly doesn't look or sound good. Considering the Bulldogs' defense recorded seven sacks in their season opener versus Clemson last year.
Yet, as we all know, football is not played on paper, and statistics do not tell the whole story. Turn on the tape, and you immediately see Georgia's defense has not had a problem pressuring the quarterback.
Look no further for an example than the one above. Early on in the game, Georgia gets pressure on South Carolina's Spencer Rattler; both Jamon Dumas-Johnson and Mykel Walker get into the backfield, forcing a throw away from Rattler.
Turning on the film against Oregon, arguably one of the best offensive lines Georgia will play this season, multiple Georgia defenders get into the backfield; the only difference between this season and last is the fact that so far, opposing quarterbacks have done a better job of getting rid of the football.
The main problem so far has been finishing once they beat their block and get into the backfield.
Will Georgia love to see more sacks tallied this weekend? I’m sure. Though at the rate they are pressuring the quarterback, it doesn’t exactly matter if they get him down or not. Pressures lead to interceptions as they did on Saturday when Smael Mondon got pressure on Spencer Rattler, forcing an interception to Dan Jackson.
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